About the Apple AirPods Max
The big Apples: meet the first AirPods to fit over the ears
The big Apples: meet the first AirPods to fit over the ears
The Apple AirPods Max serve up real-time noise cancellation to remove distractions.
Just when I thought I had the current headphone scene figured out — and right after I made my picks of the Best Bluetooth headphones for 2021 — Apple hit us with their latest "one more thing." The AirPods Max are the first over-ear noise-canceling headphones to carry the company's name. And the design and experience are all Apple.
These super-premium headphones play music and podcasts wirelessly via Bluetooth. They're packed with high-performance drivers and sound technologies to deliver a top-shelf audio presentation. And they're loaded with convenience features like real-time adaptive noise cancellation.
Steady, high-quality connection to your Apple gear
You can use the AirPods Max with any Bluetooth-enabled device. But like the true wireless AirPods, these over-ears are designed to excel with Apple devices. They feature two of the company's cutting-edge H1 wireless chips — one in each earcup — so pairing up with your iPhone is quick and easy.
From there, you're automatically paired to other devices on your iCloud® account (like your Apple Watch®, iMac®, or iPad®). You get up to 20 hours of listening with noise cancellation on a full battery charge.
Sharp looks, solid feel, and flexible fit
True to the company's reputation, these are some of the best-put-together wireless headphones I've ever seen. Much has been said about their unique look, yet a close examination reveals that every design choice was well-considered. Including the acoustic properties of the ear pads! I haven't had a chance to try these headphones yet, but I'm really intrigued by the "canopy-style" headband.
As striking as they look from a distance, the design of the AirPods Max holds up to close examination.
Apple uses high-grade materials like aluminum and stainless steel, so these headphones tip the scales at 13.6 ounces. That's considerably more than other popular noise-cancelers (like the Sony WH-1000XM4 or Bose QC 35s). But as we learned in our deep-dive on headphone comfort last year, the overall weight is less of a factor than how well that weight is distributed.
Apple designed the flexible knit-mesh headband to relieve pressure and comfortably fit a large range of head sizes. Soft ear pads lined in a breathable mesh material help cushion the sensitive areas around your ear. I've seen the fit described as snug and very secure — meaning the headphones shouldn't slide around when you're on the move.
Smart, real-time noise canceling technology
Like most Apple products, there's plenty of substance to go with the sizzle. Case in point — the highly effective noise-canceling technology. These headphones use an array of eight multi-directional mics to capture external sounds, then adjust the level of noise cancellation. The H1 chip's state-of-the-art processing can reduce latency to such a miniscule amount that noise is basically canceled out as it happens.
And if you're in a situation where you need to be aware of your surroundings, simply press dedicated noise cancellation button on the earcup. A sensor will switch on "Transparency" mode so you can instantly hear important ambient noise or voices. The built-in mics will pick up external sounds.
Personalized sound powered by Apple's H1 wireless chip
I've spoken to engineers from other companies who marveled at the capabilities of the H1 chip inside the AirPods Pro. Just think what Apple can do with two! Especially when working in concert with their made-from-scratch high-end drivers. Apple custom-built the 40mm drivers to deliver detailed, low-distortion sound across a wide-frequency range.
Each H1 chip features ten audio cores that control every aspect of the sound experience. Apple's Adaptive EQ helps customize the sound for your specific ears, and can even detect if you're wearing glasses, to adjust the sound accordingly. As much as we love all the cool convenience features, it's the sound that always grabs our attention here at Crutchfield — so I'm anxious to give these a spin!
Close-up of the machined aluminum earcups with on-ear controls.
3D movie sound for your iPhone or iPad
Speaking of spin, the AirPods Max also have a built-in gyroscope that can track the movement of your head. It helps these headphones serve up "spatial audio" for certain shows and movies, emulating the sound of a Dolby Atmos home theater setup in a room. And as you nod or turn your head, the sound field stays fixed and centered.
Right now, it is only available when you're watching on an iPad or iPhone. I'd like to see them offer it for Apple TV 4K in the future — but so far we haven't heard anything from Apple about that.
Use on-ear controls — or call on Siri®, hands-free
Next to the noise-cancellation button, you'll find a larger version of the Digital Crown, made famous by the Apple Watch. You can press and turn this multipurpose dial to control music, volume, Siri, and more. Three of the built-in microphones are used for picking up your voice for clear calls and Siri commands.
To make voice commands even easier, complete a one-time setup through a connected device (like your iPhone) and activate Siri hands-free. Now you can skip the button and just say "Hey Siri" — then follow it up with a command or request.
- closed-back, over-the-ear headphones with active noise cancellation
- built-in Bluetooth® 5.0 for wireless music listening and phone calls
- AAC decoding provides high-quality music streaming from compatible devices
- features two H1 chips for seamless, reliable wireless connection with iPhone and other Apple devices
- active noise cancellation adjusts to the level of external sound
- uses 8 built-in mics positioned in different positions to capture and analyze noise
- Transparency mode lets in external sounds without removing headphones
Design and build:
- flexible mesh-covered headband with stainless steel sliders
- designed to properly disperse weight for secure, comfortable fit
- spacious aluminum earcups
- removable memory foam ear pads covered in soft, breathable mesh fabric
- multi-use Digital Crown dial for control over music, volume, and Siri
- dedicated button for noise cancellation and transparency mode
- custom-built 40mm drivers tuned for clear, well-rounded sound
- built-in circuitry helps optimize sound for your listening environment
- spatial audio feature emulates the sound of a home theater system in a room
- sound field stays fixed and centered as you move your head
- requires iPhone or iPad (works with movies, shows, and video in supported apps)
H1 wireless chip details:
- easy, one-tap pairing with iPhone simultaneously syncs up your iPad, iMac, and Apple Watch
- requires iCloud account and iOS 14.3, macOS 11.1, watchOS 7.2, or tvOS 14.3
- 10 audio cores help optimize sound and lower latency
- clear, detailed sound for music, calls, and other audio
- helps sync wireless audio and video on compatible devices
- real-time processing for adaptive noise cancellation
General info and specs:
- three voice pickup microphones for calls and Siri control
- optical sensors automatically stop music when headphones are removed
- built-in rechargeable batteries offer up to 20 hours of listening with noise cancellation
- Lightning® charging cable included
- Apple Lightning to 3.5mm listening cable sold separately
- slim case
- weight: 13.6 ounces
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
- MFR # MGYJ3AM/A
Apple AirPods Max reviews
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More details on the Apple AirPods Max
Features & specs
|Earcup Width x Height|
|Mic For Taking Calls||Yes|
|Voice Assistant Access|
|Parts Warranty||1 year|
|Labor Warranty||1 year|