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Shure AONIC 40 Review

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Fast Facts

Shure AONIC 40 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
Manufacturer: Shure
Battery Life: 25 hours
Website: https://www.shure.com
Bluetooth: 5.0 (Multipoint)
Audio Codec: Qualcomm® aptX™, aptX™ HD, AAC, and SB
App Support: ShurePlus Play app
Release Date: 4th Jan 2022
Price: £249 RRP

A unit was provided for review purposes

Where to Start.

Shure are just about the most identifiable Audio brand in the entire world. The are renowned throughout the industry for their incredible Mic, Audio Interfaces and Stage Monitors. Pretty much, if you attend a Music Festival or Gig, the performer will be using Shure technology somewhere in their production.

I’ve been a huge fan of Shure for a very long time, and in fact my first venture into true mid to high end audio were a set of Shure IEM’s (In-ear monitors). They were the SE530, and to this day I still have them. Just an ever present piece of Audio hardware in my collection. So the opportunity to explore the Aonic 40 and see how Shure can fair in the Noise Cancelling Headphone section of this modern era of audio hardware was super exciting for me.

The Shure Aonic 40 are the latest addition to Shure’s Aonic line-up of Wireless Headphones, and when I say line-up, I use the term loosely at these are just the second venture in this category, with this follow up to the Aonic 50 which launched in 2020.

Slotting in at a price point of £249 and sitting £60 cheaper than their predecessor, these certainly feel like a necessary swing from Shure. They arrive in what is a very crowded marketplace for on-ear headphones which other the trifecta of ANC, bluetooth and a version of transparency. The price point is also the sweet spot, with many comparative headphones such as the Bose QC45 available for similar amounts of cash.


Right out of the box, the Aonic 40, already hit the mark for what must have been the biggest constructive feedback for their predecessor. They fold, with the familiar 90 degree click found in headphones such as the Cleer Alpha, and store away in the very handy and premium feeling Shure branded case. The headphones themselves, are lightweight in construction and entirely plastic. Not the most premium feeling or soft touch plastic on show here, and a compromise I’m sure that was taken into account to hit the price point and the weight of 310g.

The design of the headphones themselves, is super sleek, and feel like a Shure product through and through. The silver curved arms flow across the rear of each driver, so it’s obvious which way to pop them on your head each time, no searching out for the dreaded L or R to denote each side. Each ear cushion is soft and supple, and across my testing perfectly suited for wearing the Aonic 40 for many hours of listening. Both ear’s stayed cool and relatively sweat free throughout my testing, something that can’t be said for many others tested along the way.

Aside from the Headphones and Case, in the box there’s just a USB C cable for charging, a 3.5m cable for more traditional audio experiences and nothing more. Simplicity can be a real bonus sometimes! There are also some simple hardware buttons to be found on the headphones themselves. Although these can be customised using the ShurePlus Play app, by default the left ear provides a Power on and off button (which chimes with an almost Terminator like futuristic melody). To the right ear, a plus and minus volume adjust flanks the play pause button. In addition there is also a button that toggles through Shure’s Noise Control settings.

The Technology

Shure incorporates 3 options, Active Noise Cancellation (light, normal, MAX), Off & Environment Mode. Although this may be slightly different branding than usual, the experiences are likely to be something you are familiar with. The full extent of these audio profiles can really be dialled in when you pair the Aonic 40 with the ShurePlus Play App.

For ANC you can toggle across the 3 aforementioned choices, and in my experience you are likely to leave this at MAX. The Light and Normal options just allow too many sounds through, particularly droning and repetitive noises such as washing machines. Also there is very noticeable leakage when it comes to pitch variation such as voices and this is particularly noticeable with squeaky voiced children.

Environment mode, provides a transparency like experience, with audio passthrough, and again this can also be adjusted using the partner app. This time it has 10 points of adjustment, from super clear audio relay to an almost ANC like experience. Again, I think for most users you are likely to leave this at the default setting, but hey adjustment is always going to be a good thing.

The APP experience is relatively straightforward and great for Firmware updates and basic EQ tweaking, if this type of thing floats your boat. It also offers audio integration with most major streaming apps although I did find this a little buggy with a few app crashes here and there.

The Sound

Shure brand the Aonic 40, as offering clear Studio-Quality sound. Whereas they don’t expand on what this really means, my interpretation of this as a long time user of Shure Audio gear is a very neutral and crisp sound. Everything sounds authentic to the original recording with only the slightest warmth added to the sound signature. If you are looking for a bass heavy and very produced sound these 100% are not the headphones for you. For me, this is a very good thing. This is a statement piece for Shure to say, “If you love the Shure sound, you’ll feel right at home with these”. Everything sounds amazing with these, although vocals have a slight veil to the whole sound they are placed really well track after track.

These headphones shine most brightly across the 80’s. Synth pop, slappy guitars and classic Anthemic rock will bring a smile to any listeners face when wearing the Shure Aonic 40. With a touted battery life of 25 hours, in my testing I managed to squeeze a little more that this whilst listening at around 70-80% max volume.

The Total Package

All in, I was impressed with the Shure Aonic 40. Certainly not the flashiest headphones at this price point, with some obvious considerations made around build materials. Yet they shine where it should really count, in the sound. They will go toe to toe with any other headphones in this price range when it comes down to pure audio experience. Although lacking a little in the ANC department they are such an enjoyable pair of headphones to pop on and disappear for a few hours, I would just about recommend them at their RRP of £249. However if you shop around these can currently be found for as little as £162, and at that price, they are an absolute bargain.

Rapid Reviews Rating

4 out of 5


The Shure Aonic 40 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones are available here

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