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Brookzy

macrumors 601
Original poster
May 30, 2010
4,952
5,483
UK
I managed to get my hands on some AirPods Max. The overwhelmingly positive reviews excited me. I have taken them for a test drive on my commute on the tube and also in quiet environments.

My conclusion: I really can't see the hype.

Design and comfort
  • They're so heavy. They feel like they're going to fall off my head with just normal movements while travelling, e.g. looking down at my phone or up at a departure board. And I've got a large head, and they're squeezing pretty tight.
  • The headband length adjustment is arbitrary rather than clicking into place, so you can never get an identical fit twice.
  • The button and wheel are weirdly placed. I seem to accidentally press the button every time I place them on my head.
  • The wheel has little resistance and no haptic feedback when moved. A haptic click sensation would be so much more satisfying.
  • The wheel adjusts volume at a different rate than the Apple Watch crown in watchOS 7. The full range of volume can be achieved in one rotation on the Max, whereas the watch takes several spins. Why?
  • There is no volume adjustment buffer. Graze the wheel accidentally while adjusting the fit and you'll blast volume in your ears.
Audio quality
  • They do sound great. But not jaw-droopingly good. The mids are definitely perfectly delivered, but this does seem to come at the expense of bass and loudness. The AirPods Pro are considerably more poppy, and while technically inferior, might be a more enjoyable listening experience for most people.
Noice cancellation
  • Not impressed. Again, the reviews touted this as best in class. Yet the AirPods Pro deliver just as good noise cancellation in my experience (that is: not excellent).
  • When moving your ahead around - yes, simply looking around, not shaking - in acoustically challenging environments such as the underground, the noise cancellation distorts slightly. I'm not sure if the seal of the ear cups is changing as I move around but it is frankly disorientating. The Pros do not have this issue.
Reliability
  • I had the same experience with connection drops discussed elsewhere. A factory reset appears to have fixed this.
The case
Store your AirPods Max in the Smart Case to help preserve battery charge. Storing AirPods Max loose in your bag can result in damage.

In summary I'm not sure how the Verge saw them worthy of an 8.5/10. What am I missing?
 

SPG1

macrumors member
Dec 15, 2020
35
21
Starting to think the same myself. They are heavy, they don't sit on my head right, they drained 25% in 3 hours in the case, and now my right hinge is clicking.

I don't care about the price to be blunt. But if I have to start making excuses for something, it's not for me.
 

richard371

macrumors 68040
Feb 1, 2008
3,160
1,319
I feel the same. Picked up the Sony 1000MX4s and they are way better for my use. Not only did I have some connection issues with the APM I did notice when turning my head the music changes a bit like you noticed which I don't like. The case is a joke and with the Sonys you can use the line in with them off etc which is great as I use them for DJing too and less latency. I also like I can set custom EQs in the Sony app for my taste since music is subjective. The APMs are going back. Ill wait for version 2. They are too quirky. I still have my AirPod Pros which are great. The APM are going back.
 

jonnyb098

macrumors 68040
Nov 16, 2010
3,538
3,783
Michigan
Starting to think the same myself. They are heavy, they don't sit on my head right, they drained 25% in 3 hours in the case, and now my right hinge is clicking.

I don't care about the price to be blunt. But if I have to start making excuses for something, it's not for me.
The obvious is that these things sound amazing.

I just got mine yesterday and echo some of the same comments about weight and fit. These things are heavy and you always know they’re on your head. Especially if you get up and move around. The clamp force is also noticeable. I though laying down with them would be better but it’s actually worse. Also even thought the ear cup material is breathable my ears feel like they can breath again after just a short time.

Even after a day the controls are just super awkward to use. The crown works well but the placement is just weird.

The price was not a big deal to me but all things considered they need to be damn near perfect considering how much they are . Still on the fence keeping them.
 

jonnyb098

macrumors 68040
Nov 16, 2010
3,538
3,783
Michigan
Agreed on all points. The positive reviews have surprised me.
Because all the positive reviews are after using them for a very short time. Comfort is key to these and they are simply not comfortable for any length of time. Even MKBHD said you will notice these right away when you start walking around and it’s very true. It’s like weights pulling on your head with each step.
 

tdbrown75

macrumors regular
Apr 28, 2015
212
174
Dallas, TX
(Thanks for the positive energy. I didn't want to cancel my pickup on Tuesday)

I recommend trying them yourself, otherwise its like trying to decide which vehicle to buy without test driving.

I came from a pair of Beats Studio 2s, so there was a lot of room for improvement. In my experience, they sound phenomenal, I love the transparency feature, and Ive been wearing them several hours and find them extrodinarilly confortable. The headband, ear cups, etc. are sublime. I switch devices a lot so that's also been a great feature for me.

I don't think about what they cost as I already spent the money, so I'm just enjoying them. Don't overthink it!

Tim
 

darkgremio

macrumors 6502
Jul 17, 2011
334
65
I don’t know from my use case it fits mine. They sound is great, technically I am not expecting an experience similar to Vinyl or using monitor headphones.

This is a tuned consumer experience, and it delivers that. No need to fidget with EQ settings, it‘s just pop-on and play.

I find the noise cancelling superior to the Bose, on my air flight yesterday it blocked out the audible drone of the engine, even while resting my head on the wall.

It’s so flipping annoying doing the Bluetooth juggle, with this they move from my Apple devices, I use the iPad sometimes move to the Mac and the phone.

You get what you pay for, and I think this fits the bill from two points design and sound.

Also, I used these for extended period of time with the PS5 and Zoom/Chime calls
 

pmiles

macrumors 6502a
Dec 12, 2013
663
536
Reviewers spend all but 5 minutes with the device. They aren't planning on using it for the rest of their life so they review it in the minute not based on what it will be like to use them for 5 years straight in every capacity that a "real" user would use it.

The internet is about as honest as anyone trying to sell you snake oil. M1 Macs... best thing since sliced pie.... THEN once it got into everyones hands... all the flaws started showing... those are your REAL REVIEWS... the people who spent real money to find out that the reviews were gilded lilies at best.. REALITY is a bitch.

The real reviews are coming from real people who have no interest in clicks or getting a free demo from sponsors. The real truth comes from real use... not some short jaunt to test something just to see what it does in a snippet of time. No one uses anything in a snippet of time... except reviewers.
 

Brookzy

macrumors 601
Original poster
May 30, 2010
4,952
5,483
UK
I was expecting to get flamed in this thread but most people seem equally unenthused.

I will persist with them for a bit to see if I grow to like them.

In other news - I have just instinctively double tapped the right can with my finger expecting to skip to the next track. Obviously nothing happened... 😂
 

Maukey

macrumors regular
Apr 26, 2010
165
184
Wow. Surprising to me that some are finding these uncomfortable. One of the shocking things for me with these headphones is how comfortable they are. I'm a person that's sensitive to pressure on top of the head and the Max nails this in spades with the mesh headband. I have a narrow head so the clamping force is not that bad for me. They are heavy and I never forget they're on my head, but I have no issues doing basic commutes and walking around with the Max. I can wear them for hours with no discomfort. Now I wouldn't exercise or do construction work in these. They aren't the most stable of headphones as most heavy headphones aren't. I guess that's why each person needs to try headphones for themselves. Nobody can ever tell you how a headphone will fit or sound to you.
 

jonnyb098

macrumors 68040
Nov 16, 2010
3,538
3,783
Michigan
I was expecting to get flamed in this thread but most people seem equally unenthused.

I will persist with them for a bit to see if I grow to like them.

In other news - I have just instinctively double tapped the right can with my finger expecting to skip to the next track. Obviously nothing happened... 😂
The controls are so awkward to use. Usually apple stuff is intuitive. The fact that even the gushing reviewers thought they were weird along with the weird case.....
 
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richard371

macrumors 68040
Feb 1, 2008
3,160
1,319
Just to many quirks for me. I think they are on the right track and the next gen will be great.
 

Macaday

macrumors member
Sep 13, 2007
62
107
After being very unsure of them in the beginning I’m really enjoying them now.

Had a chance earlier to listen to the Audeze Mobius which some reviewers are saying are the best sounding Bluetooth headphone (even though it’s a gaming headphone) because it’s got planar magnetic drivers. They cost £400 and have terrible build quality.

In my opinion the APM are miles ahead in terms of build and sound. They seem to be getting better each time I use them.
 

Herrpod

macrumors 6502a
May 29, 2019
878
1,690
Mainly disappointed because once again Apple is trying to rip people off. Want to listen wired? Only Apples stupidly overpriced cable works. Want to travel with them? Yep, you’re going to need to buy another case because the included case is downright awful.
 

quagmire

macrumors 604
Apr 19, 2004
6,694
1,802
I am loving mine so far. My taste in music is in original soundtracks as they stick with being mostly instrumental. And they sound amazing on the APM's. Now I am ignorant to how other headphones out there may sound since obviously I can't do comparisons with the state of the world right now with COVID and I can only judge coming from Bose QC35 II's. And the APM's are better than those outside of naturally being lighter in weight.
 
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Macaday

macrumors member
Sep 13, 2007
62
107
Mainly disappointed because once again Apple is trying to rip people off. Want to listen wired? Only Apples stupidly overpriced cable works. Want to travel with them? Yep, you’re going to need to buy another case because the included case is downright awful.
Totally agree that not including a cable like every other manufacturer was both arrogant and stupid. My ‘case’ will most probably stay in the box and never be used.

The headphones themselves though are very good indeed.
 

jonnyb098

macrumors 68040
Nov 16, 2010
3,538
3,783
Michigan
Totally agree that not including a cable like every other manufacturer was both arrogant and stupid. My ‘case’ will most probably stay in the box and never be used.

The headphones themselves though are very good indeed.
They include a useless lightning cable though.....apple is putting these stupid things in every damn box which is a waste. Yet won’t put the 20W power brick. No one seems to be able to make heads or tales of what the logic is behind any of this.
 

anthony13

macrumors 6502a
Jul 1, 2012
801
753
They include a useless lightning cable though.....apple is putting these stupid things in every damn box which is a waste. Yet won’t put the 20W power brick. No one seems to be able to make heads or tales of what the logic is behind any of s.
It’s so mid-leading. They claim everyone has too many usb-A plugs and they remove them for environmental concerns. But then they ship the subsequent products with USB-C cables essentially requiring everyone make additional purchases anyways. It’s so ridiculously profit driven.
 
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