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 strong, with a sound high quality to match, however there’s a catch — they sound quite a bit higher with a wire than they do wirelessly. That mentioned, at their peak, they’ll outperform the Bose Noise-cancelling 700s. In comparison immediately, it’s a more durable name.
Whenever you first open up the field, you’ll discover that the headphones are available in a somewhat massive however very protecting onerous case. Whereas 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 be large. It is available in barely bigger than the already large Floor Headphones case, however not less than it’s protecting.
Fortunately, 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 function satisfying rigidity as you prolong and rotate them, which helps make them really feel much more premium. I’m unsure how lengthy this can final, however after utilizing them for a number of weeks, they nonetheless really feel model new. You too can rotate every of the leather-based earcups off to wash them simply.
The earcups are a lot thicker than the Bose 700s earcups as properly. That is partly as a result of soft leather-based pads on every ear and the boxier design. That mentioned, in addition they really feel bigger once you’re carrying them.
The scale of those headphones is considerably of a professional and sort of a con. Whereas the big 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 beneath the AirPods Max and my SteelSeries Arctis Professional Wi-fi gaming headset.
I’ve nonetheless discovered them fairly snug, even over lengthy intervals, 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’d 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. Nevertheless, when you pit them towards high-end headphones, the cracks of their sound profile start to disclose themselves.
Every earcup incorporates a 50mm driver and all of the specs recommend these headphones ought to be a number of the greatest on this worth vary. The sound recreation is basically sharp and the general steadiness between highs, mids and lows is distinct and pleasing to the ear. Sadly, a slight fuzz could 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 a little bit higher, however total it’s essential 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 unhealthy. 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 honest, 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. When 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. Nonetheless, one thing in the way in which they decode Bluetooth makes the music sound very flat. As quickly as you join them by means of a USB-C cable or a 3.5mm headphone jack, they sound significantly better. The soundstage opens as much as be manner broader and makes these headphones really feel price $400. The readability may not be razor-sharp just like the Sennheiser IE 300s, however the soundscape and depth to the music when related by means of a wire make them sound like a wholly completely different pair of headphones.
I discovered that in addition they carried out higher utilizing a double-sided USB-C cable than a daily 3.5mm wire, however because the cable was a lot thicker, this wasn’t superb. 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’ll 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 implies 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 telephone and play music or a podcast on the way in which dwelling.
Different perks, options and doodads
In case 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 practically each pair of wi-fi headphones, the Shure Aonic 50s have an app. It’s referred to as ‘Shure Play,’ and it lets you tweak the headphones’ settings and add HQ music so you possibly can hearken to it by way of your telephone with minimal compression. The method so as to add songs isn’t very easy, nevertheless it’s a helpful add-on for anybody with a library of FLAC recordsdata.
You too can tweak how sturdy the noise-cancelling and environmental sounds work. Usually, I saved the noise-cancelling at max and the environmental sounds at medium. There’s additionally a slider on the correct earcup that allows you to toggle between noise-channelling and environmental mode so you possibly can hear what’s going round you in case it’s essential discuss to somebody and don’t need to take your headphones off.
Past the slider, there are a number of different buttons on the correct earcup. The underside-most button is each energy and Bluetooth, and the three center buttons are play/pause, skip ahead and backward. Whereas the environmental/noise-cancelling change works when utilizing the headphones wired, the play/pause buttons don’t. General, I don’t thoughts the buttons and discover them quite a bit 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 unhealthy, nevertheless it will get the job accomplished.