Apple AirPods Max impressions

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by Serious, Jul 26, 2021.

  1. Mystic

    Mystic Mystique's Spiritual Advisor

    Jan 28, 2016
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    These have been my daily drivers for the last month when working from home (main system is in another room).

    I wasn’t expecting much, given the terrible sounding (but much lauded) Sony xm3 over ears that I’ve previously tried. I was pleasantly surprised by just how good these sounded. Slight dip in the mids and the top end had a hair too much energy for my liking, but overall pretty balanced. Has a nice sub bass rumble and bass overall is very good for a consumer branded headphone.

    The big downside though: the price. It’s really hard to justify these at the “Amazon renewed” price of $450 I got them at, let alone the crazy $550 Apple is asking for these. They may be the best Bluetooth ANC headphones out there from a pure sound quality standpoint, but the price is frankly unreasonable.

    For this reason I am returning them and just going to buy a cheap $99 Fulla to control my JBL monitors at my desk and power a pair of my wired headphones. I only travel for work a few times a year. If I travelled every month I’d consider keeping these as they do sound quite good and the convenience factor is high.

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  2. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

    Friend BWC MZR
    Sep 28, 2015
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    near Munich, Germany
    Update: The AirPods Max have stayed my most used headphones the last two months. The compromise between sound quality and convenience is very good IMO. I don't have measurements now, but I read a lower THD and even 25dB(!) less of the nasty odd-order D3 and D5 than an HD600 a while ago. Clearly Apple didn't just take a random driver and put it into a shell.
    However I admit I've been listening to it with EQ quite a bit. I still have many local files on my phone and Neutron has a useful PEQ built in. With the EQ I wanted to get rid of the bass bump and also somewhat shift the pitch of the treble downwards. The filter for the bass was based on measurements, while the other three were done by ear. The EQ filters I use are:
    • 30Hz, -8 dB, Q 0.5
    • 6500Hz, 1.85 dB, Q 2.0
    • 9000Hz, -1.9 dB, Q 2.0
    • 16000Hz, -3.9 dB, Q .0.7
    Here's what that looks like:
    AirPods Max with EQ.jpg

    I tried to change the midrange based on crinacle's measurements, but it never sounded right to me. Just half a dB extra at 2kHz makes it too forward. The dip at 5-6kHz is real to my ears and makes tuning the 6.5kHz filter a bit harder. Anything between 1.5 and 2.4dB is fine, I find. I do prefer the extra bite this filter gives.
    Reducing the bass doesn't reveal a bass that is completely devoid of impact and wooly overall, like it did on the Sony headphones. Instead it just sounds correct and grown up with the bass turned down like that. It still has enough punch and it kicks when called for. Reminds me somewhat of the large, open back Audeze headphones. Better than the Sine I'd say.

    This feature has actually been added in an iOS 15 beta a while ago. I haven't tried it yet, since I mainly use the APM with my Android phone and don't see the need for that feature.
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