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Apple AirPods Max Review (Noise Cancelling Headphone)

DeLub

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It is also possible on iOS in the Headphones Accomodations settings to use an audiogram as input for customisations. After selecting you need to upload a picture of your audiogram, but if iOS does not recognise the values you can input them manually. You have to input dBHL values for 125, 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000, and 8000 Hz. I wonder if this could be used as a 'poor man's fixed band EQ'. I've played around with this a bit, but was not able to get very satisfactory results. Anybody tried this yet?
 

acbarn

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It is also possible on iOS in the Headphones Accomodations settings to use an audiogram as input for customisations. After selecting you need to upload a picture of your audiogram, but if iOS does not recognise the values you can input them manually. You have to input dBHL values for 125, 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000, and 8000 Hz. I wonder if this could be used as a 'poor man's fixed band EQ'. I've played around with this a bit, but was not able to get very satisfactory results. Anybody tried this yet?
I tried this but didn’t have much luck. Had better results just setting Headphone Accommodations to Balanced Tone/Slight or Medium which boosts the ear gain region and gets the FR closer to the Harman target.
 
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acbarn

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Received my pair today (got them for under $440).

@amirm You're spot on with the EQ, it dramatically improves the sense of clarity and openness, making them a joy to listen now.

From pasable to outstanding with just two filters (although I was more conservative with the gain, 1-2 dB less than you in both cases), but wow.

Easily my favorite closed-back now and one terrific sounding headphone overall (with all the benefits of being a wireless ANC set), thanks boss! :)
What are you using for EQ?
 

MayaTlab

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I wish someone from Apple would read ASR, it's ok to dreaming I guess. :confused:

I would actually be surprised if no one within Apple's team of acousticians did.

But I think that Apple would have a lot of very good reasons to not provide a PEQ on their headphones - particularly if people base their compensation on how Apple's headphones have been measured so far.
For example, Rtings has yet to publish their final review of the AirPods 3, but the preliminary results they published should appear completely nonsensical to anyone who's ever listened to them - to the point where I don't even understand why they published it -, and if you were to base your PEQ filters on their results the AirPods 3 would sound very, very bad. Most likely explanation is that they measured them with sweeps, which can lead to errors with the AirPods 3 or AirPods Pro and Max when ANC is turned off as their feedback algorithm seems to require a broad signal to properly work in these conditions.

What I'd like to see however, until Apple finds a way to break what I've started to call the "1kHz frontier" and provide automated, individualised FR compensation in real time above that frequency, is four-five easily understood "tuning sliders" (not necessarily corresponding to a fixed EQ band, something a little more sophisticated than that), that are very specifically tailored to the actual HPTF variations of each of their headphones (I'm pretty certain that Apple has more data on that subject than most other companies) and to what they know of individuals' HRTF variations (basically to allow each one of us to fine-tune the response so that we can reach a response at the DRP that's more desirable - good loudspeakers in a good room ? - regardless of the undesirable HPTF variation).
 

staticV3

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I would actually be surprised if no one within Apple's team of acousticians did.

But I think that Apple would have a lot of very good reasons to not provide a PEQ on their headphones - particularly if people base their compensation on how Apple's headphones have been measured so far.
For example, Rtings has yet to publish their final review of the AirPods 3, but the preliminary results they published should appear completely nonsensical to anyone who's ever listened to them - to the point where I don't even understand why they published it -, and if you were to base your PEQ filters on their results the AirPods 3 would sound very, very bad. Most likely explanation is that they measured them with sweeps, which can lead to errors with the AirPods 3 or AirPods Pro and Max when ANC is turned off as their feedback algorithm seems to require a broad signal to properly work in these conditions.

What I'd like to see however, until Apple finds a way to break what I've started to call the "1kHz frontier" and provide automated, individualised FR compensation in real time above that frequency, is four-five easily understood "tuning sliders" (not necessarily corresponding to a fixed EQ band, something a little more sophisticated than that), that are very specifically tailored to the actual HPTF variations of each of their headphones (I'm pretty certain that Apple has more data on that subject than most other companies) and to what they know of individuals' HRTF variations (basically to allow each one of us to fine-tune the response so that we can reach a response at the DRP that's more desirable - good loudspeakers in a good room ? - regardless of the undesirable HPTF variation).
This review details how the feedback system inside the AP3 works and how to get a correct frequency response out of them.
 

MayaTlab

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This review details how the feedback system inside the AP3 works and how to get a correct frequency response out of them.

Yep, but it's even better to check your results with noise as a signal.
As a general rule I think that it should become good practice with ANC headphones to systematically check sweeps measurements with noise.
 

DeLub

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I tried this but didn’t have much luck. Had better results just setting Headphone Accommodations to Balanced Tone/Slight or Medium which boosts the ear gain region and gets the FR closer to the Harman target.
I prefer this setting on vs Headphone Accomodations off. However, In soft passages I hear more noise and hiss with this setting on compared to EQing the APM on my Mac with the two filters of Amir.
So:
Would kill for a system-wide parametric EQ solution in iOS, though. :(
+1

I'm aware that this will probably not happen, but sent in a feature request anyway :)
 

Merkurio

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I would actually be surprised if no one within Apple's team of acousticians did.

But I think that Apple would have a lot of very good reasons to not provide a PEQ on their headphones - particularly if people base their compensation on how Apple's headphones have been measured so far.
For example, Rtings has yet to publish their final review of the AirPods 3, but the preliminary results they published should appear completely nonsensical to anyone who's ever listened to them - to the point where I don't even understand why they published it -, and if you were to base your PEQ filters on their results the AirPods 3 would sound very, very bad. Most likely explanation is that they measured them with sweeps, which can lead to errors with the AirPods 3 or AirPods Pro and Max when ANC is turned off as their feedback algorithm seems to require a broad signal to properly work in these conditions.

What I'd like to see however, until Apple finds a way to break what I've started to call the "1kHz frontier" and provide automated, individualised FR compensation in real time above that frequency, is four-five easily understood "tuning sliders" (not necessarily corresponding to a fixed EQ band, something a little more sophisticated than that), that are very specifically tailored to the actual HPTF variations of each of their headphones (I'm pretty certain that Apple has more data on that subject than most other companies) and to what they know of individuals' HRTF variations (basically to allow each one of us to fine-tune the response so that we can reach a response at the DRP that's more desirable - good loudspeakers in a good room ? - regardless of the undesirable HPTF variation).

Well, I rarely make my EQ presets just with measurement data I find online.

Instead, I use my ears to correlate with what I see measured and then make the proper corrections according to my own perception, just like I did with the APM recently (based on Amir and Oratory corrections).
 

acbarn

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As of today, Airpods Max are now supported in Sonarworks.

B502144E-4EB5-4EFA-9FB2-173125D0971A.jpeg
 

pavuol

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Two things worth noting, they don't support Apt-X, Apt-X HD, nor LDAC bluetooth codecs. And when listening to analog sources viac cable adapter, there is double conversion involved.. A>D>A
2021-11-29 16_52_29-About lossless audio in Apple Music - Apple Support (IN) — Mozilla Firefox.jpg

2021-11-29 16_53_49-About lossless audio in Apple Music - Apple Support (IN) — Mozilla Firefox.jpg
 

soundwave76

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I think I will stick with my Bose N700 which sound decent without eq. I use them primarily with iPhone and Spotify. Any simple tips for eq on this setup?

I take my words back after buying these on a black friday sale. I am liking these better that my Bose N700. I also tried the headphone accomodations iOS setting but that makes the sound harsh and weird. I need to read this thread caerfully and figure out what's going on with these and how to best eq the sound via iOS...
 

Merkurio

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I take my words back after buying these on a black friday sale. I am liking these better that my Bose N700. I also tried the headphone accomodations iOS setting but that makes the sound harsh and weird. I need to read this thread caerfully and figure out what's going on with these and how to best eq the sound via iOS...

The problem with iOS accommodations option enabled is, although it improves the FR in a positive manner with the tone setting, it also enables the dynamic compression and make the "softer" sounds more audible, even in the lowest setting (you can't disable it, unfortunately).

The best way to squeeze every single bit of potential from them is using PEQ and just boost the 2-4 kHz region according to your preferences, but there's no way to do it on iOS without jailbreaking the phone.

I use SoundSource on macOS and the results are amazing with the Volume Boost feature enabled.
 
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acbarn

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The problem with iOS accommodations option enabled is, although it improves the FR in a positive manner with the tone setting, it also enables the dynamic compression and make the "softer" sounds more audible, even in the lowest setting (you can't disable it, unfortunately).

The best way to squeeze every single bit of potential from them is using PEQ and just boost the 2-4 kHz region according to your preferences, but there's no way to do it on iOS without jailbreaking the phone.

I use SoundSource on macOS and the results are amazing with the Volume Boost feature enabled.
You’re probably already aware of Oratory’s EQ settings for the APM…

 

Merkurio

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You’re probably already aware of Oratory’s EQ settings for the APM…


Indeed, I am.

In fact, you can add profiles from many sources —including Oratory's— directly into SoundSource with the integrated Headphone EQ feature (I fall short when I say this software is nothing but amazing).

Unfortunately, I don't like how they sound with the Oratory's settings (too mid-treble focused with very thin and artificial sound), I vastly prefer the couple of filters in the range band that Amir posted but with a little less gain, plus one peak filter of my own around 2800 Hz to narrow the gap between the two.

Besides, the lack of volume that Amir complain about is completely solved with the Volume Boost feature, making the drivers sing loud enough even with high dynamic range content, turning these into a great set of closed-back headphones, even in the realm of wired stuff.
 

soundwave76

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Spotify has a very basic five band eq in the iOS app. I tried to boost the 2KHz a bit and it might make the sound a bit better. The next band is a totally useless 15KHz. Need to experiment more. In any case, I will be selling my Bose N700 and Dan Clarke Aeon RT as well…
 
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