A Pair Of Headphones Literally Changed The Way I Heard My Favourite Songs

For someone whose life revolves around music, I’ve never really put a lot of thought into headphones or earphones. The standard white Apple earphones that came with my phone work just fine during commutes and my UE Megablast is more than enough to fill my apartment with tunes outside of that. But my latest pair of headphones have me wondering if I’ve been missing out all this time.

We all hear differently for any number of reasons, and that’s important to note. After years of playing in bands and attending shows, my hearing is certainly a little more battered than most. The way I hear music is affected by that, meaning my experience with a pair of standard headphones is going to be different to yours.

I had heard about Nuraphone a little while ago when the Aussie startup first launched its Kickstarter and was incredibly intrigued by the concept. Rather than pumping your music through headphones designed for the masses, Nuraphone takes your very unique way of hearing into account before it plays anything.

Right off the bat, you’ll see that Nuraphone are different to other headphones in that they’re both over-ear and in-ear. They sit on your head as a normal pair would, but also have a little nobby bit that sits inside your ear. Once you have them on, the device connects to an app which runs you through a setup process. It takes about 5 minutes to complete and literally measures your hearing to tailor the sounds it serves to your profile.

“The Nuraphone plays a range of tones into the ear, and then measures a very faint sound that your ear generates in response to these tones called the Otoacoustic Emission (OAE),” the product’s website says. “This tiny signal originates in the cochlea and vibrates the eardrum, turning it into a speaker and playing sound back out of your ear.”

“Once the Nuraphone has created your hearing profile it sonically moulds your music so that it matches your hearing system and delivers all the detail of the music you love.”

The app even shows you a sweet little visual representation of how you hear. You can see mine below.

“The shape is our hearing sensitivity wrapped around a circle,” the website says. “Low notes at 12 o’clock and higher notes as the dial travels clockwise. The further away from the centre, the more sensitive you are to those frequencies.”

The app then plays you some electronic music through a generic profile before giving you the option to switch over to your personalised one, allowing you to hear the drastic difference between the two. For me, the song became much brighter and generally just nicer, but the biggest test is firing up a song you love.

It was maybe the hardest decision to make at that point. What the hell do I listen to first? I’d been hammering to a lot of Employed to Serve‘s latest record, so I figured I’d fire that up. Folks, it blew me the fuck away.

I didn’t think the opener, Void Ambition, could sound any bigger, but here we are. The song took on a whole new feeling. It was huge and bassy, but never overpowering, like every instrument was perfectly mixed just for me. Nuraphone offers a listening experience generic headphones simply cannot, and probably never will.

There’s also the option to control something called Immersion Mode, which changes the level of haptic feedback offered which aims to replicate the thump of live music. Too much is a little overwhelming, but about where I have it in the above image is pretty bang on, at least for me.

My only gripe with Nuraphone is how they sit on my head. They need to make a decent seal around the ears and because I wear glasses, they just don’t feel as comfortable as they do when I’m not wearing my eyewear at home. It’s a very specific, nitpicky issue and really only means I use them at home or when travelling, which is totally fine.

Nuraphone headphones are available through the company’s website right now for $499. They’re not cheap, but if you take audio seriously, they’re 100 per cent worth the pricetag.

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