Shure Aonic Free

the good thing about being different

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At a time when wireless headphones that offer active noise cancellation have become the most popular on the market (AirPods Pro, Jabra Elite, Bose QuiteComfort…), that some brands are managing to obtain the same results passively, it is great news.

It is what Shure promises us in its new Aonic Free, its new earbuds type headphones that are committed to a passive cancellation of all those noises that surround us thanks to its technology Sound Isolatingwhile focusing their efforts on offering us a high-quality sound experience.

Unlike other headphones, the Aonic Free stands out. Both the headphones and the charging case have a considerable size and their own aesthetics that definitely break with the type of “follower” earbuds of Apple designs that we have seen in recent years. Constructed of high-quality plastic (and in our tests resistant to drops and scratches), we can find them in graphite gray, silver chrome or intense red. Along with the headphones and the case, in the packaging we also find a USB-C charger and pads of three different sizes.

Shure Aonic Free

The size of the case, which doubles that of other models, makes it somewhat inconvenient to carry in a pocket, for example, but at the same time offers greater protection to the headphones. Too many times we have come across cases that are so compact that in any fall they open and the earbuds shoot out. This of course with the new Shure does not happen. It is also important to note at this point that the case does not support wireless charging. That said, we don’t think it’s a must-have feature in a category of devices that, with average usage, will only need to charge about once a month.

In this sense, Shure promises that its Aonic Free offer a range of up to 7 hours uninterrupted with a single charge and a total autonomy of 21 hours if we count the two extra charges that are stored in the case. Enough for the vast majority of users… although perhaps we expected something more, if we take into account that many headphones offer nine hours on a single charge and up to 30 hours in total, in much more compact models.

Touch controls and sound quality

Another design decision that sets the new Shure apart from other headphones is the way its touch controls are integrated. Instead of betting on integrated controls on the surface, here we find small buttons on the side that will help us pause a song, skip to the next song or receive a call. In our opinion, this arrangement helps more precise control and simple of the pulsations and taking into account the available surface, it seems to us a success.

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In the App that comes with the headphones (Shure Plus Play) we can, if we wish, change how the button behaves depending on the presses or assign new commands, such as being able to choose if we want to pair our headphones with personal assistants such as Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant. Both in this aspect and to make and receive calls, the headphones benefit precisely from a technology true wireless Improved which, among other things, manages to increase the range of coverage that we would obtain using only Bluetooth. Of the 8-10 meters of coverage that we get in the best case (without physical obstacles) in a Bluetooth pairing, with TrueWireless we can easily reach more than 20, which is ideal for use in large spaces.

The microphones, on the other hand, although they offer a clean signal in quiet environments such as a video conference at our desk, they lack that external noise reduction technology that ANC headphones do integrate, so their use outdoors when it is windy or we are in Noisy spaces do not always offer the best experience. Put another way: if you’re looking for a headset to talk to all the time, you can probably find better options.

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Our opinion changes radically, however, if what you are looking for are headphones with which to isolate yourself when listening to music. To do this, we have already mentioned that the company uses a proprietary technology that it calls Sound Isolating and that it includes in almost all its headphones. To achieve this passive isolation without the need for batteries, the brand uses an exclusive closed channel for noise isolation, while designing pads that integrate perfectly and very lightly into the auditory pavilion. The experience is perfect and has very little to envy to the isolation provided by an ANC headphone.

Considering Shure’s strong tradition of delivering quality sound, we expected a lot from these headphones and they definitely deliver on their promise. The basses are round and deep and the trebles are clear, the frequency range is wide and well balanced, the mid tones allow us to hear all the small subtleties that we find in the most complex pieces and in general, if we have a team that accompanies us, we can enjoy an audiophile experience of a high quality for this price range.

The application that comes with these Aonic Free includes the possibility of playing with different presets or performing a manual equalization of them. And it is this other aspect that has surprised us for good because while in other brands the equalizer is little more than an ornament that does not offer very interesting results, here we find a serious study of the different modes with which we can work. Also appreciated is its compatibility with Qualcomm aptX, in addition to AAC and SBC, which facilitates greater stability in audio transmission (we have not yet experienced any micro-cuts).

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Shure Aonic Free: conclusions

At a time when most wireless headphones look so much alike that it’s hard to tell them apart, it’s nice that brands like Shure are taking a different approach.

Both for its aesthetic prominence and for the technology they offer, what the American company puts in our hands are headphones that get noticed and in addition, they combine the best of both worlds: the lightness of headphones that offer passive isolation, with the investment experience of ANC headphones. To this we must add the good work that the brand does when it comes to controlling the sound quality.

On the debit side, we would have liked to be able to enjoy more autonomy, while considering that we believe that its microphone, when used outdoors, is probably its weakest point. A slightly more compact charging case wouldn’t have hurt either.

Buy on Amazon

Shure AONIC Free is available in the Spanish channel, for sale at retailers such as Amazon for €199.

Final assessment

RESUME

At a time when most wireless headphones look so much alike that it’s hard to tell them apart, it’s nice that brands like Shure are taking a different approach.

Design and build quality8

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