Apple's new AirPods Pro will be available in stores from October 30, and today I had the chance to try them out and test the company's active noise cancellation. As someone who has never been able to fully enjoy the regular AirPods – they just don't fit well in my ears – the in-ear design of the AirPods Pro is super attractive.
Three silicone tip sizes are supplied in the box and iOS has a built-in fit test that briefly plays some music to check if you have a good seal. An inward-facing microphone compares what you hear with what the speaker driver delivers. If there is too much difference, the test tells you to adjust the fit or try a different size and try again.
I got a "good seal" with both the medium and the large ends. From that moment on, it is really about choosing which one feels the most secure and comfortable. Apple says that many people end up using different sizes for each ear, something that other earplug manufacturers are also encouraging customers to try. If you lose your tips, you can buy replacements in any store in Apple's stores.
The $ 249 AirPods Pro includes a multi-microphone system (two in each earbud) that analyzes external ambient noise and cancels it with anti-noise. Apple adjusts the audio signal 200 times per second to optimize audio for your specific ear shape using an inward-facing microphone. Now you have to believe the word of the company for things like this in some ways. How is someone really going to do it? know if that analysis happens?
Each earphone has its own noise reduction process independently. (You can only use one AirPod if you want.) Apple says you can listen to music continuously for 4.5 hours when NC is on, but like other AirPods, there is enough juice in the carrying case to feed them a little 24 hours.
Noise reduction can be controlled via iOS settings, Control Center, via Siri voice commands or the indented area of the "force sensor" of each earphone. Android users obviously do not get the software options – and they are not even present on the Mac – but they can still enable or disable NC directly from the earphones.
Some people do not like ears because they feel pressure while wearing. This can happen if the silicone seal is to tight. To remedy this, Apple has designed a ventilation system in the new AirPods that equalizes the pressure on both sides of each earphone.
Apple also has a transparency mode that lets you hear what's going on around you. You simply hold the force sensor and a small sound indicates that you have switched on the ambient sound mode. The ventilation system also plays a role here, because you can talk at normal volumes without being uncomfortably loud due to the sealing of the earplugs.
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