Shure has been a mainstay in recording studios and on live performance phases for 95 years. The corporate’s newest contribution to its wealthy legacy is the Aonic 50 lively noise-cancelling (ANC) headphones. Those $399 headphones promise audiophile high quality, remarkable convenience, awesome ANC efficiency, and one of the vital private Bluetooth codec beef up you’ll in finding anyplace.
Construct high quality
The Aonic 50 are stunning headphones. Imitation leather-based dominates the scarf and ear cups, whilst soft-brushed aluminum hands attach the 2. The press-adjustable hands open and shut comfortably; but as soon as locked in position, they’ll keep precisely the place you positioned them. You’ll continuously face a trade-off with easy-to-adjust headbands; no longer right here, I discovered the force on my head to be close to goldilocks absolute best.
This assessment is a part of TechHive’s protection of the most efficient headphones, the place you’ll in finding critiques of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you must imagine when buying groceries.
The imitation leather-based wrapped across the Aonic 50 is delicate and sumptuous. The scarf is abundantly padded and didn’t produce any extra force at the best of my head—even after prolonged put on. The ear cups likewise are delicate and comfy.
The one problem I discovered used to be breathability. Those headphones made me sizzling and sweaty after prolonged listening classes. The impact can be exacerbated in the event you use the Aonic 50 in sizzling or humid environments, although your frame may react otherwise.
The ear cups fold flat for shuttle and garage, however they don’t cave in additional like one of the vital pageant. The integrated sporting case is spacious however utterly impractical for shuttle—it’s downright large.
Battery lifestyles is rated to closing for a decent 20 hours. With a few of lately’s wi-fi headphones pushing 24 to 30 hours plus, that is on the lower-end of the spectrum. That mentioned, in actual international utilization, you’ll simply pass two to 3 days of prolonged listening or Zoom convention calls with out ever desiring to price the headphones. Additionally, re-charging the headphones is rapid. Simply 5 mins of plug time will simply get you out of the low-battery caution vary.
The Aonic 50’s ergonomics are easy. Tactile navigation controls and a USB-C charging port are positioned at the again of the right-hand ear cup. A 3-way slider permits you to toggle between Atmosphere Mode (extra on that under), ANC off, and ANC on. The toggle transfer on my assessment pair took aware fiddling to get it to take a seat correct within the center place (ANC off). Every time I moved the transfer, it slid manner too simply to an undesired atmosphere, and it in reality wishes a slight design adjustment to make it worry-free.
I do applaud Shure for offering a tactile bump at the Play/Pause button. I may just instantantly orient my arms and know whether or not I used to be urgent volume-up, play/pause, or volume-down. Urgent the play/pause button two times advances to the following tune, whilst urgent it thrice temporarily will pass to the former tune.
Deep Bluetooth codec beef up
The Aonic 50 are versatile to suit your evolving way of life. Those cans will perform in 3 other modes: analog stressed out (the use of the integrated three.5mm analog cable), wi-fi, and stressed out virtual by the use of USB-C.
Bluetooth five.zero is usual, and also you’ll get about 30 toes of wi-fi efficiency (barring any hindrances). The Aonic 50’s wi-fi efficiency is a wonder, reinforced by means of its spectacular codec beef up, together with the total Qualcomm aptX codec suite: aptX, aptX HD, and aptX Low Latency. AptX HD will circulation high-resolution audio as much as 24-bit decision and 48kHz sampling charge. AptX Low Latency is absolute best for avid gamers with difficult synchronization between audio and video.
You’ll be able to additionally profit from Sony’s very good LDAC codec, which helps high-res audio as much as 24-bit decision and a 96kHz sampling charge, with information charges as much as 990Kbps. Closing however no longer least, there’s beef up for Apple’s AAC and usual Bluetooth SBC.
In case you in finding wi-fi streaming anathema in your audiophile aesthetic, plug a USB-C cable into the Aonic 50 and shipping your favourite tunes within the virtual area. I used each the integrated cable and a six-foot Monoprice Monolith USB-C cable with out factor. Perfect of all? You’ll be able to pay attention to the headphones when you’re charging their battery.
Shure doesn’t specify the DAC that’s onboard or the audio resolutions and sampling charges which might be supported, but if I attached those cans to my Mac, the pc’s Audio MIDI Setup reported them as supporting audio as much as 32-bit decision with sampling charges as much as 384kHz.
Talking of which, Mac customers must keep in mind: If you wish to play high-res track during the Aonic 50, know that your Mac will at all times use a set bit intensity and sampling charge within the Audio MIDI Setup app (positioned in Utilities folder). That fastened charge will usually be CD-quality 16-bit 44.1kHz.
After I used the macOS Qobuz app, as an example, any high-res report I performed defaulted to 16-bit/44kHz, and I needed to manually exchange the output every time within the Audio MIDI Setup app. I due to this fact recommend the use of a track app that may routinely transfer the output to check the track supply, which is one thing iTunes gained’t do. So, iTunes customers must imagine buying a program like Bitperfect that may routinely exchange your Mac’s bit intensity and sampling charge.
ShurePlus Play cell app
Shure supplies iOS and Android customers with the ShurePlus Play app, which is fundamental however sensible. The loose app displays you the present battery stage and allows you to set each ANC depth (standard or max) and Atmosphere Mode depth (on a 10-point scale). You want to be in every respective mode to modify their settings.
The app too can get right of entry to your track library, which in my case used to be the iPhone’s Tune app. I may just no longer hook up with different track provider apps, similar to Tidal or Qobuz. With the track app attached, I had the choice of making use of 5 pre-defined EQ settings or growing my very own. Will have to making a decision to create your personal EQ preset, you’ll set the achieve and bandwidth for 4 frequency issues: Low shelf, excessive shelf, and two parametric EQ issues. The app does no longer supply you being able to customise the ANC set of rules for plane, teach, subway, or altitude.
Atmosphere Mode is a winner
The Aonic 50 comes with a set of equipment and tech for the street warrior. Leader amongst those is a function known as “Atmosphere Mode” that lets you pay attention the outdoor international with out taking your headphones off. Shure’s Atmosphere Mode is solely very good and ranks up there with the most efficient I’ve skilled. It’s utterly herbal in its default atmosphere.
I detected not one of the tinny artifacts or different tense distortions that plagued competing merchandise that got here previous; in truth, the one anomaly that provides Atmosphere mode away is a heightened brightness in your environment. I may just even press the play/pause button to summon Siri for hands-free instructions. Perfect of all, you’ll play track with Atmosphere mode enabled, The track I listened to retained its constancy and sounded downright fabulous—no less than till I used to the ShurePlus Play app to spice up Atmosphere Mode to its max atmosphere. Doing that presented a vital quantity of hiss. Base line: Shure’s Atmosphere Mode is impressive.
Mediocre noise-cancellation efficiency
In terms of the most efficient lively noise-cancelling headphones in the marketplace lately, there’s Sony, Bose—and everybody else. The Shure Aonic 50 do not anything to modify that image. I when compared them to Bose’s QC35 and Bowers & Wilkins’ PX noise-cancelling headphones by means of enjoying recorded cabin noise at 91dB (as measured by means of a legitimate force stage meter C-weighted and set to gradual). Conventional plane cabin noise levels from 90- to 96dB.
I stood two toes beneath a couple of ceiling audio system and cycled during the 3 headphones a number of instances. Alas, in every context, I discovered the Aonic 50’s lively noise cancelling to be just right however no longer nice. Whilst the Aonic 50 may just take the brink off, its ANC efficiency persistently got here in in the back of the Bose and B&W.
The similar efficiency used to be true of fan and HVAC noise. I examined the Shure Aonic 50 with the central air at my area and with air purifiers from Hunter and Blueair. When set to excessive and measured a few foot away, the Hunter registered 84dB and the Blue 77dB at the SPL meter. The Bose as soon as once more handily trounced the Aonic 50.
I additionally spotted distinct hiss after I activated the Aonic 50’s lively noise cancellation with out enjoying any track. You gained’t understand this in a high-noise atmosphere, however the hiss known as consideration to itself in quieter locales.
I examined the Shure Aonic 50 essentially with Astell&Kern’s Kann high-res virtual audio participant in addition to with an iPhone XS. Supply subject matter integrated a mixture of CD-quality and high-res information, plus streams from Tidal.
Merely put, sonics is the place the Shure Aonic 50 shine. To start with pay attention, the Aonic 50 come throughout as splendidly effectively balanced, heat, and intimate. Sarah McLachlan’s “Fallen” sounded oh-so-right. During the Aonic 50, McLachlan’s vocals on “Give up and Walk in the park” sounded wealthy, detailed, and dimensional. Turning on ANC or Environmental Mode, on the other hand, tended to flatten the soundstage.
A well-formed soundstage is a power I realized tune after tune. I used to be enveloped in detail with tools abounding on Consider Dragons’ “Unhealthy Liar.” Living proof used to be spinning up “Herbal.” The outlet refrain used to be exactly recessed in a deep, atmospheric enjoy, with vocals firmly ahead and heart level.
Style didn’t topic. Rocking to Joe Satriani’s “Browsing with the Alien” or Eddie Van Halen’s immortal “Eruption,” the Aonic 50 mesmerized me. Aaron Copeland’s majestic “Fanfare for the Not unusual Guy” as performed by means of the Minnesota Orchestra and carried out by means of Eiji Oue got here throughout in all its attractiveness. Bass drums thundered and trumpets have been easy, with brass and cymbals displaying a slight roll-off on the best.
Nevertheless it used to be Elaine Paige’s defining rendition of “Reminiscence” from Cats, and Yo-Yo Ma’s rendition of Ennio Morricone’s “Dinner” that made the hairs on my arm stand on finish.
I encountered a couple of disappointing quirks all through my assessment length that considerably dampened my enthusiasm for the Aonic 50. Essentially the most troubling of those occured after I had the headphones on Bluetooth mode, however with out a track enjoying: The Aonic 50 pumped out disturbing virtual noise artifacts. This passed off irrespective of supply: an iPhone XS, Astell&Kern KANN high-res virtual audio participant, or my Mac. I will not emphasize sufficient how bothersome this used to be—it used to be nails-on-a-chalkboard frustrating. And the artifacts have been provide whether or not ANC used to be engaged or off. Once I started enjoying content material, the artifacts would disappear and the noise ground decreased. The engineering crew at Shure must cope with this shortcoming; confidently, with a firmware replace.
Shure’s Aonic 50 headphones are constructed for high-resolution sonic bliss, whether or not you’re listening with a cable (analog or virtual, by the use of a USB-C cable) or wirelessly (by the use of Bluetooth, with beef up for each Bluetooth codec that issues).
The truth that lively noise cancellation takes a again seat right here isn’t a large deal—for me, no less than—however the disturbing audio artifacts I encountered when the use of those cans wirelessly with out track can be a deal-breaker for plenty of. That factor price the Shure Aonic a half-star on this assessment, so right here’s hoping Shure can repair the issue with a firmware replace. I additionally discovered breathability to be a subject all through lengthy listening classes, however your mileage would possibly range on that rating.