Melbourne Headphone Makers Just Broke The Australian Kickstarter Record

Melbourne startup Nura has officially broken a record to become the most funded Australian Kickstarter campaign ever, reaching a current total of $1.2 million in pledges, with 12 days to go, for its world-first invention — headphones that learn and adapt to your unique hearing.

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Nura is a new headphone that integrates unique soundwave technology to automatically measure your hearing (from the outer ear all the way to the brain), aiming to adapt the music perfectly to you.

Your hearing is as unique as your fingerprint, your face and your voice. Each of us has different sensitivities to different frequencies of sound. This means the same pair of headphones sound different for each person. And the difference is significant.

"In order for headphones to deliver the right sound," Nura says, "they must be matched to the listener".

Nura is aiming to bridge the worlds of hearing science, engineering and music to create the best music experience for everyone, uniquely. Unlike other premium headphones on the market, Nura conveys all of the detail in the recording and adapting to the way you hear.

This is an entirely new kind of headphone, world-first patented technology, and a home grown Aussie invention.

Nura is a Melbourne-based team of experts in engineering, acoustics, biology, hearing science and product delivery. Founded in April 2015, the company is on a mission to unite people through music.

Image: Supplied

"We launched nura on Kickstarter because we wanted to share our passion with the community and also allow them to share their vision with us, says Nura co-founder and CEO, Kyle Slater.

"We have been blown away by the incredible support and feedback from the pioneering backers of Nura, who have already had enormous influence on the final product.The Kickstarter funds will be used on tooling for mass production, regulatory certifications, sourcing of materials, and distribution."

Globally, less than 1 per cent of Kickstarter projects reach funding of more than $1.3 million, and Nura is well on track to join this group. The average Kickstarter attracts approximately 3 per cent of backers from Australia, but almost 20 per cent of nura's backers are Australian.

There are currently more than 5,500 Australian projects on Kickstarter, across creative categories including film, music, art, theatre, games, comics, design, photography and more.

Kickstarter is a global crowdfunding platform that helps artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, and other creators find the resources and support they need to make their ideas a reality. Since launching in 2009, 11 million people have backed a project, US$2.5 billion has been pledged, and 108,400 projects have been successfully funded.

Within two days of Nura’s campaign going live, the invention had received more than $360,000 in pledges. By Friday 1 July, Nura officially became Australia's most funded Kickstarter, with more than 3,900 backers.

Nura has received funding from the Melbourne Accelerator Program, and is a graduate of the HAX Accelerator. Nura's Kickstarter has 12 days remaining to pledge.

This story originally appeared on Gizmodo


    I'm an idiot so my stupid unscientific opinion has no value, but the supposed feedback tuning function of these headphones sounds like a bunch of bollocks to me. Sound quality is something people experience subjectively (see the debate over the supposed quality of Beats) so it seems like you could fool people pretty easily by offering them above-average headphones, especially since the other design feature is that they've isolated the bass into the cup so the higher frequencies are more distinct.

    But hey as the old saying goes, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

    Last edited 05/07/16 4:23 pm

      All I can think of is that it must have an on board l processing unit that runs initial test to see what your hearing spectrum is like.

        And I guess the question I have is, since this requires no active feedback from the user to calibrate, how does that information affect the output of the headphones?

          I also would like to know this. I know audio pretty well, but I don't know hearing science much at all. Hopefully this one doesn't turn out to be a scam like the Sacred Sound Audio one was.

            They still seem to be around so Im curious if it is a scam or not

              Going by the comments it seems they just ordered earbuds from some manufacturer in China and said they were an original product based on their unique and original self starting R&D in no way backed by their parents' money.

              Their website is gone, and on Facebook they posted this back in November 2015:

              The Sacred Sound Pro Luxury In-Ear Earphones (2015) are our latest and final product. This is your last chance to ever experience Sacred Sound Audio.

              Which of course had this as one of the comments from a guy who didn't get shipped his whole order. This kind of comment was on several of their posts:

              Where is my second set of headphones you crooks?

              Their Facebook page now seems to be deleted or otherwise inaccessible. Fairly certain they're gone.

                Weird how they got a lot of praise from alleged buyers (or maybe the buyers previous set of earphones were the ones that came with their phones). You'd think if they had actually hit upon something awesome they wouldn't close up shop (or there'd be an in-depth analysis by an independent party).

                  I think at the end of the day, most people either don't know or are incapable of distinguishing good audio from average audio. Some people don't have the audible sensitivity, some just don't know how to tell the difference. Some are just so used to garbage like the earbuds you used to pick up from Dick Smith for $10 that even an average set sounds great to them.

                  I suspect a lot of their initial reviews were from schoolmates, family friends, people who wanted to 'help out the business' rather than give an honest critique. The only public reviews I saw for their products were basically advertising copy masquerading as a review.

                  Like @kermitron said above, in my opinion the whole thing was an exercise in marketing deception on daddy's bankroll. The claims were absurd, and while I certainly believe child prodigies exist, I don't believe for a second that the younger brother somehow engineered a high quality audio profile on 5 cent drivers after taking a weekend audio engineering boot camp run by his uncle.

                  But technical details aside, their marketing was on point to fool the general masses. The fiction of genius kids sticking it to the man and developing somehow-cheap but somehow-superior earbuds appeals to people. Kids succeeding is an instant sucker storyline. In reality they were 10 cent junkers off Ali Baba bought in bulk and sold for $15 a piece. This plan relied on the ability to get money fast and disappear before any serious analysis took place, or fall back on the old 'haha well they're just kids I guess they made a mistake and sold junk but let's forgive them' cover.

                  For some reason I cant reply to your post ZombieJesus, but this kind of marketing is exactly why Im always sceptical about these stories, yet journalists/'journalists' just blindly accept it without digging into it a bit further. Id have thought if company X claims something that hasnt been seen before, youd get someone else to break it down and see if thats the case (and not just some cheap earphones from alibaba that people have already provided evidence towards)

                  Just FYI comments only layer like 7 replies deep so to keep conversations going you would need to jump onto a comment higher in the chain or use their handle to send them a notification, like so: @zombiejesus

      From the description in the kickstarter, there is a microphone inside the headphone used to measure echoes within the ear canal. It then plays a sequence of tones to check the echo response from different frequencies. Somehow they use that to build a frequency response profile for the user. I don't know enough about the science to say whether that is plausible or not though.

      There are some red flags though, since they mention "audiophile" multiple times, which often means snake oil. They also talk about correcting for how the brain interprets the signals from the cochlea, but I'm not sure how you'd do that by measuring echoes.

      I'm inclined to say snake oil, but might change my mind with more information.

        Building a profile of frequency responses is existing technology. I know there is a software suite you can get which automatically tune audio monitors to a room by setting up a custom mic in the listening position and then playing a series of sine waves over the audio spectrum and analysing the results. So that much I can believe

          Yeah, I looked into this some after posting earlier. The technology involved is extremely subtle and I think they even note that in a different section of their FAQs. From what I've read about the technique, I think the adaptive component of it is going to be minimal (<=5%) at best.

          We'll have to wait and find out, but this is not one I'd be inclined to throw my money at until it's out and reviewed.

        Sounds like snake oil. Without any input from me, how is this meant to accurately measure any industrial deafness or tinnitus I may have?
        I will not be supporting this campaign.

      Measuring the frequency response of a room without user feedback is existing technology so I'd believe it.

        Fair enough, but that frequency response would be attuned to the shape/size of someone's ear canal, not feedback from the eardrum or the cochlea. Like @zombiejesus said, it might make a marginal difference but the key here seems to be the fact it's a combination bud/cup to separate treble from bass and provide greater isolation.

    So the kickstarter page states 9 days to go and that it has only raised $930k... Not that that is to sniff at but why is this article not reflecting real life?!

      I was wondering that too, but then I realised it was a repost from Gizmodo (see small text at the bottom) which would explain the missing days, and AFAIK Kickstarter uses US dollars as the default (I think you can use AUD? But it would display it as AU$XXX) so the 1.2mil must be in Australian.

    Oh no no no....
    No you cant couple in ears with over ear headphones... Can you?! I would not buy 100%

    If i want noise isolation there are a lot better products out there that do this well and dont advertise that they "know me"...

      you certainly can couple them if they are designed that way from the beginning. it sounds as though the over ear will be used for bass reinforcement only and larger sized speakers are much better suited to this.
      The only issue that would arise is phasing out frequencies but if this is easily avoided if designed correctly and considering they have $1M I'd say they will be.

        No id say they wont be - Audio Engineer here and I dont like what they are suggesting. Yes a larger diameter driver will deliver better bass but i dont like the idea of that being muffled by directional mid range and treble which is right IN your ear.

        If someone has pulled this off before dont mind me and id love to hear it but i dont think it would be nearly as rich as some decent over ear drivers with noise cancelling

    This sounds like a load of bollocks to me.

    For the price they're asking you could buy a damn good pair of headphones that have actually been made and work and sound good instead of this faux-science marketing spiel.

    Last edited 06/07/16 3:13 am

      Could get so many very well established over ears for this - even a half decent pair of sennheisers!

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