Apple’s AirPods Max Headphones Are Pricey but Good

Originally published at: Apple’s AirPods Max Headphones Are Pricey but Good - TidBITS

You would pay dearly for Apple’s AirPods Max headphones, which at $549 exceed the cost of rival products by $200 or more. But Julio Ojeda-Zapata came away impressed with their stylishness, ruggedness, audio quality, active noise cancellation, design flourishes, and integration with Apple’s ecosystem. They have flaws, but none are deal-breakers.

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But will they go the way of the HomePod… the pricey high quality item people pass by for pretty good and half the price alternatives.

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I don’t think that will be the case. The HomePod was always a slow seller, but for whatever reason people seem to be gobbling up the AirPods Max.

I hope so, Apple invest a lot of R&D into their speakers, whether headphones or iMacs, long may that continue.

Perhaps because pretty much everybody needs earphones, it’s only a question of which ones. Heck, they used to be in the box they’re that important. And for those that want ANC, but detest the feel of in-ear these are probably just what they were waiting for. Plus, like Beats it’s a great way to display you can afford (even if “afford” often means being crushed by debt) expensive kit while you walk around town and gram yourself to the social media world just waiting to see what an awesome life you’re rocking.

But “smart speakers”? Your first battle is just trying to convince people (who aren’t already subscribed to Google or Alexa) they need one at all. And for those few that fall into that category the next realization is that this time “good enough” comes from Apple itself, has a lot of the same allure, but also comes in $200 less expensive.

Probably HPm will be Apple’s final test to determine if they should remain in speakers at all. After HP flopped, there were probably already several voices in the company that said fuggedaboutit.


I think they do care about audio. My iMac, and it is in a relatively small studio… but for a long strip of tiny outlets at the bottom of a screen, sounds really damn good. Like better than it should.

As Simon said the public facing nature of the AirPods Max may be what saves them whether on Zoom or on the street…

Great article Julio. I’ve had my AirPods Pro’s for a year of zoom teaching. Tear them from my cold dead fingers, and I think people will probably feel this way about these headphones when they start using them.

My AirPods Max are the BEST device I have ever experienced for listening to music, but my friends tell me that they muffle my voice over the iPhone. I use AirPods Pro for phone calls and YouTube videos.

I don’t think the AirPods Max are in my foreseeable future because I already have two great sets of headphones. One closed-back for using at work–if I ever work on-site again (PM-3 from the late, lamented Oppo) and one open-back for using at home (Sennheiser HD650). They both sound great and are plenty comfortable to wear all day.

However, I’m really glad you linked to Comply. I bought a Beats Flex to use while doing housework or out walking but I’m not happy with any of the tips that came with it. I had no idea there were third-party tips available. I’m definitely going to try those out.

New charging stand for the AirPods Max:

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I love Comply tips. I’m a teeny bit biased because they’re in my backyard and I know the founder, but they really are quite good. There are different kinds, spend a bit of time comparing.

I was under the impression (I think from listening to Accidental Tech Podcast) that the AirPods Max won’t function when they run out of battery, even in ‘wired mode’ with the Lightning-3.5mm cable. And when in wired mode, the battery is still used to do audio processing. So I don’t think this cable will help when there’s no charge left in the AirPods Max, and while they might reduce the amount of battery drain, they won’t eliminate it.