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robertpetry

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 12, 2009
446
108
Indianapolis, IN
Hello all,
For the past year my headset rotation has been:
  1. AirPods 1 for day to day and calls. Easy to carry, easy to use, good for calls
  2. Bose QC30 for air travel and noisy environments when listening to music or video - but never calls. There are terrible for calls
  3. Beats X for mowing, etc. Noise isolation and I don't care if they get sweaty - where with Bose I don't want them trashed. But they sound poor and slip out of my ears. These are my least favorite pair
  4. Plantronics 3200 for amazing noise canceling on my outgoing calls, but horrible noise isolation for me. These are the best for calls but even in my car I have to use a foam earplug in the opposite ear or I can't hear well.
Now comes along AirPods Pro (APP) and I got them today. My goal is to replace all of these with AirPods Pro. Certainly over the next week or so I will be using them and my opinion may change over time. But lets start with the comparisons:
  1. ANC - Active Noise Cancellation. I really like my QC30 headphones. I had the QC20 before them and the ANC is a bit better on the QC30. But I don't carry them unless traveling and then they take up space in my bag and I have my AirPods with me anyway. So even if the ANC on the APP is not quite as good as the QC30, they should replace them. I don't use the Bose often enough to warrant keeping them if there is not a huge difference. And after testing for a couple of hours, there is not. Actually, I might like the APP better. I tried both pairs in a crowded mall food court, in the car with windows up and down, and in front of my computer playing the sounds of planes taking off through my speakers with subwoofer turned all the way up. My initial assessment is that the APP beat the QC30 by a bit. Amazingly, the APP's cut more low and high frequency sounds out than my QC30. I can't speak for the QC35 or Sony's or any others. QC35's are a bit better than QC30's. But the APP will be plenty good enough for me on future flights. I used this link starting at about 7:35 (and a few others) in the comparison:
  2. Comfort - Here is where my old AirPods excelled. I know they are love or hate for people, but I have been happy with them. I bought and returned a number of in ear wireless headsets that plug the ear canal because I HATE that plugged up feeling walking around or driving, or while speaking. Every step is a thud. I was worried about that with the new APP. I will say there is a little bit of that issue with the APP but nothing like a Jabra Elite 65t or something. The APP's have been very comfortable so far and I find I do not need to push them way into my ear to get an acceptable seal. The vents on the back make these the first in ear canal earphones that I don't mind. I do get a bit of closed in feeling but nothing like closed earphones. This is an 8 out of 10 for me. I find the Bose a little more comfortable in ear but I am not fond of the headband. Also the APP do not fall out (but the old AirPods didn't either). I really don't like the Beats unless I am mowing. Too much in-ear pressure.
  3. Sound quality - Obviously, these are better than the Beats (very muddy) and original AirPods. I want these to break in a bit before I make too much of a determination but I would put sound quality for music at about a 7. Bose is an 8 for me. The Bose are brighter in the mids and highs, and a bit crisper and fuller in the bass. I really like the way the Bose sound. The APP are pretty clear and better than the original APP, and the base is much better than the muddy, boomy Beats. But they need to brighten up to be closed to the Bose which are just clearer and fuller across the spectrum in my opinion. So to critically listen, the Bose are better. Not great but better. Is it enough to keep them and carry them? Uh, not for me it isn't.
  4. Ease of use - Easy to pair and easy to manage on my iPhone XS. I actually like the Bose in this regard as it can pair to both my iPhone and iPad at the same time and play media out of either without switching connections. I wish AirPods did this. But it is fairly easy to switch from the control center so no big deal.
  5. Phone calls - Too early to tell but so far on calls in the car and in my office, no complaints. The old AirPods were pretty good, the Bose and Beats were horrible, and the Plantronics is the best I have ever tried. But APP seems good enough for most situations and I don't need to shove a foam earplug in my opposite ear :) Time will tell.
So, my determination as of now is that I can sell my old AirPods, my Bose QC30's and the Beats X and hopefully recover much or all of the $249 price for the APP. There are a few compromises, but the best earphones you have are the ones you have with you :) And no other option is perfect. The APP is closest yet IMHO. Lets see how the next week goes with some travel.
 

JustCrusin

macrumors regular
Mar 13, 2011
134
61
Wow! Thanks for the insight. I love my Bose and didn’t think the noise cancellation would be close. You’ve sold me now.
 

staggerlee41

macrumors 65816
Sep 25, 2017
1,066
1,051
Pittsburgh, PA
Very interesting and informative post. Like you, I have a similar sort of lineup as up until this point, there is no "magic bullet" to meet my needs for headphones, which are: Business calls w/noise cancellation (Plantronics Legend), personal calls/music where situational awareness is important and surrounding noise is less important (Airpods), noise cancellation or close to it (RHA Wireless 750), and high quality sound (RHA Wireless 750).

I am toying with the potential idea of going to the APP but I don't see them replacing my RHA's. I love those for the sound quality, the around the neck style means they won't fall out and get lost and the battery life. While not true noise cancelling, I put those in my ears on flights and with the Comply tips, I get pretty much nothing but wonderful high quality audio. I can faintly hear the drone of the plane's engine but it's not prominent at all.

I'm still trying to learn more about people's experiences with call quality and surrounding noise, so looking forward to reading more as you experience the APP.
 
Last edited:

bruinsrme

macrumors 604
Oct 26, 2008
6,637
2,411
While I don't want put too much weight on small headphones improving over a "break in period" I just flew with the APP and QC-30s. On the way out to boston I had the QC-30s. On the way back APPs. While the APPs performed much better than the airpods the QC-30s, excelled in comfort and NC.
Travel the Bose win out, hands down. Activity the Beats pro and for hanging in the yard, at the desk or just casual listening; either the APP or Powerbeats pro.
 

jerwin

Suspended
Jun 13, 2015
2,895
4,650
Might as well post this.

His favorite wireless alternative is the Sennheiser Momentum. And of course, there are many wired alternatives that sound better than an airpod pro.
 

Picapau21

macrumors 6502
Apr 26, 2015
461
203
While I don't want put too much weight on small headphones improving over a "break in period" I just flew with the APP and QC-30s. On the way out to boston I had the QC-30s. On the way back APPs. While the APPs performed much better than the airpods the QC-30s, excelled in comfort and NC.
Travel the Bose win out, hands down. Activity the Beats pro and for hanging in the yard, at the desk or just casual listening; either the APP or Powerbeats pro.

very interesting. How much better was the QC30 NC vs the APP? Thanks
 

eclipse01

macrumors 68030
May 16, 2011
2,672
342
Eau Claire, WI
I pretty much have/had the same headphone/pods on rotation and agree with most of what you said (especailly with the Beats X).

Only thing I want to add is original airpods are amazing for office environments where you NEED to hear you outside env.

my question is, if you have ANC off on Airpods pro, how do they compare with OG Airpods?
[automerge]1572896853[/automerge]
I love that you have headphones for mowing. What a legend

Mowing/Snowblowing up here in WI :)
 

bruinsrme

macrumors 604
Oct 26, 2008
6,637
2,411
very interesting. How much better was the QC30 NC vs the APP? Thanks
I love that you have headphones for mowing. What a legend
The Bose blocked far more engine noise than the APP. Last 3 winters I have used the Bose while snow blowing and my wife have used them while leaf blowing.

In the video about he mentioned the APP sound open. The bose do feel like they draw a vacuum on my head when the source is not playing. Short flight APP, greater than 2 hours bose.

The guy in the video makes them sound horrible. Not the case. He boasts about the audiophile audience, which I consider the douche bag community. If they were $150 he probably would have complained. The APPs are convenient, interface with the iphone reliably and sound good.

I never expected my Airpods or APP to around as good as the bose not do I expect my bose to sound as good as my home system. I don't ever think I will have just one headphones.
 

Otflyer

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2017
1,431
968
SF Bay Area
Wow! Thanks for the insight. I love my Bose and didn’t think the noise cancellation would be close. You’ve sold me now.
I have the Bose QC35 and Sony WH-1000XM3 overear head phones and the APP’s. The Sony and Bose blow the APP‘s out of the water but, I would expect that. The APP’s are close to the Bose QC30’s IMO.
 

freakomac

macrumors 6502
Nov 21, 2014
312
168
For me its AirPods Pro> Powerbeats Pro> BeatsX > AirPods. Purely based on sound quality and noise isolation and fit comfort. I have not tried anything else.
 

unagimiyagi

macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2009
897
227
How much of the reported the improvement in sound quality of the AirPods pros is simply coming from getting a good seal and how much is legitimately coming from a better driver and ambient eq?

In a quiet room, i.e., where there is no need for any noise cancellation, do the AirPods Pro sound much better than the regular AirPods?
 
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jterp7

macrumors 65816
Oct 26, 2011
1,168
119
How much of the reported the improvement in sound quality of the AirPods pros is simply coming from getting a good seal and how much is legitimately coming from a better driver and ambient eq?

In a quiet room, i.e., where there is no need for any noise cancellation, do the AirPods Pro sound much better than the regular AirPods?

when i tried them in store i likened them to a beefed up OG airpod. Bass is less than the PBP but id definitely have bought this if it was out two months ago lol
 

TorontoSS

macrumors 6502a
Nov 9, 2009
815
259
Great review. I used to have the Bose QC30's and replaced them when I purchased the Sony WH-1000 XM3. In my opinion, the Bose were an excellent excellent product, particularly when it was launched. You could control the noise cancelling easily. It lacked in some of the smarts that the airpods pro offer now though.

The airpods pro offer a great "everyday" option. For commuting, walking around, and they gym it's so good. I don't need 10 different levels of noise cancelling for all the time. On off is what I need and the APP's offer this very well. The Bose though I still think would be better for flights. For flights and long train rides you can't beat the likes of Bose/Sony. They offer battery life. But for every person it's a bit different.

That being said, I love the Airpods Pro and they're definitely my everyday earphones which I'd use the most. Office, gym, going to work, calls, I feel these are awesome.
 

MarkAtl

macrumors 6502
Jul 9, 2019
348
357
Haven’t tried the AirPods Pro yet but still love my QC20’s. Super compact and great for sleeping on planes.
 
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