With a history of nearly 100 years, Shure is certainly not a new name in the industry. This company has always lived up to its reputation by producing products with premium studio-quality sound. That’s why when Shure introduced the AONIC 50 – one of its forays into the wireless noise-canceling headphone market, it caught a lot of attention.
Given Shure’s track record and the premium price tag, only a stellar performance can avoid disappointment from audiophile customers. Can they do it? Let’s find out in our Shure AONIC 50 review right now.
Shure AONIC 50 Review
Available in stylish brown and black colors, the AONIC 50 has a good-looking circumaural over-ear design that makes it stand out among other noise-canceling headphones.
Shure AONIC 50, Brown version
The removable ear pads are made from memory foam and leather, which in turn are attached to sturdy plastic ear cups. And then there is the aluminum arms, covered in a leather headband, connect these ear pads together via the hinges that can rotate 90 degrees, allowing the headphones to lie entirely flat. On the ear cups and under the headband, you will also find the logos of Shure printed subtly.
However, the frame has no other articulation besides the hinges above, meaning the AONIC 50 is not particularly portable and the travel-case is also bigger than those of other models. But at least this case will provide extra room for audio and charging cables.
Weight and size are the most common issues with over-ear headphones, but not this. At 0.74 pounds, this also seems to make the AONIC 50 not the ideal choice for a pair of comfortable headphones. But in reality, even after an extended session, you won’t suffer from fatigue.
While the AONIC 50 is on the heavy side among wireless headphones on the market, Shure has made up for this by adding a lot of cushioning on both the headband and earpads. This results in comfortable pressure – they won’t become too loose, or do these headphones squeeze your head too tightly.
But with much leather as the main material, the AONIC 50 does have a problem when it comes to breathability. During long listening sessions, you may be prone to a lot of sweating, and this may get even worse if you live in a place with a humid and hot climate.
Control buttons on the AONIC 50
The way Shure arranges controls on the AONIC 50 is pretty straightforward.
The right ear cup has a USB-C charging port and some touch controls on the back. There is a three-way slider that lets you switch the ANC and Environment modes. However, you may need to do some fiddling to adjust it correctly into the middle, which turns off the ANC ability, as this switch slides too easily and most of the time goes into an undesired position.
But we must give Shure credit for the design of the Play/Pause button, which has a tactile bump that allows users to position their fingers. Hitting this button twice will skip the current track while doing that three times will go back to the previous one.
Shure has been successful in finding the balance for the audio of the AONIC 50. It’s subtle and energetic but not understated or aggressive, allowing you to enjoy most music genres with a high level of details.
The bass is alive, textured and deep with great harmonic detail. These Shure headphones give a feeling that they can control exactly where these low frequencies start and stop while modulating them seamlessly into the higher bands. At the same time, the mids also have a lot of details so you can tell the different timbres and characteristics of vocal lines apart.
Sitting on the top, the treble adds some flavor to the entire sound profile of the AONIC 50. The higher frequency range sounds balanced with no grittiness or hardness.
But this audio performance drops rapidly when you switch to the Bluetooth mode, which doesn’t come with EQ settings, as the deep bass becomes lighter and sounds lacking.
The Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) capability of the Shure AONIC 50 is a huge plus, especially when you need to block out low-frequency background noises like outside traffic, washing machines, and A/C units. Besides, while other high-end models, such as the Sony WH-1000XM3 wireless headphones, can do a better job at mid frequencies, the ANC ability of the AONIC 50 is certainly enough during flights.
During this unprecedented time when remote working at home becomes more common, these headphones will become handy when you share an apartment with many roommates. It eliminates distractions by blurring out background conversations and other sounds so you can focus on your Zoom video calls or other work.
The ShurePlus Play mobile app is available in both major platforms – Android and iOS. This is a basic app but able to provide handy features in companion to the AONIC 50.
The dashboard will show you how much power your headphones have left before they need a charge, and allow you to adjust the intensity of the Environment and ANC modes. Remember to switch on these modes first before you adjust noise cancelling in the app.
The mobile app allows you to create your own EQ presets
In addition to that, you can also connect to your music players, such as Apple Music, and access to its music library. Once connected, this app provides multiple EQ settings and also lets you create your own presets by setting bandwidth and gain for different frequency points. However, the ShurePlus Play app isn’t able to customize the ANC according to different environments, such as subway or airplane, as the apps of other models.
As a pair of wireless headphones, the AONIC 50 also comes with two additional wired connection modes: analog and digital USB-C cables, so you can adapt it to your lifestyle and activities during the day. Bluetooth 5.0 is its wireless technology, which gives you a maximum range of 30 feet in the perfect environment with no obstacle.
AONIC 50 comes with many Bluetooth codecs
Supporting this is an impressive number of codecs, including the high-quality aptX HD, aptX Low Latency, and aptX Adaptive from Qualcomm. While the aptX Low Latency is the best choice if you need perfect synchronization between video and audio, the aptX HD code enables these ANC headphones to stream 24-bit high-resolution audio at a sampling rate of 48kHz.
As most premium wireless headphones can squeeze out 25 to 30 hours of battery life, the 20 hours of the AONIC 50 does put it on the shorter side.
With that being said, these active noise cancelling headphones should give you enough time for video calls or listening to music over a period of 2 or 3 days. On top of that, the charging speed is quite impressive: just plug them in for 5 minutes, and you are already out of the warning range.
Pros and Cons
- Stylish look
- Good comfort and durability with aluminum and leather as primary materials
- Multiple connection options with great code support
- Excellent audio-quality sound with crisp highs and rich bass
- Solid noise cancellation capability
- Below-average battery life
As you can see from our Shure AONIC 50 review, these premium noise-canceling headphones are a great solution when you need to enjoy your music while commuting or making video calls from your home. It’s not a cheap product, but the great build quality, stylish look, and solid sound quality can definitely make up for the price tag.