Apple AirPods Max reimagine over-ear headphones. An Apple-designed dynamic driver provides immersive high-fidelity audio. Every detail, from the canopy to cushions, has been designed for an exceptional fit.
Industry-leading Active Noise Cancellation blocks outside noise, while Transparency Mode lets it in. And spatial audio with dynamic head tracking provides a theater-like sound that surrounds you. AirPods Max, the Apple premium headphones, was announced on December 8, 2020, and the launching date was December 15, 2020.
Colors, kit, and case?
The headphones come in a MacBook style box – the front of the headset is shown in the color you bought. We have a silver version on the test, but there are also “space gray,” “sky blue,” pink, and green. The new iPad Air received the same colors.
Under the lid are the headphones themselves in a case, wrapped in a protective paper. Beneath them is an envelope with instructions and a Type-C to Lightning cable.
No power adapter and no wired cable. Want wired sound? You will have to buy an adapter from Lightning to mini-jack.
And before we start talking about headphones – a few words about the case.
AirPods Max comes with a Smart Case, and it practically does not protect anything and is only needed to put the headphones into sleep mode. Yes, they cannot be turned off without cover, and they will go into economy mode only after two hours.
There is no folding system in the AirPods Max; the ear cushions only tilt slightly and insert into the case. When the headphones are pulled out, they knock on each other – there is a feeling that there will be a trace at the knock site after six months of use.
There is no logo on the AirPods Max; they are more reminiscent of some retro headphones.
Manufacturing materials are premium. The bow is made of stainless steel and has a telescopic adjustment system to securely lock in any comfortable position (the stroke seemed a little stiff).
The upper part of the headband is made of mesh fabric – on the one hand; it is comfortable, the head will not sweat; on the other, it is a matter of the material’s durability.
The ear cups are made of aluminum. It feels cool and expensive in hand, but it will be a bang to collect scratches – it’s better not to drop them and AirPods Max weighs 384.8 grams.
The earpads are made of mesh fabric, inside are marked with the letters L and R, that is, the left and right ear.
Acoustically optimized memory foam is also used in the production of ear cushions. The company promises that this provides quality sound insulation and creates the foundation for amazing sound.
The ear cushions are attached to the cups with magnets, which allows you to change them quickly.
Landing and steering:
The first feeling when you take AirPods Max in your hands is an impressive gadget. After them, all competitors seem easy. But here the question is about practicality – won’t the head get tired with prolonged use? This remains to be seen.
For me, the fit is slightly worse than the same competitors from Sony, but there is a plus. Due to the mesh upper bow, the weight is distributed, there is no hard pressure in one place.
And they also don’t stick out so much on the sides, you won’t bump it, and it’s more convenient to sleep on the plane if you sit down at the window (in theory).
The ear cups also have a mechanism that allows them to pivot independently of each other and distribute pressure correctly. Here I had a problem – when I turn my head, the headphones move away from the ear, thereby the tightness is lost, and I can hear everything around and it’s strange.
All controls are on the top right bowl. There are only two buttons – on the right to switch modes, and on the left Digital Crown, like in the Apple Watch, to adjust the volume, change tracks, answer calls and call Siri.
Thanks to the rectangular design, it is quite convenient to use the wheel, but it would be no worse from below – it’s a matter of habit.
To manage all the settings, you need to update your iPhone to iOS 14.3. In the settings, you can turn off all modes, turn off spatial audio and adjust the Digital Crown’s direction.
When you first set up the iPhone, it will prompt you to connect new AirPods. In the future, it is enough to hold the mode switch button until the diode next to the Lightning input flashes.
Sound, microphones, and noise reduction:
At the bottom of the case, you can see holes, there are plenty of them here. And all because there are eight microphones at once: six outside and two insides.
The former evaluates external noise to block out the excess in noise-canceling mode; the latter listen to what you hear to adapt the sound.
Also, thanks to so many microphones, during a call, even on the street, the interlocutor will be able to hear you usually.
As for the sound component, Apple’s drivers were developed independently. Also, drivers with two ring neodymium magnets are installed inside. The principle is similar to the speakers in professional floor-standing speakers – the company itself says about it.
Each earphone has a proprietary Apple H1 chip responsible for the computing components and sound processing. The same is used in AirPods Pro.
And then, there are many sensors: optical, position sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, and case detection sensor.
The earbuds know when you take them off or put them on to stop or resume playback.
Of the chips: active noise cancellation, transparent mode, adaptive equalizer, and spatial audio – when the headphones track head movements and create a sense of surround sound.
Sound and noise reduction I compared, suddenly, with Sony MDR-1000X. I believe that they had and still have the best noise reduction in the line.
So, I did not notice much difference; with complete silence, a quiet hum is heard here and there. But the transparent mode of AirPods Max is set up correctly – the slightest rustle is heard.
Remember that you cannot turn off AirPods Max. You can switch to the economy mode by putting it in a case or by waiting two hours.
The rest of the time in noise-canceling or transparent mode, up to 20 hours of operation is available.
Fast charging is available – 5 minutes will give you another 1.5 hours of work. All this over the Lightning cable, and Apple does not specify which adapter is used; I think we are talking about a 20-watt one.
What We Like:
- The sound quality is just amazing
- Excellent design and finish
- Active noise cancellation
- Excellent ergonomics