Shure is not a brand that needs any introduction. It is an American brand that has been in the audio game for 95 years now! It was founded by Sidney N. Shure in Chicago, Illinois back in 1925. Shure have brought in some of the great headphones and IEMs that includes the 1x40 series headphones, SE215, SE425, KSE1500 IEMs and many more.
Aonic 50 is the latest headphone by Shure in the wireless category that comes with noise cancellation and a lot of other features. Unboxing the Aonic 50 was a premium experience. It came in a big round box with rubber strips at the bottom. You can showcase the box on your table or well, anywhere you feel like! The look and feel of the box is worth doing that. Opening the box, you’ll find a huge round hard case, with the Shure logo on it. Looking at the size of the case, I wonder if it’s actually portable enough. Inside the case is the Aonic 50 along with a couple of documentation and 2 cables – the 3.5mm cable and the usb type C to type A cable.
DESIGN, BUILD & QUALITY
Shure products, in terms of build quality, have always been premium. Aonic 50 takes the same route here. Inside the huge hard case is the headphone which is one beautiful piece of work. The headband caught my first attention with soft faux leather padding, moving down to find some solid metallic hinges to which ear cups are attached. The ear cups are made up of good quality plastic with metallic Shure logo on both the sides. The earpads are soft and made of faux leather. The quality looks absolutely premium. Inside the earcups, R and L are marked on the fabric screen on each of them. The headband is adjustable and has slots with measured marking.
The right earcup has the buttons for pairing, volume up/down, a button for play/pause/next/previous track, and the slider for noise Cancellation/default/environment mode. The right ear cup also has the type c charging port, which is also the input for the inbuilt DAC. The left earcup has the 2.5mm port for connecting the 2.5mm to 3.5mm cable, for wired mode. The right earcup also has a led indicator which provides the indication when battery is low, when the headphone is charging as well as the status of the Bluetooth connection.
Shure Aonic 50 does look very premium in the aspect of design and build quality.
COMFORT AND FIT
Coming to the comfort and fit, the earcups aren’t very large. For most ears, it would be over the ear whereas for larger ears it might be on the ear. For me, my ears fit well inside the earcups. The headband is quite comfy. However, the overall headphone is on the heavier side. The headband does extend quite a bit and did fit my head but I know people have larger heads and the extensions might max out. The fit, however, is good. The plush pads are comfortable and do give good seal, but then this is applicable only if the Aonic 50 fits your head. Aonic 50 doesn’t have the best comfort, and could have definitely done better as I have known other headphones less than half the price and are slightly more comfortable.
USABILITY & FUNCTIONALITY
The Aonic 50 is Bluetooth 5.0 enabled and supports all codecs LDAC, Aptx HD, Aptx, Aptx low latency, AAC and SBC codec. The Aonic 50 can be controlled using the buttons present on the right earcup or the ShurePlus PLAY app while connected via Bluetooth.
The app has an inbuilt hi-res music player which plays the offline music stored in the device. The app also has an equalizer with 5 presets and custom equalizer can be added too. The app can be used to change the level of Environment Mode (10 levels) or the level of Active Noise Cancellation (Normal or Max). However, the ANC or Environment mode can only be switched on using the slider on the earcup. Aonic 50’s firmware can also be updated using the ShurePlus Play app. Bluetooth range is quite good and I could move around in the house without any connectivity issue at all. The range I could test was at least 10ft radius with as high as 3 walls with doors on the way. The battery backup is really good and has been rated as 20 hours, I have tested to as close as 10 hours and with a combination of music over Bluetooth with LDAC codec as well as conference calls with mic on and the battery dropped from fully charged to ~60%.
Aonic 50 can also be connected to a computer’s USB port via type C to type A cable. In this case, the internal DAC is being used. The headphone still needs to be powered on in this case.
Another way to listen is by using the 3.5mm cable to connect with the 3.5mm headphone jack present in phones, audio players or other audio sources.
ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION (ANC) & ENVIRONMENT MODE (EM)
ANC works pretty well and blocks away almost 80% of the noise. I have noticed at times /I couldn’t completely hear anything happening around me. EM amplifies outside noise so that one is aware of the surroundings. At the extreme 10th level of EM, the external noises are even more loud than usual and I will advise against that. The levels of EM however can only be selected while connected with a phone with ShurePlus Play app.
The ANC and EM works with Bluetooth as well as USB mode. Rating: 4/5
The Shure Aonic 50, I believe has a very balanced sound signature. It has got good extensions on the highs and are quite detailed for a wireless headphone, at times I even felt the Aonic 50 stands quite on same level with wired competitions which would need better amplifications and good source to sound that good. The sound is really clean and very even, with quite wide soundstage and separation for a closed back headphone. Even on heavy tracks like Invasion by Haken, the Aonic 50 has a clean presentation, with all instruments having great clarity and not getting mixed up.
The bass is quite tight and has got good control. The lows don’t bleed into mids. These won’t be a basshead’s favourite, but people who like a good balanced sound would definitely love these.
The highs are very detailed, and guitar strumming from songs like Hosanna from Ek Haseena Thi, are quite clear and detailed.
Mids and vocals are neither forward nor too recessed, but are slightly laid back compared to the highs, the sound signature slightly tilts towards U shaped.
The sound changes with ANC on and is kind of less extended and congested. With EM on, the sound slightly tilts towards the brighter side. Aonic 50 are quite close in terms of sound quality from all the modes but on personal preference, the USB mode sounded the best with a very slight difference from the 3.5mm and the Bluetooth (LDAC) mode. But even then, all modes sound very good and the differences are hardly noticeable. The characteristics remain the same all throughout.
The soundstage, depth, instrument separation are really good for a Bluetooth headphone and at most times I wouldn’t notice if I was listening to a wired headphone with good source or just a Bluetooth headphone connected to a mobile phone supporting LDAC codec.
Using them against various of my sources they sound characteristic remained even all throughout and can be played from any sources without much requirement for amplification. Rating: 4.3/5
I have used the Aonic 50 for long conference calls, lasting 6-7 hours and never felt any issues with the mic, as evident from the response of the colleagues in never ending conference calls, my voice was pretty clear. Rating: 4/5
Transducer Type: Dynamic, Neodymium Magnet 50mm Driver Frequency Response: 20 to 20000 Hz
Sensitivity: @1kHz 97.5 dB/mW
Impedance: @1kHz 39ohm
Maximum Input Power: 100mW
Bluetooth Antenna type: Internal Monopole
Gain: +2.05 dBl Operating Frequency: 2402MHz – 2480 MHz
Modulation Type: FHSS RF
Output Power: +4dBm (EIRP)
Supported Codecs: LDAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX Low Latency, SBC, AAC. Weight: 334g