Apple AirPods Max - New Over-Ear Headphones from Apple

Apple announced them this morning. Priced at $549. We’ve got a couple pairs on the way for review and testing and should be here next week!

Even if they end up sounding no better than something like the Sony XM4 I think it’s good that Apple is making it cool to buy $500+ headphones. It should be good for the market.


I’m actually super curious about that headband. I always have issues with headbands so I wonder if that design would work well for me.


These look really interesting. If they can at least match B&O sound quality, then they’ll have a winner with their class-leading microphones/wireless tech.


Apparently they weigh in at 384 grams which is fairly heavy for this kind of headphone. Here’s some for comparison.

  • AirPods Max - 13.6 ounces (384.8 grams)
  • Audeze LCD-1 – 8.82 ounces (250 grams)
  • Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless – 13.4 ounces (380 grams)
  • Bose 700 – 8.78 ounces (249 grams)
  • Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II – 10.93 ounces (310 grams)
  • Sennheiser PXC 550-II – 8 ounces (227 grams)
  • Sony WH-1000XM4 – 8.96 ounces (254 grams)

The headband design is pretty interesting…I wonder if they’re going to price their replacement pads the same as focal…lol


The stainless steel is adding significant weight.

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They closely remind me of the Parrot Zik headphones, even though the headband is quite different. I’m actually curious about how comfortable they are with that peculiar design.
Soundwise I’m not expecting much, honestly, but I’d be happy to be wrong. Given the price I do expect not only premium features, but also premium sound, but being this Apple I’m not sure they will provide it.

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I am a huge apple fan. I am deep into their eco system, but don’t really love IEM’s so these would be cool to check out and see how they interact with the rest of their gear and of course how they sound.


One thing I’m not in love with is the name…AirPods max, really?! They’re not even “pods.”

They should’ve went with AirBra Max…lol


So they have multiple colors but I can’t get a black pair of air pod pros? :weary:

Without paying colorware $300 lol


I agree. Awful name. These are not “pods.”


I suspect their target audience is more mass market so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a Beats type tuning. Maybe it will have settings for sound profile.

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The pricing seems a bit crazy - they’re significantly more than the Sony WH-1000XM4, the B&W PX7, and pretty much everything else in that segment. They don’t support any high-quality wireless codecs. So why would I buy these, except for the simple integration with iOS and Mac OS?

This seems relevant:

"Sorry, I can't hear you. My AirPods Max automatically mute poor people."

— Steve Kovach (@stevekovach) December 8, 2020

Their computational audio sounds promising, and it could provide a different kind of immersion that can change the game…if done properly of course

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Or, considering the look of the case, AirPochette. It totally looks like a small purse (one of those ridiculous-looking ones that can just fit a packet of tissues and that cost a fortune).

Yes, that’s what I meant. They have this narrative of offering the best of the best, but they really cater to the general public rather than to connoisseurs. I mean, they do make some nice things, but they’re not really at the top of the Mount Olympus of tech in my opinion. So that’s why I don’t really expect them to produce great headphones for us audiophiles, but rather an overpriced product for the masses.
(I don’t want to start a war on this, if anybody likes Apple please don’t feel offended by my words!)


I won’t be buying these, but I’m hoping they’ll be a gateway headphone for people to look at the other options in this price range.


Yeah it makes the idea of things like the Hifiman Sundara, Ananda etc… not seem so ridiculous for pricing.

I did say this earlier, but I do feel sorry for any parent who’s child is in the age range of Airpod fashion and woke up to this news in the morning, especially with the initial batch expected to ship the week before Christmas.


I’d really love to try these to find out for myself as I was pleasantly surprised by the Airpods Pro. They aren’t going to replace any of my audiophile headphones, but they aren’t bloated bass canons either. Unfortunately the $550 price tag is too high just to satisfy my curiosity. Looking forward to the review.


I share the same hope that this will give our hobby a fillip and will make high-end headphones more popular. The marketing blurbs are clearly trying to entice consumers with the promise of a hi-fi experience (note the third quote, below, re. floor-standing speakers). This arguably goes beyond the usual tech/specs spiel that Apple uses to appeal to customers.

From the product page:

From deep, rich bass to accurate mids and crisp, clean highs, you’ll hear every note with a new sense of clarity

The Apple-designed dynamic driver produces a wide frequency range that uncovers the rich details of every sound — delivering your favorite songs with previously unheard texture and accuracy

Modeled after those in high-end floor-standing speakers, the driver’s dual-neodymium ring magnet motor minimizes total harmonic distortion across the entire audible range. The result is consistently clear playback, even at full volume.

Alas, all of the above came after the marketing about the headband, color scheme, and the “digital crown.” But this in the press release further speaks to the desire to promote ‘hi-fi’ sound:

A unique dual neodymium ring magnet motor allows AirPods Max to maintain total harmonic distortion of less than 1 percent across the entire audible range, even at maximum volume.

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Can you pair these with non-apple products or it’s just for apple like the AirPods?

$550 for a pair of headphones that is limited to apple products only is hard to swallow…

EDIT: I was unaware that you could pair AirPods with non-Apple devices when I asked the question above. Pardon my ignorance…

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