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Apple’s new AirPods Max wireless headset is prohibitively expensive, but when it comes to sound quality there has never really been an upper limit to the price people are willing to pay.
There does however remain the question of whether they are actually better than the alternatives, with Sony’s WH-1000XM3 range being the main competitor.
YouTube channel iPhoneDo has posted a unique review of the headset, using the Sennheiser Ambeo Smart Headset (often used in ASMR recordings) which lets you record what your ears will be hearing, which allows viewers to experience first hand the main audio features of the headset, such as Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode and Spatial Audio and how these compare to the WH-1000XM3.
Put on your best headphones and try it first hand below:
The review finds that the AirPods Max do edge out the Sony WH-1000XM3, particularly when it comes to Ambient Mode, but that there is a price to pay, not just in cash, but also the weight of the AirPods Max headset.
Apple AirPods Max features:
- Design: From the canopy to the ear cushions, every part of AirPods Max is carefully crafted to provide exceptional acoustic performance for each user. The breathable knit mesh canopy, spanning the headband, is made to distribute weight and reduce on-head pressure. The stainless steel headband frame provides strength, flexibility, and comfort for a wide variety of head shapes and sizes. Telescoping headband arms smoothly extend and stay in place to maintain the desired fit.
- Breakthrough Audio: AirPods Max feature a 40-mm Apple-designed dynamic driver that provides rich, deep bass, accurate mid-ranges, and crisp, clean high-frequency extension so every note can be heard. A unique dual neodymium ring magnet motor allows AirPods Max to maintain total harmonic distortion of less than 1 percent across the entire audible range, even at maximum volume
- Adaptive EQ: AirPods Max use Adaptive EQ to adjust the sound to the fit and seal of the ear cushions by measuring the sound signal delivered to a user and adjusting the low and mid-frequencies in real time — bringing rich audio that captures every detail.
- Active Noise Cancellation: AirPods Max deliver immersive sound through Active Noise Cancellation so users can focus on what they are listening to. Each ear cup features three outward-facing microphones to detect environmental noise, while one microphone inside the ear cup monitors the sound reaching the listener’s ear. Using computational audio, noise cancellation continuously adapts to the headphone fit and movement in real time.
- Transparency Mode: With AirPods Max, users can switch to Transparency mode to simultaneously listen to music while hearing the environment around them — ensuring everything, including a user’s own voice, sounds natural while audio plays perfectly. Switching between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode can be done with a single press using the noise control button.
- Spatial Audio: AirPods Max use spatial audio with dynamic head tracking to place sounds virtually anywhere in a space — delivering an immersive, theaterlike experience for content recorded in 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos. Using the gyroscope and accelerometer in AirPods Max and iPhone or iPad, spatial audio tracks the motion of a user’s head as well as the device, compares the motion data, then remaps the sound field so it stays anchored to the device, even as the user’s head moves.
- Improved UX: AirPods Max automatically detect when they are on a user’s head using the optical and position sensors. Once in place, AirPods Max play audio and can pause once removed or when the user simply lifts one ear cup. With AirPods Max, voice calls and Siri commands are crisp and clear due to beam-forming microphones that block out ambient noise and focus on the user’s voice.
- Battery Life: AirPods Max feature great battery life with up to 20 hours of high-fidelity audio, talk time, or movie playback with Active Noise Cancellation and spatial audio enabled.
- Carry case: AirPods Max come with a soft, slim Smart Case that puts AirPods Max in an ultralow power state that helps to preserve battery charge when not in use.
- Other features:
- Automatic switching allows users to seamlessly move sound between iPhone, iPad, and Mac. When playing music on Mac, users can easily take a call on iPhone and AirPods Max will automatically switch over.
- Audio Sharing makes it possible to easily share an audio stream between two sets of AirPods on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV 4K. Simply bring AirPods Max near the device and connect with a single tap.
- Siri capabilities include the ability to play music, make phone calls, control the volume, get directions, and more. Siri can also read incoming messages as they arrive with Announce Messages with Siri.
AirPods Max costs $549 and will be available in five colors, including space gray, silver, sky blue, green, and pink.
You can order a set from Amazon here.