Galvanized by the success of its intriguing Nuraphone, Nura is now tackling true wireless headphones with the Nuratrue and the same ambition: to offer the ultimate listening experience thanks to a rendering specifically designed for the user.
Nura became known a few years ago thanks to its Nuraphone, a curious nomadic audio product halfway between circumaural and in-ear headphones, capable of offering a personalized hearing profile thanks to an acoustic calibration system developed by the young Australian firm. A particularly innovative idea at a time when almost no consumer headphones offered this type of functionality. Although many models have tried their hand at this since then, this does not prevent Nura from coming back with the same selling point in 2021 in the most popular format of the moment: the pair of true wireless headphones.
To keep up with the times and justify their relatively high price tag compared to the competition, Nura has added a few strings to the Nuratrue's bow: active noise reduction/noise cancellation, IPX4 certification, support for the aptX codec, auto pause/resume function, customizable touch controls, etc.
Construction & Accessories
For those who are familiar with the world of true wireless headphones, there is no doubt that the Nuratrue are not very compact headphones, due to their rather large circular surface. That said, the design is still light and the carrying case can be handled well with one hand. The quality of manufacture in itself, of the earphones as of the case of transport, is satisfactory. You shouldn't expect a very sophisticated design - plastic is mostly used here - but there are no potential weak points or unsightly finishes. The headphones are IPX4 certified, which means they are able to withstand rain drops. However, they are not specifically designed for sports use and maintenance after each session is more than recommended if you want to ensure a good longevity.
The accessories consist of a very short USB-C to USB-A cable, two pairs of stabilizers of different sizes, four pairs of silicone tips and a pair of memory foam tips. We've seen more convenient charging cable, at least the manufacturer is a minimum generous in the choice of tips.
Comfort & support
We wrote it, the Nuratrue are apparently not the most discreet. Fortunately, the part in direct contact with the auricle has more measured proportions and more ergonomic lines. As a result, and thanks to the relatively wide choice of ear tips and stabilizers, the Nuratrue offer a more than adequate wearing experience. The earphones fit easily in the hollow of the auricle and hold well in place. A small reservation for the smallest people who will possibly notice a discomfort at the level of the concha (near the antitragus). As always with in-ear monitors, a fitting session is essential to ensure a comfortable fit and proper sealing of the ear canal.
While comfort is assured, the Nuratrue are not perfectly discreet in the ear due to their in-ear format: a feeling of pressure is quite perceptible once the earphones are in place. That said, the pressure is perfectly acceptable if you can tolerate this kind of design. The provision of memory foam tips allows to gain in phonic isolation, at the price however of a little more presence of the earphones at the entrance of the auditory canal. Although we welcome this variety, we would have preferred an additional pair of foam in a slightly smaller size for a perfect fit in the narrowest of canals.
Like the Nuraphone, the first time you get to grips with the NuraTrue, you have to configure it with the Nura application. In the absence of paper instructions, this is indicated by one of the many built-in voice alerts (configurable in French). The start-up itself is marked out by sound indications and a tutorial integrated in the app. Everything is done to guide the user very precisely right out of the box.
Once this first step is done, the daily use of the Nuratrue is relatively pleasant and fluid, although a little frustrating on some aspects. The controls respond well and the wireless connection showed no specific weaknesses during our test period. Alas, the few assignable controls on the sensitive touch surface of the headphones forces us to make compromises, even if we can partly reassure ourselves with the customization option integrated in the Nura app. The latter is quite complete: you can select the listening profile, manage the level of the Immersion mode, switch between active noise reduction and the mode of listening to surrounding sounds, manage quite finely the automatic pause ... The switch to "neutral" listening profile is still not accessible without the application, and we still have a hard time understanding why the manufacturer decided to make it inoperative when the smartphone is not connected to the Internet.
It should be noted that, like the vast majority of true wireless headphones on the market, the Nuratrue can only communicate with one device at a time (no multipoint). Nura's headphones can be used solo, but not at any cost: some of the controls are obviously truncated, but also the stereo signal since the headphones do not switch to mono. In addition, the switch to the left earphone is not very smooth: a momentary disconnection of several seconds occurs in this case.
Nura promises a duration of use of the earphones being able to reach 6 h per load, with the possibility of charging them three times thanks to the case provided. These data are indeed verified since we measured a battery life of exactly 6 h on several occasions in conditions supposed to be particularly energy-consuming (active noise reduction engaged and passage through the codec aptX). The autonomy even climbs to more than 9 hours without noise reduction and with the SBC codec.
The case also lived up to the promise: we were able to enjoy three full recharges of the headphones before having to recharge it via its USB-C port (wireless charging is not supported).
The hands-free kit feature built into the Nuratrue does its job. The signal captured does not shine by its cleanliness and clarity (the action of the algorithm generates artifacts that affect the accuracy and respect for the timbre of the voice, the latter also appearing particularly nasal), but the intelligibility of the voice is sufficiently preserved to be heard by his interlocutor, even in relatively noisy and slightly windy environments. On the other hand, it is better to switch to your phone in extreme conditions, near a crossroads or in a busy public place for example.
The latency of the audio signal in Bluetooth is around 320 ms. This is a high score and above the average for true wireless headphones. When it translates into sound/image lag on a video or in a game, this delay is glaring and therefore uncomfortable. Fortunately for them, and for the user, the Nuratrue are able to set up automatic compensation with most major video playback applications, which allows for not perfect viewing, but at least much more comfortable viewing. Under these conditions, however, gaming remains impossible.
As with the Nuraphone, Nura does not make the Neutral mode of its headphones available without the help of the application. It was therefore not possible to measure the performance of the Nuratrue in this case. This is of little importance, however, since this mode is of no real interest: the sound reproduction is both muddled, dull and unbalanced, as if the entire signal processing was simply disabled. There is no doubt that these headphones are not designed to be used in this way.
The experience with the listening profile activated is much more convincing... but not everything is perfect. As far as frequency balance is concerned, the first part of the spectrum gains a lot, the hegemony of the low-midrange/midrange of the Neutral mode gives way to much more balance, naturalness and richness of sound. We appreciate the fairly faithful treatment given to the whole low frequency region, without any excess. We would have liked to say the same for the second part of the spectrum. Unfortunately, the Nuratrue have the annoying tendency to exaggerate the upper midrange and high frequencies too much - whatever the sound profile established -, thus bringing a very energetic and sharp side, but at the very least trying for our ears (let's remember that human hearing is the most sensitive between 2 and 4/5 kHz).
The headphones frankly lacking precision at this level, this treatment also generates an acid and sparkling sound very audible on certain sources (electric guitar, tambourine, hi-hat and more generally the cymbals, whistling voices). The observation is also in half-tone concerning the reproduction of the stereophonic scene: this one spreads out in a very broad way and the effects of rooms are well retranscribed, but it lacks depth. The various elements that make up the scene are placed in the foreground and it is sometimes difficult to discern them clearly, especially when there are many of them.
For the same reasons that we mentioned in our test of the Nuraphone (which we recommend reading if you want to know more about acoustic calibration), and given the behavior of the Nuratrue, the possibility of adapting the frequency response, even if only slightly, would not have been too much to do to restore a bit of sonic softness. Let's hope that the manufacturer will propose it in a future update.
Active noise reduction
The Nuratrue are more convincing when it comes to active noise reduction, and more generally in terms of insulation.
Nura's earphones already offer a nice "passive" attenuation of ambient noise, even more so with the memory foam tips. The additional attenuation offered by Active Noise Reduction significantly reduces engine noise, vehicle noise, ventilation noise and the sensation of proximity to voices, without a noticeable "valve" effect (the feeling of pressure that sometimes accompanies the activation of this function). However, the action of the RBA would gain in being more effective in the higher frequencies, among others on the voices (a residue, hissing, conversations held a few meters away from us remain perceptible), or certain noises of metallic contact (noises of keyboards, cutlery for example), especially when one simply wishes to isolate oneself without listening to music. The sensitivity of the microphones and the system to wind noise is also acceptable. Nevertheless, the activation of the noise reduction generates a light permanent breath a little annoying on the long sessions of use.
The Social mode is not very interesting. The rendering it offers is indeed very unnatural, because it is too focused on a part of the midrange. It can be used to follow a voice announcement more easily in transport or in a public place, but it will show its limits as soon as you want to properly perceive the other sources of noise around you.
The Nuratrue arrive on the market of true wireless earphones with a coherent and globally satisfactory proposal. Although they don't suffer from any serious flaws, these headphones accumulate small errors that place them in a delicate position against fierce rivals who are at least as talented, if not more so. Unless you're totally enamored with the specifics of this model (which, in the end, don't give it any real advantages), we recommend that you take a good look at this competition before you buy.