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Denon PerL Pro review: The NuraTrue Pro, reborn

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £299
inc VAT

Denon has redesigned the NuraTrue Pro to produce the excellent PerL Pro earbuds – it's a shame the ANC isn’t better, though


  • Engaging personalised sound
  • Lossless audio support
  • Comprehensive touch controls


  • Lacklustre social mode
  • Average call quality
  • Pricier than many rivals

The eagle-eyed among you will probably have spotted that the Denon PerL Pro true wireless earbuds bear an uncanny resemblance to the NuraTrue Pro I reviewed in October 2022. That’s because they’re effectively a reskin of those earbuds created following the acquisition of Nura by Denon’s parent company Masimo.

The Australian startup that was founded in 2015 and subsequently released the Nuraphone, NuraLoop and NuraTrue was rolled into Denon earlier this year, and its clever otoacoustic technology was integrated into Masimo’s Adaptive Acoustic Technology (AAT) platform.

As such, the Denon PerL Pro look identical to the buds they were modelled on and come equipped with all of the same features. That’s a very good thing for the most part – I was a big fan of the NuraTrue Pro – but it feels like a bit of a missed opportunity: there’s no new functionality to get excited about, and no improvement in performance.

Denon PerL Pro review: What do you get for the money?

This means that, in essence, you’re getting the same product for the same £299 price but with Denon branding.

The NuraTrue Pro’s extensive suite of features makes its way over to the PerL Pro intact and includes support for AAC, SBC, aptX, aptX HD and aptX Lossless. The latter feature enables 16-bit 44.1Hz lossless streaming over Bluetooth and requires a phone equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip or above, but every other feature is available no matter which smartphone you own.

The PerL Pro also share the ability to test and evaluate your hearing and create personalised sound profiles. This takes place in the Denon Headphones app and functions in exactly the same way as it did on Nura headphones.

First, the earbuds run a quick test to assess their fit and then play a range of tones. The inaudible responses to these created by your ears – known as otoacoustic emissions – reflect how sensitive you are to specific frequencies and are picked up by extremely sensitive microphones in the buds. This information is then referenced against over two million other hearing tests and used to create an audio profile that’s unique to you and strives to fill in any auditory gaps you may have.

Alongside this, you have a Spatial Audio mode that harnesses Dirac’s Virtuo processing technology in a bid to make stereo content sound like it’s being played from a pair of speakers in front of you. Unlike similar modes from Apple and Sony, this can be used with any content regardless of type or source.

The PerL Pro also offer adaptive noise cancellation that adjusts automatically based on the level of sound in your immediate environment. The Social mode is a transparency option that allows you to hear what’s going on around you, while the Immersion mode can be used to tweak the impact of low and lower-mid frequencies.

You get a fully customisable set of touch controls, and wear detection is also supported, pausing audio when either one or both of the buds are removed from your ears and resuming again when they’re replaced. Bluetooth multipoint pairs with up to two devices, and the Music Takeover option found in the companion app seamlessly moves audio playback from one paired device to another as soon as you hit the play button.

Battery life is stated at up to eight hours for the earbuds themselves, while the accompanying charging case, which supports wireless charging, provides three additional charges for a total of 32 hours of playtime.

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Denon PerL Pro review: What did we like about them?

I got on very well with the NuraTrue Pro, and it was the same story with Denon’s iteration of the earbuds. The process required to set up a personalised sound profile proved quick and painless, the graphs used to represent my profiles were reassuringly similar to those I created when reviewing the NuraTrue Pro, and I was equally impressed by the results.

My bespoke profile reflected greater sensitivity to mid-range and high treble frequencies, and the sound profile that was generated off the back of these results was characterised by a deeply satisfying low-end frequency response that really helped drive forward the kind of bass-heavy music that I love. I did occasionally have to drop the Immersion mode slider down a couple of notches to prevent bass from becoming overwhelming, but was otherwise suitably impressed by the buds’ balance.

There was no shortage of detail on show, either, with the PerL Pro as articulate as they were impactful. Vocals were delivered in a crisp, clean fashion and with a pleasing amount of nuance, and this was especially noticeable when taking advantage of the PerL Pro’s lossless and high-resolution capabilities.

To my knowledge, the PerL Pro remain the only true wireless earbuds capable of lossless streaming over Bluetooth 16-bit 44.1Hz, and this is a boon if you’ve got a smartphone that has the necessary codec support.

The Spatial Audio mode isn’t quite as integral to the sonic success of the PerL Pro but is a welcome inclusion nonetheless. You won’t suddenly feel like you’re in the front row at a gig, but the way it convinces your brain that sound is coming from in front of you and not just being piped in through both ears does enhance immersion, albeit in a subtle manner.

The PerL Pro’s touch controls are great. The surfaces via which they’re activated are very large, which makes finding the right spot to tap a doddle, and they’re highly responsive, too. Commands are executed without delay and at no point did I tap either bud and not get the desired result.

The controls are also wonderfully customisable. You have four options on either bud (tap, double tap, triple tap and double and hold) and can assign whatever actions you like to each. Everything from music playback to volume controls and toggling the spatial mode are available, so you can personalise the layout to your heart’s content.

Other things I like about the PerL Pro include how well they handle switching between sources when paired with two devices via Bluetooth multipoint. With Music Takeover toggled on, this transition is extremely smooth and takes away any faff from flitting between participating in a virtual meeting on your laptop and listening to a playlist on your phone.

I also had no complaints about the selection of eartips provided and the fit that can be achieved with them. There are XS, S, M and L silicone tips in the box, along with a pair of foam tips, which I found gave me the best balance between comfort and passive sound isolation. You also get a second pair of wingtip attachments that are larger than the preinstalled ones should you find those don’t get the job done. I could potentially see those with small ears needing to remove the wingtips entirely, but they worked perfectly for me.

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Denon PerL Pro review: What could be improved?

The PerL Pro share both the strengths and weaknesses of the NuraTrue Pro. The noise cancellation does a reasonable job of quietening the loudest external interruptions but isn’t in the same league as the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II or Sony WF-1000XM5 – there’s lots of scope for improvement here.

The Social mode, meanwhile, remains a disappointment. The audible hiss I noted in my review of the NuraTrue Pro is still present, and engaging the mode reduces the volume of what you’re listening to where it can become difficult to hear. I’d personally prefer the buds to leave the audio volume alone and simply filter in external sound and let me adjust my music if necessary. The mode is primarily intended to help facilitate conversation, but I found voices sounded slightly muffled, while other external noises were rather muffled, too.

My other main gripe is about the PerL Pro’s microphones, specifically when on calls or making voice recordings. The mics pick up a fair amount of background noise, don’t isolate your voice as well as many of their contemporaries, and voice reproduction on the whole falls short of the extremely high bar set by the Technics EAH-AZ80, which are currently our top pick where call quality is concerned.

You could also argue that the earbuds are a little too large. Their disc-shaped, IPX4-rated housings are quite a departure from the stem-style buds popularised by the Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro, and while I love the look of them, they won’t be to everyone’s tastes in terms of comfort or aesthetics.

Denon PerL Pro review: Should you buy them?

Given how similar the Denon PerL Pro are to Nura’s flagship earbuds, my verdict is largely the same as in my NuraTrue Pro review.

If you want a pair of true wireless earbuds that sound fantastic, offer all the key features such as spatial audio, noise cancellation and wireless charging, and you can stomach the high price, the PerL Pro tick all the boxes.

You need to ask yourself two questions before buying, however. First, do you own a phone that supports aptX Lossless? And second, does the idea of sound personalised to combat potential inadequacies in your hearing appeal to you?

If the answer is yes to both, the PerL Pro’s innovative features and refined design are worth the extra outlay over the Sony WF-1000XM5, Bose QC Earbuds II or AirPods Pro 2.

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