Shure Aonic 5

General Information

Engineered from decades of experience in earphone development, the AONIC 5 Sound Isolating™ Earphones feature spacious, remarkable sound with clean, natural bass through three high-definition balanced armature drivers. Experience comfort and immersive, customizable audio with selectable frequency response.

AONIC 5 SOUND ISOLATING™ EARPHONES
  • Customizable frequency response
    puts you in control of your audio experience. Select balanced, warm or bright audio through removable nozzles for three unique sound signatures.
  • Sound Isolating™ technology
    blocks up to 37 dB of noise to eliminate distractions. Enjoy the most immersive listening experience with a design that keeps earphones in and noise out during exercise or travel.
  • Ergonomic low-profile design
    with optimized nozzle angle ensures long-wearing comfort and fit.
  • Detachable 3.5 mm communication cable
    allows for direct connection to laptops, in-flight entertainment systems and other mobile devices. Secure, over-the-ear design with wireform ensures earphones stay in place and cables remain out of the way.
  • Spacious, remarkable sound + clean, natural bass
    through three high-definition balanced armature drivers. Two dedicated woofers and a separate tweeter deliver enhanced highs and warm mid-range with clean, natural low-end. Refined over decades to our own exacting standards, these earphones deliver a truly cinematic audio experience.
  • Easily convert to true wireless
    with the separately available SecureFit Wireless Adapter, or connect to other MMCX cable accessories for further customization. Stay connected to any device, no matter where you are.
  • Compatible with Apple & Android devices
    with a 3.5 mm connection.
  • Enjoy clear calls and controls
    with integrated remote + mic. Seamless control for phone calls and easily accessible operation of voice commands, volume and music playback.



Latest reviews

Shure Aonic 5
Pros: 1. Excellent balance across the entire audio frequency, retaining details without overpowering any
2. Customisation of sound through nozzles and generous number of ear tips
3. In-line control supports Android and iPhones
4. Effective noise isolation design
Cons: The treble tuning takes effort to get it right through ear tips and nozzle changes
Shure Singapore sent me the Aonic 3,4,5 for my reivew. I started with the Aonic 5, and it took me more than 2 weeks to get the right tuning for me using the sleeves (ear tips) and nozzles. As it is so customizable, I don’t know if my review is a good reflection of what you might experience, since you could mix and match various accessories in the package to get a completely different sound as what I am hearing.

The Shure Aonic 5 is driven by two woofers and one tweeter balanced armature drivers, which is the same setup as its predecessor, the Shure SE535 launched in 2010.

Shure AONIC 5 review by Music Photo Life, Singapore tech blog

There are three ways to change the sound signature of the Aonic 5. First, there are nozzles that can be swapped, just like the Shure SE846. The pre-installed nozzle is the balanced sound, and the other two pairs stored in the metal capsule adjusts to either the bright sound or the warm sound. According to the manual, the nozzle adjusts about 2.5 dB up and down around the 1-8 kHz frequency.

Shure AONIC 5 review by Music Photo Life, Singapore tech blog


Second, there are numerous sleeves or ear tips made of various materials, from the standard silicone to the black Comply Foam as well as the striking yellow foam tips. In case you are skeptical, different ear tips actually alter the sound, for better or for worse.

Shure AONIC 5 review by Music Photo Life, Singapore tech blog


Finally, the cables are detachable from the earbuds connected with MMCX. And as we know, cable materials can alter the sound balancing. The included cable comes with in-line remote control and a switch to make it compatible with both Android and iPhones.

Audio Quality

The Aonic 5 carries the legacy of both SE535 and SE846, and all their audio characteristics focuses on midrange. In most consumer-tuned headphones, this part of the frequency is usually the most-neglected because they are not easy to control, and when done poorly, the headphones will sound muffled and bloated. To casual listeners, they want “clear treble” and “strong bass”, and most chart-topping genre songs are tuned for this.

Shure AONIC 5 review by Music Photo Life, Singapore tech blog


The general sound signature of the Aonic 5 – using the neutral nozzle as a baseline – is a strong midrange presence, balanced bass, and expansive treble. Despite two woofer BA drivers, the bass impact is not massive at all, but very musical. A musical bass allows you to hear the instrumental fabric and not just a blast of subsonic rumbles, and on the Aonic 5, you can enjoy the bass tonality without overpowering the rest of the instrumental details. So for tracks like Sam Smith “Pray” or Billie Eilish “Bad Guy”, you get the deep bass thumping politely while occupying about 30% of the air, leaving the vocals and accompanying instruments room for presentation.

Moving up the frequency, the midrange delivers forthcoming details and fullness while carrying the weight of balancing between the bass and treble. I find that the Aonic 5 achieves an impressive balance. The music sounds more “real”, less “digital”. I can pick up the full extent of the musical notes being delivered for each instrument, from attack to decay. Every instrument plays a part in a song, and Aonic 5 helps bring their beauty out.

The treble on the Aonic 5 is the most tricky aspect. Using the default neutral nozzle and the pre-installed grey silicone ear tips, I am uncomfortable with the peaky sibilance occurring with aggressive vocals, saxophone, cymbals and hi-hats. And this is where changing the ear tips helps. I find that the black foam tips reduces the sibilance energy and make them slightly more controlled. The yellow foam tames the sibilance a little more and delivers a little more warmth, which I also like. I would switch between these two depending on my mood.

Shure AONIC 5 review by Music Photo Life, Singapore tech blog


When I explored further with the various nozzles, I found my sweet spot with the warm nozzle (in black). It achieves an improved bass response while retaining the treble engagement without the uncomfortable sibilance. I was surprised the warm nozzle did not really darken the treble, but rather eases on the mid-treble pushiness while giving room for airiness. So in effect, the treble sounds cleaner and more transparent. But it still could not attain the transparency level of Shure KSE1200.

Sound staging wise, the Aonic 5 provides compact stereo imaging, in front of me and slight apart. The instruments are not spaced out wide but still achieves good separation. I could pick up instrumental details better than most other earphones despite the warm tuning. In fact, the Aonic 5 is a very sensitive pair earphones, and on some equipment, it is unforgiving in revealing floor noise and electrostatic interferences. On the Burson Playmate, the volume is already quite loud even below 10.

Verdict

With the right ear tips and the nozzle, the Shure Aonic 5 achieves an impressive musical balance across the audio spectrum. Most earphones are focused on making them sound “clear” and “boomy”. The Aonic 5 delivers instrumental details, achieves musical impact on all frequencies without compromising any. The bass fills without drowning the highs, the treble provides clarity without exaggeration, and the midrange holds them together with details, definition and expression. They are not easy to like, I have to admit, and treble energy took me a while to get it right, which fortunately I did. For casual listening, I would very much prefer a brighter clearer more transparent sound, which the Aonic 4 achieves better.

What I like about listening to Aonic 5 is that it gives equal prominence to all frequency ranges. It’s not about strong bass, nor about super clear treble. It’s about respecting the music.

Thanks for reading. If you like them, please visit musicphotolife.com for more reviews.
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Audio Fun
Audio Fun
Great review and photos :relaxed:
Really interesting for Shure new aonic series, as I am the fan of se425.

Comments

Musicphotolife, your review was spot on.

I’ve had my Aonic 5 for 2 weeks now and I agree that they are hard to like. While they are a slight improvement over the SE 535 with clearer more punchy bass and better mids, you have to experiment with the filter and ear tip combinations to counter the sibilance at the high end (They love EDM but hate Metallica). Once you get the right balance they‘ll put a smile on your face.

I found the warm filter with Spinfit double flange had the best balance for me. The triple flange were the best tips in all respects, but those are instruments of torture.

I dislike foam tips because although they reduce sibilance and are more comfortable, they seem to degrade detail to my ears. I tried the comply tips that came with the Aonic 5. They have longer tubes and work better than the stock Shure foams.

So once you get the balance right they’re as described in the review, but whatever you do don’t A/B them against the SE846. They don’t hold a candle to the SE846 in any respect, and just confirm to me that the SE846 are brilliant and still worth every penny after all these years.

I will be using the Aonic 5 for exercise and rough activities.
 
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