The wireless earbuds market is largely dominated by a few major players — Apple, Samsung, Sony, and so on. But musicians don’t necessarily want the consumer experience that you’ll get from products like the AirPods Pro and Sony’s WF-1000XM4. That’s where Shure comes in. The audio company has built a new pair of wireless earbuds in the form of the Shure Aonic 215 Gen 2 headphones.
The earbuds don’t have a conventional design, and are a little expensive, though still in the same league as other top-end options. Are the Aonic 215 Gen 2 headphones worth considering over the competition? And if so, for who? I’ve been using them to find out.Shure Aonic 215 Gen 2 Wireless Earbuds Price:$229.00 Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission
Shure Aonic 215 review: Design
The Shure Aonic 215 Gen 2 earbuds offer a pretty different design to most of the competition. They have an ear-hook shape with a small circular module at the end of the hook. That module has a button for playback and volume controls, and it’s pretty easy to use.
It’s a generally weird look, but the trade-off is that it’s modular. In other words, you can remove the earbuds themselves and attach them to the module. That means you could get a better audio quality down the line without having to replace the battery and Bluetooth components. The buds themselves are see-through, and generally, look fine.
In the box, apart from the earbuds and charging case, you’ll get three pairs of silicone and foam ear tips, a USB-C cable, and a tool to remove ear wax, which is a nice touch.
The controls in the buttons are relatively easy to use. You’ll press one of them once to pause and play, and hold the button down to tweak volume. Other controls include the ability to activate Environment Mode, which is basically a transparency mode.
The charging case is much larger than most other true wireless earbud options. So much so that it barely fits in a normal-sized pocket. It’s puck-shaped, with an LED light on the top to indicate charging status, and a USB-C port on the bottom. There’s also a button to show you the battery level of the earbuds. The case uses small clips to keep the buds in place, which means that putting them in the case is a little harder than just dropping them in.
It definitely would have been nice if the charging case was a little more portable and able to fit in a pocket. Though given the size of the actual earbuds, that may have been a little tricky. For now, you’ll have to settle for keeping the case in a bag.
Shure Aonic 215 review: Features and battery
The Shure Aonic 215 Gen 2 earbuds are built for musicians. As such, you’ll get very granular control over how they sound. As someone with a musical background, that’s good news. The weirdly-named ShurePlus Play app allows you to tweak all kinds of settings for the headphones.
On the main screen of the app, you’ll get a rundown of the battery, and the ability to activate Environment Mode, and tweak that mode’s level. You can also change the button’s controls, select which sounds are enabled, change the voice that gives you status updates, and more. Jump over to the EQ tab, and you can select from one of the many presets, or make your own using a 4-band EQ. You can even use the app to control your music playback.
Generally, I was very impressed by the sheer number of options available in the app. It ensures that the headphones are a great choice for those who want the ability to tweak things to their preference. It’s also pretty easy to navigate, despite the number of options available.
The headphones have an eight-hour battery life on a single charge, with a total of 32 hours including the extra juice in the charging case. The eight-hour constant usage time is pretty good, and puts these headphones ahead of much of the competition. Most should be perfectly happy with the battery life available here.
Shure Aonic 215 review: Comfort
Because of the way these earbuds are built, Shure doesn’t have to stuff batteries and Bluetooth radios into the actual buds. Instead, the buds can remain small, while the rest of the tech lives in the adapters. Despite the odd shape, that actually helps quite a bit with comfort.
You will have to get used to the feel of the adapter resting behind your ears, but that should happen quickly, and it’s far from uncomfortable. Once that’s done, you’ll find that the earbuds are really quite comfortable, and good at remaining in your ears. That’s true even with relatively heavy movement. So if you’re in the market for a pair of headphones for workouts and going to the gym, these might fit the bill.
Part of the comfort level has to do with finding the right earbuds for your needs. I was perfectly happy with the foam buds that come pre-installed. But it’s worth experimenting with the different options to find the pair that best fit your needs.
Shure Aonic 215 review: Sound
This is a Shure product, and as such, expectations are high for audio quality. Thankfully, the Shure Aonic 215 Gen 2 earbuds meet those expectations. They sound great, and even if you don’t love the frequency profile out of the box, the ability to tweak the EQ should allow you to get them to that point.
The bass response on these earbuds is excellent. Out of the box, you’ll get a natural bass response that seemed slightly laid-back, but I actually quite liked it, and a quick EQ tweak will fix it for those that don’t. Bass extension was good, and there was enough oomph there to easily allow kick drums to be present in a mix, without overshadowing other frequencies.
The mids are nice and flat too, meaning that you’ll get a decent amount of warmth in the low mids, and enough cut in the high mids for things like guitars and vocals to have some character. And, high frequencies sound great too. There’s a decent amount of clarity and detail, ensuring that cymbals sound nice and bright, without being piercing.
These are among the better-sounding true wireless earbuds out there. And, the class-leading EQ allows you to personalize that excellent audio quality.
The Shure Aonic 215 Gen 2 wireless buds aren’t for everyone. But they don’t need to be. If you just want a pair of consumer-focused earbuds with a sleek design and some smart features, go for the AirPods Pro earbuds or Sony WF-1000XM4s. But if you’re an audiophile that wants a great pair of earbuds for listening on the go, these are the buds for you. No, they’re not going to replace your high-end over-ear headphones for at-home listening. But when it comes to true wireless earbuds, this is about as close as you’ll get.
The competitionApple AirPods Pro List Price:$249.00 Price:$197.00 You Save:$52.00 (21%) Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission
There’s not a whole lot of competition for this niche just yet. While other audio companies have built true wireless earbuds, few of them take the audiophile/musician-first approach that these do. Ultimately, if you want the features on offer by these earbuds, and can afford them, it’s worth going for the Shure Aonic 215 Gen 2 earbuds.
Should I buy the Shure Aonic 215 earbuds?
Yes. These earbuds offer excellent audio quality and a great accompanying app.Shure Aonic 215 Gen 2 Wireless Earbuds Price:$229.00 Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission