Apple AirPods Max Wireless Over-Ear Headphones, Active Noise Cancelling, Transparency Mode, Personalized Spatial Audio, Dolby Atmos, Bluetooth Headphones for iPhone – Space Gray Electronics

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About this item BREATHTAKING AUDIO QUALITY — Apple-designed dynamic driver provides high-fidelity audio. Computational audio combines custom acoustic design with the Apple H1 chip and software for breakthrough listening experiences. FOCUS ON WHAT’S PLAYING — Active Noise Cancellation blocks outside noise so you can immerse yourself in music. HEAR THE WORLD AROUND YOU — Transparency mode lets you hear and interact with the world around you. PERSONALIZED SPATIAL AUDIO — With sound that suits your unique ear shape along with dynamic head tracking, AirPods Max deliver an immersive listening experience that places sound all around you. You can also listen to select songs, shows, and movies in Dolby Atmos. ACOUSTIC-FIRST DESIGN — Designed with a knit-mesh canopy and memory foam ear cushions for an exceptional over-ear fit that perfectly seals in sound. MAGICAL EXPERIENCE — Pair AirPods Max by simply placing them near your device and tapping Connect on your screen. AirPods Max pause audio when you take them off. And Automatic Switching makes listening between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac completely effortless. LONG BATTERY LIFE — Up to 20 hours of listening, movie watching, or talk time with Active Noise Cancellation and Personalized Spatial Audio enabled.
PRECISION CONTROL — Use the Digital Crown to play and pause music, to answer, end, and mute yourself on calls, and to control volume and skip between tracks. A SMARTER CASE — Store in an ultra low-power state with the slim Smart Case. LEGAL DISCLAIMERS — This is a summary of the main product features. See “Additional information” to learn more. Show more

Description

About this item

  • BREATHTAKING AUDIO QUALITY — Apple-designed dynamic driver provides high-fidelity audio. Computational audio combines custom acoustic design with the Apple H1 chip and software for breakthrough listening experiences.
  • FOCUS ON WHAT’S PLAYING — Active Noise Cancellation blocks outside noise so you can immerse yourself in music.
  • HEAR THE WORLD AROUND YOU — Transparency mode lets you hear and interact with the world around you.
  • PERSONALIZED SPATIAL AUDIO — With sound that suits your unique ear shape along with dynamic head tracking, AirPods Max deliver an immersive listening experience that places sound all around you. You can also listen to select songs, shows, and movies in Dolby Atmos.
  • ACOUSTIC-FIRST DESIGN — Designed with a knit-mesh canopy and memory foam ear cushions for an exceptional over-ear fit that perfectly seals in sound.
  • MAGICAL EXPERIENCE — Pair AirPods Max by simply placing them near your device and tapping Connect on your screen. AirPods Max pause audio when you take them off. And Automatic Switching makes listening between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac completely effortless.
  • LONG BATTERY LIFE — Up to 20 hours of listening, movie watching, or talk time with Active Noise Cancellation and Personalized Spatial Audio enabled.
  • PRECISION CONTROL — Use the Digital Crown to play and pause music, to answer, end, and mute yourself on calls, and to control volume and skip between tracks.
  • A SMARTER CASE — Store in an ultra low-power state with the slim Smart Case.
  • LEGAL DISCLAIMERS — This is a summary of the main product features. See “Additional information” to learn more.

About this item BREATHTAKING AUDIO QUALITY — Apple-designed dynamic driver provides high-fidelity audio. Computational audio combines custom acoustic design with the Apple H1 chip and software for breakthrough listening experiences. FOCUS ON WHAT’S PLAYING — Active Noise Cancellation blocks outside noise so you can immerse yourself in music. HEAR THE WORLD AROUND YOU — Transparency mode lets you hear and interact with the world around you. PERSONALIZED SPATIAL AUDIO — With sound that suits your unique ear shape along with dynamic head tracking, AirPods Max deliver an immersive listening experience that places sound all around you. You can also listen to select songs, shows, and movies in Dolby Atmos. ACOUSTIC-FIRST DESIGN — Designed with a knit-mesh canopy and memory foam ear cushions for an exceptional over-ear fit that perfectly seals in sound. MAGICAL EXPERIENCE — Pair AirPods Max by simply placing them near your device and tapping Connect on your screen. AirPods Max pause audio when you take them off. And Automatic Switching makes listening between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac completely effortless. LONG BATTERY LIFE — Up to 20 hours of listening, movie watching, or talk time with Active Noise Cancellation and Personalized Spatial Audio enabled. PRECISION CONTROL — Use the Digital Crown to play and pause music, to answer, end, and mute yourself on calls, and to control volume and skip between tracks. A SMARTER CASE — Store in an ultra low-power state with the slim Smart Case. LEGAL DISCLAIMERS — This is a summary of the main product features. See “Additional information” to learn more. Show more

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10 reviews for Apple AirPods Max Wireless Over-Ear Headphones, Active Noise Cancelling, Transparency Mode, Personalized Spatial Audio, Dolby Atmos, Bluetooth Headphones for iPhone – Space Gray Electronics

  1. BMan

    5.0 out of 5 stars

    Great bluetooth headphones

    Since I mostly work from home and listen to music when I’m not on the phone I use several bluetooth ear pods including AirPod Pros.The Max version has always intrigued me but I have quite a few over ear headphones so until they went on sale there was nothing compelling me to purchase them.I’ve had them long enough to break in the drivers to some degree. Yes like most dynamic headphones these need to be broken in for 20 to 50 hours before they can be judged for sound quality.1. I’m a headphone guy so sound quality is my first priority. This is an excellent headphone. They blow away my bluetooth Sennheisers on sound quality. They even compete with some wired headphones. They may not reach the level of my Grado 325’s but they are much more comfortable. My Focal Clears, which incidentally match well with the output voltage of my iPhone, are superior but are much more expensive. And wired. BTW you can’t get Lossless audio through Bluetooth so a wired headphone has that advantage. And you can’t talk through the Clears. My wired Sennheisers don’t really have the output levels to match an iPhone so they are not in the consideration. These have a wide range sonically and reproduce all kinds of music well. And unlike some Beats models they are not bass heavy. I think they work best with Spatial Audio off. iMy only complaint is that the midlevel sound stage is a bit compressed regardless of volume. Apple did their home work in designing these headphones. I’d go so far to say that you will not find another headphone wired or not that has as good as sound for the money.2. Comfort/Fit. One goes with the other. The head band is comfortable for my large head and does not squeeze my ears. The ear pad material is not what I’d like but it is surprisingly comfortable. Typical of any headphones they are best used without glasses for maximum comfortable. If you use glasses put the pads on your ears with the glasses on for maximum comfort. I do not notice any weight – these are much lighter than most wired headphones. The ear space fits my large ears although ideally a couple of extra mm’s would be better.3. They connect easily once you go through the initial connection procedure. Most importantly they have excellent battery life. They have double or more battery life than Pros. Put them in the case when you are through with them for the day as it is the only way they turn off. You will otherwise lose battery life as they are otherwise constantly scanning for possible bluetooth targets. The case is not great but it works well for being put into a bag or backpack. Generally they do a good job of picking up your voice in telephone or FaceTime mode.4. They are an excellent value. Usually a substantial discount means that there is a newer model is coming out. My research suggests that is not the case. There is likely to be a newer model of the Pros coming out which explains their greater discount.I am very pleased with these headphones and I think that you will be equally as pleased.

    113 people found this helpful

  2. Rodney

    5.0 out of 5 stars

    Great headphones

    I 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.

    113 people found this helpful

  3. JoMo

    5.0 out of 5 stars

    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!

    134 people found this helpful

  4. Jesse Peterson

    5.0 out of 5 stars

    Apple AirPods Max: A Masterpiece of Audio Engineering

    Apple’s AirPods Max headphones are a true marvel of audio engineering. From the moment you open the sleek, minimalist packaging, to the first time you slip them over your ears, the AirPods Max exude a sense of quality and refinement that is unmatched in the industry.Design and ComfortThe AirPods Max are not just headphones; they are a statement piece. The sleek, stainless steel frame is beautifully sculpted, and the plush ear cushions are incredibly comfortable, even for extended listening sessions. The knit-mesh canopy ensures a perfect fit, and the overall design is simply stunning.Audio QualityThe AirPods Max deliver truly exceptional audio quality. The custom-designed dynamic driver produces a rich, detailed soundstage that is sure to please even the most discerning audiophiles. The bass is deep and impactful, the mids are clear and present, and the highs are crisp and defined.Active Noise CancellationThe Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) on the AirPods Max is simply the best in the business. It effectively blocks out all ambient noise, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in your music, movies, or podcasts. The Transparency mode is also a great feature, allowing you to stay aware of your surroundings without having to remove your headphones.The AirPods Max are packed with features, including:Personalized Spatial Audio with dynamic head trackingDolby Atmos supportAutomatic switching between Apple devicesUp to 20 hours of battery lifeEasy pairing and setupThe Apple AirPods Max headphones are the best wireless headphones on the market. They offer exceptional audio quality, industry-leading ANC, a stunning design, and a host of useful features. If you are looking for the ultimate listening experience, the AirPods Max are the only way to go.Pros:Exceptional audio qualityIndustry-leading ANCStunning designComfortable fitLong battery lifeEasy pairing and setupCons:ExpensiveConclusionThe Apple AirPods Max are a true masterclass in audio engineering. They offer an unparalleled listening experience that is sure to please even the most discerning audiophiles. If you are looking for the best headphones money can buy, the AirPods Max are the only option.

    45 people found this helpful

  5. John k

    5.0 out of 5 stars

    WOW. Especially if you get them at $449 $100 off Apple store

    I have Sennheiser headphones since the 80s. I have studio type corded and bought 2 of the consumer Bluetooth models for $99 each HD405T and I not saying they are expected to be on the same level as these but holy toledo Apple wins here. Most I’ve spent was $300 for a corded model so for me to jump up to $450 was a stretch of faith. Another reviewer stated she was hearing impaired and these were game changers. Her review sold me. I’m here to sell anyone else that is hearing impaired and has the coin and an IPhone to pair with it. 1. The noise cancelling is better than 35 DB of safety earmuffs I wear for loud noises. Don’t get me wrong about earmuffs. True ear muffs don’t let sound in and also for say shooting a bullet, the pressure wave it creates. Loud riveting is 120db without the pressure wave so it subtly wrecks your hearing over time. 2. It pairs with iphone and iPad simultaneously and when doing so won’t cause either to drop out or any other noises. 3. Comfortable all day 12 hours or more comfortable. The cheaper bluetooths I used have vinyl earmuffs so sweat breaks down the threads and I’m replacing the ear pads every 3-6 month. These Pro max ones are real nice. Apple foam quality. 4. Charges really fast, was at 50% and plugged in and in 20 mins was at 95%. 5. Lightning charger on these now 2020 models . 6 loved them so much that after using a these black ones at work, bought a blue pair for home. If Apple makes hearing aides that are true medical devices I’d say they would crush and own the market. These are that good with their technology.

    2 people found this helpful

  6. Nicholas CalderoneNicholas Calderone

    5.0 out of 5 stars

    ULTIMATE LISTENING EXPERIENCE

    After 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.

    148 people found this helpful

  7. iRambes

    4.0 out of 5 stars

    Ultra-Picky Review

    Take my review with a grain of salt and or from a super picky perspective. These headphones are incredible. From the build quality, the feel, the fit, and the finish, they are worth the hefty price tag. The sound is bold with an open sound stage, medium bass at lower volumes and super punchy full bodied bass at higher volumes. The bass is not overwhelming and adds that “feel” to the music you are listening to without distortion. The issue I have is that these did not meet my expectations. I did not expect something BETTER, but I expected something DIFFERENT. I read reviews and heard feedback from some people I know and I created an expectation of my own as to what to expect with these headphones. Of course with them being Apple, they have to be great, which was true.From what I expected, the best way I can compare is when you go to an electronics store and see a super high quality QLED 4K LED Ultra HD tv in cinematic mode playing a movie and you can just tell that the scenes in the movie are on a stage or a set and you can see the layers to it, that is kind of what I expected from these headphones. I expected a super dynamic sound stage, I expected to hear each instrument and sound around me instead of layered, and to feel that I was in an open room. But that is what you’d expect from a different type of headphone. This is solely what I thought to expect, but not what I got. The takeaway from that is that my expectations were just different but I was not let down at all. I am returning them and going to do more research on what type of sound I am looking for.All in all, if you’re unlike me and my wild mind that doesn’t create images of things before you buy them, you will love these headphones. The aluminum is beautiful, the mesh on the headband feels like a cloud, and the sound and noice cancelling is spectacular. My only true gripe about the design is that when you take them off and want to put them on your neck, the bare aluminum might be uncomfortable on your collar bones. You might want to turn the ear cups and fold them flat, but they fold outward from your body and you have the whole metal body resting in your collar bones. I just wish they would fold in the other way so the ear cushions are resting on your body. And one last bit is since they fold that way, the aluminum ear cups, when folded will clank against each other and can cause scratches over time. Again, this is my extremely picky review on these headphones, but you’re probably a normal person and will love them, so please do buy them. You will not regret it!

    117 people found this helpful

  8. Verified User for Headphone

    5.0 out of 5 stars

    Great premium wireless headphone

    Yes they are expensive. But like all the other reviewers say – you get what you pay for. I ended up buying these because I work from home a few days out of the week and my AirPods battery life couldn’t last the whole work day.The sound quality is crisp and clean. The battery life is great and the ease of using within an iPhone is great. They are totally comfortable and not heavy at all. However, I will say – I use these sitting at my desk – if you were going to buy these while moving around I wouldn’t really recommend because they could fall off pretty easily.Lastly, yes like other reviewers said – I would have preferred a deeper bass. If you turn up the volume really loud (and these get LOUD) then you can really hear the bass. But at normal listening levels I would have preferred some extra bass. It’s still good – but I just like a deep bass sound.Anyways, I would highly recommend these headphones despite their steep price.

    3 people found this helpful

  9. Jay HashJay Hash

    4.0 out of 5 stars

    Excellent headphones, made in the typical “first draft” Apple way

    Full 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.

    1,680 people found this helpful

  10. David W.

    5.0 out of 5 stars

    Bose Noise Canceling 700 vs AirPods Max vs Bose Quiet Comfort Ultra

    UPDATE OCT 2023: Here is my original review which still holds true now that I have owned the Bose NC 700 for a couple of years. Last week, I bought the new Bose Quiet Comfort Ultra over-ear headphones. I added that review and comparison at the bottom.————————Original review……For 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 loses 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.—————————-BOSE QUIET COMFORT ULTRA VS BOSE NC 700 (and AirPods Max)Bose Quiet Comfort Ultra HeadphonesSeveral years ago, I discovered Bose Quiet Comfort headphones. My first pair wore the QC15 and I have owned every iteration since then. Until now, the best of the best have been the Bose NC700 which are spectacular headphones. Now, I find myself the proud owner of the company’s newest over-ear headset, the Bose Quiet Comfort Ultra. After thorough comparison, I can confidently say that the new Ultra are an upgrade in every way. There is especially one aspect which causes the Ultra to make them an absolutely must-have for music lovers. I will get to that in a moment, but first here are my thoughts on how the NC700 and QC Ultra compare:COMFORTI am very happy to report that the Bose QC Ultra are more comfortable than the NC 700 headphones. They are lighter, there is less clamping force and the headband distributes weight better on the top of your head. I used to consider the NC 700 headphones as the second most comfortable pair of over-ear headphones second only to the QC45. Well, the Ultra now take this 2nd place spot and they are almost as comfortable as the 45. Very Great!NOISE CANCELINGYes, Bose has also improved the noise canceling. When in quiet mode the headphones put you in a place where the world simply disappears. Each iteration of Bose headphones through the years has improved upon the previous in this area. The Ultra are no different. In fact, when I was testing them out my wife was standing 3 feet from me and trying to talk to me. I never even knew she was talking. This has never happened with my older NC 700.SOUND QUALITYThe QC Ultra are more of a spiritual successor to the NC700 than they are the QC45. The sound is much more similar to the NC700. What they retain is the excellent clarity and instrument separation. The mids are just as perfectly present. Also the highs have a very pleasing ring without ever sounding harsh. What was great on the 700 but even better on the Ultra is the bass. Bose says that the new Ultra are now taking samples of sound inside the ear ups and then actively adjusts the bass to sound best dependent on the shape of ears, the seal of the pads, etc. This really does make a difference. I wear glass which compromises the acoustic seal. The Ultra compensates for this and makes the bass sound deeper and have a greater punch than my NC700. So, the sound signature overall is better and gets WAY better with immersive audio. But, we are getting to that.IMMERSIVE AUDIOThis is the feature! If you are a music lover then this is the feature which gives the biggest incentive to upgrade from the NC 700. Music with immersive audio just sounds better. I have several setups of actual stereo bookshelf speakers around my house. I always preferred a good pair of music monitors over headphones. Why? Because you can hear and imagine the soundstage in front of you. Good recordings place an orchestra or band members several feet from each-other as you listen. With live listening you can hear the music spread throughout the venue and this is what immersive audio on the Quiet Comfort Headphones does. It places the band a couple feet in front of you. It feels like you can point to and reach out and touch the various vocalist and instruments. It is so great! It is exactly like advertised. Immersive audio makes it sound like you are listening to a good pair of speakers in a room acoustically ideal for premium audio. Now that I have heard it, I can never go back to regular headphones.CONCLUSIONThere is so much more good that I could say about the Bose Quiet Comfort Ultra headphones. The buttons are well placed and are useful – even the touch-sensitive volume slider works well enough! The app also just works and all the needed settings are there to easily adjust. The carrying case looks premium and is compact. It is smaller than the NC700 case and even more compact than the QC45’s storage option. There are some things I do not like about the headphones. For example, immersive audio for movies is still not as good or immersive as Spacial Audio on Apple’s AirPods Max when watching Dolby content. Also, the placement and function of the buttons is different than what I am used to on the 700. In the end though, I am ecstatic with what Bose has done in their newest iteration of Bose over-the-ear noise canceling headphones. My NC 700 are going on eBay and I look forward to many great years with the Ultra. Well done Bose!

    501 people found this helpful

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