The Aonic 50 are Shure’s first pair of wi-fi noise-canceling headphones. Beginning at $399, the Aonic 50 are positively within the premium class of wi-fi headphones and compete in opposition to the likes of the Bose Headphones 700 and the Sony WH-1000XM4.
Shure is an audio tools producer that has been operational since 1925. The corporate excels at making skilled audio gear reminiscent of recording tools, microphones, studio headphones, and in-ear displays which were utilized in audio manufacturing for many years. With the Aonic 50, Shure goals to carry a few of that skilled audio pedigree to the wi-fi headphones world.
The Shure Aonic 50 are a reasonably large and hulking pair of headphones. They’re simply bigger than all of their predominant rivals and look extra like dwelling audio tools than one thing you’d need to put on outdoor.
An enormous a part of the headphones are the earcups which can be the dimensions and form of donuts. These huge earpads have thick cushions inside with a comfortable, leather-like materials on the surface and a fabric-like materials on the internal edge. The great factor in regards to the earcups is that they arrive off fairly simply with a fast twist and Shure sells alternative pads.
The scarf has extra of the leather-like materials on the underside with a stiffer model on the highest, full with pretend leather-based stitching. The fabric is comfortable and nice to the touch and appears extra onerous carrying than the extra cheesy model seen on different headphones that shreds itself in a number of months.
The scarf might be adjusted by sliding out the yokes from both facet. The yokes slide out with a clicking mechanism and there are additionally markings made on the internal facet so you possibly can match them on each side. The scarf has a good quantity of journey and my medium sized head sat in the midst of the adjustment size.
Just like the Sony 1000XM4, the headscarf cannot actually be adjusted simply when the headphones are in your head, and you’re compelled to take away them each time if you wish to regulate their size.
The earcups haven’t got an amazing quantity of articulation and mainly simply flip in a single course to lie flat. Sadly, the earcups are simply too huge for you to have the ability to hold them round your neck on this place with out choking your self so it is higher to not flip the earcups round in any respect. Additionally, as a result of the headphones do not fold a lot, the equipped carry case is the dimensions of dinner plates and measures round 25cm in diameter.
The controls are positioned on the fitting earcup. This consists of the three step slider for noise-canceling on/off/surroundings mode, buttons for quantity and playback management, and lastly the ability/pairing button. Many of the buttons really feel positive to function and you finally get used to their place.
What I did not like was the slider. It has a deeply unsatisfying sliding motion and unusually stiff for such a small management, which makes you apply extra pressure than vital after which shoot previous the toggle you’re aiming for. For instance, I largely wished to toggle between NC on and off, which had been positions 1 and a pair of however I might typically simply slide it previous 2 to three into the Surroundings mode. I must hold a finger on the other finish that may apply its personal pressure whereas sliding with my thumb so I management the motion of the slider extra exactly and cease it as quickly because it reached the second slot.
The Aonic 50 are made totally out of plastic. This consists of the yokes which can be made to seem like steel, similar to the pretend leather-based in every single place. A big a part of the aesthetics of those headphones is making them look costlier than they’re and never being notably profitable at it. A minimum of the Bose and Sony fashions come clean with the truth that they’re plastic with out attempting to seem like one thing they don’t seem to be.
Regardless of the ocean of plastic the Aonic 50 are nonetheless an unusually heavy pair of headphones. At 334g, they’re heavier than the 1000XM4 (251g) and the Bose 700 (250g) and nearer to the AirPods Max (384g). The AirPods Max, nevertheless, are made out of aluminum and stainless-steel whereas the Aonic 50 are made out of lies and deceit.
Regardless of all the load, the Aonic 50 aren’t notably well-built. My evaluation unit was already creaking after a couple of month of use. Whereas I do not essentially anticipate them to interrupt, it isn’t precisely clear what Shure did with all that weight because the Aonic 50 feel and look just about like every other pair of plastic headphones, simply heavier.
The Shure Aonic 50 are reasonably comfy pair of headphones. The benefit of them are the thick earpads and headband. The earpads are much less conforming to the form of your head than on one thing just like the 1000XM4 however in addition they do not feel onerous in opposition to your ears and are huge sufficient to accommodate most ear styles and sizes.
What’s much less likable in regards to the headphones is the load and to some extent, the clamping pressure. You possibly can’t actually neglect that you’re carrying these headphones and that is not simply because they’re huge sufficient to be in your peripheral imaginative and prescient on a regular basis. You particularly discover them for those who flip your head as headphones of this measurement and weight normally have important inertia and huge heart of gravity that may trigger your head to swing for those who flip it shortly. It might additionally trigger the headphones to slide off for those who look down.
Compared, the Sony and Bose options are extra comfy as a result of their decrease weight and softer earpads. The Aonic 50 really feel extra like dwelling audio headphones than one thing you’d need to put on outdoor.
Software program and options
The Aonic 50 are appropriate with the Shure Play app, out there for iOS and Android. Via this app, you possibly can regulate the extent of energetic noise-cancellation, stage of the surroundings mode function, regulate minor settings, and in addition replace the firmware. The app additionally has a built-in media participant for taking part in native audio information and an EQ that works just for the built-in participant and nothing else.
The Shure Play app is of doubtful practicality. Probably the most use I obtained out of it was to disable all of the beeps and voice prompts the headphones produce once you flip them on/off or change the ANC modes and these settings get saved on the headphones as soon as modified. Shure would not appear to launch firmware updates typically sufficient to warrant having the app put in on a regular basis. As for the built-in music participant, it isn’t nice and also you probably have considered one of your personal by now. The EQ can be ineffective because it solely works for the music participant within the app and nothing else.
The app can also’t keep in mind what headphones you have got, not like the Sony and Bose apps. Each time you launch the app, it does a recent scan of what Shure system you have got linked. In case your telephone closes the app within the background, it’ll as soon as once more scan once you reopen it. It takes a number of second to scan and acknowledge your linked headphones however it’s nonetheless a tiresome course of that does not must occur each single time the app is launched.
Shifting past the app, the Aonic 50 have a great variety of options that happily do not require you to have the app in any respect.
For starters, the Aonic 50 have probably one of the best implementation of multi-device pairing I’ve seen. They seamlessly connect with the final two paired gadgets when powered on. You normally will not even understand they’ve completed this except you test each the linked gadgets. On the 1000XM4, you should undergo a course of via the companion app to allow this and on the Aonic 50 it simply works. And in contrast to the Sony, you are not restricted to SBC or AAC right here, and each linked system can use any codec, together with LDAC.
Talking of codecs, Shure has gone out of its solution to help as lots of them as attainable. You’ve got your commonplace SBC and AAC, together with aptX, aptX HD, and aptX Low Latency. Lastly, you additionally get LDAC.
Shure additionally determined to up the ante almost about wired audio. It comes with the usual audio cable (which sadly plugs in utilizing a much less commonplace 2.5mm cable on the headphone facet and there is additionally no airplane adapter supplied) but additionally a USB-C cable, which aside from being required for charging can be used to make use of the headphones utilizing USB audio.
You should use USB audio mode with most gadgets, together with all Home windows and Mac computer systems and in addition most Android smartphones. I have not tried with any iOS or iPadOS system as I did not have the required adapter however it’s attainable it may work there, too. The USB enter accepts audio as much as 32-bit/384kHz, which needs to be a lot for any audio supply you will have.
The Aonic 50 function energetic noise-cancellation. It has two ranges, regular and max, with max being set by default. There’s additionally ambient/transparency mode referred to as Surroundings mode, which makes use of the exterior microphones to play ambient audio via the audio system. You possibly can regulate the depth of this impact via the Shure Play app.
Sadly, the Aonic 50 have no type of put on detection, which implies they will not auto pause or change off once you take away them. Shure additionally would not specify what number of microphones these items have and if there are any contained in the earcups to measure the interior noise and cancel it out or regulate the sound primarily based on the seal. In addition they cannot compensate for the air strain modifications like Sony.
The Aonic 50 turned out to be a tough pair of headphones to evaluation. There are clearly some bugs to iron out right here within the present model that I examined (0.4.9.0) and though I’ve knowledgeable Shure help about it, I am undecided if they’re going to do something in regards to the suggestions.
The problems largely relate to the inconsistency within the sound between completely different modes and codecs. The sound is completely different between ANC on and ANC off by a substantial margin. There’s additionally a difficulty with how the headphones sound with LDAC codec, however solely in 88.2kHz or 96kHz modes in comparison with different codecs and even wired modes.
As such, some choices needed to be made with what could be chosen for all of the audio exams. Between ANC on and off, it was a straightforward name; the headphones needed to be examined with ANC on as that is what you are shopping for them for. The headphones truly sounded extra impartial with ANC off and the compensation curve Shure applies in ANC on mode modifications the sound significantly however once more, that is how the headphones are primarily designed for use and the way they’re set out of the field. Apparently, the ANC Regular and ANC Off sound the identical, however ANC Max (default) is the place the tonality modifications significantly.
As for the codec, I made a decision to forgo LDAC totally and as a substitute simply use aptX HD, which had constant audio with the opposite wi-fi codecs and wired audio and appeared like how the headphones had been meant to sound. LDAC 88.2kHz and 96kHz made the sound unnaturally louder but additionally utterly misplaced all low-end presence and simply turned extraordinarily mid-focused. That is the one mode the place this occurred and it appeared extra like an anomaly than a function, particularly since this did not even occur within the wired modes.
So lastly, the headphones had been set to ANC Max and aptX HD for testing with Android and ANC Max and AAC for testing with iOS.
Audio high quality
The Aonic 50 are good sounding headphones. Shure deserves reward right here for not tuning the headphones to match the standard V-shaped tuning of fashionable headphones on this section however fairly goal for some semblance of neutrality for extra essential listening. Nevertheless, it would not fairly get there and has some limitations that maintain it again.
The mid-range is definitely the star of the present right here. The Aonic 50 have an awesome a mid-range that’s largely even and constant all through. Vocals and string devices have glorious presence and readability within the combine, making these splendid for listening to a large style of content material, together with motion pictures and video games.
The low-end is a little bit of a combined bag. The mid-bass response is sort of even and never bloated as is the case with virtually each different pair of wi-fi headphones on this value vary. Bass notes have a pleasant assault and slam that feels punchy with out being muddy and overwhelming.
Nevertheless, the upper-bass area is a bit boosted, which provides some undesirable increase to percussion devices. The drums in Goals by Fleetwood Mac, for instance, are far more distinguished and ahead within the combine than they’re speculated to be. This is not as distracting within the grand scheme of issues like an overblown mid-bass response however it may be a bit distracting on some tracks with heavier vocals or a lot of percussion devices.
Then again, the low-bass response is sort of missing because the sound simply rolls off after the mid-bass. This implies you do not get that low-end rumble that you simply anticipate in sure mixes. The Interstellar soundtrack, for instance, makes use of the pipe organ loads. It has a booming low-end on sure tracks like Mountains and No Time For Warning once they hit their crescendo, however you do not hear a lot of it on the Aonic 50.
Shifting on to the high-end, the tonality right here is essentially satisfying. There’s some tendency to trigger some sibilance on sure tracks despite the fact that these aren’t essentially vivid or scorching sounding headphones. However on most tracks the high-end is not notably offensive and enhances the mid-range effectively.
When it comes to total dynamics, the Aonic 50 aren’t notably spectacular. The sound is not particularly revealing or excessive decision. The extent of element appears on par with different headphones on this value vary regardless of the general superior tuning. The imaging is first rate however the soundstage is mediocre.
I additionally examined the headphones in wired mode. They sound simply positive right here and the attention-grabbing factor is there’s mainly no distinction in audio whether or not the headphones are on or off. Usually, when utilizing wi-fi headphones set to off in wired mode causes them to sound typically horrible as all of the audio processing is switched off. However turning the ability on or off appears to trigger no distinction within the sound on the Aonic 50 and any distinction would truly be attributed to ANC kicking in when on. If the ANC is about to off, there’s actually no distinction within the headphones on vs off sound in wired mode.
Nevertheless, I do not personally contemplate wired mode to be an vital function. Whereas it is a good factor to have in a pinch, you possibly can spend half as a lot and get considerably higher sounding wired headphones if that is what you actually need. The wired modes even have limitations, such because the controls turning into ineffective and in addition the shortage of microphone performance. Additionally, USB cables typically are typically thick and brief and make poor audio cables.
General, the Aonic 50 sound first rate for his or her product class. The place they stomp throughout their rivals is within the total tonality and tuning of the drivers, which produces a a lot cleaner and impartial sound with out being tuned for one explicit vary of the frequency response. Then again, they’re solely common in each different side of their audio high quality. The inconsistencies with the ANC modes and codec choices additionally leaves loads to be desired.
Microphone high quality
The Shure Aonic 50 have common microphone high quality. Voices are likely to sound a bit uninteresting and vague. It is okay for many voice calls and none of my callers complained in regards to the name high quality however you could need to put money into a wired headset if voice high quality is vital to you.
As talked about earlier than, the microphone doesn’t work in wired mode, no matter whether or not it’s analog or digital.
The Aonic 50 have mediocre energetic noise-canceling. The ANC solely has some impact on the ambient sound and reduces a number of the background hum however by and enormous you continue to hear your environment pretty clearly, particularly when there’s nothing enjoying on the headphones. The ANC system additionally produces a definite hiss when enabled, which could be very audible when enabled in an already quiet room.
That is with the ANC set to Max mode. The Regular mode is subsequent to ineffective as the extent of noise isolation it presents might be achieved simply by good earpads on most headphones. The earpads on the Aonic 50 are agency and do not mould to the form of your head the identical approach those on the Sony or Bose fashions do. This impacts the seal, which not simply impacts the ANC efficiency but additionally sound high quality.
The noise-canceling on my Aonic 50 models additionally had a difficulty, the place I may hear flutter from the drivers whereas strolling. It was tremendous apparent even with music enjoying and made it tough to concentrate on the audio whereas strolling as there was a relentless fluttering sound each time my heels hit the bottom. This subject might be restricted to my subject as by some means I doubt Shure would ship headphones with such a severe flaw.
As for the Surroundings mode, it does what it is meant to do by letting in ambient sound via the audio system. It would not actually trouble attempting to make the sound seem to be it isn’t coming via audio system and it has a brilliant elevated excessive frequency response, which makes it sound prefer it’s always raining round you. However, for those who simply need to pay attention to your environment for a short second whereas ready for, say, an airport announcement then it ought to do the job.
The Aonic 50 have good latency efficiency. There’s little or no perceptible latency whereas watching movies on all examined platforms and gadgets, making these appropriate for watching content material. Chances are you’ll even get away with some informal gaming though it is suggested to make use of the cable for extra severe classes.
The Aonic 50 had dependable connectivity throughout my testing. I used the headphones with a wide range of gadgets and there have been by no means any dropouts or every other connection associated subject.
Shure claims 20 hours of battery life for the Aonic 50. This determine is on par with what Bose claims for the 700 however is decrease than the claimed 30 hour determine for the Sony 1000XM4.
In my testing, I obtained round 16 hours over a number of check runs utilizing aptX HD. Whereas 16 hours is not dangerous, it’s decrease than what different huge headphones can do. It is particularly disappointing contemplating the dimensions and weight of those headphones, and also you’d assume Shure may have match a bigger battery in there.
Shure would not point out how lengthy the headphones will final after a fast 10-minute cost however I obtained round 2 hours of playback.
The Shure Aonic 50 are priced at $399, however since they’ve been available on the market for some time now you may get them for $349 and even much less.
All issues thought-about, the Aonic 50 are an okay pair of headphones. I preferred their audio high quality and they’re typically superior to their rivals on this value class in that division. In addition they provide a variety of codec choices in addition to analog and digital wired choices. The Aonic 50 additionally has top-of-the-line implementations of multi-device pairing I’ve seen up to now.
Except for that, the Aonic 50 are a reasonably mediocre pair of headphones. They’re giant and heavy and never totally appropriate for out of doors utilization. The construct high quality additionally would not justify the load. The microphone efficiency is common and the noise-cancellation is mediocre. Even the battery life is under common for such giant headphones. The Shure Play app additionally would not provide any significant performance and is behind all people else in primary usability.
The headphones even have some high quality management points. Completely different ANC modes and codecs produce vastly completely different sound in a approach that does not appear intentional. My evaluation unit had loads of different points, reminiscent of clicking sounds each time the amplifier or DAC inside activated or deactivated itself, a buzzing sound within the microphone, and the aforementioned fluttering sound whereas carrying these headphones whereas strolling.
All issues thought-about, I might go on the Aonic 50 except the headphones and the app see some important enhancements via future updates. Despite the fact that they do not sound nearly as good, the Sony WH-1000XM4 and the Bose Headphones 700 are higher headphones total.
- Good audio high quality
- Seamless multi-device pairing
- Huge codec help
- USB audio enter
- Massive and heavy
- Restricted folding choices
- Inconsistent audio high quality throughout completely different modes
- Mediocre noise-canceling
- Common microphone
- Underwhelming battery life
- Poor companion app