back to top

Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 Review: Features, Sound, Design & more

The Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 headphones offer a wide range of connectivity options. These include 3.5mm and USB-C wired audio, catering to iPhone 15 owners, and support for various Bluetooth codecs for wireless listening. All of this is wrapped in an elegantly crafted and understated design.

Furthermore, they excel in spatial audio performance, although they do have a slight drawback in terms of cohesive musicality, mainly due to a somewhat pronounced treble—though this can be mitigated with EQ adjustments. Additionally, their noise cancellation is decent but not exceptional.

NewForTech Opinion:

Pros:

  • Exceptional wired and wireless connectivity choices
  • A multitude of EQ presets available
  • Outstanding spatial audio capabilities

Cons:

  • Can feel a bit heavy during extended use
  • Noise cancellation performance is only average
  • Occasional emphasis on treble frequencies
Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 Review: Features, Sound, Design & more

A BRIEF LOOK

Shure’s Aonic 50 Gen 2 headphones boast a sleek design matched with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sound support. This includes aptX Adaptive, aptX HD, regular aptX, and LDAC, covering top-tier wireless audio codecs.

Moreover, they offer a special USB-C port, not just for charging but also for hi-res USB audio – perfect for iPhone 15 and Apple Music enthusiasts. This diverse connectivity menu spans wireless Bluetooth audio from your phone, traditional wired hi-fi systems, and USB-C audio for your MacBook Pro.

Now, the star feature of these highly anticipated second-gen Shure headphones is their spatialized audio technology, offering three modes: Music, Cinema, and Podcast. They excel at providing clarity and separation in vocals, enhancing your listening experience across different media.

To compete for the title of the best noise-cancelling headphones, Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 features advanced hybrid active noise cancellation, offering Light, Moderate, Max, and MaxAware modes. While generally excellent, some found the clamping force strong, and certain modes added warmth and sweetness to the sound.

Shure’s ShurePlus PLAY app is a valuable companion, offering a user-friendly interface, easy navigation, and seamless pairing between devices.

In terms of comfort, they weigh 340g and may feel slightly heavy during long listening sessions, depending on your accustomed headset weight.

Sonically, they cater to EQ enthusiasts, providing a good sound profile with room for customization. The ShurePlus Play app is a powerful tool in this regard, simplifying the tweaking process.

In summary, the Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 headphones are versatile all-rounders, excelling in spatial audio. Sound purists may require patience for optimal results, and the ANC, while good, falls short of exceptional. However, they are an excellent choice for those seeking USB-C hi-res headphones with wireless capabilities.

PRICE & RELEASE DATE

PRICE & RELEASE DATE

  • Released in September 2023.
  • Priced at $349 / £349 / approximately AU$540.
  • Announced on August 31, the Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 hit the market in September 2023.

This new release comes at an attractive price point within the elite over-ear headphones category. Remarkably, it’s more affordable than the initial April 2020 Shure Aonic 50, which debuted at $399 / £359, equivalent to about AU$580.

Shure’s strategic pricing move positions the Aonic 50 Gen 2 competitively, undercutting the costs of several top-tier over-ear headphones by a substantial $50. Notable examples include the Sony WH-1000XM5 ($399 / £380 / AU$649), Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 ($399 / £379 / approximately AU$575), and Edifier Stax Spirit S3 ($399 / £330 / around AU$640).

Additionally, it places the Aonic 50 Gen 2 in direct competition with the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless, also priced at $349.95 / £300 / AU$549.95. A strategic move, contingent on its performance matching the pricing allure.

SHURE AONIC 50 GEN 2: SPECIFICATIONS

SHURE AONIC 50 GEN 2: SPECIFICATIONS

Here’s an overview of the Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2’s key specifications:

SpecificationDetails
Drivers50mm dynamic with Neodymium magnet
Active noise cancellationYes (selectable)
Battery lifeUp to 45 hours
Weight340g
ConnectivityBluetooth 5 with aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, LDAC; USB-C wired audio
Frequency range20Hz – 22kHz
WaterproofingNo
Other featuresUSB-A to USB-C and 3.5mm cables supplied, spatial audio with multiple processing options
These specifications provide a comprehensive snapshot of the Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2’s capabilities.
SHURE AONIC 50 GEN 2 FEATURES

SHURE AONIC 50 GEN 2 FEATURES

  • Impressive spatial audio options
  • Useful EQ presets
  • USB Audio supports up to 32-bit/384kHz

Firstly, let’s talk about battery life, which, at 45 hours, is commendable. The Edifier Stax Spirit S3 outlasts them at 80 hours, but that’s without ANC, making it an uneven comparison. However, I can confirm the Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2’s battery life lives up to the claim.

Pairing these headphones is a breeze, and adjusting volume, playback, and ANC profiles on the right earcup’s physical buttons is effortless.

A notable feature is PausePlus. Picture this: you’re rocking out to death metal at the office with Max ANC when your boss approaches (hypothetically, of course). With PausePlus activated, pressing the multi-function button not only pauses the music but also activates ambient sound. Perfect for polite conversations while pretending you were only enjoying a podcast.

Now, let’s dive into Shure’s Spatializer, found in the app’s device tab. You can select spatial audio processing tailored for music, movies, or podcasts. These options bring depth and enjoyment to your audio experience.

The EQ presets follow a similar user-friendly approach. Shure wisely avoids genre-specific profiles, offering presets like Bass Cut, Bass Boost, Treble Cut, and Vocal Boost. Treble Cut is my personal favorite for music, as it tames the pronounced higher frequencies.

Regarding ANC, it’s decent but not total silence. You control it with a slider on the right earcup, or you can fine-tune it in the app with options like Environment Mode Level or Light, Moderate, Max, and MaxAware ANC. However, compared to Bose and Sony, they fall slightly short in noise reduction.

For call quality, the “Hear myself on calls” toggle enhances the experience, making calls feel less isolating.

Features rating: 4.5/5

SHURE AONIC 50 GEN 2 DESIGN REVIEW

SHURE AONIC 50 GEN 2 SOUND QUALITY REVIEW

  • Exceptional separation and clarity
  • Occasional emphasis on treble frequencies
  • Some lack of musical cohesion

Starting with Mogwai’s Ritchie Sacramento on Tidal via a wired USB-C connection to my Mac, the headphones impress with intricate chimes and a rich soundscape. The mids shine, offering remarkable clarity.

Paolo Nutini’s Loving You showcases textured vocals amid agile guitars and effortless drums.

Switching to Apple Music on an iPhone for Jamie T’s Sticks ‘n’ Stones, the experience is immersive, though the headphones occasionally exaggerate treble, causing minor disorganization.

Compared to Focal Bathys and Edifier Stax Spirit S3, this is a minor issue. A detailed mix with dynamic mids and punchy bass compensates.

The Treble Cut EQ option helps with treble issues, but it may not suit everyone.

Sound quality earns a solid 4/5.

SHURE AONIC 50 GEN 2 DESIGN REVIEW

  • USB port on the right earcup, 3.5mm jack on the left
  • Flat design, non-foldable
  • Hair may get caught in hinges
  • Stylish, but relatively heavy at 340g
  • Physical controls, not touch-sensitive

Foldability isn’t a feature here; the Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2’s earpieces lie flat, akin to models like Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless or Focal Bathys. The hard-shell case is relatively compact but not ultra-portable.

The build exudes elegance, with hinges rotating silently, albeit at a slow pace. Be cautious of hair getting caught in the hinges. The earcup and headband padding is generous. The physical buttons on one earcup cater to right-handed users, though they might be fiddly for lefties or those with larger fingers.

A minor quirk is the cable ports on each earpiece. Sound leakage is minimal, and the clamping force is sturdy, suitable for on-the-go use but potentially less comfortable during leisure.

Regrettably, these headphones lack water resistance (no IP rating), so avoid taking them to the shower.

In summary, the Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 headphones are handsome but somewhat hefty. Their design leans towards classic, featuring physical controls instead of touch-sensitive ones. A design score of 4.5/5 highlights their appeal.

SHURE AONIC 50 GEN 2 REVIEW: VALUE

SHURE AONIC 50 GEN 2 REVIEW: VALUE

  • Exceptional spatial audio presets and EQ options
  • Acceptable but not class-leading ANC
  • Competitive pricing
  • Up to 32-bit/384kHz USB-C hi-res audio
  • Versatile connectivity options
  • Excellent battery life (45 hours)
  • Classy build and companion app

If you seek top-tier active noise cancellation, consider alternatives like the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless, or Sony WH-1000XM5. While the Aonic 50 Gen 2 offers ANC and fine presets, it doesn’t dominate in this regard.

Nonetheless, for those prioritizing connectivity, spatial audio profiles, and exceptional EQ adjustments, these headphones are hard to match.

Battery life, build quality, the companion app, and reliable multipoint pairing further enhance their appeal.

On the downside, occasional treble prominence and ANC performance may be deal-breakers depending on your preferences.

Value Score: 4.5/5

SHOULD I BUY THE SHURE AONIC 50 GEN 2?

SHOULD I BUY THE SHURE AONIC 50 GEN 2?

Buy them if…

  • You desire USB-C hi-res audio.
  • You enjoy movie-watching, especially on Android, with the “Cinema” spatializer setting.
  • You appreciate flexibility with various wired connections, high-quality wireless tech, smart ANC options, and robust EQ tweaking.

Don’t buy them if…

  • You prioritize the absolute best active noise cancellation.
  • Excellent sound quality out of the box is paramount to you.
  • You seek the most portable headphones; these aren’t the lightest.

ALSO CONSIDER

FeatureShure Aonic 50 Gen 2Edifier Stax Spirit S3Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
Price$349 / £349 / approx. AU$540$399 / £330 / approx. AU$640$349.95 / £300 / AU$549.95
Drivers50mm dynamic with Neodynium magnet89 x 70mm planar magnetic42mm dynamic
Active noise cancellationYes, selectableNoYes, adaptive
Quoted battery life45 hours80 hours60 hours
Weight340g329g293g
ConnectivityBluetooth 5, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, LDAC, USB audioBluetooth 5.2, aptX HD, aptX AdaptiveBluetooth 5.2, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive
Frequency range20Hz – 22kHz20Hz – 40kHz6Hz – 22kHz
WaterproofingNoneNoneIPX4 splashproof

More like this