The Nuraphone is a fantastic, albeit quite expensive, pair of headphones. But this year has seen Australian company Nura start to branch out. We saw the NuraLoop wired earbuds launch in May, adding a second member to the company's audio lineup. Now we have the first big accessory for the Nuraphone in the form of the Gaming Microphone. And it's just what the Nuraphone needed.
If you're not already familiar with the Nuraphone headphones, their key feature is how they deliver sound that’s uniquely tuned to your ears. They do this via an associated app that carries out a test when you set up a profile. The test plays various noises through the headphones and listens to how the sounds interact with your inner ear.
This very competent personalization method, combined with their hybrid in-ear/over-ear design, 'Social Mode' adjustable audio transparency, active noise canceling and lengthy battery life, they're a pair of 'phones that audiophiles really should look into.
The $49.99/£49.99 Gaming Microphone, as the name implies, is an attempt by Nura to get more than just music professionals and enthusiasts interested in its personalizable headphones. You could use the Nuraphone with a 3.5mm aux cable before, but the Nuraphone's onboard microphones don't work unless they’re connected wirelessly, and even then not with a PC or Mac. This new wired mic circumvents that issue, and the cable makes things much easier to connect with a larger variety of devices, such as games consoles or PCs.
Nura's usual strong build quality is on display with the Gaming Microphone. The sturdy plastic housing is daubed in the same all-black paint job as the rest of Nura's products, but looks unique thanks to the cutouts in the side which reveal a silver inner cable. It's a very business-like appearance, but the microphone matches the Nuraphone in pulling it off, unlike the chunky-looking NuraLoop.
The Nuraphone didn't seem designed for peripherals, given that there’s only a single proprietary port on the bottom of the headphones' right cup. However Nura has managed to make it work, and when you've plugged the mic in, it looks like it belongs there.
Since the port is on the bottom, it could be all too easy to pull the microphone out with an accidental tug on the cable. Nura has thought of this though. To keep the microphone safely fixed in place though, it has provided a plastic clip that hooks around the microphone and snaps onto the inner ridge of the ear cup.
When you remove the microphone, you can slide the clip 180 degrees around so it then attaches to the cup's cable housing at the top. It's a smart way to secure the microphone. But part of me wishes that the mic was a single-piece construction.
The microphone itself has a lot of flexibility but stays where you put it. I'm informed by my colleagues on the other end of a video call that I sounded clear, but when the microphone was further away from my mouth, I would start clipping. Clearly it's a good idea to keep the end of the mic as close to your face as possible.
Attached to the cable is a simple mute slider switch and volume wheel, giving you easy access to the two most important controls you need.
Once you've got the Nuraphone ready to work in wired mode by putting them on to wake them up, then plugging in both ends of the cable, they’ll work with whatever device you fancy using them with.
The headphones worked just as well as they always have with my Spotify playlists during work, allowing me to appreciate Casey Edwards and Victor Borba's theme for Vergil in Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition, "Bury the Light", in all its chaotic metal/industrial glory. Then when I plugged it into my Nintendo Switch after 5 p.m., I was able to hear the simple but catchy orchestration of the Super Mario 64 soundtrack, via the newly released Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection, in more detail than ever before.
I didn't get the chance to try out the Nuraphone in a more competitive setting. There's no multiplayer in Super Mario 64 after all. But the game's sound effects from enemies, the environment and the plumber himself were rendered in stereo through the Nuraphone very well. Therefore I have no doubt that I'd have an easier than usual time detecting where enemy footsteps were coming from. There are a lot of gaming headsets out there that promise to give you an edge over competitors, but I'm convinced that the Nuraphone could handily take on any of them.
The Nuraphone Gaming Microphone is pretty much the perfect accessory that Nura could have launched right now. With work taking place mostly in your own home and your free time also spent predominately indoors, a microphone is essential for clear communication with people online, whether for a team meeting or a team deathmatch. Existing Nuraphone owners will of course greatly appreciate the extra functionality that this accessory adds. But people looking for a new pair of headphones, and who have a generous budget, would be smart to check out this unique and effective 'phones and mic combination.
If you're convinced by what Nura's offering, you can buy the Nuraphone Gaming Microphone from Nura's website. Nura is also offering a Nuraphone and Gaming Microphone bundle for $419.99/£369.99, saving you $30/£30 on the separate products.