Offering active noise cancellation and CD-quality lossless audio, the NuraTrue Pro earbuds ensure your favourite tracks sound their very best.
There was a time when only bulky over-the-ear headphones offered decent noise cancellation, but that’s changed over the last few years. These days you’ll find plenty of great wireless earbuds designed to create your own personal cone of silence, yet still small enough to fit into your pocket when you’re not wearing them.
The competition is tough, especially with tech giants like Apple and Google getting in on the action alongside traditional audio giants like Sony, Bose and Sennheiser. Amongst them, Australia’s Nura has been punching above its weight for a while.
What helps the NuraTrue Pro earbuds stand out from the crowd is support for CD-quality lossless audio to ensure your music sounds its very best when you’re on the move. If you’ve got golden ears and deep pockets, you might appreciate the difference.
Like most wireless earbuds, the NuraTrue Pro comes in a carry case with a built-in battery for recharging when you’re not wearing them. A charge lasts for around eight hours and the case has a USB-C port, along with wireless charging. It holds enough juice for around three recharges.
While the charge case is a bit bulkier than some, it’s still small enough to slip comfortably into your jeans pocket. Open the case and you discover that the earbuds are also a little on the bulky side, with large discs on the back. This ensures they’re a little more noticeable in your ears than some wireless earbuds. That said, the elegant black design ensures they don’t look too ostentatious.
Thankfully, they fit comfortably and securely, twisting backwards so the wing can slide into the grooves of your ears. Nura includes a choice of five tips (four silicone and one foam) along with two wings to help you find the perfect fit, which is important when it comes to securing them in your ears and getting the best audio.
This is where the Nura app, available for Apple and Android, comes into play. It helps you check the fit of the earbuds and then runs a few tests to create a personal profile tailored to your hearing. Afterwards, it plays View2 by Sasha as a demo track, letting you switch between neutral and personalised so you can hear the difference.
Personalised audio delivers more bass and depth to offer fuller and more engaging sound, plus there’s the option to adjust “immersion” mode which adds a bass boost to simulate live performance.
To make life easier, the earbuds store your hearing profile, applying it to whatever you’re listening to, on any device.
CD-quality 16-bit 44.1kHz lossless audio and 24-bit 96kHz lossy audio
IPX4 sweat resistance
USB-C and wireless
earbuds 8 hours charge case 24 hours
8.6 gm each
Dimensions charge case
72.4 x 30.2 x 35 mm, 51.2 gm
NuraTrue Pro Features
Along with active noise cancellation, the earbuds’ headline feature is world-first support for CD-quality lossless audio via Bluetooth. While that sounds tempting, chances are you won’t be able to take advantage of it.
The challenge with lossless audio is that it demands more bandwidth than you can typically squeeze out of a Bluetooth connection. So even if your music source and playback device both support lossless audio, Bluetooth wireless earbuds generally only support lossy audio formats like MP3 and AAC.
These lossy formats compress the sound to save on bandwidth, which is really noticeable at a low bit rate like 96 kbps. To be fair, a high-quality 320 kbps MP3 or 256 kbps AAC still sounds pretty good and you really need an ear for detail to appreciate the improvement that lossless audio brings.
The NuraTrue Pro earbuds get around the bandwidth limitations of Bluetooth by taking advantage of the new Qualcomm aptX Lossless Bluetooth format. The trouble is that, right now, only a few Android handsets support it, including the Asus Zenfone 9 (supplied with the review unit), Asus ROG6 and Motorola Edge 30 Pro.
Nura says devices featuring Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 Mobile Platform should support aptX Lossless, so it should become more common in the next few years. Even so, iGadget owners are unlikely to get access to aptX Lossless, meaning they’ll need to rely on wired headphones for enjoying lossless audio until Apple gets onboard with its own wireless lossless audio format.
The good news is that aptX Lossless Bluetooth is backwards compatible, so if you connect to a non-compatible device then you fall back onto a high-end lossy wireless format such as aptX Adaptive.
The final piece of the puzzle is that you also need access to a lossless audio music source, such as Tidal or Amazon Music HD. These tend to be more expensive than the lossy alternatives like Spotify.
Another selling point of the NuraTrue Pro earbuds is support for spatial audio, which delivers a wider soundstage with more detail seemingly spread around the room. Unlike Apple’s AirPods, unfortunately, the NuraTrue Pro earbuds don’t support head tracking. The benefit of head tracking is the audio constantly adjusts as you turn your head, to ensure that certain sounds always seem to be coming from the same direction – which makes it feel more immersive and life-like.
When it comes to active noise cancellation, the NuraTrue Pro earbuds certainly help take the edge off background noise but they’re far from the best in class – whether you’re dealing with roaring sounds or more subtle noises.
Standing in the kitchen, the NuraTrue Pro tones down the buzz of the fridge while the Apple AirPods Pro 2 renders the fridge completely silent. The same with traffic noises in the distance.
Standing next to the rangehood exhaust fan to its lowest setting, the NuraTrue Pro curbs the noise to a less annoying hum, whereas the Apple AirPods Pro 2 make it barely audible. As you turn up the fan speed, the performance gap becomes more and more noticeable.
The NuraTrue Pro earbuds also feature a “social mode” which lets you hear what’s happening around you. Once again, it falls short of Apple’s offering when it comes to producing natural sound.
Thankfully, it’s a better story for NuraTrue Pro earbuds when it comes to lossless audio. Using the Asus Zenfone 9 to listen to lossless Master tracks, via a Tidal HiFi Plus subscription, the improvement over Spotify is clear if you know what you’re listening for.
Norah Jones’ “Come Away With Me” is a favourite of lossless audio fans and the track really helps the strengths of lossless audio and the NuraTrue Pro earbuds shine through. The same track on Spotify, using the same handset and earbuds, sounds murky and overblown in comparison – losing some of the sweet richness in the bass lines.
Touring Tidal, the subtlety of the layering in David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and the nuances of each instrument in Miles Davis’ “So What” are also revealed by the NuraTrue Pro taking advantage of Tidal’s Master tracks. On Spotify, those intricate layers of sound are more flattened out. Pick up the tempo and every instrument still gets its due respect, with less overall murkiness in Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life” and Soundgarden’s “Spoonman”.
The NuraTrue Pro earbuds are certainly an impressive engineering feature but, considering their high $499 price tag, you really need to be really keen on lossless audio – and have an ear for detail – to justify investing in them. If they were more affordable, and/or had better noise cancellation, they’d be a much more attractive proposition.
If you’re in a noisy environment, relying on the NuraTrue Pro’s mediocre active noise cancellation, the benefits of Tidal HiFi Plus over Spotify are mostly lost. You might be better off putting your money towards a pair of high-end wired lossless headphones which will make it easier to hear the benefits of lossless audio, even if you lose the convenience of wire-free listening.
If you’re not worried about lossless audio, your money would be better spent elsewhere. If you’re primarily after noise cancellation, perhaps for air travel or just creating yourself a more tolerable work environment, there are better alternatives for Apple and Android users. Likewise, there are better options if you’re excited about Spatial Audio but want the extra benefit of head tracking.
Would I buy it?
Not at this price, unless I demanded lossless audio at all costs.
NuraTrue Pro earbuds: attention to detail (review)
Delivering lossless audio via Bluetooth, with active noise cancellation, the NuraTrue Pro earbuds aim to rock your world.