For audiophiles and music lovers, Shure is a well-known name. However, now the makers of microphones, in-ear monitors, and wireless headphones have entered uncharted territory — wireless, active noise-canceling headphones. The Shure Aonic 50 is Shure’s first entry into this market, and while many companies are having their first time in history increasingly painful, Shure is knocking it out of the park. Today, we are here with our Shure Aonic 50 Review.
From the genuine leather and metal frame, soft ear shells, and stellar sound, the Aonic 50 follows the high-end formula Shure is known for. And with a stable Bluetooth 5.0 connection and a surprisingly powerful ANC, it’s clear the company has made a serious home run. So while the price of $399 will be a strikeout for most budgets, the Shure Aonic 50, if you have the currency, is worth the investment.
Shure Aonic 50 Review: Design and Comfort
The Aonic 50 has a premium appearance that matches its premium price. The headband and ear shells are beautiful mocha leather with the strap and ear shells covered with memory foam cushions. I love the stitching on the top of the strap, with Shure elegantly stamped on the bottom. The extensions and yokes are made of silver anodized aluminum that matches a pair of dark chocolate plastic earpieces with a chrome-plated Shure badge. It is a very cosmopolitan look. But, if you don’t like brown, the Aonic 50 are also available in silver and black.
Headphones are quite comfortable to wear for longer periods. It’s like wearing a pillow around each ear. The Shure Aonic 50 are over-ear headphones with relatively large ear shells. This means that unless you have excessively large ears, the slightly oval ear cups should make an excellent comfortable seal without any pressure. I’ve worn the Aonic 50 more than two hours at a time, in total comfort. Sure, the Aonic is noticeably heavier than the Bose, but that doesn’t affect how the cans feel when you wear them.
There are several buttons along the side of the right auricle. You have a USB Type-C port, a trio of buttons, a power/pairing button, the top and bottom control the volume while the middle functions as a multifunctional function. At the top, there is a switch that enables the ANC/Environment mode. You also have a 3.5 mm audio input port in case you want to use the bundled audio cable.
Weighing 11.8 ounces and measuring 10.8 x 10.8 x 3.2 inches, the Aonic 50 is a robust headphone, especially when compared to the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (9-ounces, 8 x 6.5 x 2-inches).
Shure Aonic 50 Review: Setup and App
Pairing the Shure Aonic 50 to your Bluetooth device is quick and easy. After I turned on the headphones, I held the button down for 3 seconds and heard a friendly voice telling me that the cans were in pairing mode. From there, I went to the Bluetooth menu in my Galaxy S10 and selected the Aonic 50. The same voice told me that the headphones and the phone were paired.
The Aonic 50 has, like many premium cans on the market, a free companion app available on Android and iOS. ShurePlus Play has several useful features that benefit the cans. You can adjust the language and volume of the voice prompts and set the frequency of the low-battery prompts. There is a simple equalizer with five presets (De-ess, Loudness, Flat, Low Boost, and Vocal Boost) and the ability to create your own presets.
The Shure app also merges your third-party playlist into the app. So when I used the iPhone, the app was ready to pull in my Apple music playlist. On my Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the playlist was pulled from my Spotify account. The app also allows you to adjust how much ambient noise enters the headphones when you enable Ambient Mode.
Shure Aonic 50 Review: Noise Cancellation
This is Shure’s first access to the active noise cancelling category, and I have to say, it’s an excellent first attempt. Without playing sound and only the ANC turned on, I could hear the only white noise from the headphones. Ideally, I wouldn’t want to hear anything at all in this mode, but the sound is so minimal that not many people will notice it. And importantly, it didn’t insinuate itself into what I happened to be listening to.
The headphones were able to put a serious silencer on my LG TV, turning the sound off entirely when the volume was set to 15. It was slightly less effective than the Bose, who did it at 17. When I was walking around the neighborhood, the Aonic 50 did a great job of completely shutting out the outside world when playing my music. I couldn’t hear the J-train pass while I was walking to the grocery store.
Shure Aonic 50 Review: Performance
Shure is known for its exceptional audio quality and does not disappoint on the Aonic 50. The 50mm neodymium drivers produce audio that is full, balanced, and dynamic, even on the Flat equalizer preset. The bass on TeaMarr’s “One Job” quickly drew me into the upbeat breakup track. The blows and winks that acted as the main rotation were beautiful and sharp, while the artists dropped the soprano over the light piano accompaniment. Listening to the same song on the Bose, I heard the same level of detail, but the soundstage was not as warm as on the Aonic 50.
When I played Death’s “Story of the World,” it felt like I was in the front row at a concert. The electric guitar was cheeky on the Aonic 50, the drums were precise, and the throaty roar of the lead singer was palpable. I certainly noticed that the performance was a bit more distant than that on the Bose. It’s not a deal-breaker (these are Bose after all), but it certainly wasn’t as loud as the Aonic 50. Still, I could hear every riff.
Finally, I listened to the “Big Ole Freak” of Megan Tea Stallion on the Aonic and was immediately bombed with moist basses. However, there was still enough space in the sound phase for the electric wind instrument to retain its natural airiness, as well as the crispness of the drum machine. The tempting delivery of the rapper was warm and precise with clean commercial breaks. When listening to the same song on the Bose 700, the bass was not nearly as deep. But without all those lows, you can hear the finer details of the track much better.
Battery Life and Bluetooth Range
The Aonic 50 has an estimated service life of 20 hours, which is the same as the Bose 50. That number is entirely accurate, because I listened to the Aonic 50 for 2 hours for 9 days, 18 hours in total. On the 10th day, I finally got the message that the battery was almost empty.
Thanks to the theoretical range of Bluetooth of 800 feet, I haven’t had any dropouts yet. Whether I was in my backyard or downstairs, and my phone was on the couch, the connection was secure. Once you throw a door and a wall or two into the mix, it’s a different story as I learned when I left my apartment building.
Price and Availability
The Shure AONIC 50 is now available for $399/£359 – that works around AU$580, although Australian prices have yet to be confirmed. That’s more expensive than the best 2020 headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM3, which is available for $349/£300/AU$499, which offers a few extras than the Shure AONIC 50. We recommend the Sony WH-1000XM3 to almost everyone, but if you are looking for Shure’s proven sound quality, then the AONIC 50 is worth it as an alternative.
Shure Aonic 50 Review: Conclusion
I didn’t expect Shure to drop the ball on this. I mean, come on, it’s Shure. The Aonic 50 is stylish and extremely comfortable to wear. The 50mm drivers provide warm, rich audio that doesn’t skimp on details. The companion app is well put together and easy to use, and the ANC, however, not as dominant as what Bose delivers but is very impressive for a first attempt. Yes, they’re seriously expensive at $399, but that’s only $60 more expensive than the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 and offers a richer sound profile.
If you’re willing to invest in a pair of mature looking headphones with excellent audio, long battery life, and excellent active noise cancellation, the Shure Aonic 50 deserves to listen. For more options, check our list of Best Noise Cancelling Headphones.
Shure Aonic 50 headphones combine rich, deep audio with powerful ANC and long battery life in a stylish, comfortable package.
- Mature, comfortable design
- Deep, rich audio
- Great ANC
- Long battery life