Nuraloops – A Film Editor’s Review
I have been eager to review the nuraloops ever since I heard they were in development and having written over 6000 words on the nuraphones, I was very interested to see if nura were able to do it again. Thanks to them generously sending me a pair to review I get to find out.
Could they conquer that ‘second album syndrome’?
Would the nuraloops be able to deliver any where near the same level of bass without the over-ear assistance that the nuraphones do? How good could the active noise cancelling (ANC) be without the passive protection of those substantial outer cups? Would the sound deliver at the not insubstantial price point?
TLDR: The answer to all of these questions is pretty much a resounding yes!
The nuraloops aren’t without their minor imperfections, but they easily clear that very high bar when it comes to a soul-satisfying high quality bespoke sound. Given a snug fit the bass is richly present without muddying any of the mids or top end, resulting in a clarity across the spectrum that won’t dissappoint.
Invest in a pair of nuraloops and I doubt you’ll regret it.
So how do they do all this?
I won’t go into the same level of detail as in my extensive nuraphones review, but to summarise:
nuraphone headphones promise something pretty revolutionary. A chance to create your own personalised listening profile, which will calibrate the nuraphones to ensure you are hearing your favourite music in all the depth, clarity and range that you should be.
They do this by ‘listening’ to the sound of year ears, by playing in various tones and frequencies during the set up process, and then registering the Otoacoustic response using incredibly sensitive built-in microphones to pick up sounds 10,000 times quieter than those that went in. This truly individual sound profile is then used to calibrate the nuraphones to EQ the music you’re enjoying, to respond to how your ears hear sound.
Frequencies you don’t hear well will be boosted, whilst those that might otherwise dominate are reduced. This ensures you hear everything as you should, which results in a transformative listening experience.
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Also just to say the ‘standard’ nuraloops coming in a nice all black finish, while nura recently released a white + colour version as a limited edition. Which I think look pretty cool, if less discrete than the all-black that I have. But maybe you don’t want to be discrete!
Nuraloops – What do you get?
The nuraloops come in a nice packaged compact box which smartly conceals the following items:
- 3.5 mm Analog cable
- USB-A charging cable
- Travel case
- 4 x multi-sized ear tips (S, M, L, XL)
- Spare ear-mesh filters
- 12-month warranty
- 30 day satisfaction return guarantee
It’s worth noting that the USB-A charging cable has a proprietary magnetic connection to the actual nuraloops, which means if you lose that cable then you can’t charge them, without buying a new cable obviously.
The battery life is impressive, 16 hours ‘at half volume’, which nura claims you can get 2 hours of listening with only 10 minutes of charging time, so even if you forget to charge them until the last minute you’ll still be good to go.
In terms of the feature set of the nuraloops, it’s the similar to the larger nuraphones (except for their 20 hour battery life), including:
- Personalised sound
- 16+ hour battery
- Active noise cancellation
- Social mode
- Wireless and wired
- Bluetooth®5 with aptX™ HD
- Immersive bass
- TouchDial controls
- Sweat resistant
- Voice calls
The social mode allows you to keep the headphones on, and at the tap of a haptic button, use the in-built microphones to hear what’s going on around you (e.g. someone talking to you) without taking them off.
The initial set up and pairing is very easy to do over bluetooth and the intial beeps-and-boops that are played into your ears to generate your own unique profile last but a minute or two. You can read a lot more about the tech and science behind this in my detailed review of the larger over-ear nuraphones here.
Firmware Updates are the Future
One of the major benefits to buying headphones from nura, other than their proven track record and 5 star reviews from major tech publications, is that they can receive new firmware updates to add extra features, fix bugs and expand functionality – for free.
This really adds to the life-span of the headphones, given that you’re not having to shell out for a new set of headphones just to get the latest improvements, as you do with other headphones.
An example of this is the firmware update that came out earlier this year for the nuraloops which added a helpful manual on/off via a 3-second press on both buds and a double tap button option among other improvements.
Hopefully there will be more firmware updates in the future – which nura suggest will be based on user feedback. So if you have a great ideas do share them with nura!
Nuraloops – Tips on finding a good fit
One of the niggles for me with the nuraloops is finding and maintaining a solid fit. It’s well worth taking 30 seconds to learn from nura how they recommend you fit them, here.
Although the design spec says the ear hooks are malleable they are fairly firm to the touch, so don’t be timid in your adjustments, otherwise you won’t be satisfied.
A couple of tips, based on my own experience, is to also thoroughly test out the different ear tip sizes to see which ones will give you the most comfortable and enduring fit. I ended up mixing two different sizes between the left and the right buds, as without the correct sized tips, they started easing out of my ears over time.
Another suggestion would be set up the manual on/off function in the control customisation and then to get the fit right before turning them on, otherwise wiggling them around in your ears to get a snug fit, will result in lots of accidental haptic presses and dialling.
So my requested firmware update would be a simultaneous left and right bud double-tap that toggles the haptic controls on and off – so you can adjust the physical fit, without turning the nuraloops off or stopping what you are listening to – and avoid accidental button presses.
Nuraloops – How do they sound and feel?
So can these lightweight buds deliver not only the bass you desire but everything else too?
Firing up Hans Zimmer’s A Dark Knight, a track I have heard hundreds of times on my nuraphones and my Yamaha HS7 Studio Monitors, I was delighted by the familiar and satisfying opening rumbles in the lower registers that, while not as rich as found in the full size nuraphones – which have a depth and density of bass that it would be unfair to expect of its diminutive sibling – I’ve come to conclude that the bass in the nuraloops is just as impressive given their size and ambition.
I’ve tested the nuraloops out on a variety of musical genres, with movies and YouTube clips and would say that they deliver an amazing clarity and range, especially when fed higher bit-rate material. In fact, the times when I suspected that the mids were beginning to sound a bit muddy were all correlated to listening to more compressed audio sources.
What’s so great about nura’s personalised sound is that frequencies that you hear well and would otherwise dominate your listening experience are reduced to make room to elevate those you might miss, which brings everything – the lows, mids, highs, sound source direction – into focus with a real clarity that makes paying attention to the music in your ears so much more enjoyable.
The width of the sound stage the nuraloops deliver feels highly immersive, filling the inside of your head and then some. One of the byproducts of having your own personalised sound is that you necessarily hear every frequency more clearly which also results in a greater sense of the directionality of what you’re listening to.
Therefore L-R audio pans and sweeps feel fuller, orchestras feel like they are sitting in an array and it makes watching well-designed movies all the more exciting and engaging.
Compared to the nuraphones, my personal preference is to crank the ‘Immersion Mode’ on the nuraloops higher to about 75% rather than the 20-30% I enjoy on the nuraphones. This is probably because the bass and airspace is understandably more limited on the loops. The end result though is a fantastic sound either way!
Because each ear-bud is also a haptic button and dial you can customise the controls within the nura app to your own preference across 6 different options; tap, double tap, dial up/down on both L and R.
These work well and the audio feedback is certainly welcome although you still need to be fairly dexterous to control the dials accurately. In the end I turned my dial controls off after one too many mishaps.
I set up my right tap to be volume down and double tap to be volume up, partly as a safety measure against accidentally cranking up the volume whilst adjusting the fit mid-listen. Although you can turn on the ‘EU volume limiter’ to protect your precious ear drums too.
Nuraloops Reviewed – Considerations
As I’ve mentioned previously in this article the nuraloops aren’t without their imperfections but these aren’t dealbreakers at all.
To summarise some of my niggles with them, here are one or two ‘cons’ to all the ‘pros’.
- Proprietary charging cable limits your freedom to charge anywhere, or lose the cable
- It’s all too easy to accidentally touch the haptic buttons
- Ensuring a snug and comfortable fit requires some practice and perseverance
- The auto on/off function isn’t very reliable – all to easy to return to a dead pair of loops
- With high collared shirts or jackets the sound of the neck cable rubbing can sometimes be distracting
Have you done any video editing with them?
Maybe you’ve gotten this far and are wondering? Wait, aren’t you a film editor? Did you even use them for video editing?
Well, yes I am an editor and no I didn’t test them out in any genuine editing sessions. To be honest, although a pair of trustworthy ear-buds can come in handy in a pinch, to me they just aren’t as comfortable or reliable for all-day editing sessions as a set of over-ear headphones (when you have to) or ideally your own private edit suite with a full-size set of studio monitors.
Can you video edit with the nuraloops?
Absolutely. And you can avoid any potential latency with the (proprietary 3.5 mm cable) wired connection or rely on the low latency AptX bluetooth connection that your Mac is likely equipped with*, which should be ‘unnoticeable’ at less than 40ms.
*To check this, connect the headphones via bluetooth to your Mac, play audio, option click on the bluetooth icon and hover over the connected device in bold to see the connection format.
My own quick practical tests were inconclusive.
Sometimes it seemed like there was a slightly noticeable delay on lip-sync, at other times not. Premiere seemed more delayed at times than Youtube. But sometimes staring hard enough and long enough at any lip-sync is enough to drive you crazy. Either way, I would rather trust a wired connection through a set of speakers or all-day comfortable, over-ear headphones.
Thanks to their superb personalised sound profile, the nuraloops just sound so darn rich that it’s hard not to love them. They’re lightweight, portable, deliver an all-day listen charge and when correctly fitted, provide a comfortable ride.
When it comes to the question of price the nuraloops normally cost £199/$199 although you can sometimes get them on sale. For example, during Black Friday they were 20% off at £159/$159, so be sure to seize those opportunities when they arise – if you can wait, that is.
Either way this sets them at a reasonable price point for the tech and sound quality they contain and at a more accessible price than the £349/$349 for the full size nuraphones. They’re also cheaper than say the AirPod Pros.
That said, I think I still I do prefer the comfort and scope of the full size nuraphones for longer listening sessions, although given how much sound they’ve packed into such a small package it’s hard to fault the nuraloops on their quality.
I just feel very lucky to get to choose between them!
Hearing is believing, however, so check out the nuraloops and nuraphones for yourself at nuraphone.com and take advantage of their 30 day money back guarantee if you’re not fully satisfied.
You can also buy nuraloops on Amazon’s Global Stores.