Not the first name when it comes to everyday TWS, yet Shure still commands respect, thanks to its studio roots. The Aonic line is their consumer-oriented range, but the Aonic Free is their first true wireless earbuds and while it doesn’t get active noise cancellation tech, they do feature a rather effective passive sound “isolating” design.
Shure Aonic Free review
The only element out of place here is the jarring welcome tone when you plug them into your ears followed by a female voice in a French accent announcing that you’re “connected”. A physical button on each earbud allows for customization of basic controls via the ShurePlus Play app and an LED to indicate connection status. A USB-C port and an LED indicator on the case are what you get to manage charging.
Prompt with its firmware updates, there was one offered right in the middle of this review. It didn’t change the sound quality, but it’s always comforting to know that stability, connectivity and battery enhancements are being pushed even after the launch phase. As with all TWS earbuds, tiny fit adjustments go a long way in changing the sound quality so don’t be lazy in angling each earbud up or down and lock it in the position where you experience the most amount of bass energy and body to the sound.
Do it Over by The Districts is a Hi-Res Lossless track on Apple Music and has a well-recorded vocal track along with a snappy bass line and the Aonic Free played it with verve and excitement. Take manual control of the EQ and you can get granular about exactly how much sizzle or oomph you like in your music, but all I needed was a slight gain around 110Hz and even slighter gain around the 8kHz mark to get to my sweet spot. The 40mm drivers are par for the course and do the job well, but hike up the bass levels in the EQ and you will hear the mini drivers begging for mercy as they reach their excursion limits. Also, it won’t be safe for your ears in the long run so the Aonic Free is best enjoyed at reasonable SPL levels.
They do lack the ultimate refinement and finesse in comparison to say, the Sony WF-1000XM4 that I reviewed last month, but the Sony is also dearer than the Shure. Lo/Hi by The Black Keys was played back with all the presence in the backing vocals, grittiness in the guitars and the punch in the low-end, but it misses out on the depth and the utter disappearing act that the best of its kind manage. If you like a large, lush soundstage, then the Aonic Free won’t completely immerse you in the music. They are a great pair of TWS but one that misses out on the “X factor”. They’re more clinical in nature to Sony’s more entertaining sound signature.
Feel expensive for a non-ANC, but the Aonic Free offers a superb fit, great call quality and satisfactory sound quality.
|Apt-X, Apt-X HD, AAC, SBC