The company behind the $399 Nuraphone Bluetooth hearing-correcting headphones have made a new gaming microphone accessory that effectively makes the wireless headphones wired. The microphone costs $49.99 — on top of the somewhat steep cost for the Nuraphone. However, it allows the headphones to plug into anything that accepts a 3.5mm jack, so they can be used with PCs, Macs, mobile devices, the Nintendo Switch, and modern console controllers.
The microphone attachment is as simple as it sounds. The flexible boom microphone attaches to a proprietary port on the bottom of the Nuraphone’s right earcup, which means you can’t use it with any other set of headphones. Part of the way down the long cord there’s an inline remote with volume controls and a mic mute switch. Once it’s plugged in (and after you’ve updated the Nuraphone app), the Bluetooth headphones effectively become a wired gaming headset. Though that’s underselling it a bit.
For this wired mode, the Nuraphones utilize the same unique hearing profile that’s active when you’re connected to a phone via Bluetooth. With this new functionality enabled by an app update, Nura aims to make its Nuraphones a solid option for gamers. The profile should play to the strengths and compensate for any hearing weaknesses you may have, in addition to letting you chat with your friends. A bit of active noise cancellation kicks in when you plug it in, too.
After my short experience with both the Nuraphone and the microphone attachment, I think the accessory is a no-brainer purchase for anyone who has already bought the headphones. The sound performance is very punchy, yet balanced, and the microphone works exactly as I hoped it would. I haven’t spent enough time with the Nuraphone or the new accessory to fairly judge whether they make a huge
USB mics were popular before the pandemic, especially among streamers and anyone who needed a high-quality microphone that was also easy to set up with their computer. But if you didn’t invest in a mic pre-lockdown and now find yourself needing a good one for meetings or that new podcast you and your friend are starting as a way to escape the loneliness of quarantine, the $130 Blue Yeti and $160 Elgato Wave 3 are two excellent choices. They’re so excellent you can’t go wrong with either, but we’re not here to say they’re both fine. We’re here to say which is the one you should actually spend your cash on.
Out of Blue’s entire USB mic line-up, the Yeti is by far the most popular. It earned THX certification all the way back in 2009, and the Yeti has made our “best of” lists in the past, too.
But the newer and slightly more expensive Wave 3 is a serious rival to the Yeti. It’s not THX-certified, but it probably should be—it has the same uncompromising quality to my ears. Elgato is known for making capture devices and a lot of different streaming equipment, like ring lights, stream decks, and green screens, but the Wave 3 is one of only two mics it makes at the moment. The $130 Wave 1 is priced the same as the Blue Yeti, which makes sense as they both have a sample rate of 48kHz. The Wave 3 can handle a sample rate up to 96kHz, which means it can theoretically capture more detail. It also has more granular controls than the Wave 1. For those reasons it seemed like a better mic to pit against the Blue Yeti.
For testing, I recorded myself reading a tiny portion