SHURE AONIC 50 Review
Whether traveling, listening to music in the evening on the couch, recording podcasts, or in the many video and telephone conferences that almost everyone is currently doing, decent headphones cannot harm anywhere. And if the manufacturer’s name Shure is on it, it could probably even be used for the evening recording session. And when there are a few interesting extras, such as active noise suppression or touch control, these are all kinds of reasons to take a closer look at the Shure Aonic 50. For what it could be used in the end, you can find out in our following review.
- Rich bass depth and clear, sharp highs make for a strong audio performance.
- Active noise suppression that works well
- Fit that is both comfortable and secure
- EQ only works when music is played within app
The first impression of the Shure Aonic 50
Shure offers the Aonic 50 Bluetooth headphones in three colors: black, brown, and white. Technically they are identical, but there are significant price differences. The black and brown versions are almost 60 euros cheaper than the white. That’s quite a big difference, to name the supposedly fancier white version.
The scope of delivery of the Aonic 50 includes a round box for storing and transporting the headphones and an audio cable, a USB cable, and a mini booklet as a manual. Both cables are relatively short, which will not be a problem if you always use the headphones in Bluetooth mode, but a few centimeters more cable would certainly not have hurt. The transport box makes a solid impression but is quite large. The reason for this: Unfortunately, the Aonic 50 cannot be folded up. Only the auricles can be twisted sideways. In contrast to a PX7 from Bowers & Wilkins or a Lagoon ANC from Beyerdynamic, the headphones require a correspondingly large amount of space. This is more of a hindrance when traveling.
In terms of processing, the Shure Aonic 50 makes a very good impression. The basic construction is made of metal. The ear cups are covered with soft synthetic leather. The outer side of the ear cups made of plastic is adorned with the Shure logo. On the inside, it is marked with L and R which side of the headphones belongs on the head and how. But there is still critical because even a few days after unpacking the headphones, they emit an unpleasant odor. Unfortunately, it was not possible to clarify whether this came from the transport box or the materials used, but it leaves an unattractive impression.
The white version with sand-colored ear cups and headbands doesn’t just look good in the home office. If you want something more subtle, the black/brown versions offer the more classic versions of the color.
How can the Aonic 50 be operated?
If you want to connect the headphones with the included audio cable, this can be connected to the left auricle. The right auricle, on the other hand, houses the USB-C port and all controls. In addition to the power on/off switch, it offers three buttons for louder, quieter, and the control of a player on the smartphone/tablet, as well as a slide switch to activate active noise suppression. A small LED shows the operating status, and a voice can provide information on what you have just changed on the headphones.
Unfortunately, the operation of the ANC system (Active Noise Canceling) is a bit fiddly. The slide switch provided for this engages in three positions, which – provided the headphones are in front of you – is not a problem. In the attached state, however, it isn’t easy to find the middle position. In my opinion, the grid should have been a bit stronger / deeper, so you like to slip over the middle position.
How do the Shure Aonic 50 headphones sound?
First, a few technical details about the headphones: the Shure Aonic 50 are dynamic headphones with 50 mm drivers. Shure specifies the frequency response as 20 – 22,000 Hz. The sensitivity is 97.5 dB / mW. The impedance is 39 ohms. The weight is a respectable 334 grams, which is comparatively high, especially when it comes to longer use at conferences or traveling. The wearing comfort suffers only a little because overall, the headphones sit very well on the head. The contact pressure is more than sufficient. Even if the head is moved harder, the Aonic 50 remains securely on the head.
Suitable for the reproduction of speech, the Aonic 50 offers a very mid-range and high-pitched sound, and it brings out the spoken word very well – regardless of the gender of the speaker. In addition, the Shure headphones differentiate both signals very well and evenly when the music is playing, be it background music that a speaker is talking about.
Due to its closed design, the Aonic 50 naturally comes into its own. He can depict this with sufficient pressure and without too much emphasis. Overall, however, the sound image feels a bit depressed, i.e., it cannot bring too much dynamism to the listener’s ear.
If you look at the overall sound, the Aonic 50 works very accurately at low and medium volumes, and the sound is nicely balanced. However, if you turn the volume control, it quickly becomes intrusive, and your hearing becomes tired in no time.
The Shure headphones successfully display the stereo stage, including the localization of individual sound sources and spatially well-made mixes. For example, classic recordings with a lot of spatial information sound great. The impulse fidelity, on the other hand, is more in the middle range. The Aonic 50 is sometimes a bit sluggish with short, crisp signals.
Bluetooth interface and battery
The Aonic 50 works with Bluetooth 5 and is technically up to date. Connections should be possible up to a radius of 10 meters. In terms of codecs, it supports aptX, aptX HD, aptX Low Latency Audio, Sony LDAC, AAC, and SBC. Shure specifies a maximum usage time of 20 hours, which is enough for longer flights and train journeys for telephone and video conferences and podcasts anyway.
To adapt the Aonic 50 to your preferences, you need Shure’s PLAY app. The app, which is available for iOS and Android devices, allows, for example, to set different EQ presets for the headphones’ sound, configure two different intensity modes for the ANC system, and adjust the so-called “environment mode” in different stages.
Due to its closed construction, the Aonic 50 seals off annoying outside noises very well, and neighbors will also hear little or nothing of the headphones’ sound, depending on the volume. While most competitors often only know “on” or “off” when it comes to noise suppression (in the best case, there are still two intensity levels), Shure has given the Aonic 50 the environment mode.
The Shure also initially offers two settings when the ANC is activated, normal and max. However, if you switch to the environment mode, constant background noises such as aircraft engines, humming fans, and power supplies can be suppressed, while short-term noises such as speech or individual tones can still be let through. In addition, the “permeability” threshold can be set within the app (see above) so that you can decide for yourself what the headphones will react to or how strongly. This is a practical feature, especially concerning the great attenuation of outside noise.
However, in direct comparison, the ANC system does not play on the very high level of a PX7 from Bowers & Wilkins. Rather the quality is comparable to Beyerdynamics Lagoon ANC, which also plays in a similar league in terms of price. Overall, I like the Shure a bit better here, simply because outside noise is even more attenuated and the Aonic 50 also offers the environment mode.
The possibility of answering calls or adjusting the volume with a fingertip using the buttons on the headphones is also practical. The recently tested Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC shows that this is even more convenient. Furthermore, these headphones allow a wide variety of gestures to be used to control the headphones via the associated app, i.e., swipe up, down, front, etc., or tap on the outside of the auricle, controls, or activates the previously defined functions.
Regardless of whether you use the Shure Aonic 50 for podcasts, traveling, listening to music, in the home office, or for video conferences, the headphones are very well made and offer good sound quality. Above all, it brings speech convincingly and clearly to the ear, probably one of the reasons why Shure is currently marketing the headphones in combination with the MV5C microphone as a home office package. Visually, all three headphone variants are convincing due to their tasteful colors and attractive appearance.
However, there are also a few points of criticism, which is why in the end, it is only enough for a “good” rating. For example, the unpleasant smell is noticeable even days after unpacking the headphones, and the control of the ANC system is a bit fiddly. In addition, the price differences between the color variants are too big for my taste.