The Shure AONIC 50 are high-end wireless over-ear headphones with a sleek design, premium build quality, and a comfortable fit, not to mention a pretty broad range of connectivity options. They also have a reasonably well-balanced sound profile that can be customized in-depth through a parametric EQ in their feature-rich companion app, making them suitable for a wide range of musical genres. Unfortunately, they’re not especially portable, have a pretty lackluster integrated microphone, and their ANC system is only mediocre, as it does a poor job of blocking out sounds like bus and plane engines as well as construction equipment.
The Shure AONIC 50 are decent for neutral sound. Their out-the-box sound profile isn’t especially neutral, with boomy bass and slightly overemphasized treble, but they can be adjusted through a parametric EQ in their dedicated companion app. Unfortunately, their bass response is heavily influenced by their positioning and fit, and they don’t offer a very spacious listening experience, although that’s normal for closed-back headphones.
The Shure AONIC 50 are a decent choice for commuters and travelers. They’re very comfortable and sturdy enough to take some bumps and accidental drops without much of an issue. They also have a pretty comprehensive control scheme that’s quite easy to use, even when you’re on the move. On the downside, their ANC system does a poor job of blocking out low-frequency sounds like bus engines, and their design isn’t exactly portable.
The Shure AONIC 50 are alright for sports and fitness, although that's a long way from their intended use. While they provide a reasonably stable fit and a wireless design that removes any potential risk of an audio cable snagging on something, they’re still quite bulky and might slip around if you do anything more intense than light jogging.
The Shure AONIC 50 are a reasonable choice for office use. They’re comfortable enough to wear all day and have a solid 17-hour plus battery life, which should be more than enough to get you through a couple of days at work without needing a charge. They also support multi-device pairing, which is useful if you swap between listening to content on your phone and work computer. Unfortunately, while their ANC does a better job of blocking out background chatter than engine rumbles, its performance is still mediocre overall.
These headphones are not suitable for wireless gaming out the box, as their standard audio latency is too high to play games. They require a separate apt X-LL compatible dongle to limit audio latency.
The Shure AONIC 50 are acceptable for wired gaming, so long as you don't plan on using their mic, as neither the included 1/8" TRS or USB cables support wired microphone usage. That said, they're comfortable enough to wear for long periods and have a sound profile that'll emphasize some sound effects without totally overwhelming in-game dialogue.
The Shure AONIC 50 are mediocre for phone calls. Their microphone makes your voice sound thin, muffled, and lacking in detail while also struggling to isolate it from ambient noise.
The Shure AONIC 50 are premium-looking wireless headphones that resemble the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless, with similar swept-back hinges but larger ear cups made of dense, high-grade plastic. The padding around their ear cups is removable and comes in either black or brown faux leather. All told, these headphones should look right at home in a wide variety of environments.
The Shure AONIC 50 are quite comfortable. Their headband is wide, generously cushioned, and distributes the headphones’ weight pretty evenly while their ear cup padding is shallow but plush. They shouldn’t be too fatiguing to wear even during really long listening sessions. However, compared to the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless, their ear cups don’t have the same range of motion.
The Shure AONIC 50 have a pretty intuitive control scheme. All major functions are enabled through physical buttons and toggles, which is handy in colder environments where touch-sensitive controls are less reliable. Track-skipping and volume control can be accessed through buttons on the right ear cup with audio feedback. Those functions are adjacent to a sliding toggle that turns on ANC or talk-through.
The Shure AONIC 50 aren’t very portable. Their ear cups do fold flat, which is helpful, but they don’t fold inward. The headphones are also quite large overall, which makes it a little hard to carry them around in a separate bag.
These headphones come with a nice textured hard case that should do a good job of protecting them from bumps, scratches, and minor water exposure. That said, the case itself is a little big, and might be a hassle to carry around with you.
The Shure AONIC 50 feel very well-built. Their plastic construction feels dense and should take a couple of drops without much in the way of damage. Their cups are removable and swappable, which adds to their durability, although they're padded in faux leather. Their hinges feel sturdy, but it's unclear if they're made of especially high-grade plastic or aluminum.
These headphones should do a decent job of staying on your head. Their wireless design negates any potential snagging hazard while their reasonably high clamping force should keep them from moving during casual listening sessions. Anything more intense, however, might cause them to slip around.
These headphones have a somewhat accurate default sound profile. Bass isn't especially neutral, with a slight dip in the lowest frequencies flattening punchier tracks, while a large spike in the high-bass range causes some boominess. The mids are very well-balanced, which ensures clear and present vocals. Their treble is slightly overemphasized but not too uneven, which is good for emphasizing detail without being overly piercing or bright. That said, this can be adjusted in depth via a parametric EQ in their dedicated companion app.
The Shure AONIC 50 have good frequency response consistency. Mids are consistent regardless of the headphones’ fit and positioning, and treble doesn’t vary too much. Unfortunately, there is some significant deviation in the lowest frequencies, which means that sounds in the bass range might be heard quite differently on separate listening sessions.
The Shure AONIC 50 have okay bass accuracy. Sounds in the lowest frequencies are a little underemphasized, which might disappoint fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. A sharp rise in the high-bass range is responsible for some boominess. However, the bass accuracy of these headphones is heavily influenced by their positioning and fit, so your own listening experience may vary significantly.
The mid accuracy of the Shure AONIC 50 is very good. Vocals, lead instruments, and dialogue should sound clear and present, though a slight bump in the low mid-range might slightly clutter the mix.
These headphones have acceptable treble accuracy. It’s overemphasized across the range but doesn’t have too many sharp spikes, though some may hear S and T sibilants as being a little bright and piercing. That said, treble is heavily dependent on the headphones' positioning and fit, so your own experience may vary.
The peaks and dips performance of the Shure AONIC 50 is decent. A large spike in the high-bass range muddies and clutters some tracks while the uneven treble makes some higher frequencies sound a tad sharp and piercing.
The stereo imaging performance of these headphones is excellent. The weighted group delay shows some minute bumps in the low and high-bass ranges, but they aren’t very noticeable, with no other frequencies rising above the audibility threshold. The L/R drivers are exceptionally well-matched in regards to amplitude and frequency, while the weighted phase mismatch is similarly low, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo image. It should be said that our results are only valid for our test unit, and your own may perform very differently.
The Shure AONIC 50 have a poor passive soundstage, which is pretty normal for closed-back headphones. Sound will be perceived as being accurate and natural, but not especially spacious or open.
These headphones don't have any virtual soundstage features.
The Shure AONIC 50’s weighted harmonic distortion performance is alright. There’s a little bit of distortion throughout the mid-range at high volumes as well as a slight spike in the low treble range at moderate volumes, but that shouldn’t be too noticeable with real-life content.
Update 09/24/2020: Due to the fact that these headphones have an adjustable ANC system, we have updated the text in this box to note what preset the ANC was set to in testing.
This is the configuration we used in testing the Shure AONIC 50. The ANC system was set to max for our tests, as this is the way the headphones are set up out-of-the-box. Our results are only valid when using these settings.
Update 06/04/2021: We had concerns that our test results didn't match other reviewers who measured a better ANC performance using the same firmware. As a result, we ran several passes using the headphones' newest firmware update. However, while we couldn't match our results exactly, our passes still closely follow the original curve. You can see the results here, with the original results in blue and our retest passes in green and red. The scoring of this box hasn't changed.
The Shure AONIC 50 do an adequate job of blocking out ambient noise. They perform best in the mid and treble range and should do a good job of isolating you from the chatter of a busy office. Even with ANC turned on, however, they reduce very little noise in the bass range, which might be disappointing if you intend to use these headphones in your daily commute to block out the rumble of bus engines.
The Shure AONIC 50’s leakage performance is decent. Most leakage occurs in the low-mid range and most treble frequencies, which produces some pretty thin-sounding escaping audio. That said, all of the leakage falls below the noise floor of an average office.
The Shure AONIC 50 have an integrated microphone.
The Shure AONIC 50’s microphone recording quality is poor. Voices sound thin, muffled, and lacking in detail, so people on the other end might have a hard time understanding you.
The Shure AONIC 50’s microphone does an inadequate job of isolating your voice from ambient noise. Listeners on the other end might have a very hard time understanding you if you make a call in a loud environment.
The battery life of these headphones is good, at just over 17 hours of playback on a single charge with ANC turned on. However, that’s slightly less than the 20 hours that Shure advertises, and somewhat disappointing overall, especially compared to cheaper wireless ANC headphones like the Razer Opus Wireless, which delivered just under 33 hours of continuous playback. They also lack any sort of power-saving features like an auto-off timer, which means you could drain your battery if you aren’t careful. That said, they can be used for passive listening using the included 1/8" TRS or USB-C cables, which is helpful if you’ve run completely out of battery.
Update 09/24/2020: The Shure AONIC 50's companion app only affects media that's played through the in-app audio player. The text in this box has been updated.
These headphones have good app support in the form of the ShurePlus Play companion software. It gives users access to a four-point parametric EQ and audio presets to customize their listening experience, not to mention a built-in audio media player, a slider for ANC intensity, and 10 levels of adjustment for their talk-through feature. The EQ only has an impact on media that's played through the in-app media player.
Update 09/24/2020: The Shure AONIC 50 are also compatible with the LDAC wireless codec. The text in this box has been updated.
The Shure AONIC 50 offer a wide range of Bluetooth connectivity options. They’re compatible with SBC, aptX, aptX HD, and aptX-LL, the last of which is a major asset if you intend to stream video while wearing these headphones but does require an aptX-LL compatible receiver. They're also LDAC-compatible, but this isn't something that we currently test for. They also support multi-device pairing, which is handy if you frequently swap between listening to content on your phone and computer.
These headphones don't support any non-Bluetooth wireless connections.
Update 06/11/2021: We have changed USB Audio to 'USB Type A' to reflect the source port instead of the headphones' port. When using their USB cable, the USB-A connector can be connected to any device with a USB-A port. The scoring of this box hasn't changed.
These headphones come with both a USB-A to USB-C charging cable as well as a 5.2 ft 1/8” TRS audio cable. Both cables only allow you to receive audio, and you can't use their integrated microphone solely over a wired connection.
Update 09/24/2020: The Shure AONIC 50 come with a 1/8" TRS cable, rather than the previously-stated 1/8" TRRS cable. The text in this box has been updated.
The Shure AONIC 50 only receives audio when you plug their 1/8” TRS cable into an Xbox One controller.
The Shure AONIC 50 are high-end wireless over-ear headphones with a sleek design, premium build quality, and a comfortable fit. They offer a pretty broad range of connectivity options as well as a highly customizable listening experience thanks to the parametric EQ in their companion app. However, their ANC system lags some way behind rivals like the Sony WH-1000MX3 Wireless while the performance of their integrated microphone isn't nearly as impressive as that of the Bose 700 Headphones Wireless.
If you're looking for other headphones for mixed usage, check out our list of recommendations for the best wireless Bluetooth headphones, the best noise cancelling headphones, and the best headphones.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better headphones than the Shure AONIC 50 Wireless. The Sony are more comfortable, have a significantly better noise isolation performance, a longer continuous battery life, and support NFC pairing. However, the Shure have a companion app that offers a parametric EQ, which some users may prefer over the Sony's graphic EQ.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless are better headphones for mixed usage than the Shure AONIC 50 Wireless. The Sony are more comfortable and can be carried around more easily due to their folding ear cups. They also provide a more consistent, well-balanced default listening experience as well as a substantially more effective ANC system, which dramatically lowers the volume of everything from plane and bus engines to the high-pitched hum of an AC unit. The Sony| Headphones Connect app offers a much broader range of options than the ShurePlus Play app, although the Sony's graphic EQ is less adjustable than the Shure four-point parametric EQ. The Shure also have an easier-to-use control scheme as well as aptX-LL compatibility.
The Shure AONIC 50 Wireless and Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless are similarly-performing wireless headphones, each with different advantages. The Shure have a more well-balanced sound profile as well as a companion app that allows for a higher degree of adjustment, not to mention aptX-LL compatibility for less audio lag when wirelessly streaming videos. That said, the PX7 do a better job of blocking out ambient noise, especially in the bass range, and have much longer battery life.
The Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless are better headphones for mixed usage than the Shure AONIC 50 Wireless. The Sennheisers' default sound profile is more well-balanced, their integrated microphone does a better job of making your voice sound clear and free of background chatter, and their ANC system reduces the volume of ambient noise far more effectively. However, the Shure have a slightly easier-to-use control scheme and a much more durable carrying case.
The Bose 700 Headphones Wireless are better headphones for mixed usage than the Shure AONIC 50 Wireless. The Bose are more comfortable, have a better-balanced sound profile, a longer battery life, and a much better-integrated microphone. They also do a better job of blocking out ambient noise. However, the Shure provide a more consistent listening experience, easier-to-use controls, and aptX-LL compatibility, so they’re better suited for streaming videos wirelessly with low latency.