The NuraLoop design won’t be to everyone’s taste. But for serious music fans on the hunt for a solid pair of gym earphones, or a general in-ear wireless set they’re a fantastic option.
- Immersive, dynamic sound
- Rock solid fit and seal
- Gym ready
- Reliable ANC
- Design is a little chunky/retro
- Bluetooth 5 with aptX HD
- Sweat resistant
The NuraLoop are a new set of wireless earphones from the audio brand behind the Nuraphones – which grabbed the interest of tech press and audiophiles alike when they launched a couple of years ago.
The NuraLoop aim to offer the same tailored audio experience as the larger over-ear NuraPhone, but in a compact, gym-friendly form factor.
The earbuds’ size, and band design makes them feel a little cumbersome compared to similarly priced sets, but they make up for this by offering detailed, wonderfully immersive audio quality and rock solid fit earning them a spot among the best wireless headphones.
- UKRRP: £199
- USARRP: $199
- EuropeRRP: €199
The NuraLoop have a band design with a physical cable connects the two earbuds. A few years ago this was a common sight on wireless in-ears, but since Apple launched its first-gen AirPods the completely wire-free true wireless form factor has become the norm.
This, plus the NuraLoop casing’s large dimensions and protruding clips, make them look fairly chunky and nowhere near as discrete as similarly priced wireless buds, like the gym-focused Jaybird Vista or premium audio Technics EAH-AZ70W.
However, according to Nura, the design was intentional and based on customer feedback. Nura told me the brand’s core customer, which it claims are audio engineers and professional musicians, wanted the design to offer as solid a fit and seal as possible. This is also why the earbuds come with a magnetic cable that can be used to physically connect the buds to their audio source.
On this front the design is a resounding success. The four proprietary tip sizes, ruggedly built clips and connecting cable make it quick and easy to get a near unbreakable fit and seal. During testing I used them as my primary gym and running set and never had any issues with the fit, even when working a punch bag, an exercise that loosens the seal on nearly every other wireless set I’ve tested outside of the Jaybird Vista.
Fit aside, the earphones tick all the boxes from a technical perspective. The NuraLoop offer Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connectivity, aptX support, capacitive touch controls, a “sweatproof design” and 16 hour quoted battery life.
Personally I’d have liked the NuraLoop to have a formal IP rating for water resistance given their price, but during testing I didn’t have any issues with build quality. The earphones survived being caught in a downpour mid-run with zero issue and feel solid enough to take a few accidental drops.
Battery life also is solid and I generally got a fortnight’s worth of gym sessions out of them before needing to top them up. The only minor annoyances from are the fact they use a proprietary charge cable and have slightly over sensitive touch controls.
These issues are forgivable when you factor in the NuraLoop’s key selling point: their tailored audio.
Nura began its existence as a company with one goal; to create custom, tailored audio that’s optimised to users’ ear shape and hearing. The specific idea is that because our ears create unique very low volume echoes of incoming sound, how we hear music differs person to person. So to get truly immersive music “as the artist intended it”, you need to cancel out these echos by using a custom profile.
The setup process to create the profile is super easy. All you have to do is download the Nura app (iOS/Android), power up the earphones and follow a series of on screen prompts. During setup the earphones will fire a series of test tones at you, and use in-built mics to track and cancel out the resulting echoes.
Sound cool? On paper it is. And for the most part real world results are fantastic. The buds feature custom and untouched audio modes, which you can switch between in the app. Being honest, the un-edited sound is so bad it feels like it was only included as marketing for the profiled sound. But once tuned, the audio is among the best and most immersive you’ll find on a £200 set of wireless in-ears.
Describing the sound is a little tricky as the profiling tech will adjust the specific sound person-to-person. But I found it was wonderfully immersive and detailed. Listening to jazz high piano parts sparkled and post rock guitar crescendos had a deeper swoop than I’ve experienced on any competing £200 set, including the Sony WF-1000XM3 and Technics EAH-AZ70W. Listening to hardcore punk the only way the audio could have been more powerful, immersive and dynamic was if I’d been in the front row with the singer screaming in my face.
Complex layered classical and neo-classical arrangements are suitably detailed with each part of the orchestra holding a distinct audible place in the sound. All-in-all these are great sounding earphones that beat 99% of the competition for audio quality.
However, there are a few foibles you need to be aware of. For starters, the NuraLoop are a little aggressive with the low end. This is a consequence of a custom feature in the app called “immersion level”. It’s designed to push the low end rumble and offer a “gig-like” listening experience. The reality is that it works like a regular bass enhancer that’s controlled using a slider input in the app.
The settings for my custom profile made the bass a little too aggressive. Walking blues bass lines had a pleasing tap and were suitably impactful, but the immersion mode on occasion made the low end feel a little flabby, and hindered the NuraLoop otherwise excellent tonal balance. Thankfully this issue was quickly and easily fixed once I toned down the immersion level to around 40%. At this level it felt suitably precise and made for a far better listening experience.
This is the only issue I had with the NuraLoop, however. ANC performance is great for an in-ear set. Using them on my balcony the earbuds easily drowned out the traffic sound below, a feat beyond many competing wireless sets I’ve tested, like the Amps Air Plus. Even with the ANC off the solid seal provides excellent noise isolation, making them a great option in the gym. Personally I would have liked the app to let me customise the level of ANC used.
The stability of the wireless connection isn’t industry leading, but it’s ‘sticky’ enough for most user cases. Using the NuraLoop as my running earphones around South East London, I didn’t experience any serious dropouts. Those that did occur lasted barely a few milliseconds.
Should you buy it?
You want the best sound running headphones: When it comes to audio quality the Nuraloop are the best running headphones I’ve tested in quite some time. The customised audio is a clear cut above most competing sets.
You want best in class noise cancelling: The Nuraloop’s ANC isn’t the most powerful, or reliable, I’ve tested. If you want a set to block out all distractions you’d be better off investing in a set like the Sony WF-1000XM4.
The NuraLoop tick all the functionality boxes expected of a premium set of wireless headphones, and come with the added allure of Nura’s custom sound-profiling technology, making them a great option for any serious music listener.
Make no mistake, if you’re a Nuraphones fan or serious music listener looking for a set of gym, or general in-ear wireless earphones, the NuraLoop are a shut up and take my money purchase. The only downside is that their band design will put off some buyers, as it gives them a slightly retro look and feel in today’s true-wireless world.