AirPods vs EarPods Sound Quality Poll

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by MICHAELSD, Dec 27, 2016.

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How does the sound quality of AirPods compare to EarPods?

  1. Significantly better.

    24 vote(s)
    26.4%
  2. A bit better.

    47 vote(s)
    51.6%
  3. About the same.

    15 vote(s)
    16.5%
  4. A bit worse.

    1 vote(s)
    1.1%
  5. Significantly worse.

    4 vote(s)
    4.4%
  1. MICHAELSD, Dec 27, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016

    MICHAELSD macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #1
    The polarized opinions on the AirPods' sound quality is more than a little questionable. They vary from "significantly better" than EarPods to "a little worse." Considering there should be an objective sound difference between a $29 pair of wired earphones and a $159 pair of wireless earphones, let's settle this pool of mixed opinions.
     
  2. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

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    Shropshire, UK
    #2
    I think it depends on the type of music and the individual (which is why you're seeing so many different opinions)

    Personally, I find bass pretty much identical, but the AirPods are cleaner on mid-range and vocals and also I've found I can pick out subtle sounds with AirPods that I miss with EarPods

    Overall, I'd say AirPods are better but not by a huge margin and if you hate the sound of EarPods, you'll probably hate the spud of AirPods
     
  3. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #3
    It's funny because I find the Lightning EarPods to be cleaner on the the mid-range and to have a bit more subtlety in its sound than the 3.5mm EarPods, even though many say they're the same or that the 3.5mm are better. There is a lot of subjectivity here, but I'd like to think Apple would use a higher-quality driver in the $159 AirPods that would've undoubtedly made it superior.
     
  4. Phil A., Dec 27, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016

    Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

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    #4
    I don't have any lightning EarPods to do a comparison with.

    I personally don't think there's anything inherently wrong with the driver on the AirPods as it has decent frequency response and doesn't distort: a lot of the issues (particularly around bass) are down to the design of the AirPods being "loose fit" - without a seal against the ear, bass is always going to lose impact. I don't really listen to bass heavy music so it's never bothered me, but people who do are probably going to be more disappointed.

    Price wise, £159 isn't excessive for a pair of fully wireless earphones - I certainly wouldn't expect audiophile quality at that price point
     
  5. Relentless Power macrumors P6

    Relentless Power

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    Jul 12, 2016
    #5
    From the reading reviews on the AirPods, I would say your review is fairly accurate. I think most who purchase the AirPods are pleased with the sound, but are nothing can compare to say Bose or any other high-end earbud.
     
  6. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    NJ
    #6
    Not necessarily audiophile quality, but at the least some noticeable improvements in sound quality.

    EarPods fit me quite well so bass, while lacking some definition, still has impact. It is about creating a more secure fit in more types of ears for better bass response, but more defined bass would also be an effect of a better driver.

    The EarPods use a paper driver, which isn't just for cost-cutting. Curious if AirPods use a different material. Unlikely but I would've expected it.
     
  7. The Game 161 macrumors G5

    The Game 161

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    #7
    i would say bit better but nothing to certainly notice for me. Depends what music you listen to as well though.
     
  8. AppleRobert macrumors 603

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    Nov 12, 2012
    #8
    The driver is fine, problem is iPhones/iPod touches cannot drive airpods efficiently enough with some music. Try an android smartphone, go to any store and pair with one. You will see what I mean.

    We are talking Bluetooth so maybe some limitation there. Does not seem to be any on the android side with that though.
     
  9. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #9
    It's more about the type of file you're using. AAC from an iPhone will work perfectly with AirPods, or any Bluetooth headphones that support AAC.
     
  10. AppleRobert macrumors 603

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    Nov 12, 2012
    #10
    One of my favorite jazz albums on YouTube is Paul Desmond's East Of The Sun by Rare Jazz Records. A $99 ZTE smartphone I have plays it much more efficiently than my iPhone. I would not know what type of file it is.
     
  11. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #11
    That wouldn't be encoded in AAC, so the sound will be poor. You'll want to only listen to AAC files with the AirPods, but YouTube's audio quality is poor to begin with. Try a song from Apple Music or even an iTunes sample.
     
  12. Binarymix macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 1, 2007
    #12
    I find the Bass to be a little better, and the highs to be cleaner.

    Siri on the other hand, sounds like she's trapped in a tin can.
     
  13. eroslws macrumors 6502

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    Aug 18, 2011
    #13
    I'm not an audiophile and I listen to 90% indie/soft pop. These sound maybe a bit better if not identical to my EarPods, can't really tell.
     
  14. turbineseaplane macrumors 68030

    turbineseaplane

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    Mar 19, 2008
    #14
    I really can't seem to hear much difference.

    I'm doing all the same things I used to do with EarPods and it seems basically the same to me.

    That said..

    Wireless = Awesome
    (until I need to change volume...happens a lot w/ Podcasts & context switching)
     
  15. AppleRobert macrumors 603

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    Nov 12, 2012
    #15
    I have much I listen to on YouTube and the audio quality is not poor, really just the opposite.

    That is a serious limitation (AAC) and it must be within iPhones and Touches cause the sound with the airpods is great when I listen to that same music with my android smartphones. AND much louder.
     
  16. Traverse macrumors 604

    Traverse

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    #16
    I've noticed vocals are a bit stronger which took some adjustment.
     
  17. Sanlitun macrumors 6502

    Sanlitun

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    #17
    I wound up with two pairs of these when my local Apple store got stock and I didn't want to wait for shipping. As soon as I got the one pair the other arrived the next day. So of course I compared them against each other, my earpods and a few other pairs of open phones I have.

    As far as music playback goes I would rate them as noticeably better than the lightning earpods. I shot them out with some other open phones such as the vintage Sony MDR-888LP and would say the Airpods are close to being as good.

    If you really want to listen to music then you will probably be doing it a different way then through Airpods and an iPhone. But for open earphones these are pretty good. When you factor in everything else they do then they are certainly outstanding.
     
  18. AppleRobert macrumors 603

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    Nov 12, 2012
    #18
    Try EarPods versus airpods for yt music.
    You should immediately notice a volume difference. Probably for Apple Music and iTunes as well.
     
  19. Lennyvalentin macrumors 6502a

    Lennyvalentin

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    Apr 25, 2011
    #19
    A poll like this is completely unscientific (IE: worthless) because of confirmation bias; only a blind study could be anything approaching reliable in nature.
     

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