The Shure Aonic 50 over-ear headphones are the highest-end wi-fi set that the corporate sells and at $399, they compete squarely with the most effective from Bose and Sony.
For essentially the most half, these headphones maintain up. They really feel very premium and sturdy, with a sound high quality to match, however there’s a catch — they sound lots higher with a wire than they do wirelessly. That stated, at their peak, they will outperform the Bose Noise-cancelling 700s. When in contrast straight, it’s a harder name.
When you first open up the field, you’ll discover that the headphones are available in a fairly massive however very protecting laborious case. While it’s good that they embody a case, it’s made out of a soft-touch materials that I’m positive will get scuffed up after a month or so of placing it in a bag. As I discussed above, the case can also be huge. It is available in barely bigger than the already huge Surface Headphones case, however no less than it’s protecting.
Thankfully, the Aonic 50s really feel rock stable. Out of all of the over-ear headphones I’ve tried, the Shure Aonic 50s are the sturdiest. The earcups characteristic satisfying rigidity as you lengthen and rotate them, which helps make them really feel much more premium. I’m unsure how lengthy this may final, however after utilizing them for a number of weeks, they nonetheless really feel model new. You also can rotate every of the leather-based earcups off to scrub them simply.
The earcups are a lot thicker than the Bose 700s earcups as nicely. This is partly as a result of comfortable leather-based pads on every ear and the boxier design. That stated, additionally they really feel bigger whenever you’re sporting them.
The dimension of those headphones is considerably of a professional and sort of a con. While the massive dimension provides to their construct high quality and the general really feel, it additionally makes them heavier than different headphones. The Aonic 50s clock in at 334 grams, which is above the Bose 700s however under the AirPods Max and my SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless gaming headset.
I’ve nonetheless discovered them fairly snug, even over lengthy durations, however this response stems from how sturdy they really feel on my head. The earcups and headband are additionally very padded, which helps, however if you would like one thing light-weight and fewer noticeable, the Bose set wins out each time.
A sound conundrum
The Aonic 50s sound wonderful when in comparison with lower-priced headphones. However, when you pit them towards high-end headphones, the cracks of their sound profile start to disclose themselves.
Each earcup includes a 50mm driver and all of the specs counsel these headphones ought to be among the greatest on this value vary. The sound recreation is absolutely sharp and the general steadiness between highs, mids and lows is distinct and pleasing to the ear. Unfortunately, a slight fuzz might be heard with most noise-cancelling turned on and the Bluetooth audio feels, what I’d describe, as very squished in comparison with the Bose 700s. Turning off noise-cancelling makes the Aonic 50s sound somewhat higher, however total you have to plug them in to get the most effective sound out of them.
The effectiveness of their noise-cancelling appeared about the identical between each the Aonic 50s and the Bose 700s. The Shure headphones weren’t notably good at blocking out high-frequency sounds, however they’re removed from dangerous. If I had to decide on, I discovered that the Bose did a barely higher job at delivering wi-fi music and noise-cancelling.
To be truthful, I didn’t discover the slight hum or the decreased sound house from the Shure headphones till evaluating with different headphones and listened with them plugged in. Once you plug them in with a wire — both USB-C or AUX — these headphones actually reveal themselves, which is unhappy because you’re paying a lot to hopefully get that very same audio high quality or near it over Bluetooth.
The Shure Aonic 50s help a number of Bluetooth codecs, together with Qualcomm aptX, aptX HD, aptX Low Latency audio, Sony LDAC, AAC and SBC. Still, one thing in the best way they decode Bluetooth makes the music sound very flat. As quickly as you join them by way of a USB-C cable or a 3.5mm headphone jack, they sound significantly better. The soundstage opens as much as be method broader and makes these headphones really feel price $400. The readability won’t be razor-sharp just like the Sennheiser IE 300s, however the soundscape and depth to the music when related by way of a wire make them sound like a completely totally different pair of headphones.
I discovered that additionally they carried out higher utilizing a double-sided USB-C cable than a daily 3.5mm twine, however because the cable was a lot thicker, this wasn’t perfect. Shure’s web site says that the Aonic 50s are able to 32-bit/384kHz over USB-C. Since they use the Bluetooth aptX HD codec, they will theoretically help 24-bit/48kHz audio wirelessly, however to me, it didn’t assist.
This revelation places the Aonic 50s in a bizarre spot since they’re nice headphones with killer sound, however most individuals won’t ever know since they’re probably to make use of them wirelessly. This means these may very well be a very good set for somebody who wants correct headphones at work and might then simply unplug on the finish of the day, join wirelessly to their cellphone and play music or a podcast on the best way house.
Other perks, options and doodads
If you’re nonetheless within the Aonic 50s after listening to about their Bluetooth sound points, you’ll be completely satisfied to know that it’s solely uphill from right here.
As with almost each pair of wi-fi headphones, the Shure Aonic 50s have an app. It’s referred to as ‘Shure Play,’ and it permits you to tweak the headphones’ settings and add HQ music so you possibly can hearken to it through your cellphone with minimal compression. The course of so as to add songs isn’t very easy, but it surely’s a helpful add-on for anybody with a library of FLAC recordsdata.
You also can tweak how sturdy the noise-cancelling and environmental sounds work. Generally, I saved the noise-cancelling at max and the environmental sounds at medium. There’s additionally a slider on the precise earcup that allows you to toggle between noise-channelling and environmental mode so you possibly can hear what’s going round you in case you have to discuss to somebody and don’t wish to take your headphones off.
Beyond the slider, there are a number of different buttons on the precise earcup. The bottom-most button is each energy and Bluetooth, and the three center buttons are play/pause, skip ahead and backward. While the environmental/noise-cancelling change works when utilizing the headphones wired, the play/pause buttons don’t. Overall, I don’t thoughts the buttons and discover them lots simpler to make use of than the finicky contact controls that many different headphones use.
Like different over-ear headphones, the Shure Aonics are rated to get round 20 hours of playback per cost, and in my testing, they held as much as that declare.
I additionally discovered the microphones stable sufficient for making calls and voice chatting on-line. The built-in mic isn’t notably good or dangerous, but it surely will get the job executed.
Should you make investments?
I hate saying that folks ought to steer away from a product, however except you wish to use the Shure Aonic 50s with a USB-C cable always, there are higher headphones on the market. That’s not saying that the Shure Aonic 50s are dangerous, however for those who’re shopping for them to be a pair of wi-fi headphones, your cash is spent higher elsewhere. Further, for those who’re searching for wired headphones, you’re probably higher off spending much less on one other pair from Shure that’s all the time wired.
With that in thoughts, whereas I complain concerning the Shure Aonic 50s not providing as full of a package deal because the Bose 700s, I nonetheless discover myself plugging them in and utilizing them lots — the sound actually is spectacular for those who’re superb with utilizing a wired connection.
The Shure Aonic 50s are $399 CAD, and you may get them in white, black or brown.
“I still find myself plugging them in and using them a lot — the sound really is spectacular if you’re fine with using a wired connection.”