For the majority of my life, we have preferred using earbuds, but lately, I’ve started to consider using headphones. They offer a more immersive experience that earbuds typically can’t, one that takes you further away from your head. When comparing earbuds with headphones, headphones are just better for your ears over time.
When you combine that with the superior sound quality, you have a winner. The Shure AONIC 50 headphones feature some of that, making them a good option if you want to listen to your music fully wirelessly while on the road and still get some of the greatest sound available. Unfortunately, there are some areas where the Shure wireless headphones fall short. They consist of general materials and design, as well as active noise-cancelling (ANC) technology.
This is most definitely not an excuse to ignore them entirely. But if you’re looking for the most effective noise-cancelling headphones, it might make sense to give up some of the $299 AONIC 50’s sound quality in exchange for stronger ANC in a comparable, identically priced model. The AONIC 50 headphones, according to Shure, are comfortable even after prolonged listening. That was confirmed to be accurate to me, although not instantly.
The Shure AONIC 50 seemed tight and rigid right out of the box. The clamping force began to give me a moderate headache after about thirty minutes. The AONIC 50 loosened up and acclimated to my head after a few days. I can now wear them for hours on end without discomfort. Even yet, wearing them with glasses is still difficult.
Shure Aonic 50 review: Design and battery Life
The Aonic 50 doesn’t do anything novel in terms of appearance. They have a general design that is similar to that of any other high-end set of wireless over-ear headphones, but they are larger, heavier, and more “basic,” as today’s young people like to remark. They’ll look worse on your head than the other possibilities if you don’t have an Afro or hairstyle a la Brian May. There is no avoiding that.
The main contact points are wrapped in soft, softly scented leather and filled with memory foam, and they come in either black or brown. The earpads are removable, and they fasten to earcups made of durable plastic and adorned with an equally durable “Shure” logo finished in silver.
Because they only articulate through 90 degrees and don’t fold inwards like many competitors, they are still very large when folded flat. They attach to the headband by thickly damped aluminium arms. When you pack them in their sturdy travel bag, it practically becomes a piece of hand luggage. But your music doesn’t stop when you fold them flat. That’s because the Shures lack accelerometers, unlike several competitors.
They are getting close to the upper limit of what is permitted at 334g. The Aonic 50 feel and adjust with a true solidity despite the heavy use of plastic, and their sturdy construction gives them the impression that they will survive for many years. Again rare for this market, but not unheard of, the Aonic 50 has no touch controls anywhere. Google Assistant can be used to exert some limited control, but the Shures don’t speak back to you. The majority of your engagement will instead revolve around the physical controls positioned around the right earcup.
A three-button rocker controls the volume, skips forward and backward, answers, ends, and declines calls, and summons the voice assistant at least, it does once you’ve memorised the button pushes needed. By no means is finding them with your fingers an instinct.
Shure Aonic 50 review: Sound quality
The slider is in the default neutral position when we begin listing, which implies no sound mode is activated. Due to their clear and transparent presentation, The Shures get off to a terrific start. They have a strong midrange, sharp highs, and focused, accurate lows on each side. The noise-cancelling starts working when the setting is changed to “normal,” although the effect is somewhat subtle. Frequencies are cancelled, so you don’t experience the vacuum effect or sound sucking that some other manufacturers’ noise-cancelling technology can.
The transparency and fine detail of the Shure are still evident. Play Bad Guy by Billie Eilish in 24-bit/44.1kHz high-res through Amazon Music HD, and the Aonic 50s teach you how to play bass with finesse. The headphones eliminate all extraneous fat, leaving you with sharp, quick clicks and crisp bass thwacks. You can identify each component of the music because of the Shure’s thirst for details.
The Aonic 50s display a tonne of detail in No Time To Die by Eilish from the next Bond film of the same name, but they fall short of the greatest in terms of atmosphere. They perform a lot of tasks effectively, but they don’t connect with the listener in the same way as, say, a Sony WH-1000XM3 or a B&W PX7. When we switch to the “Max” noise-cancelling option, things start to go south. There is a clear distinction between this situation and the usual. As the noise-cancelling works its magic, the level of noise reduction improves, but as a side consequence, there is more hiss to be heard.
Additionally, the sonic balance of the headphones is substantially altered. The entire audio environment has a thicker, more confining sound. There is an additional layer of weight and sturdiness, but much of the clarity is lost. Even more so, it is clear that the Shures lack the same enthusiasm or spring in their step that makes some of the class leaders’ speeches so contagious. Although we enjoy the noise-cancelling on its regular setting, some people might find the maximum setting more useful in extremely noisy circumstances where you might benefit from a somewhat richer, weightier sound.
Shure Aonic 50 review: Performance
The Shure AONIC 50 are, to put it simply, a great-sounding pair of headphones. While they are balanced, they are also demonstrative. Though they are understated, they are not understated. Although they are animated, they are not hostile. And they are capable of playing just about every genre of music you can think of.
They extract the melodic fundamentals from a variety of songs, ranging from Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man to The Stone Roses’ I am the Resurrection to Kendrick Lamar’s How Much a Dollar Cost, while streaming from a Sony Xperia 5 via Tidal. Whether you prefer Kamasi Washington or Claude Debussy, the AONIC 50 will provide you with chapter and verse in the most natural, expressive, and detail-rich way possible.
Low frequencies start and stop with complete control and modulate into the frequency information above them. They are rich, textured, and alive with fine harmonic detail. The Shures have perfect control over timbre and, once more, even the smallest details in the midrange; Marvin Gaye’s singing over the AONIC 50 is as characterful as you’ve ever heard it.
The Shures achieve an uncanny balance of attack, substance, and brilliance at the highest frequency range, which is frequently a source of great difficulty for headphones of any price. Treble sounds have plenty of thrust and brilliance, but they stop well short of being harsh or gritty. The AONIC 50 are equally adept at dealing with low-level second-order dynamics as they are with broad-stroke dynamic alterations. The soundstage they describe has more than enough elbow room for individual pieces to stand stably, even on a stage as crowded as Kamasi Washington’s. It is broad, roomy, and rationally laid out.
Shure Aonic 50 review: Noise cancelling
The noise cancellation is fairly effective, particularly in reducing low-frequency noises like air conditioners, washing machines, and outside traffic. This is still impressive, albeit the NCH 700 and Bose QuietComfort 45 suppress midrange noises more effectively.
Since the earpads are made of high-density memory foam, passive isolation is also fantastic. With some attenuation of sounds below 1kHz as well, this type of material truly makes the noise cancelling technology stand out and effectively targets frequencies above that frequency.
Shure Aonic 50 review: Price and availability
The Shure AONIC 50 is now offered for $399 / £359, you can buy this product from amazon. which converts to approximately $580 AU, while the price for Australia has not yet been determined. That is more expensive than the Sony WH-1000XM3, the top headphones of 2020, which cost $349/£300/AU$499 and have a few extra features over the Shure AONIC 50. We strongly suggest the Sony WH-1000XM3, but if you’re looking for Shure’s legendary sound quality, the AONIC 50 offers a respectable substitute.
The Aonic 50 headphones from Shure have a sonic signature for people who prefer accuracy over loud bass. If you play music inside the Shure app, the app’s EQ can adjust the volume a little, but the default setting is a very flat response sound signature that will appeal to listeners who prefer to hear the mix naturally. Although the high-mids and highs might occasionally appear bright, they usually provide the mix with greater detail. The ANC is above average but not great, and the app’s EQ restrictions are annoying.
You can do better if noise cancelling is your first goal. The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, which are listed above, cost $400 and offer the strongest ANC we’ve tested. For earphones, we like the $250 Apple AirPods Pro. The $300 Sony WH-1000XM3 or the $200 Marshall Mid ANC are good options for less expensive over-ear ANC. For $400, Shure’s Aonic 50 headphones offer first-rate audio performance and reliable ANC.