Apple’s $549 over-ear headphones.
Is the AirPods Max worth your money?
There is no doubt that AirPods Max is Apple’s most premium wireless over-ear headphones, and are equipped with features such as Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency Mode, Adaptive EQ, and Spatial Audio. The headphones are available in different colour variants.
Since their announcement in December 2020, Apple’s AirPods Max has now been in the company’s lineup for over a year, however, the company does not release new AirPods models regularly or particularly often. It is difficult to speculate on an upgrade cycle timeline for Apple’s AirPods Max headphones as there has only been one generation released so far, but it is unlikely that there will be a new model anytime soon.
Because there are currently no concrete signs of new AirPods Max headphones or notable rumours about what an upgraded model might include, now is still a good time to buy AirPods Max headphones.
AirPods Max cost $549, a price which is significantly greater than their direct competitors. It is worth mentioning that the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones and Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, which both offer similar features to the AirPods Max, cost respectively $349 and $379.
However, the H1 chips inside the AirPods Max offer an innovative and seamless device-switching and pairing experience for iOS, Mac, and Apple TV users, something that competitors have been unable to match. The above reasons make the AirPods Max a great option for over-ear headphones when used together with Apple devices since they offer a wide range of features.
however, if you do not need over-ear headphones or you just do not need them for whatever reason, but still wish to take advantage of the seamless pairing and device-switching experience that Apple offers, standard AirPods or Beats headphones are also a viable option, with prices starting at just $69 for Beats Flex. In the same way, some of the features of the AirPods Max are available with the AirPods Pro for $249, such as Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode
AirPods Max Overview
It is predicted that Apple will unveil its long-rumoured high-end over-ear headphones the AirPods Max in December 2020, which had been in development for as long as two years.
It is the first time that Apple has designed and manufactured over-ear headphones under its brand. Over-ear headphones have been sold under the Beats brand for many years, but now Apple has added the AirPods Max to its line of Apple audio accessories like AirPods and AirPods Pro.
In addition to oval-shaped ear cups with an inverted knit mesh headband, the AirPods Max has knit mesh ear cushions as well as the U-shaped, inverted knit mesh headband. With the design of the headband, it will evenly distribute weight and reduce the amount of pressure on your head. It also has adjustable arms, so you can fit it to fit a range of head sizes.
A revolutionary mechanism enables the headphone ear cups to attach to the headband through what Apple calls a “revolutionary mechanism” that is designed to evenly distribute pressure, and every ear cushion is made of acoustically optimized memory foam that creates a seal for immersive sound.
The ear cushions can be interchanged between the ear cups with a magnetic clip that keeps them in place. Apple sells ear cushions separately, but you can also buy them together. There are five colours of the AirPods Max: silver, space grey, blue, pink, and green, each accompanied by a matching ear cup.
AirPods Max has a Digital Top at the top of each ear cup, similar to the one on Apple’s Watch. That engine provides precise volume controls and gestures for playing/ pausing audio, skipping tracks, answering/ending phone calls, and activating Siri.
The AirPods Max features a 40mm dynamic driver that has been designed exclusively by Apple to provide excellent sound quality. AirPods Max is Apple’s newest pair of AirPods. They claim to deliver deep bass, clear middle frequencies, and crisp, clear high frequencies. AirPods Max is equipped with dual neodymium ring magnets to maintain a harmonic distortion that is lower than 1 per cent across the entire audible range, even at full volume.
AirPods Max, just like the AirPods and the AirPods Pro, are equipped with two Apple H1 chips that provide high-quality sound because they are powered by 10 cores of computing power that have been dedicated to audio processing.
There are several features in the AirPods Max that are similar to the AirPods Pro such as Active Noise Cancellation, Adaptive Equalizer and Spatial Audio features.
A smart active noise cancellation system uses three microphones on the outward-facing side of each ear cup to monitor the sound reaching the listener’s ear as well as a microphone inside each ear cup to monitor how the sound reaches the listener’s ear. Apple’s software allows noise cancellation to automatically adapt to the surroundings when it is in use.
The Transparency mode allows you to hear outside sounds even when ANC is active, while the Adaptive EQ adjusts the sound to the fit of your ear cushions based upon measurements of the sound signal as it travels through your ear canal and makes adjustments accordingly in real-time. For an immersive, theatre-like experience, spatial audio uses dynamic head tracking so that sounds can be placed anywhere in the room.
The AirPods come in a family of wireless devices which come with features such as automatic device swapping on any devices where the user has an active iCloud account, along with quick pairing, quick access to Siri, and audio sharing between devices. To detect when AirPods Max has been put on a user’s head, they have optical sensors.
It is worth noting that the AirPods Max can play audio when put on, and the AirPods audio stops when the AirPods are removed. With these microphones, users can make and receive clear phone calls and Siri can receive commands regardless of whether music is playing in the background.
It should be noted that the AirPods Max has a battery that lasts for approximately 20 hours. With Active Noise Cancellation enabled and the volume at 50%, the headphones can be used all day, all night, for listening to music, talking on the phone, and watching movies. In addition to AirPods, Apple also offers a Smart Case which is made of soft material and puts AirPods Max in a low-power state when they are not being used, conserving battery life. The AirPod Max can be charged with Lightning. A 5-minute charge will give you 1.5 hours of listening time.
A pair of Apple AirPods Max, which cost $549 on the Apple website, can be purchased directly from Apple. There is a requirement that at least one of the following operating systems be installed to use: iOS 14.3, iPad 14.3, macOS Big Sur 11.1, watchOS 7.2, and tvOS 14.3.
As soon as Apple releases a new firmware update for the AirPods Max, a new firmware update is released to update the firmware. Presently, the firmware version that is installed on the device is 4C165, which was released in December 2021. The reason for its release was because it was an update to a previous firmware version that was released in December 2021.
How to Buy
To purchase the AirPods Max, you can either visit the Apple Store online or access a third-party retailer such as Amazon.
Earlier this month, Apple announced that it would be selling the AirPods Max ear cushions on a standalone basis, thus providing people with the option of getting replacement cushions. A pair of ear cushions for the AirPods Max can be bought for $69 and come in a variety of colours such as red, black, silver, sky blue, and green.
What do you need to do to change the AirPods Max ear cushions once you get replacements?
A two-year AppleCare+ subscription for AirPods Max is available for $59 a year, with coverage covering two incidents of accidental damage every two months, subject to a $29 service fee. The cost of out-of-warranty battery service is $79 per battery.
In anticipation of the release of the new headphones, there were some media reviews of the AirPods Max that were published before their release, and the majority of the reviews were positive. According to the reviewers, the sound was described as very crisp and vibrant, with very little distortion even at maximum volume, and the AirPods Max was considered to be “good enough to compete with other high-end headphones.”
Several reviewers have found that the AirPods Max provides superior noise cancellation compared to many of the other headphones that have noise cancellation, such as the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 and the Sony WH-1000XM4.
It has been noted that most reviewers complained about the weight of the AirPods Max, as they are heavier than most other headphones. There has been some claim that mesh headbands relieve some of the pressure, but they might feel large on people with small heads. I did not experience any sweating or overheating while using the ear cups, and they had a good airflow
In our full review roundup on the AirPods Max, we have additional hands-on impressions from real AirPods Max owners, as well as first impressions from actual Apple customers.
The AirPods Max was designed by Apple with oval-shaped brushed aluminium ear cups that are attached to a retro-style curved U-shaped headband that has telescoping arms, allowing for increased size adjustment. It has mesh ear cups made of a fabric that Apple claims conducts sound better thanks to its acoustic properties.
Apple states the headphones feature a curved headband constructed from a breathable knit mesh material sandwiched between stainless steel frame components to make them more comfortable by distributing weight evenly throughout the head. A soft-touch material covers the frame so that it is pleasing to the touch.
With a SIM card ejector tool, it is possible to remove the headband from an AirPods Max, which suggests interchangeable headbands might become possible soon, and it also facilitates easy headband repairs. It is in Apple’s current state of affairs that they do not sell headbands. Furthermore, the headband contains a small Lightning-like connector that enables the ear cups to be connected through the headband.
A recent announcement by Apple indicates that the AirPods Max was designed to provide an “uncompromising fit” to create a secure “acoustic seal” that will fit a variety of head shapes and sizes. It is important to mention that each of the ear pads rotates on the frame independently so that pressure is evenly distributed, and that the mesh interior material of the ear cushions makes them feel as soft as pillows.
There are five colour options available when it comes to Apple AirPods Max: silver, space grey, sky blue, pink, and green. Generally speaking, the colour palette that Apple chose is similar to that used for the 2020 iPad Air, and each colour goes with an accompanying colour for the ear cushions and the headband.
The ear cushions for the AirPods Max headphones can be attached magnetically to the air cups, and they can also be interchanged. The Apple EarPods are available in a variety of colours and can be ordered as a pair or separately for $69 a pair.
As for the weight of the AirPods Max, it is significantly heavier than many other noise-cancelling headphones from other manufacturers. They weigh in at 13.6 ounces, which is 384.8 grams. It is worth comparing Sony’s WH-1000MX4 headphones with the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II headphones that weigh 10.93 ounces.
Apple warns customers that the AirPods Max are not water-proof or water-resistant and that any moisture that comes in through the holes must be dried immediately.
There have been reports of condensation inside the AirPods Max ear cups after prolonged use of the device, but it is not yet known if this condensation can cause problems within the AirPods Max. This appears to be more of a problem with the majority of over-ear headphone options, rather than only with AirPods Max.
Digital Head and Button
As with the Apple Watch, the AirPods Max features a Digital Top which can be used to physically control them as it is with the Apple Watch. Through the rotation and pressing of the Digital Peak, you can turn up the volume, adjust the track selection, pick up phone calls, and activate Siri by adjusting the volume or changing tracks.
Active Noise Cancellation can be controlled using the button next to the Digital Top, which allows one to switch between ANC and Transparency mode as needed.
As a result, when you turn the Digital Top, you control the volume, when you press once to answer a call or to play/pause a song, when you press twice to skip forward one track, when you press three times to skip back a track, and when you press and hold to activate Siri.
During charging, a red LED light shines on the bottom of the right ear cup of the AirPods Max. This light can also be used to determine the level of charge when pressing the power button while they are charging. When the charge is above 95 per cent, the light will be green. When the charge is below 95 per cent, it will be amber. While the AirPods Max is not charging, pressing the button on the headphones will produce a green light when there is more than 15 per cent battery life remaining, and an amber light when there is less than 15 per cent charge left.
In addition to AirPods Max, Apple ships a soft Smart Case that wraps around the ear cups as well as the headband. However, the headband remains exposed to damage as well. It utilizes magnets to keep the AirPods Max in a low power state for extended battery life. As always, the default AirPods Max case is not very protective, but third-party manufacturers have started coming out with cases that are more traditional and offer a greater degree of protection.
Apple describes the AirPods Max as an “unparalleled listening experience,” thanks to their combination of high-fidelity audio and Active Noise Cancellation.
AirPods Max contains a custom-built driver that produces ultra-low distortion sound that covers the entire range of audible frequencies. With Apple’s speakers, you can experience rich bass, accurate middles, and crisp, clear highs, even when cranking the volume to the max
Unlike conventional floor standing speakers, the driver is equipped with dual-neodymium ring magnets that make it look like it was designed for high-end floor standing speakers. As a result, the AirPods Max is designed to deliver the clearest possible sound, since its magnet motor is designed to minimize total harmonic distortion.
With the release of Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos in June 2021, Apple Music subscribers will be able to listen to Spatial Audio tracks that were specially created for AirPods Max users.
Designed to provide immersive, multi-dimensional audio experiences that seamlessly mix music from all over the room, spatial audio with Dolby Atmos provides artists with a way to mix music in a way that makes every note sound as if it is coming from all around you.
Using spatial audio technology, audio filters are applied in a direction and the frequencies received by each ear are subtly altered according to the direction their sound originates from, allowing sounds to be placed virtually wherever a person is in space. AirPods Max is equipped with sensors that are in direct contact with sensors on the iPhone or iPad, allowing them to track my head movement as well as the location of my device. They compare the motion data and remap the sound field to keep it anchored to the app even with my head moving.
It is now possible to listen to Dolby Atmos music on all AirPods and Beats headphones, as well as the built-in speakers of the newest iPhones, iPads, and Macs, as well as the HomePod, using Apple Music automatically.
Some record labels regularly add Dolby Atmos songs to Apple Music and iPad, and Apple offers a curated selection of Dolby Atmos playlists as well. Spatial Audio currently offers thousands of songs in a variety of genres, with dozens of different categories available.
With Spatial Audio, you can also access your favourite Apple TV apps as well as third-party apps, allowing you to enjoy the movie theatre listening experience with your AirPods Max.
It is also worth mentioning that Apple Music now comes with a lossless audio feature, however, this is not compatible with the AirPods Max or any Bluetooth headsets.
H1 Chip Features
It is noteworthy that the AirPods Max incorporates two Apple-designed H1 chips. This is the same chip that Apple has previously used in its products such as the AirPods Pro. There is one H1 chip on each ear cup, and the 10 audio cores provide enhanced computational audio capabilities that enable Apple headphones to provide all the magic that we associate with the brand
The computation audio part of Apple’s products enhances Active Noise Cancellation, enables Transparent Mode, enables the hands-free Hey Siri feature, simplifies pair-up of headphones and switching between devices, adapts sound to the fit of the headphones on the user’s head, and many other features.
Cancellation of background noise by using active noise reduction
Additionally, the AirPods Max incorporates the function of Active Noise Cancellation, which is the same function found with the AirPods Pro and some Beats headphones. Two of the headphones have inward-facing microphones that measure what the wearer hears, but six of the headphones have outward-facing microphones to detect noise in the environment.
Combining the microphones from the AirPods Max with Apple’s software, the microphones can determine the outside noise level and mitigate it while fine-tuning the audio quality.
As far as Active Noise Cancellation is concerned, they are the ones who make it happen. Additionally, two of these microphones, as well as one additional microphone, ensure that Siri can be heard and understood even when there is music playing as well as ensuring that calls are clear regardless of how windy it may be.
If users are concerned about Active Noise Cancellation drowning out the sounds in the environment, the transparency mode may be activated, which is useful in situations where it is important to hear what is happening in the surroundings.
By adjusting the transparency mode of Air Pods Max, users can shut off Active Noise Cancellation so they can listen for traffic, hear flight announcements, and more without having to turn off their audio altogether. The Transparency mode can be activated on the AirPods Max by pressing the button on the top of the headphones that are for controlling the sound level.
A headphone with an adaptive EQ will produce a better sound by tuning the music that is playing to the fit and seal of the headphones on your head, resulting in a more enjoyable listening experience. According to the company, AirPods Max uses inward-facing microphones that measure what you hear and then adjust the frequency settings of the music to provide a consistent, rich experience.
In addition, the AirPods Max supports the Always-On Hey Siri function, so to change the music you’re listening to or to ask Siri a question, you will have to say “Hey Siri” to get Siri to respond.
Managing, pairing, and switching your devices
AirPods Max, just like other AirPods, can be easily connected to other Apple devices with one-tap pairing and a one-touch setup. If you want to connect AirPods Max to your iPhone or iPad, for example, you simply need to hold the headphones nearby the device, then tap the Connect button on the headphones.
Moreover, the AirPods Max comes with quick device swapping capabilities, allowing users to quickly switch from one AirPods Max to another AirPods Max on any device that is associated with their Apple ID.
It’s important to note that the AirPods Max has an automatic device switching feature which means they can automatically switch between iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch as needed, without the need to access Bluetooth controls to do so.
Using AirPods and Apple TV, you can share audio on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV with up to two sets of AirPods, and this feature also applies to the larger AirPods Max.
In the AirPods Max, sensors determine if the headphones are on the head, so when the headphones are removed, audio pauses, and when they are placed back on the head, audio resumes. Alternatively, music can be paused by lifting an ear cup and releasing it.
In addition to optical sensors, position sensors, case detection sensors, and accelerometers, there are four types of sensors placed in each ear cup. Additionally, there is a gyroscope built into the left ear cup of the headset.
Unlike the iPhone 12, iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch Series 7, and HomePod mini, the AirPods Max does not have the U1 Ultra Wideband chip, even though this chip was included in the iPhone 12, iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch Series 7, and HomePod mini. In terms of spatial awareness, U1 is one of the most advanced chips on the market, which is capable of calculating precisely how long it takes for radio waves to pass between two devices.
With both Active Noises, Cancellation and Spatial Audio enabled on the AirPods Max, the battery of this device can provide up to 20 hours of listening to music, watching movies, and talking on the phone. As part of Apple’s testing, the volume setting for the test was set to 50% when the device was tested.
To charge the headphones, they require a Lightning cable, and it takes about five minutes to charge the headphones for 1.5 hours of listening time. The AirPods Max requires between 2 and 4 hours to charge to the full capacity. Apple relies on different power modes to preserve battery life rather than a power button on its AirPods Max, which does not have a power button.
AirPods Max will go into low power mode after five minutes of being removed from the Smart Case, even if they are not put inside the Smart Case. This state remains for 72 hours when they remain unconnected to the Smart Case. Upon reaching 72 hours of battery life, the headphones enter an “ultra” low power mode allowing Bluetooth and Find My Location to be disabled to further prolong the battery life.
When you remove the AirPods Max from the Smart Case when you are not using them, they automatically go into low power mode. This is an effort to preserve the battery power. If the AirPods Max has been inside the Smart Case for 18 hours, they will go into ultra low power mode, which turns off Bluetooth and Find My Location. As a consequence of this, AirPods Max is also able to operate in the same low battery mode both inside and outside of their case is not strictly necessary to save power in case someone prefers not to use it as a case.
While not in use, some users of the AirPods Max have experienced problems with the battery draining too quickly. This can result in the battery draining up to 12 per cent when not in use. As part of its March 2021 firmware update, Apple addressed this issue with the 3C39 firmware update.