The Shure AONIC series are some of the more musically impressive wired earphones I have reviewed for a long time. The AONIC 5 is the best among the series as I love how warm, detailed and immersive it sounds. AONIC 4 would be a better choice for general consumers as it is tuned a little more brighter with more perceived bass. If you have been hoping to “upgrade” your Shure earphones with the true wireless capability, wait no longer.
With the new Shure RMCE-TW1, it is possible to enjoy these great-sounding in-ear headphones in true-wireless way. They retail at S$269 and will be available in Singapore from early Nov 2020.
The adapter works with all previous models of Shure Sound Isolating earphones with MMCX connector. From the smartphone app, selecting the earphone model adjusts the amplification levels but does not alter the frequency response.
Being Shure’s first attempt at true wireless earbuds, they are being very conservative in the features offered. The earbuds have limited operational controls with the buttons that are not the easiest to click. They only support play-pause (single click) and enabling Environment Mode (double click). The earbuds do not power-up automatically when removed from the case, and only the right earbud can be used for making calls. However, it is possible to toggle Environment Mode during calls.
The call quality is sufficiently clear with body and warmth, I guess the mic positioning below the ear near the jawbone helps. Under windy conditions, the mic could still manage to pick up my voice with the wind, which is better than some other earbuds where the wind sound completely took over.
Speaking of Environment Mode, Shure has done it right by providing this feature in TW1 and skipped the Active Noise Cancelling because the earbuds already offer excellent passive noise isolation. The ambient level can be adjusted from the smartphone app and even at level 1, I find it sufficient to let in some sound to ease off the intense silence. At higher levels, the noise is somewhat over-amplified and I could hear fluctuating noise floor when no music is being played.
As for comfort level, the TW1 fits really well for me. The frame contours behind my ears snugly with the bulk weighed below the ears so they do not get in the way of the temple tips of my eyeglasses. I am generally not a fan of behind-the-ear wireform cables as I find they could not stay in place. Wearing the TW1, the earbuds are impossible to fall off the ears. In fact, the good thing about behind-the-ear true wireless design is that I could pull out the earbuds from the ear canals and leave them around my ears, so there is no need to put them back in the case if I needed a listening breather.
About the charging case, it looks like an oversized carrying case of the other AONIC earphones. Made of hard plastic material, the matt surface applied with a soft texture and the zippered combination make the case feels organic and not cold-plasticky.
The USB-C charging port is located at the bottom, and a 3-LED battery indicator shows you the remaining charge when you press the icon. Each earbud can support up to 8 hours continuous use, and the charging case offer three additional full charges, giving a total of 32 hours.
Naturally, compared to direct cable connection, there would be expected loss of audio resolution. However, my ears could not detect any significant deviations, and I am still hearing amazing instrumental details. The reproduction is similar to wired and over aptX there are no compression artifacts that I could discern. The TW1 probably won’t do justice to Hi-Res audio files, but I’m sure anyone opting for TW1 true wireless adapter would have accepted the fact.
If you own a pair of Shure Sound Isolating earphones, the RMCE-TW1 adapter is designed to work with them and I do not think other third-party products could offer the same technical compatibility. The TW1 might not have the same set of features we have come to expect from true wireless earbuds, but it makes up with faithful audio reproduction. For me, the Environment Mode, the matching audio performance, and the comfort fit more than makes up for the other functional weaknesses.
- Excellent audio performance, similar frequency response to wired
- Supports Environment Mode
- Comfortable fit
- Operating buttons have limited functions and stiff to press comfortably
- Only right earbud supports calls
- Bulky charging case