AirPods 2 mic quality

coldwaves

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 30, 2011
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When using the microphone on the first generation AirPods on a Mac, macOS automatically change the codec from AAC to SOC, which reduce the audio quality quite a bit and it is fairly noticeable. As I understand, this is primary due to the bandwidth limit of Bluetooth 4.

Does AirPods 2 suffer from the same issue? In other words, when the mic on AirPods is used, does it switch to SOC codec and thus decrease audio quality consequently? AirPods 2 has "Hi Siri" so I suppose the mic is always active. Plus AirPods 2 has bluetooth 5.0. I am wondering if these solve the audio quality when using the mic.
 

iMacDragon

macrumors 68000
Oct 18, 2008
1,926
372
UK
No difference in codec use, the mic may be always active but it's only transmitting to phone when it recognises a command
 
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winterny

macrumors 6502
Jul 5, 2010
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If you option-click the speaker menuitem, you can set the input device to be the microphone built in to your mac, or your webcam, or whatever, and continue to use airpods for speakers, and this will keep AAC.

That's what I do for conference calls.
 

coldwaves

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 30, 2011
369
182
If you option-click the speaker menuitem, you can set the input device to be the microphone built in to your mac, or your webcam, or whatever, and continue to use airpods for speakers, and this will keep AAC.

That's what I do for conference calls.
Thanks for this suggestion. Yeah, I know this is a workaround for the codec issue. But I particularly want to use the mic on the AirPods. This is so that I can move around and do errands when FaceTime with my family. It appears the codec use is the same. I will probably pass this generation of AirPods as well.
 

winterny

macrumors 6502
Jul 5, 2010
386
201
Thanks for this suggestion. Yeah, I know this is a workaround for the codec issue. But I particularly want to use the mic on the AirPods. This is so that I can move around and do errands when FaceTime with my family. It appears the codec use is the same. I will probably pass this generation of AirPods as well.
I don't know if there's a way to check the codec when using the airpods on the iPhone, but it seems to be that the sound codec when using Facetime Audio on my iPhone is probably AAC, as it sounds better than it does on the Mac.

Not sure if that's helpful to you or not.

I agree, the SCO codec on the Mac with the airpods sounds absolutely terrible.
 

coldwaves

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 30, 2011
369
182
I don't know if there's a way to check the codec when using the airpods on the iPhone, but it seems to be that the sound codec when using Facetime Audio on my iPhone is probably AAC, as it sounds better than it does on the Mac.

Not sure if that's helpful to you or not.

I agree, the SCO codec on the Mac with the airpods sounds absolutely terrible.
Thanks for the insights. I remember when using mic on the first generation AirPods, sound quality appears to be better on iPhone than on the Mac. The MacBook I was using was the mid 2015 MBP and it only has Bluetooth 4.2 but the iPhone 8 has Bluetooth 5.0. I was wondering if the Bluetooth version is the reason for the codec choice.

Which Mac did you use the AirPods with? Does the Mac has Bluetooth 5.0?
 

winterny

macrumors 6502
Jul 5, 2010
386
201
Thanks for the insights. I remember when using mic on the first generation AirPods, sound quality appears to be better on iPhone than on the Mac. The MacBook I was using was the mid 2015 MBP and it only has Bluetooth 4.2 but the iPhone 8 has Bluetooth 5.0. I was wondering if the Bluetooth version is the reason for the codec choice.

Which Mac did you use the AirPods with? Does the Mac has Bluetooth 5.0?
2018 15" Touchbar Macbook Pro with Bluetooth 5.0
 

jaska121

macrumors newbie
Jun 15, 2015
23
1
How about AirPods Pro? I’m considering getting a pair but if they haven‘t changed in this manner I might just as well replace the battery of my first gen AP.
 
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