Shure AONIC 50 Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Jul 29, 2020 at 08:04 am
Shure AONIC 50 Wireless Picture
7.0
Mixed Usage
7.1
Neutral Sound
7.1
Commute/Travel
7.0
Sports/Fitness
7.3
Office
5.6
Wireless Gaming
6.8
Wired Gaming
5.9
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling Yes
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

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.

Our Verdict

7.0 Mixed Usage

The Shure AONIC 50 are passable for mixed usage. They’re well-built and quite comfortable. Their default sound profile isn’t especially well-balanced, but it can be adjusted in depth through a four-point parametric EQ in their dedicated companion app. They support a wide range of Bluetooth connectivity codecs, including aptX-LL, so their latency is low enough for streaming video when used in conjunction with a compatible dongle. Unfortunately, they aren’t very portable and have an unimpressive ANC system for the price.

Pros
  • Compatible with with a broad range of Bluetooth codecs.
  • Comfortable fit.
  • Easy-to-use controls.
Cons
  • Mediocre ANC.
  • Bulky design.
7.1 Neutral Sound

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.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
  • Parametric EQ in dedicated companion app.
Cons
  • Boomy bass response.
  • Compact soundstage.
7.1 Commute/Travel

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.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
  • Easy-to-use controls.
Cons
  • Mediocre ANC.
  • Bulky design.
7.0 Sports/Fitness

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.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
  • Easy-to-use controls.
Cons
  • Bulky design.
7.3 Office

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.

Pros
  • Compatible with with a broad range of Bluetooth codecs.
  • Comfortable fit.
  • Easy-to-use controls.
Cons
  • Mediocre ANC.
5.6 Wireless Gaming

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.

6.8 Wired Gaming

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.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Compact soundstage.
5.9 Phone Calls

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.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Poor integrated microphone.
  • Mediocre ANC.
  • 7.0 Mixed Usage
  • 7.1 Neutral Sound
  • 7.1 Commute/Travel
  • 7.0 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.3 Office
  • 5.6 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.8 Wired Gaming
  • 5.9 Phone Calls
  1. Update 9/24/2020: Fixed and added information regarding mic compatibility, codec support, and in-app EQ.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

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.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.74 lbs
Clamping Force
1.2 lbs

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.

7.7
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control On/Off
Talk-Through
On/Off
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

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.

5.3
Design
Portability
L 7.9 "
W 8.1 "
H 3.6 "
Volume 230 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

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.

8.0
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 10.1 "
W 10.1 "
H 2.8 "
Volume 286 Cu. Inches

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.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

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.

7.0
Design
Stability

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.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Shure AONIC 50 headphones
  • USB-C charging cable
  • 1/8" TRS cable
  • Hard carrying case
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-2.42 db
Treble Amount
0.0 db

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.

7.5
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.51 dB

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.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.0
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.12 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
35.13 Hz
Low-Bass
-2.95 dB
Mid-Bass
2.63 dB
High-Bass
6.1 dB

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.

8.4
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.09 dB
Low-Mid
1.66 dB
Mid-Mid
0.17 dB
High-Mid
2.78 dB

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.

6.9
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.1 dB
Low-Treble
3.48 dB
Mid-Treble
4.45 dB
High-Treble
-2.58 dB

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.

7.2
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.93 db
Dips
1.08 db

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.

8.9
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.27
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.3
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.46
Weighted Phase Mismatch
4.12

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.

5.4
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.15 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
6.67 dB
PRTF Distance
9.1 dB
Openness
3.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.6

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.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No

These headphones don't have any virtual soundstage features.

7.2
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.345
WHD @ 100
0.281

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.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
0.4.9
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 4.0
Codec
aptX, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Default
ANC
Maximum
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Integrated

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.

Isolation
6.5
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-16.05 dB
Bass
-7.8 dB
Mid
-15.24 dB
Treble
-25.79 dB

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.

6.8
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
40.49 dB

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.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

The Shure AONIC 50 have an integrated microphone.

4.9
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
243.22 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
16.73 dB
HFE
22988.02 Hz
Weighted THD
6490.393
Gain
41.78 dB

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.

5.9
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
9.45 dB

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.

Active Features
7.8
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
17.3 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
17.3 hrs
Charge Time
1.7 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
Yes
Charging Port USB-C

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 such as 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.

7.5
Active Features
App Support
App Name ShurePlus Play
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
Parametric + Presets
ANC Control
Adjustable
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
Yes
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

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.

Connectivity
7.9
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
139 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
176 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
170 ms
PC Latency (aptX HD)
228 ms
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
38 ms
iOS Latency
165 ms
Android Latency
112 ms

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.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

These headphones don't support any non-Bluetooth wireless connections.

7.7
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
USB-C
Detachable Yes
Length 5.2 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
85 ms

Update 09/24/2020: The Shure AONIC 50 come with a 1/8" TRS cable, rather than the previously-stated 1/8" TRRS cable. Also, they only receive USB audio. The text in this box has been updated.

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.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC/PS4 Wired USB
Audio Only (PC Only)
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

Update 09/24/2020: The Shure AONIC 50 come with a 1/8" TRS cable, rather than the previously-stated 1/8" TRRS cable. Also, they only receive USB audio. The text in this box has been updated.

These headphones only offer full microphone and audio support when connected wirelessly to Bluetooth-enabled PCs. If you plug the included 1/8" TRS cable into a PS4 controller or PC, you'll only receive audio. It's also worth mentioning that the USB cable only receives audio when plugging it into your PC.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No

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.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

The Shure AONIC 50 don't have a dock.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

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.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless

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.

Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless

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.

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless

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.

Bose 700 Headphones Wireless

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, a more feature-packed app, and aptX-LL compatibility, so they’re better suited for streaming videos wirelessly with low latency.

Shure AONIC 50 Wireless Price

Recommended Articles

LOG IN

JOIN RTINGS.com

Be part of the most informed community and take advantage of our advanced tools to find the best product for your needs.
Join our mailing list:
Become an insider
EARLY ACCESS

Gain early access to all tests results for new products

Early Access UI
PRICES LISTED

Prices will now be listed directly in reviews and tables

product prices UI
MORE VOTES

Have 5 votes per product category to choose which product we’ll review next

Additional votes UI
UNLIMITED ACCESS

Gain unlimited access to detailed test results in tools and results (no blurred results)

test table UI

Create Post