For fans of a neutral sonic signature
Among the recently released wireless audio devices, the Shure AONIC 5 boasts a pair of wired in-ear headphones, part of the Shure AONIC series of IEMs (in-ear monitors), boasting audiophile-grade accuracy. These are just some of the wireless audio devices we’ve tested in 2020 and they must have been a breath of fresh air. Although they do come with a 3.5mm wired connection, and many smartphones now don’t have the old 3.5mm jack. The earphones employ three high-definition balanced armature drivers. There are two dedicated Ufars (low and medium productions) and a separate Twitter (extended high productions). Earphones even come with detachable cables as well as interchangeable nozzle filters that are capable of changing the sound signature! With the Shure True Wireless Secure Fit adapter, the earphones can be turned into real wireless earphones priced at Rs 19,999. Priced at Rs 42,999, these earphones are a great value and if you choose a secure fit adapter to turn them into wireless IEM, these earphones will give you back about 63K! Let’s see if they manage to deliver the performance they expect at this relatively high price point.
What’s in the box
The Shure AONIC 5 box is packed with accessories and tools such as a quarter-inch adapter for stereo and pro gear, a round protective hard case for earphones, and a nifty ear-wax cleaning tool for earphones. You’ll also find an assortment of ear tips, including three pairs of complimentary foam tips, four pairs of foam tips, three pairs of silicone eartips, one pair of yellow foam tips, and finally, one pair of triple flange ear tips, all in different sizes. So, it is quite safe to say that most users will definitely find a pair of well-fitting ear tips unless they test with enough tips.
We used medium-sized complimentary foam eartips that gave the reviewer an extremely smooth and comfortable fit, as well as greatly improved passive isolation. For reference, the passive isolation we achieved from these ear tips was comparable to the level of noise suppression from Active Noise Cancellation on budget Realm Buds Air Pro earphones, which is seriously impressive. Lastly, you’ll also find three sets of interchangeable nozzles (two in the box and one attached to an earphone), each capable of slightly tweaking the sound profile of these earphones in a balanced, warm or bright sound signature, and a tool that loosens and tightens. The balanced nozzle is attached to the earphones by default.
Construction, design and features
The Shure AONIC 5 is available in three color variants – Black, Red or Clear. We’ve got the clearings for review, and the neatness of being able to see all the internal processes of the relatively small earpieces. In addition, you will see a ‘5’ text inside each earbud, which is quite nice to look at. With the Shure True Wireless Secure Fit adapter, the earpieces can be disconnected from the wires to make them wireless. Internally, the earbuds have three balanced armature drivers with a wide frequency range from 18Hz to 19kHz.
Cables extending from the earbud are semi-rigid and semi-flexible, allowing them to take on the shape they need to sit firmly around your outer ear. The rest of the cable is quite standard and sadly, not tangle-resistant, which is a bit disappointing. The wires of the AONIC 5 can easily get tangled inside a given hard case, unless you store them impeccably. The cable on the right has an inline remote control, which looks a bit plastic. However, the buttons on the remote are well-placed and sensitive. The central multi-function button can control music playback, make calls, skip tracks, and call your device’s voice assistant (with a double tap). The plus and minus buttons control the volume. The back of the remote has a toggle switch for iPhone and Android devices. We used an Android device to test and slide the switch on Android (A) to make sure all the buttons could be used.
The assortment of memory foam tips and the relatively small form factor of earbuds make it a comfortable and secure fit, even for extended periods of time. The looping-over-the-ear wear design can be tricky in the beginning, especially if you are accustomed to the common ear that you can only push inside your canal. However, you get used to it over time. Overall, the AONIC 5 earphones are comfortable and extremely secure to the ear, making them tough to use even when traveling or doing light exercise. Although they do not come with official IP rating, so remember if you sweat a lot.
Being a wired audiofile-grade earphone, you won’t find much in the way of flashy features other than the interchangeable nozzles with the AONIC 5 that tweak the sound signature. There is no active noise cancellation, but according to the company, the sound-isolating design of foam eartips and knuckles blocks ambient noise up to 37dB. As we mentioned above, passive isolation, by itself, is nice with these earphones, and we didn’t really miss the ANC when using AONIC 5. These earphones, however, do not come with ambient or ambient sound modes.
The unique feature of the Shure AONIC 5 earphones is the ability to change the sound signature by switching between the three filter nozzles provided by the company, they use a simple tool packed in a box. The three nozzles come in a variety of colors for easy identification – translucent gray for a balanced sonic signature (installed by default), translucent black for a warm sonic signature, and translucent clear for a bright sonic signature. The nozzles are surprisingly easy to install and offer a subtle adjustment to the sonic signature of the earphones. The warm filter only offers 2.5dB reduction in the 1kHz to 8kHz frequency range while the bright filter offers 2.5dB increase in the same frequency range. Low and Mids are untouched across all filters, so don’t expect a Thampi bus reaction with a warm filter, the Shure AONIC 5 doesn’t just live Thampi.
Instead what you get is a well-defined, controlled and clear bend, and a clean mid across all nozzles. In our opinion, the height of the Bright Filter is somewhat exaggerated, and listening for a little over an hour with this filter can cause hearing fatigue. Worm filters, on the other hand, are pleasing to the eye but provide a lesser distinguished sound which takes them away from the accuracy of the sound. The balanced filter was right for us and we initially tested the device with this filter, since we felt it was the most accurate, clean and natural-sounding.
One of the most interesting things about the AONIC 5 is the great sound stage and left / right stereo accuracy. Spatial imaging is the top groove with such tracks Shine on By Pink Floyd There is a great deal of precision in the relatively wide range of positioning instruments and voices. It translates well across all interchangeable nozzles, which is quite commendable.
Alloy response and low neutral close and full and controlled. Even at high volume there are no signs of distortion and no hearing masking in the middle. The bus timber does not change with the warm filter, however, since the 1kHz to 8kHz range has been recessed, it seems to be more forward. This kind of response is made towards audiophiles who prefer neutral wood, so those who enjoy the presence of a trench like a subwoofer may be disappointed.
No matter which faade you use, the mids are clean, balanced and insightful. Vocal clarity is excellent and vocal tracks such as Love in the brain By Rihanna Fly delightfully in all the right places. The lead instruments on the tracks are also impeccably reproduced with decent drives and details. High, on the other hand, changes a fair bit with different nozzles. We like the height clarity of balanced nozzles the most because bright nozzles emphasize them a little too much which can cause hearing fatigue and turn off some people. With the help of the bright nozzle, the synth bit which is repeated in the right ear The hunter By Bjork Sounds a bit harsh
Overall, these earphones will thrill the audiofiles with their precise, clinical sound signatures. Clarity and clarity make these earphones ideal for sound mixing and critical listening.
The last row
The launch of wireless earphones in the market is refreshing to see the market flooded with the rapid flow of wireless alternatives. The Shure AONIC 5 earphones are a great option for those who still prefer wired connection with lossless signal. Priced at Rs 42,999, these earphones offer a balanced and accurate sound signature suitable for audiofile and sound engineers. Equipped with interchangeable filter nozzles and ear tips for a variety of sound signatures, the Shure AONIC 5 offers quite a lot of personalization and versatility. If you are looking for a pair of IEMs with neutral feedback then these earphones are a great choice. However, for a more textured and dynamic sonic signature, you may have to look elsewhere because the nozzles do not change the sonic signature much.