Ending months of speculation, Apple today announced the release of its US$549 AirPods Max high-end, over-ear wireless headphones offering Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode, and spatial audio. AirPods Max come in five colors, and are available to order starting today, with availability beginning Tuesday, December 15.
AirPods Max feature a 40-mm Apple-designed dynamic driver that according to Apple provides “rich, deep bass; accurate mid-ranges; and crisp, clean high-frequency extension”, whilst a dual neodymium ring magnet motor reportedly allows AirPods Max to maintain total harmonic distortion of less than 1 percent across the entire audible range, even at maximum volume.
Each of the AirPods Max's ear cups is equipped with an Apple-designed H1 chip to deliver computational audio and support Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode, and spatial audio.
- AirPods Max use Adaptive EQ to adjust the sound to the fit and seal of the ear cushions by measuring the sound signal delivered to a user and adjusting the low and mid-frequencies in real time — bringing rich audio that captures every detail.
- AirPods Max deliver immersive sound through Active Noise Cancellation so users can focus on what they are listening to. Each ear cup features three outward-facing microphones to detect environmental noise, while one microphone inside the ear cup monitors the sound reaching the listener’s ear. Using computational audio, noise cancellation continuously adapts to the headphone fit and movement in real time.
- With AirPods Max, users can switch to Transparency mode to simultaneously listen to music while hearing the environment around them — ensuring everything, including a user’s own voice, sounds natural while audio plays perfectly. Switching between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode can be done with a single press using the noise control button.
- AirPods Max use spatial audio with dynamic head tracking to place sounds virtually anywhere in a space — delivering an immersive, theaterlike experience for content recorded in 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos. Using the gyroscope and accelerometer in AirPods Max and iPhone or iPad, spatial audio tracks the motion of a user’s head as well as the device, compares the motion data, then remaps the sound field so it stays anchored to the device, even as the user’s head moves.
Apple says that every part of AirPods Max is carefully crafted to provide exceptional acoustic performance:
The breathable knit mesh canopy, spanning the headband, is made to distribute weight and reduce on-head pressure. The stainless steel headband frame provides strength, flexibility, and comfort for a wide variety of head shapes and sizes. Telescoping headband arms smoothly extend and stay in place to maintain the desired fit.
Each ear cup attaches to the headband through a revolutionary mechanism that balances and distributes ear cup pressure, and allows it to independently pivot and rotate to fit the unique contours of a user’s head. Each ear cushion uses acoustically engineered memory foam to create an effective seal — a critical factor in delivering immersive sound. The Digital Crown, inspired by Apple Watch, offers precise volume control and the ability to play or pause audio, skip tracks, answer or end phone calls, and activate Siri.
AirPods Max weigh in at 13.6 ounces, which is significantly heavier than the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 (8.3 ounces), Sony’s WH-1000XM3 (8.99 ounces), and the Beats Studio 3 (9.2 ounces).
AirPods Max use optical and position sensors to automatically detect when they are on your head, and will pause playback when removed or when an ear cup is lifted.
Quoted battery life is up to 20 hours of high-fidelity audio; talk time; or movie playback with Active Noise Cancellation and spatial audio enabled. For comparison, Sony’s WH-1000XM3 headphones offer up to 30 hours and the Beats Studio 3 22 hours. AirPods Max ship with a soft, slim Smart Case that puts the headphones in an ultra-low power state that helps to preserve battery charge when not in use.
- Automatic switching allows users to seamlessly move sound between iPhone, iPad, and Mac. When playing music on Mac, users can easily take a call on iPhone and AirPods Max will automatically switch over.
- Audio Sharing makes it possible to easily share an audio stream between two sets of AirPods on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV 4K. Simply bring AirPods Max near the device and connect with a single tap.3
- Siri capabilities include the ability to play music, make phone calls, control the volume, get directions, and more. Siri can also read incoming messages as they arrive with Announce Messages with Siri.
AirPods Max come in silver; space gray; sky blue; pink; and green, and are available to order starting today for US$549 from apple.com and in the Apple Store app in the US and more than 25 other countries and regions. AirPods Max will begin shipping on Tuesday, December 15.
AirPods Max require Apple devices running iOS 14.3 or later, iPadOS 14.3 or later, macOS Big Sur 11.1 or later, watchOS 7.2 or later, or tvOS 14.3 or later. As none of these software versions are currently available, we should expect to see them drop between now and 15 December.
As always. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on this latest product release by Apple. Have you already placed your order? Is that asking price a little too rich for your tastes? Or, do you rate alternatives more highly? Let us know by adding a comment below.
Too Rich for My Blood!
Here in Canada, these puppies will set you back $780 (+ taxes). I was so looking forward to buying myself one of these pairs for the holidays, but when I saw the price tag, I almost spat my coffee onto my work laptop.
I honestly don't care how great they might sound, at this extremely high Canadian price tag, I'm not willing to find out. Way too expensive as far as I'm concerned.
I'm waiting for the reviews.
As with all of Apple's products, these are *way* overpriced. They'll have to meet or exceed every single one of their touted features for me to even consider these headphones. I hope we see some reviews of them here.
How are they when worn on top of hearing aids?
I'm hoping someone who wears hearing aids will report what they think of these AirPods. I record and edit music in my home studio, so I have to wear headphones, but the headphones that I wear cause my hearing aids to produce feedback, which is not good at all. The AirPods Max's interior microphone gives me hope, though, that the noise cancelling technology will pick up when my hearing aids are producing feedback and will automatically correct the problem. The price tag is high, but for me, it would be well worth it to get hi fi headphones that don't cause that headache-making squeal.
Better than Bose?
I would agree with Jeff. While these sound like great headphones, they sound very similar to the Bose 700, which are almost half the price. I'm waiting for some reviews to see if people really think they sound that much better and are worth the extra money.
That's half my studio setup right there. I'm not paying that much for Bluetooth compression.
too much money. but they sound good
great announcement. too much money. but from reading on it, it sounds great.
Agree with you Blinkin
I just got the original Airpods Pro a few months ago because when buying my house I got a $300 source gift card. These sound amazing and all, but wow. If I'm spending that much on headphones, they better have true surround sound, not whatever spacial audio tries to be. That's the price of a Playstation 5! Even my Sony 7.1 surround sound headphones weren't that expensive. Granted they don't have some of those other features but still! It genuinely seems like Apple is getting more and more expensive. I genuinely love their products, but I'm not rich.
I would go for them if and…
I would go for them if and only if they had 7.1 surround sound, and they were about $200 off. I am not paying $549 for a headset and let's say another $700 for a phone. No thanks.
I think these are going to…
I think these are going to end up like the full size homepod, where they had to cut the price because people weren't willing to buy it at $350 (i got mine for only slightly less). I laughed at everyone comparing it to the amazon echo and google home, but it turns out people generally cared more about the perceived better smarts of Alexa and Google Assistant than they did about the high quality sound first that Apple was pitching with the HP.
I don't think I'll end up getting these, but I'll definitely be taking a look at them whenever the Apple stores here decide to reopen. I don't think you can really get a good idea of whether you will like headphones just by reading/watching reviews on YouTube since sound preference is a very subjective thing. Never mind that some of those reviews are written or produced in a way just to get clicks.
Yeah that's true. I do want…
Yeah that's true. I do want to see what they look like. If ready player 2 world were real, I could just log on, feel them, and log out, and not buy.. Btw, orders have been pushed to early march for delivery. these are I think being eaten up like hot cakes.
I agree with the people who are saying that these are a bit too expensive... personally, I'm super excited. I currently have the Sony WH1000XM2"s, which are an older model of Sony headphones... Can't wait to see / hear review's on these headphones though... I think I'll get them if the reviewers are happy. :-)
Ordered a pair
I was surprised by the high price, but I placed an order anyway. My current over ear headphones are the Bose QC35's, and while they've served me well over the years, their behavior and audio quality during a Siri interaction leave something to be desired, and they of course don't provide a transparency mode with the closest thing being the complete disabling of noise cancelation which also disables the other audio processing normally performed by the headphones.
I wanted to try spatial audio when I first heard about it, but I don't believe AirPod Pro would have been a viable option for me given that I have a lot of ear blockages. I'll be satisfied with the AirPod Max headset if it provides audio quality on par with my existing AirPod earbuds, and if the noise canceling and transparency modes work well.
My youngest brother once suggested that my purchase of Apple products was like a hobby. To an extent, that's probably an accurate description since I generally enjoy buying Apple products, and I have the money to afford their premium pricing. Whether you love or hate Apple, for the most part, the products they make aren't crap, and even the packaging has a kind of perfection that's rarely found in the packaging of most other consumer products.
With taxes included, it will cost the same as a basic ipad pro in my country. If anyone gave me one as a gift I'd be very satisfied, but I just don't see myself spending money in such an expensive headphone.
What are these people smoking?
Seriously? This is beyond ridiculous! This is almost as ridiculous as the $999 monitor stand for the iMac Pro. Not the monitor, a monitor stand! Hahahahaha! What are these people smoking? The only Apple product I'm willing to buy anymore is the iPod Touch. Everything is unreasonably expensive.
Interesting thing here is that Sonys headphones, when paired with with certain android phones, uses a different compression format which makes the sound significantly less compressed. iPhones don't have this, as far as I know. As another commenter said, this is going to be compressed audio, it may sound like very good compressed audio, but I think a side by side comparison would show the difference. Now, I wonder if apple will start offering HD audio on its music service, but if so, I also wonder how they will implement it on iPhone and AirPods.
I will be very interested to read the reviews on these. I'm guessing that they are going to be super convenient if you are an apple user but the sound will not blow the Sony's, the gold standard of bluetooth over ear, out the water. There are too many bottlenecks in the chain.
Plus, that price is just ridiculous. I think it will be a status symbol product. I'm cool enough already. 🧊
My next birthday gift
I'm saving for the sony's NC model, I think it is WhXM3 or something like that. The NC is pretty good and it has better battery life compared to other models of the same price range.
yep, and most models and…
yep, and most models and colors of the device are now sold out. Uh, wow? I'm actually surprised people want to buy these. I do get the feeling though that they will have to eventually lower the price after all the backlash they might be getting via emails etc re the price.
No Air Play connectivity?
For all you hi-fi fans, a question.
My iPhone sends as good as it gets music to my 7.1.4 surround sound system via Air Play, and the fidelity (like I said) is as good as it gets because there is zero compression. Loss Less out of the phone, Loss Less into the surround system, Loss Less out of all those beautiful speakers.
So what's my question?
Why can't we send loss less music from our iPhones to top hi-fi headphone made by Apple via Air Play? Why would Apple foolishly offer hi-fi headphones at this price that could only play bluetooth compressed music? Are we certain these headphones cannot play Air Play? Yes, I know, you'll say Air Play only sends to sound systems like stereos or TV's. And we can't send loss less music to headphones via Air Play . . . because . . . why?
Probably because apple…
Probably because apple closed that part of the code for their own devices. Think about the use of the stereo mics. Only third party apps can use this part of their API.
I will buy one.
Hey every buddy. I love over-ear head-phones and this is perfect for me! I can trade my new apple watch witch I was about to get one. when I heard that the Airpod-max are coming I changed my mind.
If memory recalls, it's available on Android handsets with Qualcomm chips. Don't quote me on that. Interestingly, it's still lossy, just 24 bit which has debatable usefulness. The problem with Bluetooth is that it has a pitiful bandwidth that'll get eaten up if there's multiple radios around. Wi-Fi can get around that problem, but it's a lot more power hungry.
I agree. For this price, I expect these to be wired and to also support AirPlay. Oh wait, Apple got rid of wires because it was the "courageous" thing to do. Translation: We don't want an open standard like the audio jack, so we'll force people to buy our proprietary accessories. I'd love a pair of headphones that supported a Wi-Fi protocol such as AirPlay or Chromecast. Maybe Wi-Fi would require too much power as someone just said, but it would be nice.
It would also be nice if Apple supported AptX Low Latency, but they don't. They most likely don't want to pay the licensing fees involved in favor of using their own proprietary AAC codecs. Nothing to see here, just typical Apple proprietary behavior. Their visionary Steve died, so now they're making stupid decisions like selling what are essentially overhyped Bluetooth headphones with proprietary pairing technology for $550. What a joke!
Wow. That price though. I could get a pair of studio headphones for less money and they'd probably blow these out of the water. No way am I spending 549 bucks on a pair of these.
Looks like these will in…
Looks like these will in fact support wired playback. Apple sells a lightning to 3.5 cable that says it's compatible with the AirPods Max and the Beats Solo Pros. Doesn't look like it's included though.
I agree with a comment I saw on another forum that if these are successful, other established headphone companies like Bose, Sony, et al will release higher end headphones to compete, which would be a win win for everyone. Look at the number of truly wireless ear buds that came out after the first generation AirPods.
Well, this means competition…
Well, this means competition, and other companies can try and make their products better, or fail trying. I hope not?
actually, huawei beats apple to the punch
and according to the reviewer, the transparent mode implementation is way better. and of course, you can find it below the list price of $360. not that i'm interested, i don't like headset in general, it hurts my ears.
Well, since that won't be…
Well, since that won't be able to be bought in the USA anymore starting in a while, I won't be able to tplay with them.
Think I'll stick to my $80 Soundcore Live Q30 Headphones
Subject line says it all. And in reference to an earlier comment, if an $80 set of noise cancelling earphones can include a cable for a wired connection, the fact that Apple doesn't include one in it's headphones that cost nearly seven times as much becomes even more highly offensive. If you want more info on these headphones, look them up on Youtube.
I love my 60 dollar…
I love my 60 dollar headphones. I'm using them now. I also have a 120 dollar pair of headphones I use on iOs that work grate.
way too pricey in my country…
way too pricey in my country! I'm fine with my boat over the year headphones for now.
IPhone xr when I last checked was cheaper than this though pleasee don't quote me.
I'm excited to watch the unboxing videos though because the packaging of apple products is amazing and I love unboxing videos anyway :)
Of course Apple doesn't include a cable
The entire AirPods lineup, including the new AirPods Max, are billed as wireless headphones. That means "using radio, microwaves, etc. (*as opposed to wires or cables*) to transmit signals" (emphasis mine). AirPods Max headphones do have a Lightning port, however, for those who wish to use something like a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter to be old-fashioned and connect a wire to their headphones, but the expectation is that individuals buy headphones in the AirPods lineup primarily for their wireless, cable-free experience. The future of audio (at least in the consumer and possibly even prosumer space) is wireless though; Apple knew this when they released the original AirPods a few years ago, and because they are known for always pushing the future forward (whether other manufacturers or consumers follow suit or not), it was a given that they would produce the AirPods Max without a built-in wire just as they have with other headphones. If anyone is looking first and foremost for wired headphones, then commenting on the AirPods Max is a fruitless endeavor because the AirPods Max were not designed first and foremost to be wired headphones; they were designed to be wireless headphones, just like the original AirPods and the AirPods Pro. Comments about wired headphones would better be served on threads concerning, well, wired headphones. And as stated previously, if someone must use a wire with their AirPods Max, they can always purchase the Lightning to 3.5mm adapter; Apple is not obligated, nor should it be obligated, to include the adapter in the box because (1) it would not make good business sense as the adapter is a separate product they can sell for a profit, and (2) the AirPods Max were designed to primarily be used wirelessly, and excluding the Lightning to 3.5mm adapter from the package further helps to encourage this usage.
Anybody got these yet?
Subject line says it all really.
With early orders due to arrive from today, I would be keen to hear if anybody on here has a set yet and some initial thoughts to share?
Got mine today
I was actually expecting to wait another week, but I was surprised yesterday by a shipment notification and they arrived today.
One thing I'd heard in reviews was that they're heavy, and that's no exaggeration. These headphones aren't light, and they're actually heavier than I expected. Despite the weight though, they feel comfortable.
The spatial audio experience wasn't that good, but then, I don't have an iPad that supports it either (my iPad being a 1st generation 12.9in iPad Pro). I tried it with my iPhone, but an iPhone screen really is too small for me to appreciate what spatial audio potentially has to offer.
My criteria for satisfaction though were that the transparency mode was good and that the audio quality was on par with my AirPod earbuds. On those two, the AirPod Max headset delivers. The audio is clear with a good, but not uncomfortable, bass response. As for the transparency mode, if it weren't for the weight and pressure of the headphones, I'd hardly believe I was wearing headphones at all.
Overall, I think they're a great alternative to my AirPod earbuds when I'm at home and I want my ears to have a break from earbuds.
For lossless CD rips, I use wired headphones and a DAC. For Apple Music, podcasts, movies and audio books, the AirPods Max is IDEAL pending further reviews.
I'm looking to replace the Sony WH1000-XM3 because the bass is flabby.
Audio On Par with Airpods?
I would hope for the huge asking price that the audio quality would be much more than simply on par with your Air Pods. Heck for that price they should just be 7.1 compatible.
Got mine too
Loving the sound and the ability to go between all of my Apple products seamlessly. I am really enjoying them. Only downside to me was I enjoy the AirPods Pro in how they allow you to dictate and listen to music at the same time sadly that is not possible on the Max.
I have a question for those who have purchased and received them. As I understand it, turning the digital crown adjusts the volume. A YouTube review I listened to said that this allows for fine volume adjustment. I am wondering if this is so. Adjusting the volume using the buttons on the iPhone adjusts the volume in one sixteenth increments (6.25%). However, you can adjust the volume in control center by dragging the slider in less than one percent increments. Which way does the crown work? Does it in fact allow for fine adjustment or does it adjust in one sixteenth steps like the volume buttons on the phone?
How did I not know you could fine-adjust the volume in control center? I always assumed iot had the same increments. Mind blown.
Siri Volume Adjustment
Another way to do fine volume adjustment is to tell Siri to set volume to a certain percentage. I decided to try that one day, just to see if it would work, and it did. This is easier than precisely dragging the volume slider, which can get a bit tricky.
I knew SIRI could change volume, but I'll have to try doing it to make finer adjustments.
Hi Scott it's like doing the slide method in the control center and allows for fine volume adjustment! I really do love that because often times adjusting by the phone gets things too loud or too quiet and not that perfect level. That's one of the best things I've seen about using this is that it really fine-tuned the experience.
Best headphones ever! Love them!
For those who are in my close circle, I'm known as the "Headphone King",. I have a bin full of wireless headphones including:
Note: these are at least the ones that I remember or find worthwhile.
I am not even going to pretend to justify my headphone collection on the apocalypse and work from home. I had most of these from "The Before Time" and picked up a few this year to finally hit euphoria...
My desire has been to remove all friction and frustration from the Audio experience, making for high fidelity, near 0 latency, and where I don't feel they're on my head--immersive audio AR!
When I read that AirPods Max were out (ran out to my wife, showed her, said "you're not going to believe what came out!", and I don't want them), my wife pre-ordered them in Sky Blue before I knew it, but I didn't want to wait 12-14 weeks until March, so stood in-line for an hour on launch day, Dec 15, I was first in-line, and had AirPods Max Sky Blue in-hand in just over 5-mins, and it took longer to get them out of the box then it did for them to connect to my iPhone 12 Pro and it then was also available to my M1 MacBook Air.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been able to really test them, push them to their limits, and fully understand and appreciate the AirPods Max.
Since 15-days ago, I have disconnected my Shure MV88+ or Apogee MiC Plus, and Twelve South AirFly Pro that are paired to Bose Noise Canceling 700. I did get these for video conferences (WebEx, Teams, Zoom, Meet) due to previously experiencing unreliable connections resulting in, it not connecting, dead battery, VoiceOver lagging, audio fading, and not to mention the multiple things that needed to be set.
AirPods Max microphone quality in video conferences and recordings sounds on the same level as my 2 dedicated microphones, the audio quality with VoiceOver and conferences is immersive, latency is non-issue with VoiceOver even while multitasking during meetings, and they are extremely comfortable to where I don't even feel like I have anything on my head. Using AirPods Max in video conferences and with VoiceOver feels like an engaging, immersive, and seamless audio AR experience. It's a true dream, euphoria, and delightful pleasant experience for a blind person.
I did order and get the Lightning to 3.5 mm Audio Cable, which I used once to test, and found out I don't need it because the wireless connectivity is spectacular and amazing! On Xmas, I saw that WaterField Designs (makers of great quality cases for Apple products) announced for pre-orders Best AirPods Max Shield Case which I have on my way in Blue!
I certainly appreciate a fantastic pair of headphones. But that's one heck of a collection. Doesn't having that many get redundant after a while though? Or is it just like a person with a huge shoe collection; whatever feels right on a given day?
Either way this is certainly high praise. Still can't justify the exorbitant price myself, but I do admit to being curious.
You are, of course, indeed correct in what you say above. I knew this long before my original post. However, the fact that other earphones that are also primarily billed as wireless and designed for wireless use do include the ability to use the headphones wired. And, surprise surprise, you don't have to pay extra to do so. For me, I love using my earphones wirelessly. What I like best, however, is being able to listen to them wirelessly at home or out in public and then take them to work and use them wired with my computer so as not to use up their battery. The fact that Apple doesn't make this possible without paying yet more money to them is quite rude. And before you say it, yes I know I could use them via Bluetooth at work. :) All that being said, have a great New Year.
See what they could do
I get the environmental reasons for not including cables. Many times people already have them. Me, I hardly need another lightning to USB cord. But saying that, because they aren't shipping so many (and thus likely saving a lot of cost) I see no reason (other than corporate gred) they couldn't lower the price of purchasing the cables from what they were.
I don't get it
These giant companies all benefit from slavery and all kinds of environment damaging stuff, so saying it's for the environment that they won't be sending you chargers or cables alongside their products is bullshit. It's like banning straws, make it seem like your company cares for the planet while contributing to it's destruction in a large scale all at the same time.
Can anyone tell me?
Hi All. I am considering getting the Airpod Max, but I need information from those who have them.
First, did you try them wired? If so, did you notice any change in latency compared to wireless?
Second, did you notice any improvement in music fidelity when you wore them wired? Did you try listening to a loss less source (meaning ultra hi-fi)?
Next, I wear hearing aids, and I get quite a bit of feedback from my Bose Quiet Comfort 35's. Tom (who did the podcast) also wears hearing aids. In his podcast, he said he has had no feedback issues with his Airpod Max.
Do you wear hearing aids? If so, have you had any feedback issues, and what hearing aids do you wear?
Next, does transparency mode turn off the primary signal (music, TV, whatever), or does it simply add outside-headphones sound to what you are already hearing?
Have you tried wearing the Airpod Max lying down? What was the Airpod Max comfort level then?
Second to last, can you continue using the Airpod Max, either wired or wirelessly, while charging the batteries?
Last, do you have the new third party case for the Airpod Max. What do you like and dislike about it?
Thank you for any information you choose to offer.
Not including a wired adapter is a business decision
Apple choosing not to include the Lightning to 3.5mm adapter alongside its AirPods Max is not "rude"; it is a business decision, simple as that. As I mentioned in my previous post, Apple is first and foremost a for-profit company, and thus is not obligated in any way, shape, or form to include the Lightning to 3.5mm adapter with a set of headphones that, as you and I both know, are designed first and foremost to be used wirelessly. Other manufacturers may include wired adapters with their headphones, but this does not mean Apple should do the same, for the simple reason that the company is not beholden to others. If one wishes to use the AirPods Max as wired headphones, then one can pay for the appropriate adapter. If one is not able to afford the adapter, or cannot pay for it for other reasons or due to extraneous circumstances, then that is a reflection on the person and not a problem to be solved by Apple. There is no business sense whatsoever in including a wired adapter with a product that is designed primarily to be wireless, thus Apple is within its rights here to do exactly what they are doing and to collect money from the sale of its wired adapter.
I hope to answer some of the questions asked here.
As I was also hoping to hear of another Apple AirPods Max user on this topic. Hopefully, we will receive one.
In the meantime, I thought I weigh in in what I know and hope to put some of the questions asked to being answered.
Firstly, as mentioned in another forum post of my experience of the AirPods Max with my hearing aids. I have the Phonak brand. Thankfully, I can take my headphones down to my nearest audiologist to perform various feedback tests. This allows to eliminate when you are using a tight conformed headphone to not have any feedback. I must do this with changing over to various headphones. If you place any headphones that are around the ear and place them on your hearing aids. If they have feedback, then generally you can expect to have feedback with any other headphones. So, consider that with your purchase thoughts. Also, check to see if your audiologist can perform a feedback test to try and eliminate these feedbacks. A good test is to hold your palm of your hand over the aids. Do they squeal with feedback? If yes, have the audiologist correct that problem if you can.
The transparent mode allows you to hear not only what you are around but also what you are listening to with your headphones. So, if you are watching a movie you will still be able to hear noises around you. There are four microphones around the outside of the headphones that work with the transparent mode. So, yes, I will still be able to hear my movie or music in transparent mode.
Is there latency with the wired cord? Yes. It is very minimal, but it is there. I believe it has something to do with that the headphones are what we call pre-amped. So, there is a moment where it must process and convert digitally. Is it noticeable? It’s there but not like when you are using Bluetooth or the H1 technology. Sure, one can turn off the noise cancellation and the transparent mode, but you still need power just to adjust the volume of the Digital Crown meaning that it still is processing the sound digitally.
Can you change your headphones while you have them on? Yes. As long you are using the H1 or Bluetooth to listen in what you are listening it will charge just fine. So, no you can't use the wired cord to charge and listen via the cord.
Are they comfortable to lie down in bed with? Not really. They are bulky and big. They are perfect when sitting up in bed but not laying down with. I suppose that would be something of a personal subjective view. Could you find that perfect fluffy pillow to conform around your head and not put pressure on the headphones. It’s possible.
Can I tell if the lossless audio is better on wired than on H1or Bluetooth? This is subjective to the person hearing. My understanding is that Apple Music that I stream and listen to are in 256bits. With my hearing and which isn't much, but I really start to not tell the difference when it goes above 220bits. So, can one tell the difference of a 320bits to 256bits? That is a tough answer. Obviously on paper it should but there is that fine point where we start that any good person with great hearing may not be able to tell the different.
As for suggestions of a third-party case for the AirPods Max. I am only aware of one maker and it has a retail price of $99. I would imagine that more will be coming soon.
Peeling the onion
Answers much appreciated, Tom. I am hoping you and others can answer a final question. Meanwhile, my apologies to you non-hearing aid music lovers for belaboring the subject, but it finally dawned on me . . .,
Why not simply use my MFI hearing aids instead of headphones?
In other words, why buy headphones to add an extra layer between source and final destination? All I have to do is hook up the right bluetooth transmitter to connect to my TV, stereo or Mac computer, and voila! TV, music or VoiceOver streamed directly into my ears. It appears the right transmitter for me is the ReSound TV Streamer 2, price approximately $170 from Cost Co, or approximately $370 from Amazon.
True, I won't have noise cancellation, I won't have the bass response headphones deliver, and I won't have the option of connecting by wire to the sound source, thereby losing the best fidelity, which is truly not my best solution, but it looks like I don't have much choice.
I am told I have moderate to severe hearing loss. I wear behind the ear (BTE) MFI ReSound Cala hearing aids. Based on my research, short of getting a different kind of hearing aids at a steep price that can tolerate headphones without causing feedback, it appears that with the hearing aids I do have, pretty much all headphones are going to cause feedback.
The only other choice I have to achieve the best hi-fi, given my circumstances, is the NuraPhone headphones (approximately $330) which are designed to be worn by people with hearing loss. Part of the NuraPhone headphones insert into the ear canal like AirPods, and part covers the ear to deliver bass. You take off your hearing aids before you put on the NuraPhone. The NuraPhone comes with an app that includes a hearing test you use to set up the NuraPhone for taking the place of your hearing aids while you are wearing them.
I will be seeing my Cost Co audiologist. I will let you know what I find out.
Thanks again, Tom!