Over the past few years, as video conferences and team calls slowly started becoming a part of our work lives, we have all got used to just picking the earphones that are more conveniently available to connect the call. However, this year, our world has turned on its head. And as these calls now dominate our work, and even family, lives, it is imperative that we have a good pair of earphones or headphones that can be worn over long hours. In fact, it is as important now as phone or laptop as people are more than willing to spend some extra bucks for that added comfort and listening pleasure.
This is the space a lot of high-end headphones are trying to tap now. One of the brands that could make an impact is Shure, an American company that specialises in equipment for audio production and recording. The Shure Aonic 50 is a premium headphone you would wear all day for your calls and conferences, and then keep on as you listen to Moonlight Sonata to wind down in the evening.
The Shure Aonic 50 is a premium headset. You will figure that out with one look. The leather finish, the metallic frame that comes out of this leather and plush ear cups all scream premium. It also tells you this is something that is going to sound different, even without the cables.
The ear cups are comfortable — I actually wore them throughout the day for a couple of days before coming to this conclusion. The headband offers the right amount of pressure to keep the ear cups in place and gradually you forget the headphones are there as the music takes over, wrapping your ears in pleasure.
On the right cups are the controls — a toggle for noise cancellation, volume controls flanking a pause/play button and a power button that also initiates pairing. The Shure Aonic 50 uses a USB-C port to charge. On the left ear cup, you also have a 3.5mm jack in case you do want to go wired.
The Shure Play app offers more controls, adjust noise cancellation within the three levels on offer, select a preset equaliser or add a new one. There could have been more tweaks on offer, but these are functional.
But you will not need to use the controls a lot. Since the Shure Aonic 50 is essentially the sort of headphones you would find being used in a studio, the profile is also more neutral. So the bass comes alive when the song is so, not as a boost on every number you hear. Like when you are hearing Miracles by Mala you understand how powerful bass is when used sparingly, and literally not with every beat. And then you realise how the music flows from one earphone to the other. I can easily say Hamas Rule by Shackleton was one of the best bass experiences I have had in a long time — and this is an admission coming from someone who hates bass.
Even when you are listening to something more common, like a Leonard Cohen or an Andrea Bocelli, the experience offered by the 55mm dynamic drivers is so balanced, letting the performer shine, never letting any channel overpower the composition. The highs, mids and lows, are all slotted where they should be. This is a headphone for purists.
And when you are not listening to calls, you can just wear the Shure for long hours with the noise cancelling on so that you can hear yourself think in the din of our noise households with children taking online classes and more than one person working from home. You can use the max noise cancellation option if it gets too noisy, but you will still hear people speaking. And if you do want to be aware of your surroundings, the toggle on the right lets you switch off noise cancellation and adjust how much of the ambient noise you want to take in using the app. This is a very cool future.
The battery of the Shure Aonic 50 lasts 20 hours on a full charge with noise cancellation on. It takes a while to charge, so the best option is to leave it charging overnight.
Shure Aonic 50 is available on Headphone Zone at a discounted price for Rs 27,990 and is worth every penny you spend on it. This headphone offers one of the richest audio experiences I have had in recent times and is an investment for those who love their music, and their peace of mind, should consider.
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