The new Bluetooth streaming codec that promises to stream CD-quality audio without any loss of audio detail, aptX Lossless, is coming to its first pair of earbuds. The NuraTrue Pro true wireless earbuds are the work of Australian audio company Nura and are currently being funded on Kickstarter with early bird prices starting at $199 and a regular retail price of $329.
“These are the first earbuds to be announced with Snapdragon Sound and aptX Lossless. We’re excited to say that there will be many more Snapdragon Sound powered devices with support for aptX Lossless launching soon,” Qualcomm spokesperson Lauren Miller said in a statement. Snapdragon Sound is the name of Qualcomm’s overall audio platform, of which aptX Lossless is one feature (though, crucially, not all Snapdragon Sound devices support aptX Lossless).
A note on crowdfunding:
Crowdfunding is a chaotic field by nature: companies looking for funding tend to make big promises. According to a study run by Kickstarter in 2015, roughly 1 in 10 “successful” products that reach their funding goals fail to actually deliver rewards. Of the ones that do deliver, delays, missed deadlines, or overpromised ideas mean that there’s often disappointment in store for those products that do get done.
The best defense is to use your best judgment. Ask yourself: does the product look legitimate? Is the company making outlandish claims? Is there a working prototype? Does the company mention existing plans to manufacture and ship finished products? Has it completed a Kickstarter before? And remember: you’re not necessarily buying a product when you back it on a crowdfunding site.
The catch is that, at the moment, you won’t find source devices that support the new audio codec since “there are no devices currently shipping with this feature,” according to Qualcomm spokesperson Sarah McMurray. As well as a device that supports aptX Lossless, your music will also need to be CD quality or higher to get the biggest benefit — great for Apple Music subscribers, less so for Spotify users holding out for HiFi.
Qualcomm announced aptX Lossless last year, promising that it’ll be able to stream CD-quality, 16-bit / 44.1kHz audio over Bluetooth. That’s not to say there’s no compression being applied at all, but Qualcomm advertises that this compression is lossless, so the audio your headphones receive should be “mathematically bit-for-bit exact, with no loss of the audio file,” according to Qualcomm’s James Chapman. aptX Lossless can reach up to a bitrate of 1Mbps, compared to 990kbps for its closest competitor, LDAC.
In addition to their support of aptX Lossless, the NuraTrue Pro support active noise cancellation, spatial audio, multipoint connectivity to allow them to be connected to multiple source devices at once, and the ability to use either earbud independently. They can be charged wirelessly and offer up to eight hours of playback from the buds themselves or up to 32 hours when paired with the charging case. Nura’s sound personalization feature, which it debuted on its original pair of over-ear headphones, returns for the NuraTrue Pro.
Nura expects the NuraTrue Pro to enter mass production in August and to ship to backers in “early Q4 2022.”