I’ve lengthy advocated for safeguarding your listening to by limiting the degrees you hearken to. Lengthy-term publicity to excessive sound strain ranges results in noise-induced listening to loss (NIHL), which may tremendously scale back your sensitivity to excessive frequencies and midrange frequencies which can be elementary to understanding speech. One other potential symptom is the fixed annoyance of tinnitus (aka ringing within the ears), which may develop into everlasting—and there’s no treatment.
Puro Sound Labs addressed this concern with its PuroQuiet headphone, reviewed right here, which is designed for kids and limits its output stage to guard them from NIHL. Now, the corporate has launched an grownup model of the identical concept. The PuroPro purports to restrict the sound strain stage reaching your ears whereas offering hybrid lively noise cancellation, Bluetooth connection to your supply machine, and glorious sound high quality. It’s remarkably profitable in reaching these targets, with one minor caveat.
This overview is a part of TechHive’s protection of the very best headphones, the place you’ll discover opinions of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options it’s best to contemplate when searching for any such product.
The PuroPro is a light-weight, over-ear headphone made largely of plastic with protein-leather-clad earpads and adjustable headband. The earcups fold right into a compact kind that matches within the included journey case.
Apparently, the PuroPro is shipped in a wooden field. The wooden could be very gentle; it jogs my memory of the balsa wooden used within the mannequin airplanes I used to construct as a child. The corporate touts its “environmentally pleasant packaging,” however I’m undecided how environmentally pleasant this wooden is in contrast with cardboard.
Every earcup homes a 40mm full-range, custom-designed dynamic driver with a frequency response specified to increase from 20Hz to 20kHz with lower than 1% THD. The rated energy delivered to the drivers is 10mW, and the wired connection has an enter impedance of 32 ohms. The corporate touts its Puro Balanced Response Curve, which is alleged to ship clear, crisp vocals and full, dynamic bass inside the quantity restrict imposed by the headphone.
Talking of which, the PuroPro limits the sound strain stage of its output to assist keep away from—or a minimum of scale back—noise-induced listening to loss. Not like the PuroQuiet, you possibly can choose one among two limits: 85 or 95 dB SPL. The Occupational Security and Well being Administration (OSHA) specifies that staff may be uncovered to a mean of 85 dB SPL throughout an eight-hour day, whereas 95 dB SPL is secure for under 50 minutes. I assume Puro Sound Labs figured that adults may be accountable for time-limiting their publicity at 95 dB SPL, however I believe that loads of younger adults is not going to heed that restrict.
As with many wi-fi headphones, the PuroPro gives hybrid lively noise cancellation (ANC) with 4 microphones (two per earcup) that decide up ambient sounds. The headphone’s DSP inverts the part of these sounds and provides that sign to the unique sounds, decreasing the general stage due to part cancellation. Apparently, the PuroPro gives two ranges of ANC: 32 and 15 dB. The phrase “hybrid” refers back to the passive attenuation provided by the circumaural earcups.
Bluetooth 5.0 offers a wi-fi connection. The precise earcup offers a 3.5mm analog audio connector for legacy gadgets, and the headphones include a cable to attach them. Fortuitously, the headphone doesn’t want the facility to be on for any such connection.
On a full cost, the 750mAh lithium-ion battery can energy the PuroPro for as much as 32 hours with Bluetooth on or 28 hours with Bluetooth and ANC on. It takes about two hours to cost the battery from an empty state by connecting it to a 5V/1A energy supply utilizing the micro-USB port on the backside of the left earcup.
In the event you pair the PuroPro to a smartphone, it may be used to reply calls and situation voice instructions. A single, separate microphone picks up your voice for these capabilities.
The consumer interface could be very easy. It consists of 4 buttons on the underside of the fitting earcup. An influence on/off button, which doubles as a music play/pause management and voice assistant activator, is situated immediately behind the three.5mm audio connector. The ANC button is simply in entrance of that connector. Urgent that button toggles between ANC off and 35 dB or 15 dB of attenuation, dubbed “ANC 1” and “ANC 2.”
An elongated rocker behind the facility button adjusts the quantity up and down, and urgent each ends collectively toggles between the 85 dB and 95 dB quantity restrict. Holding the “+” or “-“ finish of the rocker skips to the following or earlier monitor.
A tiny LED subsequent to the micro USB port signifies charging standing, whereas one other tiny LED subsequent to the three.5mm audio connector signifies energy and Bluetooth standing. The ANC button has an embedded LED that signifies whether or not ANC is on or off.
Once you function these capabilities, you get an audible vocal affirmation, similar to “Energy on,” “Energy off,” “ANC 1,” “ANC 2,” “ANC off,” “85 decibel max,” “95 decibel max.” Once you energy on the headphone, it additionally tells you the battery and Bluetooth-connection standing. I like this a lot better than sequences of musical notes, which some merchandise use.
After I first put the PuroPro on my head, it felt exceedingly snug—earpads giant sufficient for my massive ears, light-weight, and low clamping strain from the scarf. As typical, I performed tracks through Bluetooth from the Tidal Grasp library of high-res audio recordsdata utilizing my iPhone XS.
First up was “In My Bones” from Jacob Collier’s fourth album Djesse Vol. 3. This can be a super-funky, pop-infused monitor that actually will get down. On the PuroPro, the sound was barely veiled, particularly within the bass. I listened with the limiter set to 85 and 95 dB, and located that the 95 dB setting was fairly a bit louder and considerably much less veiled, although nonetheless not crystal clear.
I additionally tried the ANC settings (32 dB, 15 dB, Off) and listened for any variations in sound high quality. (I’ll focus on how successfully ANC cancels noise within the subsequent part.) Fortunately, the tonal steadiness and quantity didn’t change a lot in any respect from one setting to the following, however turning ANC on did enhance the veiled high quality. I ended up preferring the 95 dB restrict setting with ANC off.
“Judas” from Emily’s D+Evolution by Esperanza Spaulding has a number of deep bass—she’s a bass participant, in spite of everything—and I heard the identical barely veiled sound, particularly within the bass. However her voice sounded fairly pure and clean.
Talking of vocals, Sam Smith sounds implausible on “Younger” from his album Love Goes. This can be a lovely a cappella monitor by which the lead is totally pure, whereas the background refrain is extremely processed, creating a really fascinating impact. On the PuroPro, the sound was nonetheless barely veiled however very clean, which works nicely on this monitor.
I used to be a giant fan of Sure in my faculty days; I heard them dwell on multiple event. So, when I discovered a brand new Sure album, The Royal Affair Tour (Reside From Las Vegas), I listened to the basic “Roundabout.” Sadly, the enjoying just isn’t as exact as in earlier days, and the combination is a bit unusual with extra rhythm guitar than I might have used. On the PuroPro, the sound was silky clean however nonetheless a bit veiled.
For some solo piano, I performed “Half XI” from Keith Jarrett’s Budapest Live performance. This attractive composition sounded clean on the PuroPro, although not as clear as I would really like.
The identical was true of full orchestral music. I listened to the primary motion of Franz Schmidt’s Symphony No. 2 as recorded by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony underneath the path of Paavo Järvi on the album Franz Schmidt: Full Symphonies. Schmidt is a woefully underappreciated late-romantic/early-modern composer, and his second symphony is a pleasure to hearken to. As I had come to count on, the PuroPro sounded clean however barely veiled, and the low finish was a bit congested. The orchestral sections weren’t significantly well-defined and sounded a bit smushed collectively.
ANC and quantity limiting
To check the PuroPro’s noise cancellation, I took it out to my storage and ran the garments dryer, which makes a pleasant broadband, steady-state noise. With ANC off, I used to be amazed at how nicely the passive isolation of the earpads blocked the noise, particularly excessive frequencies. Turning ANC on to its excessive setting (ANC 1, 32 dB attenuation) dramatically diminished low and mid frequencies. The low setting (ANC 2, 15 dB) was additionally very efficient, although I may hear extra midrange frequencies. Nonetheless, it was a lot better than with ANC off.
As I discussed earlier, setting the quantity limiter to 95 dB resulted in a considerably larger stage than the 85 dB setting. So, I pulled out my calibrated measurement microphone (an iTestMic), which is designed to work with the AudioTools iOS app from Studio Six Digital.
I used the SPL Graph module inside AudioTools on my iPhone XS. The module measures SPL over time and offers varied metrics, together with Leq (common RMS stage over the whole size of the measurement) and Lmax (most 1-second RMS stage throughout the measurement).
For this measurement, I performed “White Room,” by Cream, from an iPad. I cranked the quantity to most and performed the tune twice—as soon as with the limiter set to 85 dB and once more with the limiter set to 95 dB—whereas pointing the microphone immediately into the middle of the fitting earcup. The mic has a windscreen, so I let it relaxation on the internal floor of the earcup.
On the 85 dB setting, Leq was 73.3 dBA (A-weighted), and Lmax was 85.6 dBZ (flat). That’s barely above the 85 dB restrict, and solely momentarily. On the 95 dB setting, Leq was 82.5 dBA, and Lmax was 91.4 dBZ—a major enhance from the 85 dB setting, nevertheless it didn’t attain or exceed the 95 dB restrict.
Comparability with the Cleer Circulate II
Nowadays, my reference for Bluetooth ANC headphones is the Cleer Circulate II, reviewed right here. And at $179.99, it’s in the identical value ballpark because the PuroPro, so I listened to every of the tracks listed earlier on each headphones.
From the primary notice to the final, the Circulate II sounded clear, clear, and open with no trace of the marginally veiled high quality I heard persistently from the PuroPro. On the orchestral monitor, the sections had been extra distinct and the loud brass part was extra glowing. The one detrimental I heard was a barely harsh, strident high quality on the Keith Jarrett solo piano monitor.
By way of consolation, the PuroPro is the clear winner. The Circulate II is heavier, its earcups are smaller, and its clamping strain is larger. However, the Circulate II appears fairly a bit extra substantial, resulting in its further weight.
I additionally in contrast the noise cancellation of the 2 headphones. The Circulate II has no passive isolation; actually, when its ANC is off, it pipes ambient sound into the headphone to be sure you hear the encompassing atmosphere—an awesome security function in case you’re sporting them when you’re out strolling round. With ANC on, the Circulate II is about as efficient because the PuroPro’s ANC 2 setting, which is to say it’s not fairly pretty much as good because the PuroPro’s ANC 1 setting, however nonetheless excellent.
The Puro Sound Labs PuroPro has loads going for it. It’s supremely snug, and its hybrid noise cancelling is top-notch. I applaud the corporate for caring about noise-induced listening to loss and doing one thing about it by limiting the headphone’s output stage. Growing the extent on the larger restrict setting, nevertheless, is an odd alternative IMO.
The sound high quality just isn’t dangerous by any means—it’s silky clean, and vocals sound totally pure. However it’s additionally persistently a bit veiled, particularly within the low finish, which ends up in a barely congested presentation.
By comparability, the equally priced Cleer Circulate II lives as much as the corporate’s cleverly misspelled title—clear, clear, and open. And it feels extra substantial, although that interprets to being heavier. On the draw back, it’s much less snug than the PuroPro, with smaller earpads and higher clamping strain. That’s to not say it’s terribly uncomfortable, simply much less snug, particularly over lengthy durations.
At $149.99, the PuroPro is sort of inexpensive. In the event you place a excessive worth on consolation, noise cancellation, and defending your listening to, and you’ll tolerate barely less-than-crystal-clear sound high quality, the PuroPro is a superb alternative. However, if sound high quality is paramount, the Cleer Circulate II is the higher different.