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Shure AONIC 40 vs 50 (2022): Which Shure Wireless ANC Headphones Should You Buy?

Shure manufactures some of the best audio equipment for both professional and casual use. The Shure AONIC 40 and AONIC 50 are Bluetooth headphones designed for the everyday user with features such as ANC and Environment (ambient/transparency) modes. These two offer similar features, but they still have significant differences that will make one a better choice than the other. We compare the Shure AONIC 40 and AONIC 50 below to find out what these differences are, and to help you choose which pair of headphones is better for you.

Shure AONIC 40 vs 50 Comparison Chart

ModelShure AONIC 40 Shure AONIC 50
 
PriceCheck Price Check Price
StyleOver-ear, closed-back
Double-hinge (swivel & collapse)
Over-ear, closed-back
Single-hinge (swivel)
Weight10.9 ounces (310g)11.8 ounces (335g)
Driver40mm50mm
ANC & Environment ModeYesYes
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.0 (multipoint)
Wired (analog USB)
Bluetooth 5.0 (multipoint)
Wired (analog USB)
CodecsaptX HD, aptX, SBC, AACLDAC, aptX LL, aptX HD, aptX, SBC, AAC
AppShurePlus PLAYShurePlus PLAY
Battery25 hours20 hours
Color OptionsBlack, White/TanBrown, Black, White/Tan

Design

Both the Shure AONIC 40 and AONIC 50 have an over-ear, closed-back design.

shure aonic 40 vs 50 design
Due to their double-hinge design, the Shure AONIC 40 (left) have more potential weak points than the single-hinge Shure AONIC 50 (right).

In terms of design, the Shure AONIC 40 and AONIC 50 both have a modern and sleek look to them. They both have minimalist designs that will surely cater to those that prefer their headphones to have an understated look. That said, these are not boring looking headphones. The Shure AONIC 40 are available in black and white/tan while the Shure AONIC 50 have three color options—brown, black and white/tan.

These headphones are very comfortable as they have sufficient padding on the earcups and on their headbands. The clamping force is not too tight on both and they can be worn for extended periods without discomfort. They weigh under 12 ounces, so they are not that heavy either. One advantage that goes to the AONIC 50 is their slightly roomier cup size, which will fit those with larger ears than normal.

As for build quality, both are excellent, but the Shure AONIC 50 are better. They have less plastic parts than the AONIC 40, and they are single-hinged, so there’s less potential weak points. The double-hinge design of the Shure AONIC 40 lends to better portability since they are collapsible, but this design also introduces more weak points due to having more moveable parts.

Features

The Shure AONIC 50’s ANC is slightly better than the AONIC 40’s.

shure aonic 40 vs 50 features
The earcups of the Shure AONIC 40 (left) can swivel and are collapsible, while the earcups of the Shure AONIC 50 (right) can only swivel.

The Shure AONIC 40 and AONIC 50 share similar features. They both have ANC and Environment modes. You can set the level of their ANC inside the ShurePlus PLAY app, as well as toggle between the ANC or Environment mode. When it comes to active noise cancellation, the Shure AONIC 50 are more effective as they can block out low frequency noise better.

Inside the ShurePlus PLAY app, there are many useful features that you can play with. You can set voice prompts for different alerts such as low battery, connection status and more. There’s also a power-saving setting that you can enable so that you can conserve the headphones’ battery. There’s also EQ presets and custom EQ settings. All in all, the ShurePlus PLAY app is a very good companion app for these headphones.

As for connectivity, these headphones come with Bluetooth 5.0 and they support Bluetooth multipoint, so you can connect them to two sources simultaneously. They also have wired connectivity, so they are quite flexible in terms of connectivity.

Battery life for the Shure AONIC 40 is up to 25 hours, but you can get more if you have ANC or Environment mode disabled. Meanwhile, the Shure AONIC 50 offer a battery life of up to 20 hours.

Sound Quality

The Shure AONIC 40 and AONIC 50 both support SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX HD, but only the latter supports LDAC and aptX LL.

shure aonic 40 vs 50 sound quality
Both of these headphones come with ANC and Environment modes.

The Shure AONIC 40 and AONIC 50 have similar sound signatures that are fairly neutral. That said, the Shure AONIC 40 do have a minor bump in the low bass, so they have slightly more thump and rumble in that range. On the other hand, the Shure AONIC 50 are more balanced in the mid and high range. Both sound fairly neutral and they are well-suited for all genres of music.

One of the few differences between these headphones is the Bluetooth codecs that they support. Both of them support SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX HD, but only the Shure AONIC 50 supports aptX LL and LDAC. You can listen to high-quality audio with either of these headphones whether you’re an iOS or Android user, but the inclusion of LDAC and aptX Low Latency makes the Shure AONIC 50 the more versatile option.

For calls, the two headphones work without any hitch. However, the microphones on the Shure AONIC 50 sound more natural and clearer. On the other hand, the microphones on Shure AONIC 40 can sound a bit muffled.

Verdict

The Shure AONIC 50 are better-built, have better ANC and they sound slightly better than the Shure AONIC 40.

Shure AONIC 40

More affordable, more portable and better battery life

Shure AONIC 50

Better build quality, ANC and supports LDAC and aptX LL

If your choice in headphones came down to these two, we recommend that you pay extra for the more premium Shure AONIC 50 over the Shure AONIC 40. The Shure AONIC 50 are better built, they sound better, their ANC is more effective and they support more high-quality Bluetooth codecs. They are worth the premium price tag. The Shure AONIC 40 are inferior to the AONIC 50 in almost every way, except for battery life and portability.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Are the Shure AONIC 40 noise cancelling?

Yes, they have active noise cancelling and Environment modes.

๐Ÿ“Œ Are the Shure AONIC 50 worth it?

The Shure AONIC 50 are worth buying. They have a premium build, they sound great and they support all Bluetooth codecs for high-quality audio listening.

๐Ÿ“Œ Are the Shure AONIC 40 good for gaming?

They can be used for gaming, but there are better options around since these headphones are designed for everyday casual users.

๐Ÿ“Œ Can I use the Shure AONIC 50 wired?

Yes, the Shure AONIC 50 come with a 2.5mm to 3.5mm cable for wired listening. They also support audio over USB.

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.