I have to admit that, along with so many other reviewers, I was sceptical about these new adaptive headphones right up to the moment I finished the 60-second app setup and started listening to some of my favourite songs, including the mixes of our band Red Box's latest album. To say I’m gobsmacked is an understatement. Where out of the box the sound quality was hollow and muffled, as soon as I’d set my own ‘unique hearing profile’ – the system runs through a series of tones, measuring the extremely subtle soundwaves that bounce back out of one’s eardrums – the quality improved remarkably. In fact, it was a bit like having an audiophile system strapped to your head. Could this really be the result of a simple set of sci-fi tones bombarding the eardrums? To prove a point, I asked a friend to set his own hearing profile and the two couldn’t have been more different. His profile to me sounded awful, and vice versa.
The Bluetooth-equipped Nuraphones are of the over-ear variety, only they also feature a small, centrally-located in-ear bud that is easier to align with the eardrum than you might think. That said, it does take a while to adjust to the sensation of having rubber earbuds stuck in your ears while wearing what is ostensibly a common-or-garden set of headphone cups. Nuraphone uses Haptic-Sense technology to create a very ‘live’ sound with deep bass and crisp treble. According to the company, it works by ‘splitting the melodic sounds to an in-ear speaker and the bass sounds to an over-ear tactile driver that delivers the sound through your skin’. Whatever the science is behind it, I vouch that the system works wonders.
Another bonus here is that the cans come with Parrot Zik-like ear-pad controls; simply tap on the right or left cup to skip a track, pause etc. Packaging, too, is exquisite and very Apple-esque – the phones come in a swish faux leather case with magnetic clasp. I’m really looking forward to trying these on my next flight. Granted, they don’t have built-in noise cancelling – a NC model is apparently in the pipeline – but given that they’re of the over-ear variety, they should still perform brilliantly.
We’d say to give these cans some serious consideration because they’re not just some gimmicky Kickstarter project; they genuinely do measure an individual’s hearing patterns and the result is astonishing to say the least. True, they’re not that cheap to buy but, given that Nuraphone offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, that makes them well worth a punt.