Shure Aonic Free review: Who wants noise cancellation?

Rating: 4 out of 5
Rs. 15,999

The Shure Aonic Free TWS earbuds don't feature Active Noise Cancellation, but aims to beat it with superior audio. Here's what we think about the earbuds.

Here's our full review of the Shure Aonic Free earbuds. (Image Source: The Indian Express/ Nandagopal Rajan)

Shure, an American audio brand with a legacy of almost a hundred years, has been trying to get heard in the Indian market for a couple of years now. Now the premium brand seems to be turning on the volume with new products that cater to a wider base with better pricing. The Shure Aonic Free is a clear bid to endear itself to more Indians.

Shure Aonic Free: What’s good?

The Shure Aonic Free has a very distinct design for a truly wireless earphone. The design of the pods somewhat resemble surfboards with ear plugs jutting out. I was not sure about it initially because the part you insert in your ear seems to be like a protrusion. But soon realised that the design fits perfectly in your ears and is comfortable to wear over long hours.

The design here is important, because Shure uses the fit of the device to isolate noise and does not come with noise cancellation. And I must say they do a good job for just a few minutes I could hardly hear the pressure cooker go off in my kitchen. The soft foam tips also play their role here and give a smug fit inside the ear canal.

In fact, I would go to the extent of saying the Aonic Free’s noise isolation does a better job than noise cancellation in some earphones. A testament to this is the fact that the earphones offer an environment mode that reduces the noise isolation so that you can be more aware of your surroundings. This can be switched on via the Play app or using the button on the right earphone.

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The Aonic Free’s noise isolation does a better job than noise cancellation in some earphones. (Image Source: The Indian Express/ Nandagopal Rajan)

The Shure Play app offers quite some customisations, especially one of the best set of presets and equaliser options I have seen in recent times. You can also access your music via the app itself. The environment mode can also be customised using the app.

The Shure Aonic Free comes with the legacy which makes you expect top notch audio quality and that is exactly what the earphones strive to deliver. Listening to a melody like ‘Manmarziyaan’, you get the clarity of the santoor as well as the depth of Amit Trivedi’s voice. The bass is deep enough to accentuate his voice. The Aonic Free is by design a bit partial to bass, but the app let me select a full treble mode that brought in the sharpness I crave for.

With something more rich, like Edgar Moreau album ‘Transmission’, you get the range of this earphones. The soulful cello touches your ear with every note, as the violins offer the perfect foil in the background. All very layered.

Feeling a bit nostalgic, I switched to Meat Loaf’s ‘I’d do anything for love’, and was transported to the days this song was top of the charts for many weeks. Marvin Lee Aday’s sharp vocals were often laboured, but he also had a range that moved easily from the highs to the lows. The Aonic Free could manage all of this well.

The Shure Play app offers quite some customisations, especially one of the best set of presets and equaliser options I have seen in recent times. (Image Source: The Indian Express/ Nandagopal Rajan)

With something like ‘Srivalli’ from Pushpa, the earphones come to life, switching from left to right like lights on a Christmas tree and again highlighting its versatility.

The call quality is pretty good and the noise isolation helps you focus on the Zoom call. You can also switch on the environment mode when on call.

Shure Aonic Free: What’s not good?

One thing to note is that the charging case of these earphones is easily the largest I have seen for truly wireless models. This means it might not be the best to slip into your jeans pocket. And for something this large, maybe the battery life could have been a tad better. Now it is about 20 hours, which is good, but not the best.

Verdict: Are the Shure Aonic Free earbuds for you?

At Rs 15,999, some might questions why does the Aonic Free not offer noise cancellation. This earphone seems to be made to answer this question by telling everyone that noise cancellation is not the ultimate technology and the results it hopes to achieve can also be reached with other options like noise isolation and maybe with better effect.

The Shure Aonic Free is one of the best sounding truly wireless earphones in the market and is worth the money, especially for those who want their music to have the richness and depth intended by the creator.

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