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Is Apple's airpods Max really good enough for hifi?

via:CnBeta     time:2020/12/10 6:40:23     readed:1522

Apple suddenly launched its new headset product airpods max, a Bluetooth headset with a price of 4399 yuan. This price has already touched the market positioning of many hifi earphones. In addition, Apple has mentioned the sound quality of airpods Max in a large part of its publicity page. It is inevitable that many people will compare the sound quality of airpods max with that of traditional hifi earphones. So is airpods Max really enough hifi? Let's talk about it today.

Can airpods Max really talk about hifi?

The first thing to be clear about is that the airpods Max is a Bluetooth headset. Although it supports headphone cable connection, it is still not high fidelity from a sound source point of view, mainly due to the following reasons.

Apple's airpods series headphones do not support lossless Bluetooth audio transmission, and airpods Max is no exception. Using Bluetooth to transmit audio, we usually need to use Bluetooth audio compression coding based on A2DP protocol to transmit digital audio. The common codes are SBC, AAC, aptx / aptx HD, LDAC, lhdc and so on. Among them, only LDAC and lhdc can achieve lossless transmission of audio, but airpods Max uses AAC and does not support these two kinds of coding.

Advanced Bluetooth audio coding, such as LDAC, can achieve CD level lossless audio transmission, but airpods Max does not support it

In other words, if the airpods Max is used as a wireless Bluetooth headset, hifi cannot be achieved, and the sound source will be lost from the Bluetooth coding.

Airpods Max can not only be used as a wireless Bluetooth headset, but also can be used as a traditional wired headset by inserting a headset cable. Can airpods Max make the audio source high fidelity when it is wired? I'm sorry, I can't.

At present, the apple store has put the earphone cable of airpods Max on the shelves. As you can see, the earphone cable is connected to the airpods Max using the lightning connector, and the other end is the traditional 3.5mm audio interface.

The wired mode of airpods Max needs to be connected with lightning to 3.5mm cable

As we all know, lightning lightning lightning interface can not transmit analog signal, which means that the device transmits audio signal to airpods Max to make sound. The basic process is like this.

① Audio analog signal input airpods Max 3.5mm interface

A kind of

② Analog signals are converted into digital signals in the headphone cable

A kind of

③ Airpods Max converts digital signals to analog signals

A kind of

④ Sound from loudspeaker

In the traditional wired earphone, the earphone cable is only responsible for the analog signal transmission, and the loudspeaker can make sound through the analog signal directly transmitted by the earphone cable, which reduces the steps of ③ and ④.

The conversion between digital and analog signals is lossy, otherwise hifi enthusiasts don't need expensive decoders. In the process of airpods Max cable transmission, the conversion quality of analog and digital signals can not be called hifi. Limited by the volume, the digital to analog conversion circuit can only be integrated into lightning plug and airpods Max shell.

Above is the X-ray perspective of lightning audio adapter cable. The audio DAC circuit is limited in a small lightning plug. The earphone cable of airpods Max is similar to this.

With multiple audio digital to analog conversion and the conversion circuit in the snail shell, airpods Max is difficult to achieve high fidelity wired audio transmission.

In short, from the perspective of audio transmission, airpods Max can't receive hifi level audio sources, whether wired or wireless.

Will airpods Max really have poor sound quality?

Obviously, the airpods Max is not a traditional hifi headset and is not suitable as part of a traditional hifi system. But does that mean airpods Max will have poor sound quality? Maybe not.

One of Apple's big publicity points for airpods Max is its massive sensors, powerful chips and advanced algorithms. Due to the unique audio experience of the hirmax, it is difficult to achieve this with the help of the traditional audio design.

Each person's skull, auricle, ear canal and other body structures that affect hearing are different, which leads to different sound quality performance when the same headset is worn on different people's heads. How can you make sure everyone can hear the same high quality audio? Airpods Max realizes adaptive equalization through software and hardware, and can make the frequency response of the headset close to the ideal state according to each person's HRTF (head related transfer function, used for audio positioning).

You may hear a bad sound in a traditional high-quality hifi headset because of wearing it. Airpods Max eliminates this possibility, and all users can enjoy the sound quality guaranteed by Apple as much as possible.

Traditional hifi headphones only have two speakers and can only provide two channel stereo. But for movies, games and other multi-channel scenes, it seems to be more difficult. Although there are only two loudspeakers in airpods max, the theater like surround sound experience is realized through the algorithm.

Airpods Max achieves surround sound in two units, which is not possible with traditional stereo hifi headphones

Airpods Max has built-in sensors such as gyroscopes and accelerometers, which are used to track head movements and simulate an audio space with a clear sound source that does not change with the rotation of the human head. In fact, this feature has been pushed to airpods Pro through OTA, and the effect is amazing to many friends. The sensors of airpods Max are more abundant than those of airpods pro, and the quality of spatial audio will also be higher.

In addition, Apple claims airpods Max has high-quality speakers. Although it's hard to compete with a traditional hifi headset unit, it's worth looking forward to.

The speaker unit of airpods Max is also worth looking forward to

It can be said that Apple's understanding of "high quality" is different from the traditional hifi headset. Through its hardware and software design, Apple has ensured that the airpods Max audio quality limit is high, and at the same time, it brings a unique audio experience, which is very different from traditional stereo, which usually requires a whole set of home theater systems. Airpods Max is not a traditional hifi headset, but it does what traditional hifi headphones can't do.


Obviously, airpods Max is not a product for hifi enthusiasts. Airpods may not be enough for hifi in the traditional sense, but the auditory experience it can bring is also something that traditional hifi earphones can't do. Apple airpods have brought many new changes to the audio market. Look forward to the actual performance of airpods max.

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