After a thousand days, AirPods Pro has finally been updated. It’s a big upgrade inside, does it sound good? Let’s take a look at the specific performance of Apple AirPods Pro 2.
Appearance & Functions
During my experience, I often mix up two generations of earphones. Because they are so similar. The easiest way to tell the difference is to see that earphones don’t have a “black chin”, which is a light sensor.
AirPods Pro 2 canceled the light sensor and replaced it with a skin sensor for more accurate in-ear detection. The sound hole has been moved to the top. Since the shape has hardly changed, the wearing comfort is the same as AirPods Pro. In addition, the headset stem of AirPods Pro 2 supports sliding to adjust the volume. Slip up increases, slip decreases. No matter how far you slide, the volume will only be adjusted once at a time.
The charging case supports charging with the charger of the smartwatch. However, the suction power is smaller than that of MagSafe, and it is recommended not to try it on the edge of danger.
The anti-lost function has been greatly upgraded. The sound hole at the bottom can play a loud prompt sound. Through the U1 chip, precise pointing prompts can also be displayed on the mobile phone. Putting the earphones in the bag is equivalent to putting an AirTag, which gives an inexplicable sense of security.
Another extremely advanced upgrade is the lanyard hole. When I saw the price of the lanyard on Apple’s official website, I woke up. It turns out that the price cut of the AirPods Pro 2 is to make you buy a lanyard. But I’m afraid to hang earphones on my backpack while taking the subway. Probably back home with only the lanyard left on the backpack.
Also, I found several interesting details. The speaker of the charging case can play a sound when the battery is low or charging. The content engraved on the charging case can be displayed on the screen of the paired device.
A pair of the smallest eartips are added to the package, and the top is also raised to fix it. Apple is really attentive.
Sound Quality & Noise Cancellation & Transparency Mode
Compared with the updates I mentioned above, the AirPods Pro 2’s upgrades in sound quality, noise cancellation, and transparency mode are the bigger highlights.
Sound quality of AirPods Pro 2
I guess someone will say that AirPods are also qualified to talk about sound quality?
Indeed, whether you are a headphone enthusiast or not, the impression of AirPods is three words: “plain water”. But in my office, some colleagues like this style.
First of all, compared to AirPods Pro, the low-frequency quantity sense of AirPods Pro 2 is significantly improved. High frequencies are also more prominent and clearer. Like AirPods Pro 2 adding contrast to a photo, dark areas are darker and bright areas are brighter. I like the feeling of adding “MSG”, and listening to pop music is more exciting.
If you compare it with AirPods 3, due to the addition of silicone eartips, the sealing is better, and the bass is much more surging. And there is noise cancellation effect, listening to music is more immersive.
Finally there is the Sony WF-1000XM4. In terms of low-frequency quantity sense, the Sony WF-1000XM4 is obviously more and more dynamic. In contrast, AirPods Pro 2 is more casual, in exchange for clearer vocals.
Unfortunately, AirPods Pro 2 does not currently support the lossless format in Apple Music. Even though its Bluetooth protocol has been upgraded to Bluetooth 5.3 like the iPhone 14 series, it is theoretically compatible with the LC3 encoding of lossless LE Audio, but at present, AAC is still used.
Plus, it supports playback of audio sampled at 48kHz. This sampling rate has reached CD-level lossless. But under the AAC protocol, it is not yet perceived. Therefore, I can be sure that the hardware level of AirPods Pro 2 determines that it has a very large OTA space. After LC3 encoding such as prediction is perfected, it is no longer a dream to use it to listen to lossless.
If sound quality is subjective, then noise cancellation is more objective.
Although some friends can’t hear the difference in sound quality, they can clearly feel the strength of noise cancellation. The noise cancellation performance of AirPods Pro 2 can be said to be greatly improved.
In the actual test, the noise cancellation effect of AirPods Pro 2 is significantly better than that of Apple AirPods Max, which exceeded my expectations. But there is a price. That is, the ear pressure is more obvious.
Especially when you switch from transparency mode to noise cancellation mode, it feels like your head is squeezed. Play music at this time, you can adapt more quickly. Despite the strong computing power of the H2 chip, AirPods Pro 2 still does not support adaptive noise cancellation, or manually adjust the noise cancellation level. Looking forward to the OTA upgrade in the future.
This feeling of being the same as the real sound made me think I was wearing fake noise cancellation headphones when I turned on the “transparency mode”. The “transparency” heard from the two generations of AirPods Pro is also very different.
The sound in the AirPods Pro 2 is so realistic that it even feels like all the sound details are sharpened and amplified. In the transparent mode of AirPods Pro, it always seems that the ears are covered by someone. This difference is mainly because of a new feature that Apple brought to the AirPods Pro 2: adaptive transparency. The earphones dynamically adjust the sound according to the ambient sound of the outside world. If it is a very high decibel noise, it will be attenuated immediately at the moment of the sound.
Hearing Impairment Function
After hearing the clearer vocals on the AirPods Pro 2, I also had a whim: With the increased clarity and detail, what will happen to those who need hearing assistance? So, I invited two friends with different levels of hearing impairment to share their experience.
The first friend’s hearing impairment is mild to moderate. I helped him make custom transparent debugging of two pairs of earphones. In this function specially for the hearing-impaired, as long as the audiogram is uploaded, the condition of the hearing-impaired friend can be basically identified, and the earphones will automatically adjust to the parameters suitable for their hearing.
After friend A listened to it, he felt that the music heard in the AirPods Pro was still clear, but the music space on the AirPods Pro 2 was more spacious.
We care about the hearing aid aspect. After fine-tuning the hearing parameters, although AirPods Pro can allow him to hear the sound, it is still difficult to distinguish the human voice in a slightly noisy environment. But the sound of the AirPods Pro 2 surprised him. Even when using the “Instant Intercom” communication with the iPhone, the human voice in the AirPods Pro 2 is as clear as the hearing aid in the case of communication through the wall.
The only thing that makes him feel that there is a fly in the ointment is that if you can’t give up your iPhone to communicate with others, it will always be rude to hold your phone and point it to others.
The second friend has moderate to severe hearing loss and has been unable to hear since the initial wearing of earphones. After debugging with AirPods Pro 2, she could hear slightly higher-frequency female voices, but relatively low-frequency male voices could not be heard.
However, the music can be heard clearly in earphones. Like Friend A, the music she heard was significantly different.
AirPods Pro is not a hearing aid device that can reach the medical level, and the hearing aid function is limited to the moderately and mildly hearing impaired. But in the past few years, an AirPods Pro that understands “listening” more is on the way.
It may be in the comments of colleagues: excellent noise cancellation, commuter earphones with sufficient sound quality.
It may be what a friend said: a pair of stylish earphones to wear on the ear when you go out, not a hearing aid to be observed by others.
It may also be what friends are looking forward to: not only linkage with mobile phones, but also system-level hearing aids that can be linked to tablets, computers, and even smart watches.