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Since the launch of the AirPods Max last week, we've done a couple of videos sharing a brief hands-on with Apple's new over-ear headphones and a comparison of them to other popular noise-cancelling headphones from Bose, Sony, and Sennheiser.



There's been a lot of debate about whether the AirPods Max are worth their $550 price tag, and value is always going to be something of a personal decision, so in our latest video we decided to look at five reasons why you might think about purchasing the new AirPods Max.

Build/Comfort

For people who are going to spend quite a bit of time using headphones, comfort and build quality are obviously key factors in determining whether they're going to have a good experience with a particular set. Comfort is going to vary from person to person based on head shape, head size, and other factors, but we've found the AirPods Max to be incredibly comfortable.

airpods-max-reaons-4.jpg

The mesh ear cups offer a good seal while still allowing for some breathability that helps reduce sweating sometimes experience with other materials like leather. And if your ear cups wear out, the magnetic attachment system of the AirPods Max makes them incredibly easy to swap out.

AirPods Max are made largely of metal, with aluminum ear cups and stainless steel telescoping arms, which gives them a quality feel that is pleasantly cool to the touch. Those metal part do mean, however, that the AirPods Max come in significantly heavier than many competing headphones, which may be an issue for some users. But we've found that the mesh headband does an excellent job of distributing that weight across the head for maximum comfort.

Noise Cancellation

One of the main reasons people buy over-ear headphones is for active noise cancellation (ANC), and we've found that the AirPods Max offer excellent capabilities in that regard. In our experience, it's difficult to hear anything from our surroundings while wearing the AirPods Max with ANC turned on.

airpods-max-reaons-1.jpg

You can of course turn off ANC if you want to be able to hear more around you, but there's also Transparency mode which keeps ANC on but pipes surrounding sound in, and we've found that it lets us hear just enough without being too much of a distraction.

Audio Quality

While the AirPods Max won't match high-quality wired headphones, we've been impressed with the sound the AirPods Max can deliver over Bluetooth. The sound profile of the AirPods Max is well-balanced and not overly aggressive toward either the highs or lows.

airpods-max-reaons-2.jpg

With H1 chips in each ear cup, the AirPods Max use computational audio to adjust what you're hearing in real-time, customizing it for the fit on your head and other factors. And while we don't recommend turning the volume up too high, we found that sound quality remains solid even at higher volume levels, offering a clear, distortionless sound.

H1 Chip

Speaking of those H1 chips, they deliver more than just good audio quality. They're also the key component that integrates the AirPods Max into the Apple ecosystem. Just like with AirPods and recent Beats headphones, the H1 chip supports easy pairing and seamless audio switching among devices linked to your iCloud account. If you're listening to music from your iPhone and then pick up your iPad to start watching a video, the AirPods Max can automatically switch over to begin playing the audio from your iPad.

airpods-max-reaons-5.jpg

This is all customizable, of course, so you can select which devices you want to be able to take over as audio sources automatically, and even if you turn off automatic switching for a device, it takes just a couple of taps to manually switch over.

Spatial Audio

Finally, there's Spatial Audio, a new feature Apple recently rolled out to AirPods Pro and which is also included on AirPods Max. Spatial Audio offers an immersive, 3D audio experience with compatible content, and while we initially thought it would be rather gimmicky, we were quickly proven wrong. It really has to be experienced to be believed, but it makes it feel like the audio is coming from all around you, yet anchored by the device you're watching the content on.

airpods-max-reaons-3.jpg

So if you're watching a show on Apple TV+ on your iPad, for example, you'll get a surround-sound experience which is very nice on its own, but then if you turn your head or move your iPad, the audio adjusts on the fly to match the relative orientation of your head and the iPad. It's a remarkably good experience that will make you think your headphones have stopped working and that your iPad is blasting audio out of its own speakers.

Wrap-up

Those are our top five reasons why you might want to invest in AirPods Max. Yes, their $550 price tag can be a bit hard to swallow when competitors are coming in at $350 or less, but if you're heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, the combination of comfort, build quality, and features might be enough to tip the balance in favor of the AirPods Max.

Were you able to get your hands on the AirPods Max before shipping dates slipped well into next year? Have you recently opted for a competing set of headphones after seeing what the AirPods Max had to offer? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Article Link: Five Reasons Why You Might Want to Consider AirPods Max
 

Pangalactic

macrumors 6502
Nov 28, 2016
494
1,374
So, to sum it up:

- comfort is subjective
- noise cancellation at a great but worse than Sony WH1000-XM4 level
- Sound quality is bad FOR THE PRICE RANGE, and still doesn't beat cheaper headphones
- Switching audio between Apple devices, all right
- Spatial audio that WH1000 and many other cheaper headphones have

Add to that:
- heavyweight
- a terrible case
- never being able to turn them off
- lighting charging in 2020
- replaceable parts for half a kidney price

And that's just for $549! Sold!
 

va1984

macrumors regular
Jan 27, 2011
205
263
I love my AirPod Max. I was sure I would return them, but they won me over, easily. My old Sony were due an upgrade (had them for six years), and these AirPod max are exactly what I wanted: fantastic sound, ANC, transparency (sooo much better than my old Sony), eternal battery. They’re also way more comfortable than my old ones, which has leather ear cups that make you sweat. Looking forward to handsome leather cases by the likes of Pad & Quill and Waterfield.
I see lots of people who seem irritated by these headphones. But why? There are so many other excellent options out there (including by Apple/Beats). Surely you can find something to like, rather than spend time hating on these ones?
 

obamtl

macrumors 6502
May 24, 2010
424
642
I love my AirPod Max. I was sure I would return them, but they won me over, easily. My old Sony were due an upgrade (had them for six years), and these AirPod max are exactly what I wanted: fantastic sound, ANC, transparency (sooo much better than my old Sony), eternal battery. They’re also way more comfortable than my old ones, which has leather ear cups that make you sweat. Looking forward to handsome leather cases by the likes of Pad & Quill and Waterfield.
I see lots of people who seem irritated by these headphones. But why? There are so many other excellent options out there (including by Apple/Beats). Surely you can find something to like, rather than spend time hating on these ones?
Exactly the same as you. I did get them and thought I'd return them. The sound quality is quite simply not in the same league as the Sony XM3. Sure most people might decide the extra sound quality is not worth it for them, but for me I just fell in love. Listening to old albums and appreciating them in a new way, with far more depth that I didn't realise was there. I'd gladly pay the extra £200 for several years of that experience of joy listening to music on this.

The one thing that made me pause on whether to return them was that they felt uncomfortable when I got them, but there was another thread here that showed how to loosen them, and since doing that, the fit has been perfect, and they're remarkably comfortable.

It's funny seeing people hate on this, especially those who haven't tried them out. It's a free world, so they're entitled to their view. At the end of the day, they're not losing anything because of these. They can still pick other headphones if they want.
 

FightTheFuture

macrumors 68000
Oct 19, 2003
1,677
2,401
that town east of ann arbor
- Other have better performance at cheaper prices
Better performance? Is this your subjective take because reviewers don't have that sentiment.
- Sound quality is bad FOR THE PRICE RANGE, and still doesn't beat cheaper headphones
Again, trying to push this inferior message. I've read a lot of audiophile reviews gushing over the sound quality. Not sure where you guys are getting this. Everyone tries to make everything Apple Maps versus Google Maps, when it's probably more about cost.
 

Ds6778

macrumors 65816
Sep 9, 2016
1,021
3,331
Reasons Not:
- Price
- Weight
- Other have better performance at cheaper prices
- Not able to turn off
- Case is useless

Having used these since launch VS just blindly hating, here are my thoughts:

Price - Relative.

Weight - These are the comfiest over-ear headphones I’ve ever used.

I don’t know what “Better Performance” even means. Just an ambiguous statement with absolutely nothing backing that up.

This “Turn it off” nonsense is not a deal breaker for people who actually have it. Anecdotal, but I can’t remember the last time I need to “Turn off” any of my gadgets. These AirPods are no different than the other AirPods, just put them in the case and be done. Would you like them to add a power button to the entire AirPods line?..

The case actually puts them into a super low power mode and also keep them protected vs laying open on a desk/flat surface. So much for “useless.” You may not like the design but it literally has a purpose..
 

VicX

macrumors member
Oct 8, 2009
72
3
California


Since the launch of the AirPods Max last week, we've done a couple of videos sharing a brief hands-on with Apple's new over-ear headphones and a comparison of them to other popular noise-cancelling headphones from Bose, Sony, and Sennheiser.



There's been a lot of debate about whether the AirPods Max are worth their $550 price tag, and value is always going to be something of a personal decision, so in our latest video we decided to look at five reasons why you might think about purchasing the new AirPods Max.

Build/Comfort

For people who are going to spend quite a bit of time using headphones, comfort and build quality are obviously key factors in determining whether they're going to have a good experience with a particular set. Comfort is going to vary from person to person based on head shape, head size, and other factors, but we've found the AirPods Max to be incredibly comfortable.

airpods-max-reaons-4.jpg

The mesh ear cups offer a good seal while still allowing for some breathability that helps reduce sweating sometimes experience with other materials like leather. And if your ear cups wear out, the magnetic attachment system of the AirPods Max makes them incredibly easy to swap out.

AirPods Max are made largely of metal, with aluminum ear cups and stainless steel telescoping arms, which gives them a quality feel that is pleasantly cool to the touch. Those metal part do mean, however, that the AirPods Max come in significantly heavier than many competing headphones, which may be an issue for some users. But we've found that the mesh headband does an excellent job of distributing that weight across the head for maximum comfort.

Noise Cancellation

One of the main reasons people buy over-ear headphones is for active noise cancellation (ANC), and we've found that the AirPods Max offer excellent capabilities in that regard. In our experience, it's difficult to hear anything from our surroundings while wearing the AirPods Max with ANC turned on.

airpods-max-reaons-1.jpg

You can of course turn off ANC if you want to be able to hear more around you, but there's also Transparency mode which keeps ANC on but pipes surrounding sound in, and we've found that it lets us hear just enough without being too much of a distraction.

Audio Quality

While the AirPods Max won't match high-quality wired headphones, we've been impressed with the sound the AirPods Max can deliver over Bluetooth. The sound profile of the AirPods Max is well-balanced and not overly aggressive toward either the highs or lows.

airpods-max-reaons-2.jpg

With H1 chips in each ear cup, the AirPods Max use computational audio to adjust what you're hearing in real-time, customizing it for the fit on your head and other factors. And while we don't recommend turning the volume up too high, we found that sound quality remains solid even at higher volume levels, offering a clear, distortionless sound.

H1 Chip

Speaking of those H1 chips, they deliver more than just good audio quality. They're also the key component that integrates the AirPods Max into the Apple ecosystem. Just like with AirPods and recent Beats headphones, the H1 chip supports easy pairing and seamless audio switching among devices linked to your iCloud account. If you're listening to music from your iPhone and then pick up your iPad to start watching a video, the AirPods Max can automatically switch over to begin playing the audio from your iPad.

airpods-max-reaons-5.jpg

This is all customizable, of course, so you can select which devices you want to be able to take over as audio sources automatically, and even if you turn off automatic switching for a device, it takes just a couple of taps to manually switch over.

Spatial Audio

Finally, there's Spatial Audio, a new feature Apple recently rolled out to AirPods Pro and which is also included on AirPods Max. Spatial Audio offers an immersive, 3D audio experience with compatible content, and while we initially thought it would be rather gimmicky, we were quickly proven wrong. It really has to be experienced to be believed, but it makes it feel like the audio is coming from all around you, yet anchored by the device you're watching the content on.

airpods-max-reaons-3.jpg

So if you're watching a show on Apple TV+ on your iPad, for example, you'll get a surround-sound experience which is very nice on its own, but then if you turn your head or move your iPad, the audio adjusts on the fly to match the relative orientation of your head and the iPad. It's a remarkably good experience that will make you think your headphones have stopped working and that your iPad is blasting audio out of its own speakers.

Wrap-up

Those are our top five reasons why you might want to invest in AirPods Max. Yes, their $550 price tag can be a bit hard to swallow when competitors are coming in at $350 or less, but if you're heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, the combination of comfort, build quality, and features might be enough to tip the balance in favor of the AirPods Max.

Were you able to get your hands on the AirPods Max before shipping dates slipped well into next year? Have you recently opted for a competing set of headphones after seeing what the AirPods Max had to offer? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Article Link: Five Reasons Why You Might Want to Consider AirPods Max
wow, so much hate.. before evening trying one
 

obamtl

macrumors 6502
May 24, 2010
424
642
Having used these since launch VS just blindly hating, here are my thoughts:

Price - Relative.

Weight - These are the comfiest over-ear headphones I’ve ever used.

I don’t know what “Better Performance” even means. Just an ambiguous statement with absolutely nothing backing that up.

This “Turn it off” nonsense is not a deal breaker for people who actually have it. Anecdotal, but I can’t remember the last time I need to “Turn off” any of my gadgets. These AirPods are no different than the other AirPods, just put them in the case and be done. Would you like them to add a power button to the entire AirPods line?..

The case actually puts them into a super low power mode and also keep them protected vs laying open on a desk/flat surface. So much for “useless.” You may not like the design but it literally has a purpose..
I really hate the case to the point that I don't use it, and even without the case I lose maybe 2% of battery life overnight. It's negligible. I'd really question this 'lower power mode' business because I doubt it actually makes much of a difference.

And sure I'd like there to be an option to deliberately turn them off, and I want a better case, but they don't detract from the key functions of these headphones. They shine where it matters most.
 

Maconplasma

Cancelled
Sep 15, 2020
2,489
2,206
It's funny seeing people hate on this, especially those who haven't tried them out. It's a free world, so they're entitled to their view. At the end of the day, they're not losing anything because of these. They can still pick other headphones if they want.
Always understand when people on MR hate on Apple products that's code for "DAMNIT I KNOW THEY WILL SELL AND PEOPLE WILL LOVE THEM AND IT JUST BURNS ME UP". 😂

The iPad got so much hate referring to it as a feminine napkin. Now it's the most successful tablet in history.

The iPhone got so much hate from people saying nobody would give up a Blackberry for Apple's overpriced iPhone. Yeah and since then every year people are standing in long lines to buy one. And where's the Blackberry now? LOL

People are even trying to hate on the M1 Macs because they are far more powerful in CPU and GPU performance than any other computer in their class.
 
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