I was “late” to the AirPods Pro game mainly because I had a set of noise-cancelling over ear headphones that worked fine and I didn’t feel like spending the money. Then the padding on the ear cup started to fall apart so I grabbed a set of AirPods Max and have been using them daily for the last number of months.
The AirPods Max have two control surfaces. First, they have a button that is towards the front of the headphones. This allows you to toggle noise cancelling and transparency.
The second control is a dial that can be spun to adjust the volume and pressed to play/pause the audio you’re listening to.
Both of the control surfaces have a decent feel to them and work as expected. Physical controls are far superior here than any headphones I’ve tried with a touch surface on them. There are no accidental swipes while trying to activate some feature that messes with what you’re listening to. The controls just work every time.
While I’m not an audiophile, and in fact have tinitus, I’ve found the sound quality coming from the AirPods max to be excellent. I continually encounter songs I’ve listened to for years that make me pause because I heard a new part of the song I was unable to detect with other headphones or speakers.
This experience has been delightful and has meant that I will stop what I’m doing to simply enjoy a song as I hear more of it. I haven’t had that experience since I was a teenager and could sit around all day just listenin to music with my friends.
Even with the pair of Sonos Play:1 in my office, when I want to be immersed in music, I reach for the AirPods Max. I attribute this to the noise cancelling in the headphones since I have 3 children that are usually making some type of noise. The Sonos speakers just aren’t built to cut all the outside noise that is produced in a house with kids.
The noise cancelling in these headphones is excellent. In the first few weeks I had headphones I’d regularly dash upstairs around 0730 because I couldn’t hear anyone moving around the house. With no noise in the house at 0730 that means kids are going to be late for school and I wanted to make sure that everyone was up.
Luckily, they’re almost always up and I just can’t hear it.
I also found that there is no pressure feeling with the AirPods Max that I have felt in some other headphones I’ve tried out over the years. Just turn noice cancelling on and the noise around you goes away without any hissing or other poor side effects that other headphones are known to have.
I use these headphones for at least a few hours every morning since I start work well before my family wakes up and I still want to listen to music. I then use them to edit videos or get on video calls during the day. I’d say I average around 4 – 5 hours of use every day of the week.
For all that use, I charge them a few times a week. They have enough battery life that I don’t ever feel the need to worry over how much they have left. I know that they’ll have enough battery to use for my morning work session and if I get a battery warning I can plug them in for a few minutes before a call and have plenty of battery for everything I need to do in the rest of the day.
Fit & Ear Fatigue
While I did find the AirPods Max heavy at first, a few months in I don’t even notice it. I do need to make sure that the headband is not pressing in the little button on top of my hat, and when I wear reading glasses they do squeeze just a bit tight after a few hours of use.
If you’re a glasses wearer and find that headphones squeeze the arms of your glasses, I don’t think the AirPods max will solve that issue for you.
With every other set of over ear headphones I’ve ever used I found that at some point in the day they would be “too loud”. Then I’d turn them down and realize that I’m already at the lowest possible volume. So I’d either have to live with the sound feeling uncomfortable or just stop using the headphones for a bit.
The dial on the AirPods Max allows me to get finer grained control of the volume coming out of my devices though. This has meant that when the AirPods Max feels “too loud” I turn down the volume with the dial and they’re back to just right.
Should You Purchase the AirPods Max?
Yeah these are not inexpensive headphones at $779 Canadian ($479 USD). They are the most expensive headphones I’ve ever purchased. Despite this heafty price tag, I do feel like I get good value out of them every day.
With the excellent noise cancelling I stay more focused at work, especially in the summer with a few kids running around the house during the day while my wife is out working. If they gained me 8 hours of extra work in the summer (which I believe they easily have) then they paid for themselves. If they got trashed today, I’d purchase another pair right away because no other wireless noise cancelling headphones I’ve tried fit as nice and sound as nice as the AirPods Max.
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