TEST: Shure Aonic 50 – wireless headphones with active noise reduction

Tested product: Shure Aonic 50
Award: SEK 3,188 on PriceSpy

That M3 tests headphones from Shure can hardly be seen as a common phenomenon. The relatively unknown brand has over the years launched a bunch of headphones for the consumer market, mainly in the form of in-ear models, targeted and intended for a relatively narrow target group for whom the price tag plays less of a role.

Rating 4 out of 5

Opinion

Stylish, classically designed headphones that are both comfortable and functionally user-friendly. When it comes to the Aonic 50 and just active noise reduction, Shure certainly has a lot left to work on, but considering how they in return perform acoustically, we forgive everything. A pure declaration of love to you who are serious about your listening as well as a slap in the face to the competitors.

Positively

  • Incredibly good sound
  • Comfortable
  • Good battery life

Negative

  • Award
  • Active noise reduction is not convincing

The brand is all the more familiar to musicians, studio technicians and producers to whom they offer a wide range of products in the form of microphones, studio headphones, monitors and other sound technology for music production. But from time to time, Shure launches products aimed at the consumer market and a potential broader target group. Such as the Aonic 50.

Shure Aonic 50

Design and fit

Shure Aonic is delivered together with a protective storage case as big as a frisbee. Although the headphones have swivel hinges, they are not collapsible but are stored “flat” and thus take up a lot of space when not in use.

The fit is relatively firm in the sense that the headphones are in place even during strong head movements. With that said, they are by no means uncomfortable to wear. On the contrary, the thick and softly padded cushions (as well as the headband) provide a pleasant support even during longer listens.

Shure Aonic 50

Features and customization options

All function buttons are located on the edge of the right cover. One to switch the device on / off as well as to activate bluetooth and connection mode, controls to adjust the volume, control playback, activate the phone’s voice control function and to answer or end calls.

Finally, there is a switch that by pulling down turns on the active noise reduction, pulling it up is activated instead “enviroment mode”, where ambient sound is amplified and let through. With the slider placed in the middle, both functions are switched off. In terms of user-friendliness, it feels both well-thought-out and logical and the location buttons do not leave much to be desired

Shure Aonic 50

The associated app goes by the name Shureplus Play. In it you can set the amplification of the ambient sound (ten levels) or the noise reduction (normal / max). The level setting is saved automatically and it is then the level that applies when each function is activated via the headphones’ physical controls.

The app also provides information on current battery status, enables firmware updates, as well as the ability to play locally stored music files. There is also an equalizer that offers the user, in addition to five preset modes, the ability to create, name and save your own favorite sound settings.

Performance and sound experience

It should be said straight away, with Shure Aonic 50 you do not get the very best active noise reduction. Compared to the class-leading models from Sony and Bose, the difference is marked and if it is headphones that deliver impeccably in that particular area, you should perhaps look further.

Shure Aonic 50

That is not to say that they are not performing at all. Shure Aonic 50 are well insulated already in passive mode and with the active noise reduction turned on (of course in the max mode) ambient and low frequency noise is further attenuated. The combination results in a clearly approved experience, but as I said – there is a bit left to the very best in the segment.

If you can live with a “normal” active noise reduction, Shure Aonic’s playback performance is all the more gratifying. Well-balanced and tight over the entire frequency range and where a brilliant upper middle range outclasses and runs over everything and everyone in the price range. The sense of presence is brutally good and the richness of detail we are served in, for example, the introduction of The regulator with Clutch results in an almost religious experience.
M3 recommends

Specifications

Model: Aonic 50
Type: closed over ear headphones
Tested: December 2020
Manufacturer: Shure
Connection: Bluetooth (5.0), 3.5 mm stereo cable
Element: 50mm Neodymium
Bluetooth audio codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC, apt-X LL
Sensitivity: 97.5 dB / mW
Impedance: 39 ohm
Frequency reproduction: 20–22,000 Hz
Battery life: Up to 20 hours (with ANC)
Weight: 334 grams
Recommended price for testing: SEK 4,550
Award: SEK 3,188 on PriceSpy