REVIEW: Shure AONIC 40 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Shure’s latest entry into the crowded field of noise-cancelling headphones is a home-run.

Right out of the box, the experience is premium, without an extra premium added to the price tag. Yes, at $249 the Shure Sonic 40 headphones not “cheap,” but they hold their own, price-wise, against heavy hitters from Bose and the like.

Now, how do they feel? The ear cups themselves are generously sized, and in this instance more comfortable than our old Bose noise-cancelling cans. So, kudos there. They fold and store nicely into the included case, and as the name suggests, can be used with a standard wired connection or over Bluetooth (thankfully, they’re up to date on the 5.0 spec). We tested via various Bluetooth transmission sources and everything worked as expected. AAC and even lossless files streamed well (yes, we know all about Bluetooth compression when it comes to lossless files, but we still let our ears do the judging).

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Now, onto the main event: how do they compare when it comes to isolation and true noise-cancelation? Well, pretty damn good. We dig the “environment” mode which allows you to go back and forth between the music and the real world, and there are a handful of presets to deal with noise cancelling, so you’re sure to find at least one setting that works best for your needs.

Best of all, they’re not super-heavy like our go-to Audeze’s, which makes wearing them for extended periods a dream.

Like everything nowadays, there is an app to deal with, and while we typically despise apps for things that never required apps in the past (like headphones), the ShurePlus PLAY app is fine, and allows you to navigate presets and store custom EQs to the headphones themselves. At least it’s easy to navigate and doesn’t crash our phone, like some other apps we’ve been forced to use lately. [note to MI brands – for real, please hire real app developers]

Since they’re billed as “studio quality,” that’s where we tested them: both for pure listening and for mixing/tracking purposes. They do sound great, we’ll have to give them that. We even tested out some immersive audio with great results, even if we’re not entirely sold on the whole immersive thing quite yet.

But at this price point, you can’t go wrong. They sound fantastic, they do provide adjustable levels of workable noise-cancellation, the battery life was surprisingly decent even on a quick charge, and they’re comfy. Recommended.

PROS:

great fit, good battery life, superb sound and noise-cancelling

CONS:

none

STREET PRICE:

$249

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