When it comes to noise-cancelling headphones, a few brands come to mind, like Bose and Sony. One audio company that might be overlooked is Shure, especially with their latest Aonic A50 Headphones.
Design & Hardware
The Shure Aonic 50 headphones use a combination of materials from metal for the headband adjustments to plastic for the actual earcups and faux leather for the ear cups and headband.
The removable earcups are comfortable but not super deep or plush like other headphones.
One thing I didn’t like is that the headphones don’t fold up, similar to the Surface Headphones lineup. They can only turn the earcups 45-degrees to be placed flat in the fairly large carrying case. Maybe in the next model, Shure can make them fold up and offer a smaller carrying case to travel with.
I had no issues wearing the headphones and the Aonic 50 fits perfectly. Everything feels solid but rotating the earcups feels a bit stiff, which could loosen up over time. On the right earcup is where you’ll all the controls for the headphone, the switch allows you to switch from Environmental Mode, ANC off and ANC on. To adjust the level of the ANC, you’ll need the ShurePlus Play app, which I’ll get to later.
The noise-cancelling on the Aonic 50 is fairly good but it’s not on the same level as Bose or Sony. The Aonic 50 supports several audio codecs including aptX, aptX HD, aptX Low Latency, AAC, LDAC, SBC.
Below the ANC switch is the play/pause/skip button and volume up and down. Just beneath that are the on/off/pairing button and the USB-C port for charging. Battery life is around 20 hours and seems to ring true for the most part. It can vary depending on using ANC or not.
While the play/pause button has a small raised divet to differentiate it, all the buttons on the headphones are on the smaller side, especially for my larger hands. I found my hand gravitating towards the power button when trying to find the go-to to the next song.
All that is on the left ear cup is the 2.5mm audio jack, which is an annoyance because you’ll have to use the included 2.5 to 3.5mm audio cable for wired listening. I’m not sure why Shure chose to put a 2.5mm jack on the headphones over a 3.5mm since the headphones are fairly large.
The sound quality on the Aonic 50 is fairly good, there’s a good amount of bass and clarity in all audio ranges. The crisp highs and rich bass are thanks to the dynamic 50mm drivers in the headphones.
In the box, you get the headphones, a carrying case, 2.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable and USB-C cable.
The Shure Aonic 50 headphones are available now for $399 CAD ($299 USD), which is on par in pricing with the Bose NC 700 and $100 cheaper than the Sony WH-1000XM4. The Shure headphones come in black, brown and white colour options.
You can pick up a pair of Shure Aonic 50 headphones from the following retailers:
To set up the Aonic 50, you’ll need the ShurePlus Play app on Android or iOS. With the app, you’ll be able to update the firmware which can take around 10-15 mins.
The ShurePlus Play app is split into three sections, Device, Home and Settings.
The Device section will show you the battery life and you control many settings including, the Environment Mode level, meaning how much of the outside world sound will be let in via the microphones. You can also choose between two Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) modes including Normal and Max.
Using the normal ANC setting will filter out most external noises and the Max option will cancel out even more. As mentioned earlier, the ANC on the Aonic 50 is good but not on the same level as Bose and Sony’s headphones.
Home is where you can control the music playback of files already on your phone. Settings are pretty self-explanatory, you can adjust the Equalizer of the headphones.
It’s worth noting that the EQ settings only apply to locally story music played through the app, it doesn’t work for streaming apps like Spotify, YouTube. It’s very strange, considering most headphones let you adjust the EQ settings and have it applied to whatever app/service you’re listening to.
Overall, the Shure Aonic 50 is a solid pair of headphones that offer good sound quality and noise-cancelling but could still use some work.
- Good sound quality
- Solid noise cancelling but not class-leading
- 20 hrs of battery life
- Comfortable to wear for the most part
- Supports lots of audio codecs
- Playback buttons are on the smaller side
- Headphones are bulky and don’t fold up
- The large carry case makes it harder to travel with
- EQ only works for songs on your phone played through the ShurePlus Play app
- On the expensive side