AirPods Pro 2

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by Serious, Sep 23, 2022.

  1. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    Usually I wouldn't bother writing about such a thing as an AirPod revision, but this one caught me off guard. It's basically a complete redesign internally and I think it paid off. If you haven't noticed I'm excited about the new AirPods Pro and I will most likely grab a pair for myself at some point.

    NOISE CANCELLING:
    In a quick test there was always some bass leakage with the old AirPods Pro with stock tips. I'm using stock tips here to make comparing easy (I don't have two pairs of the same aftermarket tips). This is despite a proper seal with good bass extension during listening. The AirPods Pro 2 fixes the bass leakage and even adds some better midrange isolation. I think it's not quite up to AirPods Max levels of isolation, but it beats out custom IEMs for me now.

    AirPods Pro 1 < CIEMs < AirPods Pro 2 < AirPods Max

    SOUND:
    In a word: smoother. The new AirPods Pro sort of fix the faults in the tonality of the original AirPods Pro. The bass has better integration with less of a hole in the lower midrange, the upper midrange is less harsh, the treble is smoother. As a result it can sound warm, but so far I like the new tonality. It pulls it off while also increasing the stage size aswell as microdynamics and resolution. It sounds clearer instead of sounding veiled. Very nice.
    I can't compare it against the other newer IEMs in the same price range and I bet those are better with a proper source, but obviously these serve a different purpose. And I will say that I use even my AirPods Pro 1 a lot more often than my UERM. They're perfect for a quick walk, etc.

    MISC:
    The rest is of course pretty similar. The case is much better with a built in speaker for cute pairing sounds and it even has a hole for a lanyard! That alone makes it a substantial upgrade in my opinion. And being able to find the case with a sound playing is super useful in theory, but I couldn't get it to work.
    The gestures all seem to work on Android. Volume, Play/Pause, NC/Transparency, Skip/Back, etc.

    Overall I think it's a worthy successor for sure.
     
  2. Ntbm3

    Ntbm3 Friend

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    Thanks for the initial impressions! My pair come next tuesday.

    Big picture these are the headphones I used the most... I average 4+ hours a day of usage. I also have a nice pair of CIEM's that I rarely use any more as convenience is king. I use the spinfit tips and prefer them over the stock offering.

    At $250 these are a steal considering everything they can be used for.

    My favorite oddball use cases:
    - Random hearing protection in mildly noisy situations.
    - Double noise cancel, on planes and mowing the lawn. I will use them under noise canceling headphones or hearing protection cans with great results.
    - Best part is pretending to be on a phone call so you don't have to talk to your nosey neighbors.

    They are the universal signal to F* off :)

    One of the most life changing purchases I have made that I can remember. I love the stat that Apple's wireless airpods business is larger than most tech companies... 20B + in sales a year. Incredible.
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. wbass

    wbass Friend

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    They're comfortable, pocketable, water resistant, hold a charge pretty well, have pretty excellent NC, and sound surprisingly good. My only beef is that they don't quite stay in while I'm running, but, then, I also haven't messed around with different ear tips. They're a heckuva good product, and I thought they should've gotten a Golden Schlong last year.
     
  4. ksat90

    ksat90 Acquaintance

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    Also upgraded today. In retrospect, by far also the most used headphones I own. Doesn't even matter how well other headphones sound: these are comfortable, easy to use, bring around, sound good enough, so I just bring them and use them everywhere.

    Small but welcome UX + ANC + sound improvements make it a no brainer.

    ANC and sound wise the biggest improvement I can tell is the anemic subbass whenever ANC is on in the first version. To be fair I'll have to test this in a more challenging environment like the subway.
     
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  5. AdvanTech

    AdvanTech Friend

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    I sold my headphone rig after getting the first gen of Airpods Pro and realizing they’re so convenient while being good enough. It allowed me to focus my efforts and funds solely on my 2ch speaker setup.

    The second gen is better. More resolving, better extension at both ends, slam is way up (sub bass reach and punch), clarity is up, transients aren’t so dulled. I can enjoy music and do light mixing on them for work because they’re fairly neutral.

    It’s getting hard for me to see value anywhere else in the personal/portable audio space when you consider this is a DAC, amp, IEM, and good.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 10, 2022
  6. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    These seem interesting, how long does the battery hold up on the old one? Year? Two?
     
  7. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    At least two, I'm on over two years with my gen 1 now and the battery seems still strong. However I don't use it for marathon multi hour sessions, two hours at most and usually more like 20-40 minutes at a time.
     
  8. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    That seems pretty good, i would mostly use it for walking the dog. Which is 2-3 hours a day.
     
  9. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    I almost pulled the trigger on the previous gen model, but with improved sound and other improvements, I’m definitely getting these. My Sony XM3 buds battery is finally dying - hoping these will be at least as good sound wise, and should tie in with my iOS devices more seamlessly. The ability to locate them when you misplace will be huge for me too (I’m constantly losing one of my Sonys). Will be interested to see if they add lossless audio down the road as well. Only question is whether I wait for the Black Friday sale or not…
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2022
  10. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    I should test how long mine last. I've had them for about two years now and I do feel I'm experiencing noticeable degradation. However I think it's mostly the case battery that has degraded. Doesn't seem to charge them up as often.


    Some other misc points regarding AirPods Pro 2:

    When I mentioned how the noise cancelling is especially better at lower frequency this also holds true for vibration in general, even without noise cancelling active. I would guess it's due a new venting scheme, but they transmit way less vibration in general. Footfall noise is much lower on the second generation. This was a major problem for me on the first generation, to the point where I'd wear my ZoomX shoes to combat this. Also annoying when biking.

    Somehow (and I'm not sure how Apple has pulled this off) noise with the transparency mode is lower than on the first generation. Subjectively it's similar to white noise with a 2kHz 2nd order low pass instead of something closer to white noise, meaning they reduced the annoying HF noise while also not rolling off the treble in the transparency mode.
    I get roughly 19dBA noise for the transparency mode and a dB or two less in the NC active mode! That is insane!

    Along with the improved tonality and the improved sound and lower noise the transparency mode sounds more, well, transparent for sure. Major improvement from it no longer sounding shouty and localization is easier as well. I may even prefer its transparency mode to the AirPods Max now.

    The NC mode also sounds relatively natural. I do however find that the adaptive transparency (reducing loud sounds), while it works well and is useful in general, doesn't sound the most natural. At least from the few occasions it triggered.

    I got the find my sound to work now. It's plenty loud. And I love how the case makes cute sounds when interacting with it.
     
  11. ksat90

    ksat90 Acquaintance

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    For transparency mode, it's mixed for me. It's less harsh/crunchy on the high end, but it doesn't feel as "transparent" as the first gen.

    As an example, I could wear the first gen Airpods Pro and localize sounds, etc. while walking outside as if I wasn't wearing anything, which is really helpful while walking in the city with traffic around. These feel like I have long hair over my ears or a very light beanie.

    Could also be a combination of software + different mic setup on the 2nd gen that works differently with individual face/ear shapes.

    Anyways it's not a big deal, just putting it out there.

    On the topic of battery life, I feel like my case battery has degraded more than the headphones. But you could also replace individual parts/batteries for a cost at the Apple Store. https://support.apple.com/airpods/repair
     
  12. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    Some fun comparisons I did:
    [​IMG]

    AirPods Pro
    • immediately too much shout
    • still somewhat technically capable
    • treble is quite smooth and while the bass is emphasized, it's low distortion
    • basically the bass is a bit slow, but it's not too bad
    • I used to use these with EQ all the time, which helps quite a bit
    • some amazing deals can be had

    AirPods Pro 2
    • Midrange is much more real
    • Bass is faster and more controlled with an emphasis centered more on the subbass
    • Treble is a bit more present, yet still smooth. Note I'm using foam tips on both
    • Significantly larger stage, more 3D in general
    • Micro dynamics and resolution are much improved
    • However it's still their greatest weakness
    • Overall technicalities I think are slightly below TWFK IEMs on the Apple Adapter
    • Stage size is better

    AirPods Max
    • the most tonally correct of the Apple headphones
    • it's somewhat u shaped, but the midrange is superb
    • technicalities are in between AirPods 2 and RE-272
    • macrodynamics are better than both
    • microdynamics and resolution closer to airpods pro 2
    • Stage size is a bit larger than the other inears

    UERM (modded) on Moondrop DAWN 4.4mm BAL
    • The DAWN can't fix the UERMs bass and lower midrange quality, but otherwise it's quite good, much better than the Zorloo Ztella
    • Stage size is larger than APM
    • It's fast, damn fast - while RE-272 is fast in its own regard, the UERM is on another level.
    • I put some Kapok fibers in the treble bore of my UERMs to make the Treble sound as correct as possible to my ears
    • These fibers work well to tame lower to mid treble peaks while letting air through somehow
    • It's not quite as clean as the AirPods Max in a way
    • Tonally it's a wash in the midrange, but overall it's more tonally correct
    • Edit: Forgot to mention that yes, the UERM is the most resolving, most technically capable headphone in this comparison, but also using it with the DAWN is kind of unfair since that makes it doubly so
    • The treble with the Kapok still manages to extend quite well and sibilants are very natural sounding. I need to measure them.
    • In fact I haven't heard an in-ear that's more resolving, yet
    • I also overstated the bass and lower midrange distortion.
    • I'll have to try it on the Ragnarok


    Amon OB DIY Speakers
    Haha, do we really want to go there?
    • UERMs have the closest tonality to these
    • Real air, real bass, speed similar to UERMs, but smooth
    • Micro and Macrodynamics on another level
    • plankton somewhat better than UERM

    Should I make a spidey-chart?


    BONUS comparison to ADDIEM MA850 on cheap JSAUX adapter
    • This adapter sounded a bit better than the Apple one in a direct comparison
    • Tonality really ain't bad - this is the older, better sounding version
    • I wish I still had TWFK IEMs and this is the closest I can get for now
    • Yes, these are still available. Crazy.
    • Stage is small-ish, but imaging is good
    • Technicalities aren't quite on the level of the re272, but better than APP2
    • I bet most of the advantages are due to the Bluetooth connection on the app2
    • APP2 seems like a capable single DD IEM, probably better than HFM TWS600
    • Zorloo Ztella increases stage size, improves microdynamics, etc - it scales quite well
    • Treble isn't the best, sounds unnatural and it's too mellow - this is where TWFK IEMs with the proper deep fit are better

    BONUS comparison to RE-272 on cheap JSAUX adapter
    • RE-272 are a lot more resolving and still decently tonally correct sounding
    • RE-272 has some of the best treble on any inear
    • Even on the cheap adapter the RE-272 has better technicalities
    • Stage size is smaller than on the APP2
    • On the Zorloo Ztella it's better than the MA850, but the midrange is less natural
    • Larger stage size and more resolution
     
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    Last edited: Oct 6, 2022
  13. saint.panda

    saint.panda Friend

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    IMO Airpod Pro is the best audio product released in the last decade. Fundamentally changed how I learn things in life via podcasts or make business calls. Things I love about the new version:
    - Better NC
    - The case sounds. Particularly useful for Android users to get feedback on what's happening with connections, etc.
    - overall better sound

    Also have the Airpod Max but I never grab them, even on longer flights. Airpod Pro + ETA Mini C is really all one needs for most headphone needs.
     
  14. limesoft

    limesoft Friend

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    I got a chance to listen to these finally. I'd say the Pro 2 are the most tonally "correct" and neutral wireless headphones I've listened, with a nice smooth frequency response without any offensive dips or peaks. They're more neutral and correct sounding than Sony WF1000XM4, Samsung Buds 2 Pro, Airpods Max, OG Airpods Pro.

    From technicalities point of view, they're no king slayers, but good enough - everything is on point and clean enough to enjoy the great neutral and smooth tuning. The bass quantity is nice although it feels little too DSPd - like DSP correcting a small driver to go beyond it's optimal settings - i.e. it's not articulate or fast, but it's plentiful and enjoyable still.
     
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  15. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    I'm in the Samsung smartphone camp, so Buds 2 Pro would make sense from an ecosystem perspective. How do they stack up in your opinion? Also good enough?
     
  16. limesoft

    limesoft Friend

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    From a practical perspective the buds 2 pro are good; very comfortable, light, tiny and good enough with noise cancellation/battery etc.

    From sound quality perspective I found them a bit crappy if i'm honest - putting aside the slight harman forwardness they have, my main pet peeve was the treble quality and quantity; it has cohesion issues, sound a kinda dirty, and has a passive/aggressive quality to it - it's warmish until sibilance juts out unexpectedly and bites my ears off. I just didn't want to listen music with it, and the main reason I went back to IOS, so I could get higher quality audio with Apple's own buds - they're miles better musically imo - there's no aggression, better tonal balance and slightly cleaner less grainy and more technical sound.. perhaps they aren't as wide as the Samsungs but overall big improvements elsewhere.
     
  17. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Anybody else have any fit issues with the AirPods Pro 2? I find I can barely get the tips to make contact to insert - they feel like they’re just barely in there, and one ear I’m not even completely sure I’m getting a good seal. Tried all the tips except the extra small. The tips don’t seem quite long enough. Or maybe it’s the oval shape?
     
  18. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I had this issue with the AirPods Pro 1, I ended up going to foam tips to resolve it: https://www.amazon.com/Dekoni-Audio-Premium-Earphone-Compatible/dp/B085W9KNGT

    The mediums fit alright on the 2, I do get a loose seal from time to time, but overall it's been good enough that I haven't felt the need to go back to the foams...yet.
     
  19. Gazny

    Gazny Friend

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    Been burning these in, when I first got them huge disappointment.

    Dark sound, way too dark. like it was designed to not hurt me.
    Nothing sharp in my bubble of sound. Fatigue was none existent.
    Very comfy sound at first.

    But as I wore them they might have broken in or have been changed a bit since. Would be cool if they used dsp for the break in phase.
    Someone told me they would just click with me, and yes they have.
    Since than I have turned of the ear tuning and headphone accommodation settings.

    Still dark, feels like a priority on not damaging the hearing of the listeners. Some of my terrible music is quite nice to listen to.
    Not to say veiled but the transients didn't quite do the overshoot I love. But the noise floor is quite low. Much lower than the Gen 1.

    Transparency mode doesn't seem to change volume.
    So you will have to turn the music down to hear the outside.

    An issue I have with most iems, as stated by Rlow.
    Doesn't fit quite right. But hey, it is what it is. Might be part of their pressure release system. Anyone else wonder if that much effort has been done?
    Probably not.

    A bit about the features.
    ANC very good. Wish I could control a bit more.
    You can still hear yourself. Nice for those who like to hear their own voice, but not me.

    Transparency mode is quite nice, wish it would amplify sounds more. It does sometimes. Nice to see the compression improved over the first ones.


    Spatial Audio, I really dislike it. Hate it with head tracking from my phone. It just constantly reminds me I am slouching at my desk.

    Maybe the driver flex issue is fully resolved from the previous one.

    Give some tips to your loved ones.
    upload_2022-12-2_17-14-29.png
     
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  20. ksat90

    ksat90 Acquaintance

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    They've a pretty shallow fit compared to most IEMs, so that might contribute to the feeling.
    I ended up using tips that are one size larger than usual on the APP2, so large instead of medium for me.
     

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