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Shure AONIC 4 vs 5 (2022): Comparing Shure’s Sound Isolating Headphones

Between the Shure AONIC 4 and Shure AONIC 5, there are a lot of similarities, such as their noise-isolating design, plugs and controls, among other things. In fact, there are only a few differences here and there, but they’re significant enough to influence your buying decision. That’s besides their huge price gap.

In this short Shure AONIC 5 review—and Shure AONIC 4 review, for that matter—we clear up what sets one pair apart from the other and hopefully help you decide which one is best for you.

Shure AONIC 4 vs 5 Comparison Chart

ModelShure AONIC 4Shure AONIC 5
 Shure AONIC 4 vs 5Shure AONIC 4 vs 5
PriceCheck Price at Shure.comCheck Price at Shure.com
Frequency Response20 Hz to 19 kHz18 Hz to 19.5 kHz
Impedance7 ohms36 ohms
Sensitivity106dB SPL117dB SPL
DriverBalanced armature, dynamic driver3 x high-definition balanced armature drivers: 2 x woofers, 1 x tweeter
Noise AttenuationUp to 37dBUp to 37dB
Included SleevesSoft Flex, Foam, Triple Flange, Yellow FoamSoft Flex, Foam, Triple Flange, Yellow Foam, Comply
Connection3.5mm, 1/4″ jack3.5mm, 1/4″ jack
Interchangeable NozzlesNoYes
CompatibilityAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS
ColorsSmoke Gray/White, Smoke Gray/BlackCrystal Clear, Gloss Red/Clear, Matte Black/Clear

Design and Build

Only the Shure AONIC 5 features interchangeable nozzles.

Shure AONIC 4 vs 5 Design and Build
Here’s what’s included with the Shure AONIC 4 (left) and AONIC 5 (right).

To start things off, the Shure AONIC 4 and AONIC 5 have see-through bodies, but the AONIC 4 is translucent on the outside, while the AONIC 5 is transparent on the inside or transparent all over. 

On that note, the AONIC 4’s color options are aptly called Smoke Gray + White and Smokey Gray + Black, and the AONIC 5’s are Crystal Clear, Gloss Red + Clear and Matte Black + Clear.

These headphones are bundled with a 3.5mm cable with in-line controls and a microphone and a 1/4 inch adapter. Moreover, the two come with Soft Flex (i.e., rubber) and Foam ear tips in different sizes, as well as Triple Flange and Yellow Foam, but on top of those, the AONIC 5 also includes Comply sleeves, which are made from memory foam for comfort.

But the biggest difference is that only the AONIC 5 has interchangeable nozzles that affect its sound signature (more on that in a bit). And speaking of customization, both earbuds are compatible with the True Wireless Secure Fit Adapter Gen 2 that essentially turns them into Bluetooth headphones.

Comfort and Usage

Whether the Shure AONIC 4 or the AONIC 5 is more comfortable depends on the size of your ears.

Shure AONIC 4 vs 5 Comfort and Usage
Notice how the Shure AONIC 4 (left) is see-through on the outside and the AONIC 5 (right) on the inside.

The Shure AONIC 4 and AONIC 5 share a similar form factor, but the latter is slightly larger, so it’s possibly less comfortable for those with small ears. By the same token, it may provide a better fit for those with big ears.

Both have low impedance, but the AONIC 4 has a lower resistance of 7 ohms as opposed to the AONIC 5’s 36 ohms. At any rate, you shouldn’t find any trouble using these with any smartphone, laptop or PC, but you should still pay attention to the AONIC 5’s volume because of its higher signal output.

Sound Quality

The Shure AONIC 4 and AONIC 5 each have their own strengths, but the latter is more flexible.

Shure AONIC 4 vs 5 Sound Quality
Here’s how the Shure AONIC 4 (left) and AONIC 5 (right) look like worn.

Neither the Shure AONIC 4 nor the AONIC 5 are noise-canceling headphones, meaning they’re not in the same league as, say, the Sony WF-1000XM4 in this regard. But owing to their design, they have excellent noise isolation that’s rated to reduce external sounds by up to 37dB. The AONIC 4 has a frequency response range of 20 Hz to 19 kHz, and compared to that, the AONIC 5’s is slightly wider, ranging from 18 Hz to 19.5 kHz. 

Under the hood, the AONIC 4 has a hybrid setup that consists of a balanced armature and a dynamic driver. Thanks to that, it can really bring forward vocals and output a warmer bass with a distinct sound separation. 

On the other hand, the AONIC 5 uses three high-definition balanced armature, two of which are dedicated woofers and the last of which is a tweeter. Overall, it can provide excellent highs and lows, clearer details and phenomenal imaging, but it’s relatively weaker on vocals. However, that’s where its customizable nozzles come into play.

As noted, the AONIC 5’s nozzles can be swapped out to change its sound signature. There are three options: the default Translucent Gray is the balanced nozzle, the Translucent Clear one is the bright nozzle and the Translucent Black is the warm nozzle. Needless to say, if you’re after more details in the highs, use the bright nozzle, but if you want to tone them down, use the warm nozzle.

Click here for our Sony Link Buds vs WF-1000XM4 comparison.

Verdict

While the Shure AONIC 5 is easy to recommend, the AONIC 4 stands out because of its price-to-performance ratio.

The Shure AONIC 5 is arguably the better bang for the buck because of its versatility, allowing it to provide different listening experiences and adapt to various genres. However, the Shure AONIC 4 isn’t just better for the more budget-oriented, but it also strikes the perfect balance between price and performance, making it the better pick for most folks.

At the end of the day, our recommendation is the AONIC 4 because of how it can handle most songs across genres well by default. But if you really want to hear the details of different songs and make some tweaks (or rather, change the nozzles in this case) based on what you’re listening to, then the AONIC 5 can go a long way.

FAQs

📌 What’s the difference between the Shure AONIC 4 and AONIC 5?

Compared to the Shure AONIC 4, the Shure AONIC 5 has interchangeable nozzles to change up its sound signature, and it also comes with an additional pair of ear tips, namely the Comply sleeves.

📌 Is the Shure AONIC 4 noise canceling?

No, the Shure AONIC 4 doesn’t feature active noise cancellation, but it can reduce ambient sound up to 37dB by design.

📌 Is the Shure AONIC 5 noise canceling?

No, the Shure AONIC 5 doesn’t have a noise canceling feature, but its sound-isolating design can reduce external sounds by up to 37dB.

📌 What are the Shure AONIC 5’s nozzles?

The Shure AONIC 5 has a balanced nozzle for a neutral response, a bright nozzle for more detail in the highs and a warm nozzle to dampen upper mids to give way for lows and airy highs.

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.