Apple AirPods Max Wireless Over-Ear Headphones. Active Noise Cancelling, Transparency Mode, Spatial Audio, Digital Crown for
- Apple-designed dynamic driver provides high-fidelity audio.Note : If the size of the earbud tips does not match the size of your ear canals or the headset is not worn properly in your ears, you may not obtain the correct sound qualities or call performance. Change the earbud tips to ones that fit more snugly in your ear
- Active Noise Cancellation blocks outside noise, so you can immerse yourself in music
- Transparency mode for hearing and interacting with the world around you
- Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking provides theater-like sound that surrounds you
- Computational audio combines custom acoustic design with the Apple H1 chip and software for breakthrough listening experiences
- Designed with a knit-mesh canopy and memory foam ear cushions for an exceptional fit
- Magical experience with effortless setup, on-head detection, and seamless switching between devices
- Easily share audio between two sets of AirPods on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV
- 20 hours of listening, movie watching, or talk time with Active Noise Cancellation and spatial audio enabled
- Store in ultra low-power mode with the slim Smart Case
Jay Hash –
Excellent headphones, made in the typical “first draft” Apple wayFull disclosure: I purchased these headphones back in April 2021 and gave them some break-in time (until June 2021) before I reviewed them, so this is my experience of having them for more than 90 Days.I owned a pair of Beats Studio Wireless 2’s for about 4 years, and they were a useable set of cans. They had some pretty smart wired connections, good battery life, and were rather comfy to wear… but their wireless connections were a nightmare, the integrated Mic awful, and the noise-canceling mediocre. I was looking for a change, and being a consumer of Apple Products and with the generally good reviews I had seen for the Airpod Max, I decided to take the (kind of) expensive plunge. And honestly, I was not disappointed.As with any good review, we’ll break it down into the Pros & Cons and explore both.BUILD QUALITY/DESIGNPROS:The build quality on these headphones is nothing short of phenomenal. They are made of Metal and some nylon or rubber here and there (for the headband and earcup padding) and they feel VERY SOLID. The piston style adjustments on the headband always feel super tight and mechanical (still even months after using them). The earcups are always tight on my head, allowing the headphones to clamp down on my ears and prevent noise leakage. The Earcups are built out of what looks to be a rubberized polycarbonate and padded mesh fabric and are held in by MAGNETS, making them easy to replace if they get soiled or if you want a different color.Also, found out after the fact, the headband is ALSO replaceable if you want a different color later on down the line. The metal the speaker boxes are made from are the standard matte Apple aluminum, and the control buttons on the right speaker box are on par with the dials and buttons included on their Apple Watches (in fact, I’m pretty sure they’re the same buttons, just “upsized” in the CAD program when making this device). It all feels very expensive and well built, and even 100+ days after initial use, still feels “brand new” and solid.CONS:Whereas I love the build quality, there are some pretty glaring design flaws and comfort issues that come along with this first outing from Apple.First, whereas the headphones still fit like they were brand new, I’d hope for some relief on the hard clamping aspect present in them. When I first wore them, I was finding the clamping done by the headphones very tight and threatening to give me a headache if I wore them too long since it was like a vise on my head. This has lessened slightly over time, but it is still very tight. I don’t know of a fix for this outside of constant wear to try and get them to bend a flex to a less tight shape on my dome, but so far they still hurt a bit when wearing them for an extended time.Second, even though I like the good piston mechanics on the ear height adjustment with the headband since it takes some force to properly adjust them, sometimes you have to grip on the speaker boxes and pull downwards on them while pushing upwards on the headband with your cranium to get them to adjust to your liking. This wouldn’t be an issue if the dial and button were on the bottom of the headphones, but since they’re on the top of the right speaker box, it is notoriously difficult to adjust them on your head and not accidentally press one of the buttons, causing playback or the headphones to go into pair mode (which happens if you hold down the buttons for too long). You’d think, “oh, just grab the sides of the speaker boxes”, which makes sense, however as I stated they are made of Apple’s standard aluminum, and to add to that the edges are very rounded, so getting a grip on the side of the headphone speaker boxes is difficult at best.SOUNDPROS: The sound quality on these is an absolute beast, and it’s by far the best pair of headphones I’ve ever used. The audio is clear, and you can hear highs, lows, and everything in between. However, I will be the first to admit, while I am musically inclined and love listening to audio, I’m by no means an Audiophile or claim to be able to hear what types of sounds are being emitted cleanly and loudly, and which aren’t. I usually can if I have good reference, but as these are the best headphones I’ve ever owned, so they become the new baseline. Also, the built in noise canceling is the best in the business right now, and is definitely better than its closest competitor. The reason why it is so good is due to the multiple microphones established in the soundbox housing, which not only work EXTREMELY well for the ANC, but also for phone calls. The phone calls made from these headphones are nearly studio mic grade in how they sound, and are much better than most things included on computers or competitor headphones nowadays.CONS: Though I am not an audiophile, there is something that I can tell— when there is killer bass and when there isn’t. And to my ears, these don’t have a superheavy bass that will rattle your fillings, which is *fine*, but I thought there would simply be *more* bass in the audio. The bass may be enough for most music, and what it has is ok, but nothing akin to the huge bass I was *expecting*. The nice thing is that if you delve into the Accessibility Settings for your Apple product, you can set an audio profile for the headphones so it’ll enhance the audio based on how well you hear (so already, this enhancement is *proprietary*; not a big deal for me as I own nothing but Apple devices, but YMMV).EASE OF USE/ACCESSORIESPROS: If using Apple products, the handoff of the headphones to the other devices works really, really well and hasn’t needed to be paired more than once to each device it is used on. The pairing process is nicely simple if it does go wonky, and doesn’t have nearly as many issues as other BT that gets locked into a single device. The equipment/accessories that it comes with are acceptable (charging lightning cable, bra-esque “case”). The stop/start/volume dial is very responsive and easy to click using the same click sequence that Airpod Pros have used for a while (Double click to advance, triple-click to go back, quad click, etc…). If you take them off your head, the headphones have a similar light sensor that other Airpods have to determine if they’re in your ears or not, and will halt the music accordingly or start playing if they recognize they’re back in place on your head. The lightning cable to charge the headphones is embedded in the base of the right-hand speaker box, and charges using the same style cable that your iPhone and old Airpods do, so you should already have at least one cable for it if you own Apple products.CONS: Hooo boy, ok. So with any early adopter technology, there’s always going to be some bugs that need working out, or some design flaw that (where not crippling) makes the headphones more of a chore and less fun to use. This may be our longest section, but please take these with a grain of salt— none of these are dealbreakers for *me*, but since I’m not you, YMMV. Here are the issues I found in no particular order, but NEED to be discussed as I’ve often seen them glossed over elsewhere—- Analogue Connection. There is no direct analogue connection with these headphones. As most audiophioles claim, digital (especially wireless digital) will never be an acceptable connection replacement for analogue. And most high-grade cans have some sort of analog 3.5mm jack that can be plugged into a normal headphone port that will allow you to use these headphones with devices that don’t transmit via BT, like a Record Player, or high-end sound system. The Airpods Max unfortunately have no such analogue connection. “But!” you may exclaim, “You can always use the Lightning port and plugin a Lightning to 3.5mm converter cable!” This is true… to an extent. First off, to get that feature to work, you need to get a SPECIFIC cable— Apple’s Lighting to 3.5mm cable. The reason? Because that cable, and seemingly ONLY that cable, is BI-DIRECTIONAL. This means that no matter what end you plug your source into, that cable will translate the audio both ways. Most to all third-party cables (that I was able to find in my research) are like an annoying 13-year-old listening to music in 2011: all they play is ONE DIRECTION. Also, to top off the annoyance, when you DO use the Apple Cable, it takes the analogue source, transfers it to the headphones, whose signal is then converted to digital. Automatically, mandatorily, every time. This may be a problem for some people who demand their Analogue output to be heard in its original analogue glory. Also, the Apple cable that you HAVE to use is super cheap feeling and thin, instead of the normal thick or braided casing most headphone cables use. Did I mention that Apple also DOES NOT include this cable with the headphones? It’s extra. Like about $30-$40 extra. So you may be better off with another set of headphones if you want a good, wired, analogue signal.- The “Case”. I feel like the case that is included with these headphones will go down in history alongside the 1998 iMac USB Puck mouse, the Apple Newton, and the Magic Mouse Lightning port as one of their more GLORIOUSLY STUPID design decisions. The “case” is made of what I can assume is leather, but for a set of ~$550 headphones, that’s about the only “premium” feature they boast. There is minimal padding. There supposedly is a magnet included in the area where the headphone edges touch that triggers an internal reed switch to put the cans in standby mode. Half the “case” is exposed to the elements and doesn’t fully cover the electronics, so it isn’t ideal as something to protect from inclement weather. And lastly, and most egregious, is that there is no way to use the case to carry around the headphones or attach them to anything— no belt clip or loop, no hanging clip, nothing. So believe me when I say that you’re gonna need a case for these things if they’re ever gonna leave your home, and it’s almost imperative if you live in a place with inclement weather. I bought a full zip case that has a built-in magnet for the reed switch, has a few pockets for cables, and is very padded. It was worth the cost to make sure that my headphones that cost *half a thousand dollars* stay safe. Apple’s lack of protection has not only garnered users’ ire, but made the Airpod Max case into little more than a joke, and I really can’t see a counterargument to either of those things.- Lack of Lossless audio on their own products. So as many know, Apple has just announced that it will have lossless audio on its Apple Music platform soon, which is a boon to audiophiles everywhere. But in everything I have read about it, they always have the caveat that the lossless audio currently doesn’t work with the Airpod Max headphones. Even if you buy the bi-directional cable from Apple. And there has been no “we plan to support it soon” soundbite, or “we will be updating the Airpod Max firmware to be compatible in XXX of 202X”. So, if that is super important for you, just know it may not be supported on this model of Airpods Max, possibly at all (Apple is notorious in doing this, and will just release it in the next version). So if it is released eventually, I wouldn’t expect it on this model, and you’ll have to plunk down another half a thousand bucks to get a set that will work with the feature.WRAP UP/FINAL THOUGHTSIn the end, I’m really pleased with these headphones. They are some of the finest pieces of audio equipment that I have ever owned, and I love all the premium features they included. Certain areas leave something to be desired on them, but they are niggling feature issues or design kinks that will be worked out later. I am hopeful that these headphones will stay the same for a few revisions and the firmware/software will evolve to support more features, as well as the accessories (and third-party solutions) to be able to work more universally with non-Apple products or be more robust in their construction. To be fair, for a first draft Apple product, they are the accessory that I’ve had the least amount hassle with.All in all, I highly enjoy and recommend these headphones, and if you are an Apple Fan and budding audiophile, I believe you will too. Let’s just hope that Apple keeps improving these models to make them feel like they were worth the ~$550 price point.
David Whitcher –
Bose Noise Canceling 700 vs AirPods MaxFor the past ten years I have enjoyed and been dependent upon noise canceling headphones. With that has come a journey into the audiophile community with others who are on a quest for high-fidelity sound. My journey led me to many headphones that sound absolutely pristine but none with noise canceling and few are wireless. Until late, the Bose Noise Canceling 700 are my compromise for great sound and noise canceling in a wireless headphone. So, when Apple announced the AirPods Max, I had to try them to know how they compare to my Bose 700. Here are my conclusions so far…STYLEThe fit and finish on the AirPods Max is absolutely beautiful! Love it much more than the Bose. I just like the way they look and feel. Before I purchased the AirPods I probably watched 50 unboxing and review videos. So, I thought I had a good idea of how they looked. They are nicer in person. Sleek, premium, modern and minimalistic.COMFORTComfort is about the same! AirPods Max are definitely heavier but do not necessarily feel much heavier on he head as the weight is balanced well. I have larger ears and the ear cups on the Bose 700 go a little deeper to make room for my ears. So, over several hours, the Bose do feel slightly more comfortable. The Bose also do not get as warm as the Apple.TRANSPARENCY MODETransparency mode, in my opinion, is actually more natural on the Bose. The Apple headphones actually amplify the sound around you a few decibles too much. In other words, things sound louder than they actually are with the transparency mode on the AirPods Max. Also, the Bose reproduces your own voice much more naturally when in transparency mode.SOUND QUALITYSound quality at certain volume levels is almost exactly the same. Kind of unbelievable. It is as though Apple reverse engineered the Bose 700 and copied its sound signature and noice canceling to within 5 percent. There is a definite sound quality difference though that changes with the volume level. This is all about the DSP. Of course, the digital signal processing (DSP) is called Computational Audio on the Max and Volume Optimized EQ on the Bose. This is what works differently and what accounts for sound differences dependent on the volume. Basically, the Bose sound better at 60 percent volume and below. Bose just has it dialed in so that everything sounds rich and balanced. I usually listen to music at about 55 percent volume on my iPad. So, I prefer the sound of the Bose. The sound at 60 percent and below on the AirPods Max suffers from a veiled upper midrange. An alto saxophone, for example, will sound as though it is being played behind a wooden door.Now between 60 and 70 percent volume is where both headphones sound virtually the same. It is uncanny! Both sound absolutely wonderful. Probably the best you will ever hear on wireless noise canceling headphones (yes, the Sony has an amplified and unnatural mid-bass making them sound deep but not high fidelity).At 70 percent volume and above the Bose DSP begins to lower the bass response to avoid distortion. The bass gets progressively quieter as you increase on the Bose to where there is virtually no bass at about 90 percent volume. The AirPods Max, on the other hand, handle bass very nicely from 70 all the way up to 100 percent. In fact, they sound perfectly balanced all the way from 60 to 100 percent volume with no sound quality degradation. If there is a fault it is that the bass looses a little nuance. In other words at high volumes the bass is a little over controlled. The softer vibrations like on the trail of a bass string get lost a little.So to summarize the sound comparisons. The two headphones sound equal from 60 to 70 percent volume. The Bose sound bette at 60 percent volume and below. Finally, the AirPods sound better (by quite a bit, it’s not even close) at 70 percent volume and above.CONTROLSThe final comparison are the controls. Apple wins in my book. The Digital Crown has a perfect feel to it. It rotates very smoothly with a perfect amount of resistance. It presses well also. Apple has hyper dialed-in these controls. It makes me never want to have to use the touch-pad on the Bose 700 ever again.WHICH ONE IS FOR ME?Everything is comparable on these two headphones, but in the end, sound quality at my preferred listening level wins out. Since I listen to at about 50 percent volume, the Bose continue to be he choice for me. I just have a fixed routine for when I use noise canceling headphones.Now, I am sure that Apple could probably update their firmware to adjust the computational audio in order to fix the balance issues below 60 percent volume. If they did, then the fit and finish and controls might win me back over to the AirPods Max. But, the slight compromise in long-term comfort would cause me to hesitate a little.ONE LAST THINGOne last thing, the spatial audio is pretty Amazing. If I had to watch movies on my iPad these headphones would be a must. The surround sound effects are as good (slightly better) than my Bose home theatre system. The overall sound quality for movies is slightly less (more sterile and hollow sounding, probably because of the limited Bluetooth codec) than my Bose home theatre system.
Brother Tao –
HAD HIGH HOPES BUT GOT THE HIGH HAT!Well, I was having difficulty deciding after spending hours each of several days doing research. Most reviewers chose the Sony XM4 because of its much lower price, less weight and proven comfort and reliability. Of course that wasn’t good enough for me because I thought I was a little more audoholic than many so I needed to make a more insightful discovery. I had a Sennheiser several decades ago that was nothing more than a small piece of foam over a small driver and wired of course. It sounded awesome believe it or not so I moved on over to the Sennheiser Momentum 300 which most reviewers rated at or near the top in sound quality and build. It was marked down for modest noise reduction capability and a weight of 300 grams lying in between the Sony at 245 grams and the APMax at 385. Sony is plastic, Apple is metal and fiber and the Momentum is metal and real leather on the ear pads and headband. Apple Earphones are new age sexy, Sennheiser Momentum 300 are retro cool and Sony let’s call modern but plain. Price wise Sony is no higher than $348, Sennheiser is available for $330 down from $400 at introduction in 2019 or so and Apple is $550.Apple does Apple and I have discovered first hand how brutal they are about forcing you to do what they want. If you try to do anything other than pair them with your iPhone or iPad you will meet roadblocks. They only offer music at 48 kilobits per second so that is all they allow you to listen to in their headphones. If you try to hook up to a device with a higher bit rate it will be reduced before it passes through to your headphones. You can theoretically pay $35 for a special little wire that allows you to connect to a device that would otherwise allow you to plug into a receiver. You can only get it from Apple and even then the 3.5 mmonnection won’t fit into receivers because they take a larger jack which is 6.35. So while they sell adapters that will fit the bill they aren’t Apple approved. In short they don’t just want you to buy and use all their equipment. They force you to use their other products to use the headphones successfully. The weight of the Air Pods Max coupled with what they call clamping force makes them very uncomfortable to wear and don’t even think about exercising or running in them. They will bounce around as you move and I began to feel strain and stress from the fit within ten minutes. Sure, I bought them to entertain myself on long walks but I don’t know where I would put them for the walk home when they are too heavy to wear. You cannot hang them around your neck without choking yourself and then there is the bra/purse like carrier if you was to carry that. Won’t fold in on itself like many of most headphones.No matter how sexy it looks or how cool it makes you feel to be envied for your coolness the grimace on your face after an hour with these on your head will not attract anyone. I really wanted these as I was telling myself they must have the best sound quality and that is what I am all about. Still if I don’t like wearing them the music doesn’t help much and I am left with hoping a really cool person or persons will see that I am cool also. I don’t hate Apple and I have an IPhone 10max and an iPad(I bought my first one in April 2010 when the first one was introduced and was the very first truly friendly computer like device) and a MacBook Pro which I won’t replace.With these headphones they have gone too far with the silly and unnecessary allegiance to Apple required to use it easily. You can search for hours online to find workarounds but half or more of what people suggest doesn’t work. Meanwhile Apple knows all of this and basically gives us the old high hat if we are willing to buy products that compel us to buy only their other products to make them work. Connecting instantly to my iPhone when picked up or put on rather than having to use a typical Bluetooth prompt to accept a connection is not worth enslaving myself just to show aluminum on my ears. I am boxing these up even though they arrived earlier today. I bought them from Amazon because of their stellar return policy and I recommend you do the same if you want to try these. If I kept them I would be doing what many who read my review will do and that is defend and rationalize my choice. That is what human beings do. So if Apple product allegiances are important to you after spending this amount of money on top of all the other products you have bought from them feel free to put it on blast. I know this is a lot of money to spend for many if not most people and I wanted to write something for folks who haven’t had time to do a lot of research and are at a decision point.I am torn between the Sony XM4(leaving me light headed and looking average) and the Sennheiser Momentum 300(xciting to listen to but making me look my retro like my age). If you want to check out online reviews you will find that deciding who to listen to and trust is every bit as difficult as making your headphone choice. I don’t know who receives what in the way of free products to use or resell or even monetary compensation which might disappear with too much honesty. All I can do is tell you what I think and let you take it into consideration if helpful.I don’t care about corporations especially large ones as they take care of themselves just fine. I have learnedthat there are people who are loyal to and defend corporations and don’t like others criticizing them or their products. In my own life I find that my weakest point is often my best point pushed too far. I think the exuberance for these Air Max headphones and Apples marketing games has likely reached that place with these headphones. Who knows? Maybe I will update my review once I try the Sony or the Sennheiser or both. For now I will be happy to merely take a heavy load off my head!
As a complete package, well worth $550 – UPDATEThese are my favorite headphones. When you account for the sound quality, noise cancellation, convenience, comfort and the quality of the build, it makes the price more palatable.That said, there’s no denying that they are expensive. At the same time, they pretty much reside in their own category of headphones. You can easily get better sounding headphones for less than $200 – but those are wired and lack active noise cancelling. You can shop around other Bluetooth headphones with ANC (XM4, QCII35, 700 etc…) but those don’t sound as good. Though they certainly don’t sound bad and they’re a couple of Benjamins cheaper. I firmly believe the Max’s ANC is also better than all the previously mentioned gear, though not by much when compared to the XM4s. One very nice thing about the AirPods Max is the ANC causes no hiss at all, not even a little.But there’s just no comparison when you compare the build and comfort. Other Bluetooth ANC headphones feel cheap. Once you handle the faux leather and creaky plastic parts you understand why they’re much less expensive. The cloth and foam ear pads on the Max are nearly perfect. They form a good seal, even with glasses, and they’re comfortable for long listening sessions. The aluminum and stainless steel parts feel both durable and even luxurious. The mesh headband distributes the Max’s substantial weight very evenly. Moreover, everything is modular and repairable on the Max. The circuit boards, batteries, cups, pads, the headband itself – all disassemble with relative ease so your purchase may just last for decades.Much has been made of the Max’s weight. In my experience, it’s a non issue. Lounging in the house, washing dishes, sitting at the computer – the weight is fine. BUT, the clamping force is another matter. These things firmly squeeze your head. Initially, I thought I was going to have to return them. Having used them for a couple weeks, they’ve loosened significantly. Possibly, I’ve also acclimated to them.Transparency mode is amazing. Without doubt, it’s the best implementation I’ve heard. I’ve yet to try out Spacial Audio because until it works with my TV, it’s a gimmick that I don’t care about. I don’t watch movies on my iPhone or even iPad. If you do, you may feel differently.I do wish I could use them to block out sounds without playing music or white noise. But when not playing audio, the ANC causes too much pressure on my eardrums.I also wish there were an accompanying App that enabled more intuitive EQ or control of other settings: like perhaps degrees of ANC or better monitoring of battery life and standby. This seems like an oversight on Apple’s part.Yes, the case isn’t much of a case and it is annoying that they don’t include a cable for wired listening. But those are small things and do not detract from the sound quality, convenience and materials of the headphones themselves.The ear pads do make my ears warm in my usage. I don’t see how any closed back headphone with a decent seal wouldn’t make one’s ears warm. That said, the warmth doesn’t bother me at all and I don’t feel that they’re uncomfortably hot.Recently, there have been many reports of condensation and/or sweat accumulating beneath the ear pads on the plastic housing that protects the drivers. Though I don’t doubt these accounts, I have yet to have it happen. After using the AirPods Max for three to four hours, at my desk and around the house, they’re as dry as can be. I don’t know what combination of temperature, humidity, body heat and time causes moisture to appear. All I can suggest is that if you purchase the AirPods Max, try and reproduce the issue with your normal usage. Hopefully, it will be a non issue for you as well.If you own a couple of Apple devices, say a Mac and an iPhone, the Max’s convenience makes them even more compelling. Normal Bluetooth pairing can be mildly annoying or, depending on your devices, VERY frustrating. There’s no such hassle with the AirPods Max. They just connect. They just switch. They just work.If you’re cross shopping, there are a couple of Bluetooth headphones that might sound slightly better, but they lack ANC. There are many, many headphones that are both cheaper and sound better, but they are wired and lack ANC. The AirPods Max really are in a different class compared to the $350 range of Bluetooth ANC headphones the market has become used to.In my opinion, these should not be compared with lesser ANC BT headphones but with the BO H95s. Though I’ve never owned the H95s, I have held, listened to and envied them. They’re amazing. But they’re also $800 and the ANC is not as advanced. In comparison, the AirPods Max are a bargain, even if they don’t sound quite as nice as the H95s – though they are very close.I’m very pleased with the AirPods Max. As a complete package, I’m not aware of any other headphones, at any price, that are competitive.*UPDATE*This morning I shoveled snow for a little over an hour while wearing the AirPods Max. Admittedly, my understanding of atmospheric physics is pretty low, but I figured my very warm head combined with freezing temperatures affecting the aluminum would likely induce some condensation. But, after shoveling, they were as dry as can be. Again, I’m not casting doubt on the many reports of moisture below the ear pads, but I can’t reproduce the effect.
Nicholas Calderone –
ULTIMATE LISTENING EXPERIENCEAfter I perused the specs and got over the sticker shock of the price tag, I thought, “These might be worth the investment for me.” I have high-end hearing loss, and because of that, most speakers, earbuds, and headphones don’t do much for me. I have an especially hard time hearing dialogue on our TV unless the sound is being pumped through our HomePods. That is what caused me to pause and really consider the purchase. “What if the AirPods Max is like putting HomePods on your ears?” That was worth it to me.After setup was completed, I put the headphones on my ears and heard the first sounds through the AirPods Max. It was a Christmas song that I had heard dozens of times before. The sound was so rich, deep, and clear that it was like I was hearing the song for the first time. “Ok, there is no way these sound this good.” At that moment, Robyn, my fiance, walked into the room and said, “So, are they like having HomePods attached to your ears?” All I could do was nod yes. She gave me a look and I handed them over to her. She put the headphones on her ears and scrolled through my library until she found something she wanted to play. She then said she had to have a pair.When I test headphones, I have a few go-to songs I like to try out so that I can get an idea of the listening experience of the headphones from every angle. The songs are pulled from a variety of genres including soundtracks, rock, grunge, punk, classical, and even a bit of rap. The AirPods Max does an incredibly nice job with all of them. The headphones keep a nice, deep bass sound while protecting the integrity of the rest of the track. I also found that vocals are crisp as well and I really love that as I turn up the volume, that I don’t get any distortion. That’s not been the case with other headphones I’ve used.Overall, I’ve been impressed with all the features of the AirPods Max. Here’s a brief rundown of my thoughts on the main features of the headphones.Active Noise Canceling (ANC): Until I used the AirPods Max, the ANC on the Sony headphones was the best I’ve ever used. I took the Sony headphones on a flight a few years back and never heard the airplane’s engine noise. Therefore, I’ve always regarded the ANC on the Sony MDR-1000X as the ‘best’. While I haven’t taken the AirPods Max on a plane yet, I can say that it deadens ambient noises like dogs barking, vacuums, and TVs that are left on in the background.Mesh Headband: I love the look of the headband. I think it looks very clean and it accentuates the lines of the AirPods Max. The design is right up my alley.Weight: I’ve heard some people say that the weight of the headphones is an issue for them. I have noticed that they feel a bit heavier than other headphones I’ve used, but the weight seems evenly distributed to me and so it doesn’t bother me. I’ve worn the headphones for several hours at a time and have not had any issues with headaches or soreness.Buttons: I am a big fan of the buttons. This is odd for me to say since I never thought I would be a proponent of moving to analog from digital, but Apple did a nice job of blending in the Digital Crown and the ANC button.Smart Case: This is one thing I would have reconsidered if I were designing the AirPods Max — the Smart Case. I really consider it more of a ‘sleeve’ than a case because — well, that’s what it is. The sleeve is made with a single piece of what seems to be polyurethane material and utilizes magnets for the closure. While the sleeve does protect the metal earpieces of the headphones from getting scratched up, for the most part, it doesn’t protect the headband and there is even a cut out on the bottom that leaves the headphones exposed to the elements and potential damage. I also noticed that when I take the headphones out of the sleeve that the AirPods clink together. The only way I’ve been able to stop that from happening is if I physically place my hand there.Even though there might be a few minor things I would like to see improved about the AirPods Max, I’m absolutely thrilled with them. They are far superior to any other listening experience I’ve had and think that their price tag is worth the investment. Even though the cost is prohibitive for many, if you want the ultimate listening experience, I can’t recommend the AirPods Max enough.
Nearly perfect – the Apple AirPods Max falls short in one small but annoying wayI recently purchased the Apple AirPods Max and have been extremely happy with my purchase – with one small exception. These headphones are absolutely amazing in every other way – the sound quality is top-notch, the noise cancellation is excellent, and the build quality is top-notch. The case is also a nice touch – it’s convenient and protects the headphones when I’m on the go.However, there is one small issue that has been driving me crazy – the inability to turn off the headphones without putting them back in the case. This is a feature that doesn’t help to conserve battery life, and can be extremely inconvenient when I just want to take a quick break from listening to music or make a phone call without having to fumble with the case. It’s a small annoyance, but one that I hope Apple will address in future versions of the AirPods Max.Overall, despite this one small issue, I am extremely happy with my purchase of the Apple AirPods Max. They are a truly top-notch pair of headphones and I would highly recommend them to anyone in search of excellent sound quality and noise cancelling technology. Just be prepared to put up with the minor inconvenience of having to put them back in the case to turn them off.
Awesome if you’re an apple user!I solely use apple devices, and was looking for a noise cancelling headset that could easily work between multiple apple devices. The apple AirPods max does exactly that. I have used other headphones in the past like Sony and Bose but honestly I didn’t like the white noise sound they’d make, and how frequently frustrating it would be to connect the headphones between various apple devices seamlessly.The airpod max are a little overpriced in my opinion. The headphone’s storage case is pretty useless, it offers zero protection to the headphones. It’s not a hard case just a soft one that doesn’t even cover the top band. When I stick these in my bag I’ll actually put them in an old hard camera case because that protects them more than the case apple provided for them.Despite that though it does a very well job of smoothly connecting to my different apple devices depending on which one I’m using. Almost 2 months in on using it and I’ve never had an issue with them randomly disconnecting or not pairing properly, even with non-apple devices like my gaming PC.The noise cancellation is pretty great too, it doesn’t cancel out 100% of the background noises depending on what that noise is and how relative it is to you. It has multiple modes (2 or 3 depending on the device) so you can switch the noise cancelling off if needed.For example, it does a really great job of cancelling the loud construction noises outside my apartment, barking dogs, loud cars (including the construction vehicles) and people talking in the background but it doesn’t do as well as job of cancelling out the noise of my boyfriend streaming sports on the background. It cancels a good amount of the game and his “enthusiasm” but it doesn’t cancel as much as I wish it would.Overall I would highly recommend this to anyone who owns multiple apple devices, wants seamless connection, and is looking for a better noise cancelling solution than what the normal air pods offers.I would not recommend this if you don’t have apple devices or only have one but use android/other operating systems. Yes the noise cancelling feature is great, but at this price point it’s not worth it in comparison to other noise-cancelling headphones priced similarly.
Seamless integration with iOS devices (EDIT: but get the extra warranty)There are certainly cheaper headphones with equivalent sound quality, but these are well-constructed, comfortable for extended wear, have streamlined physical controls which are satisfying to use, and work hand in glove with an iPhone- it doesn’t even shut off completely, it just senses when it’s off your ears, and pauses playback. Removing this one layer of friction means I’m more likely to take the headphones off when I want to give my ears a breather, and the phone goes back to using its internal speaker while I catch up on email or whatever, and back into the music/podcasts just by putting the phones on. The earpads, held in place by magnets, are secure, but detach without a struggle for cleaning, and their texture is sufficiently breathable and spacious to make for long listening sessions with better overall comfort than most, IMO. L and R channels are marked by a pattern sewn inside the ear cups- a little hard to see, as it’s a similar color, but easy to tell in the dark if you remember that the controls are all on the right channel. And they give you a clickable knob for volume and basic track controls, similar in feel to the crown for the Apple Watch, just on a bigger scale. The other control, a button which toggles the transparency of the noise cancellation, is immensely handy, and allows you to converse with people and clearly hear others without having to shift the phones off your ears. NC reduces even a screaming vacuum cleaner to a muted hum. The spatial audio, for apps that support it, can be a little uncanny at first, and familiar to Airpod Pro users- it does feel like the audio is coming right out of the phone, rather than the sound being piped into your ears. The default carrying case has taken criticism for only covering the cans and not providing much protection, but I kind of like it for the portability- it packs up like a little handbag, and the headstrap becomes a handle. I might buy a third party box if I ever need to pack it for a long flight, but this is fine for my daily needs. When the cans are folded for storage, the metal shells kind of clack together without the case, and is definitely in keeping with Apple’s design philosophy of charging end users a lot of money for a product which demands additional accessories just to keep it from denting and scratching.There is no traditional headphone jack on the the thing, and it doesn’t look like there’s even a way to connect it with an adapter, which is unfortunate and should be a dealbreaker if you need that. I just need the Bluetooth, though, and the supported BT 5.0 sounds fine to my ears.There is an option to help locate the phones with Find My, though it will only show where they were last connected to your phone, and it even allows you to play a locator noise through the speakers, so you can hear them in a relatively quiet space from about 8 feet away. What would really have been cool is if they incorporated an AirTag in their design, because at about $500, I live with the uncomfortable possibility of them being stolen if I turn my back.In short, they are comfortable, they are expensive, they sound great, but if you want skull-rattling bass, there are better options. They’ll work with any Bluetooth-enabled source, though you’ll probably only feel their full value if you intend to use them with Apple products, and if I do ever lose them, I’ll be ordering a new pair the next day.(Added 7/31)About a month ago, I started hearing some weird distortion, then one day, six months from purchase, they just refused to sync. I don’t know exactly what the cause was, but I do wear them in hot summer weather and was surprised to find that some sweat can build up behind the ear cushions, so maybe that’s the culprit? I dunno. They’re the only Apple product I have with the AppleCare+ coverage, and replacement was quick and painless, so I consider that money well spent.Anyway, nobody said these things were waterproof, which is why I was so careful with them. I still wear them outdoors, but now I pull the ear cushions off every few hours to see if any water has built up inside the cups. Gross.I also toss them in a baby bottle sterilizer at the end of the day. Nobody should have to deal with manky earmuffs!
Great headphonesI have many sets of headphones, some very nice ones, and these stand alone in terms of being something different – there is so much tech jammed into these, it makes them very different than anything else on the market.Sound – Sound quality on these is very good, very clean. Personally I’d like a lot more bass, but even someone who isn’t a basshead would still probably like more bass. They’re not weak or anything on the low end side, and booming bass is there, it’s just too much in the background for my tastes. If stupid iOS just gave you an EQ, you could probably easily fix this, and some of the sound profiles you do get can hep, but for the love of everything, just give me a stupid EQ so I can choose the sound I want. In any case, again, the sound is very good, very clean. I’d say it’s pretty easily better than my Bose QC25 but not on-par with my Beyerdynamic DT 990 open backed headphones (which I still think are the best headphones I’ve heard and I’ve compared them against sets costing well over $1k). But these headphones are about a lot more than sound, and that’s why they go up to 5-stars…Sound Field/Stage – The sound stage on these, the openness of the sound, is amazing for closed back headphones. When you’re playing music that supports Apples spatial sound (everything in Apple Music for example) it’s incredible, it really feels/sounds natural a lot of the time. I’ve used other ‘virtual surround’ garbage, and it’s terrible, but whatever Apple is doing, it works. My favorite thing is that you can set your phone in front of you, then walk around, and it sounds like the sound is coming from the direction of the iPhone, so it gives you this incredible sense of space (and it does not hurt the sound quality – for most music it sounds better in my opinion). This is something you really have to experience to understand as I don’t know of anyone else that does this – and it’s really impressive in person.Noise Cancelling – Absolutely top notch. Between the good fit of the headphones and the actual tech, you can block out a ton of stuff, they work better than my Bose QC25’s, that still were best in class as of a year ago. Also, for the cry babies, I do not notice the pressure effect – it might be there still, but it’s not nearly as noticeable as the Bose.Battery Life – Seems to be excellent. Only downside is it uses an iPhone plug, not USB C. I still have and need an iPhone plug so it’s not a huge deal at the moment, but for the future, when it’s all USB C, this is going to become a pain.Comfort – It’s pretty comfortable. I heard lots of people say these are big and heavy and uncomfortable, and while they are big and heavy, for me at least they’re pretty comfortable. Those Beyerdynamic DT 990 are amazingly comfortable, can wear them for hours, that’s not the case here. But compared to my Bose QC25, I can wear the AirPods Max for longer without any issues. Still, it’s not like the comfort of earbuds, which I can wear all day, but for big over the ear headphones, the Max’s are pretty good.Build Quality – Top notch in my opinion, make everything else I’ve ever used, anything else I’ve ever even tried, feel plasticky and cheap.Wireless – No lag, no drops, works great. I wish they had upped the bandwidth so you could carry stuff like fully uncompressed audio, like blu-ray audio, but probably have to wait for V2 for that. With that said, I’ve never really noticed anything, everything sounds full with no compression. Obviously that isn’t the case, but just saying, I do not notice any negatives as far as wireless goes.Overall, 5-stars. The sound, with less bass than I’d like and with no EQ in iOS, only gets 4-stars, but the other features make these unique and quite amazing. The spatial sound is what makes these special, and you can’t get that with any other over the ear headphones, and it works remarkably well. I think it uses actual head movement for tracking, so it’s not just a software gimmick they can do on any other headphones (I think that’s the case), but it’ something you need to hear in person to appreciate.
Claudia Mancl –
Great headphonesI got these in used “very good” condition for a lower price and they came in perfect condition with no damage. Came with the original box and Smart Case. The only thing missing was the charging cable which I don’t really mind since I have a lot of them already. Upon connecting to my phone, it does say the previous owner can track the headphones with find my iPhone since they will have to remove the device themselves. Yes this is a problem that Apple/Amazon should get a solution for but it’s honestly not that big of a deal to me. They also were named after the previous owner but you can change this right away. Overall, if you can get these for a discounted price, I think they’re worth it. The noise cancellation is okay. Honestly my AirPod pros do a little better job.