Proof Apple reduced noise cancelling functionality in airpod pros

supergt

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 22, 2019
208
249
Many of us believed that Apple reduced the noise cancellation on airpod pros following several forced firmware updates. Now we have definitive proof from rtings.com as they have retested the noise isolation on the latest firmware.

Here are their findings:

Update 01/10/2020: After updating to Firmware 2C45, we retested the headphones and our results showed a fairly significant drop in isolation performance, primarily in the bass-range. This means that with ANC turned on, these headphones won't do nearly as good a job blocking out the low engine rumbles of planes or buses as they did before this update. This review reflects these changes.

I personally find it unacceptable that Apple has changed a key functionality in this product without any sort of explanation via release notes and the option to decline their firmware upgrades. The glowing reviews of the ANC were based on the initial firmware and while the ANC is still good, it is no where close to what I first experienced when I bought the product.
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,511
6,684
The 2C45 update was pulled and no longer available. The prior update, 2B588, is now the latest.

So I'm assuming this was a mistake, they became aware of it, and then pulled the update. Hopefully this will be rectified in an update without that problem.
 

supergt

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 22, 2019
208
249
The 2C45 update was pulled and no longer available. The prior update, 2B588, is now the latest.

So I'm assuming this was a mistake, they became aware of it, and then pulled the update. Hopefully this will be rectified in an update without that problem.
I first noticed the reduced ANC in the 88 version. I purchased my airpod pros on day 1 with the 84 firmware and the mid November update to 88 definitely reduced the ANC. I now have 45 and it is the same as 88. I believe the 45 version caused other connectivity problems and that's why they pulled it.

Edit: most recent firmware is 2C54 and not 45.
 

Telesmurfen

macrumors member
Apr 18, 2016
55
30
Thanks for the info, and for confirming what many of us have thought all along.
What bothers me most, though, is not the fact that Apple made a mistake and released a “bad” firmware (it happens from time to time). It’s the fact that when they discovered the mistake, they didn’t offer an opportunity to revert to the old firmware.
I realize that it may take some time to create a brand new firmware, but when they realized that the 2C54 firmware was so bad that they had to pull it, they should have made it easy for those of us who had already installed it, to roll back to the original firmware.
Oh well, I hope a new, improved firmware will be released soon. Perhaps if some big reviewers and media could make some stories on this...
 

ales876

macrumors regular
Nov 25, 2016
164
74
Munich
I ordered my pair and need to wait until feb until they get delivered.
I got it that there is a problem with the ANC, but can somebody be so kind and explain which version was the one which was working? And which is the “faulty” on?

it’s not that they made you update to the faulty one and suddenly pulled back thE correct one, so said you need to stick with the faulty one, right?
 

supergt

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 22, 2019
208
249
I ordered my pair and need to wait until feb until they get delivered.
I got it that there is a problem with the ANC, but can somebody be so kind and explain which version was the one which was working? And which is the “faulty” on?

it’s not that they made you update to the faulty one and suddenly pulled back thE correct one, so said you need to stick with the faulty one, right?

The air pod pros were released with firmware version 2B584. The noise cancellation was optimal and very strong. Apple released firmware update 2B588 in mid November, which decreased the effectiveness of the ANC. There was also an update in mid December: 2C54. This did not change the ANC (still weakened) and seems to have caused other problems with connectivity. It has since been pulled by Apple.

Airpod pros are currently shipping with 2B588 so many will not know the potential of ANC. As I said, it is good but not great as it had been at launch.
 

japanime

macrumors 68000
Feb 27, 2006
1,945
1,886
Japan
Makes me wonder if newer firmware will never revert to the more-effective ANC, especially after reports that some users were claiming that the "pressure" made them dizzy and nauseous.
 

supergt

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 22, 2019
208
249
Makes me wonder if newer firmware will never revert to the more-effective ANC, especially after reports that some users were claiming that the "pressure" made them dizzy and nauseous.
You make a good point but here is another. How can a company force a change on a product that is significant when you can no longer return it? This is literally risky business and how lawsuits start. Apple would be well advised to fix this quickly.
 

vanhalen26

macrumors newbie
Nov 14, 2018
25
3
Maybe the high level of cancellation caused battery drain - so they reduced as a trade off. I never had the original firmware, I’m curious to hear the difference.
 

anthony13

macrumors 6502
Jul 1, 2012
252
154
It reminds me of the bass reduction firmware update they did on the HomePod. I preferred the bass heavy response for my large living room area, and the HomePod is barely used anymore.
 

mavis

macrumors 601
Jul 30, 2007
4,196
557
Tokyo, Japan
It reminds me of the bass reduction firmware update they did on the HomePod. I preferred the bass heavy response for my large living room area, and the HomePod is barely used anymore.
In other words, maybe we should stick with wired devices - devices whose sonic signature can't be changed on a whim with a forced firmware update. I mean, the ability to dramatically alter our products' sound with nothing more than a pushed firmware update is really not cool.
 
Last edited:

ales876

macrumors regular
Nov 25, 2016
164
74
Munich
The air pod pros were released with firmware version 2B584. The noise cancellation was optimal and very strong. Apple released firmware update 2B588 in mid November, which decreased the effectiveness of the ANC. There was also an update in mid December: 2C54. This did not change the ANC (still weakened) and seems to have caused other problems with connectivity. It has since been pulled by Apple.

Airpod pros are currently shipping with 2B588 so many will not know the potential of ANC. As I said, it is good but not great as it had been at launch.
Thank you very much!
 
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BarrettF77

macrumors 6502
May 24, 2015
490
541
I wonder if this has anything to do with the noise cancellation seal test failure. Not that Apple would acknowledge it. But it doesn't take rocket science for us to figure out that we can't get up to the latest. I've got one pair on 54 and one on 88. Not using either in fear of the seal test failure until a new update comes as the other thread here about seal test failure is rampant.
 

Otflyer

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2017
1,225
784
SF Bay Area
Many of us believed that Apple reduced the noise cancellation on airpod pros following several forced firmware updates. Now we have definitive proof from rtings.com as they have retested the noise isolation on the latest firmware.

Here are their findings:

Update 01/10/2020: After updating to Firmware 2C45, we retested the headphones and our results showed a fairly significant drop in isolation performance, primarily in the bass-range. This means that with ANC turned on, these headphones won't do nearly as good a job blocking out the low engine rumbles of planes or buses as they did before this update. This review reflects these changes.

I personally find it unacceptable that Apple has changed a key functionality in this product without any sort of explanation via release notes and the option to decline their firmware upgrades. The glowing reviews of the ANC were based on the initial firmware and while the ANC is still good, it is no where close to what I first experienced when I bought the product.
This may not effect every pair. I bought mine on launch starting with 84>85>54. I have used mine every day since and haven’t noticed any difference in performance at all.
 
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supergt

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 22, 2019
208
249
This may not effect every pair. I bought mine on launch starting with 84>85>54. I have used mine every day since and haven’t noticed any difference in performance at all.
It is painfully clear this is not a hardware issue. Firmware updates don't discriminate and your airpods pro are no better than mine or the next user. You may not have noticed the difference in sound profile or ANC with the firmware changes and that is fine. But to say this is limited to a subset of the population defies common sense.
 

anthony13

macrumors 6502
Jul 1, 2012
252
154
I'm so concerned this will never be addressed. When they botched the EQ on the HomePod I stupidly looked forward to an imminent update. None really ever came. I realize it's my own deficiency that I care this much, but my actual OCD'ness basically considers my air pod pro's broken until they can make the noise cancellation as powerful as it used to be.
 
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supergt

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 22, 2019
208
249
I'm so concerned this will never be addressed. When they botched the EQ on the HomePod I stupidly looked forward to an imminent update. None really ever came. I realize it's my own deficiency that I care this much, but my actual OCD'ness basically considers my air pod pro's broken until they can make the noise cancellation as powerful as it used to be.
I understand and appreciate your comment. When something is working perfectly fine and then a forced update changes the parameters of the basic functions, it is certainly frustrating. However I’d stress a little patience. The story has gone mainstream and now the more literate tech public is well aware of the situation. They will be forced to issue an update soon to correct for other ongoing issues and you can bet both sound performance and noise cancelling will be center stage.

Furthermore, if something like this isn’t corrected, you could potentially see legal action. Those of us that had the first firmware version have a very different product that we can no longer return. Apple doesn’t want to hurt the cash cow and this bad publicity will help our cause.