STEREO GUIDE verdict
+ non-fatiguing, relaxed sound
+ perfect connection to Apple devices
+ clealyr contoured bass, no effects
+ Noise-cancellation feels like a Spa cabin
- you might expect more dynamics, more show
Sound: tonal balance / transparency8.8
Sound: Bass / Dynamics9
Ease-of-use / Conncectivity9.2
In terms of product life cycle three years is a pretty long time – so the time Apple delighted its followers with theis audiophile True Wireless Earbuds Apple Airpods Pro feels like ages ago. Back then they for the first time added seriously impressive noise cancellation technology. So the the bars were set quite high for the successor model called Apple AirPods 2 Pro.
The bad news: Apple has increased the price. Doing so seems to be a basic philosophy in California. Which quickly raises the question: is this really justified by an improved performance of theis AirPods 2 Pro? Yes, it is! To cut our listening test story short: this is simply one of the best in-ear phones ever.
Apple and the chip business
Is there a particular reason for that? Maybe we find the answer rather in Apple´s lately introduced H2 gen chip than in assuming some sort of audiophile-like acoustic tweaking of the transducers. To explain the situation: Until now, Apple has been stingy and bought chips from Intel. That´s no longer the case as the new AirPods Pro 2 stand out from the crowd of competitors by having exclusive chips on board. As a result we found the Pro 2 the most sensible earbuds any Apple user can delight his or her ear canal with. On the other hand the message for non-Apple users: the new overall concept might appear at most a nice aperçu to this majority. So Samsung or Google smartphone owners: We strongly recommend to stop reading at this point.
Welcome, all you iPhones!
Thus, you need an iphone to experience the strong points. That´s pretty simple as bringing your iPhone and the new AirPods pro 2 closer to one another is immediately initializing the recognition procedure. Pretty smart options included. There is an option to have a scan of one´s individual head shape using the camera, plus the shape of the auricles. An individual correction algorithm is calculated based on that so the frequency response is optimized accordingly from that moment on.
Another new feature which might be taken as a proof that Apple is indeed listening to their customers: Adaptors size XS are included. Numerous kids had complained the predecessor´s packaging was lacking an adaptor perfectly fitting adolescent ear canals. So now there are four different fits available.
Get some chip tuning for your music
Apple´s H2 chip is also taking center stage when it comes to noise cancellation: analyzing and eliminating annoying external noise is processed a whopping 48,000 times per second. From lab point of view, Apple states that Gen 2 NC is twice as effective as predecessor´s circuitry. That´s not necessarily what you would find in listening tests, but in general we agree: There have never been more efficient, relaxed-sounding earbuds in our ear canals.
To tell the story of a listening test from the very beginning: we have calibrated is by visually analyzing our ears. What happens to this strictly personal not to say medicinical data? First: It is kept in your private sphere. In terms of data security, it is not stored anywhere in the world wide web. As a neat side effect it enables 3D audio – proper source material provided we might locate instrument behind, in front of, and above our head. Works extremely well and is really impressive.
Noise-cancellation and battery life as we experienced them
We found a second mic installed which is said to improve noise cancellation efficiency and speech quality when accepting a phone call. We might want to have a maximum of noise suppression from the outside world, or let important sonic information pass through. The voice-through mode lets you catch important information from announcements in trains or planes for example.
Will there be enough of energy for a long journey? Or will we run out of steam at some point? We doublechecked that by taking a 6h train ride. The reserve was more than sufficient. If we put the airpods back into the case after such a listening session, we experienced up to 30 hours of power in total.
The case also hosts a tiny little speaker. For example, if we lost the earphones somewhere, we can easily locate them via Apple location – just go for the beep sound. will start beeping.
The listening test: Apple AirPods Pro 2
It is hi-Fi journalist´s judgement day – do they really sound that great? Surely, these are simply a pair of the best inears known to us.
First impression: they sound pleasing, heart-warming. No show, no effects. There numerous competitors putting maximum of force on the bass drum. But these Apples are honest and support audiophile values in terms high fidelity in the original meaning of the word. It appeared to sound less massive compared to its predecessor, but that is by no means fast or gripping. Rather, we experienced some veils disappearing, and a bunch of new information added to the sonic panorama. Recording engineers might call this fine dynamics – the impulses reach our ears more directly, we found it to be clearly superior in comparison to Gen 1. Ambience and spatial impression are also stunning.
And once again: Feeling enthusiastic about Apple´s Airpods Pro 2 might come only to those living in Apple´s world already.
Are the Apple AirPods Pro (Gen 1) an alternative?
As an iPhone diehard, should I seriously consider non-Apple Earbuds? Speaking from our heart: No, especially since the noise cancellation finally keeps up with the best and we would really miss all these features making them the most comfortable earbuds to experience.
One more thought: If I already own the first generation AirPod Pro, things get more difficult. Do we recommend to upgrade? The gain in terms of sound quality, while significant from audiophile´s point of view, will not change our attitude to music. We admittingly get around ten percent more of sonic information. Bass seems more powerful and accurate, we get more contour and more effective noise reduction. Clear recommendation but not a must.
Specifications Apple AirPods Pro 2
- Retail price: 300 dollars/pounds/euros
- Type: In-ear
- Transducer: dynamic
- Weight: 5.3 g each, MagSafe charging case: 50.8 g
- Features: Noise-cancellation, app control, 3D sound, automatic EQ
- More at: www.apple.com
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