Airpods: Phone calls in noisy(ish) environments

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by ausgeflippt951, Apr 26, 2017.

  1. ausgeflippt951 macrumors newbie


    Apr 26, 2017
    Hi all,

    I've been a recent lurker here -- I recently made the switch to iOS from Android so admittedly I'm a bit of a neophyte in the ways of the Apple. That said, I'm definitely liking things so far!

    I'm having a bunch of trouble finding information on the mic quality/filtering/sensitivity of the Airpods.

    So, I travel a lot for my job, and am otherwise frequently on the go. As a result, I am usually in a moderately noisy environment when I take calls and join meetings. I'm searching for a wireless earbud that can handle the complexities of noisy environments well. Call it "noise cancellation on the mic side".

    Having wireless earbuds is critical for me, since I'm usually juggling at least one bag as I bounce from car to plane to train, etc.

    So: those of you with the Airpods, how has the feedback been from the folks with whom you have been conversing? Do they do a decent job of filtering out much of the unwanted noise?

    As a point of reference, my all-time favorite headphones are my (corded) Bose noise canceling earbuds. Like, seriously, these things are unreal. But they've got a cord. So naturally, I bought the (non-noise canceling) Bose wireless earbuds (Soundsports), expecting the mic to be similar. Wrong -- the mic on the Soundsports is so abhorrently terrible that I genuinely can't have a conversation with anyone unless I'm in an insulated room with nothing else going on.

    It's also because of this on-the-go nature that I would really prefer not to have a dorky headset-with-boom-mic setup going...I'm sure y'all can imagine how that looks as I traipse about the airport terminal.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. iMacDragon macrumors 68000


    Oct 18, 2008
    They seem to perform pretty well, siri picks up commands even in a noisy street when barely speaking up.
  3. Ralfi macrumors 68020


    Dec 22, 2016
    I decided to check the decibel level (via an App on my iPhone 6s....accuracy??..) in my typically fairly noisy work environment today.

    I work in telephone exchanges, surrounded by equipment that have multiple fans going to keep them cool + heavy duty air-conditioning throughout the building.

    I'm on the Airpods a lot either listening to music or on calls that can go for a while as I work in tandem with remote operators on the gear I'm installing/configuring.

    So, decibel levels hovered between ~77-85db.

    I'm rarely listening to music at full volume as it'd be overbearing, even in that environment. Typically between 75-90% volume

    Phone calls are also usually at around 75% volume or more, but at 100% even they sound too loud. So they're also ~75-90% depending on where I'm standing.

    I can hear the other person clearly & they can hear me no issues. So the Airpods do a pretty great job, not needing to be turned right up in this environment.
  4. AlphaHumanus macrumors 6502a

    Feb 12, 2012
    I work on a loading dock, driving forklift. I routinely have long phone conversations with my wife while working, and she very seldom asks me to repeat myself.
  5. barry.wiestling macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2014
    So just this afternoon I had to hop into a Zoom meeting room on my iPhone and I used the AirPods to participate in the meeting. I was traveling in Philadelphia for work and was sitting outside of the train station with cars and loud noises all around.

    Other participants in the meeting didn't notice those loud sounds around me and I could hear them perfectly. I think the AirPods do a great job of cancelling the outside noise and I think you would be very happy with the purchase if you are going to be using them for this purpose. I use them frequently when on phone calls in noisy environments and haven't had complaints yet from users on the other end.
  6. ausgeflippt951 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Apr 26, 2017
    Thank you everyone! This is definitely the best feedback I've found on the subject; for whatever reason the electronics rags don't seem to ever review microphone/call quality (outbound from the device).

    Additional feedback is definitely appreciated for anyone else who may have insight. I think I feel comfortable to buy them though.
  7. xaanaax macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2012
    Finally I found someone looking for the same information as I am.
    I’ve got the airpods since July 2017 and I love them but every time I’m on a call walking down the street people tell me that it’s very noisy where I am - and that street is not that noisy, just a few cars passing now and then, sometimes a bus, sometimes I walk next to a kindergarten and then the person I’m speaking to tells me he can hear the kids almost better then me...

    Now I’m a bit concerned because the official Apple specs say:”And when you’re on a call or talking to Siri, an additional accelerometer works with beamforming microphones to filter out background noise and focus on the sound of your voice.”

    So I’m not sure if I’ve got a defective airpods or the beamforming is just rubbish...
  8. mjmcc928 macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2018
    I just had a call with a colleague who was wearing AirPods in our very noisy office (he was in the office, I'm at home). I usually hear a ton of background noise from people in the office when on calls, but I was shocked that I barely heard anything, except his voice. I asked him at the end of the call if the office was unusually quiet today and he said "no, it's noisy in here." So the AirPods were doing a great job blocking out the background noise.
  9. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    The only time I’ve struggled with Airpods is while biking as there’s no way to prevent wind from flying over the mics.

    On the flip side my care doesn’t have AC so the windows are almost always down but the dual mics cancel out that indirect wind noise no problem.
  10. caligurl macrumors 68030


    Jun 8, 2009
    I pretty much have to just sit on my arse and do NOTHING when talking on the phone. I used to load the dishwasher, hand wash dishes, put stuff in fridge, etc while talking on the phone to my parents... now every time I breath (ok I exaggerate) they bitch about how much noise i'm making!

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