Every time i do a big brand headphone review, i don’t talk to you about specs. I don’t talk to you about all the cool bells and whistles on it. I talked to you about three things: how does it sound, how does it function and what does it cost and i use those three things to assess if these headphones are worth it or not, apple came in at a staggering price of 550. For these. Just to start with a price like that, i couldn’t ignore this release. So how do they sound we’re, gon na start off right away with my first impressions when i unbox these one week ago on christmas eve, it’s christmas tomorrow? Hmm they don’t smell as good as i thought they would that’s the dumbest case design. Oh this isn’t even the case, this seems completely non functional. Oh, what a sexy feeling i’ll go to my playlist contact by def punk noise. Canceling is great. They don’t lose any volume with ambient sound that’s cool doesn’t seem to affect the the noise canceling doesn’t seem to affect the color of the sound like it does on so many other headphones. So long ago i don’t remember when oh, my god, they’re so close they’re. So close, it almost got me. The dynamic range is nice: okay, okay, that was nice; okay, okay, a lot of clarity in the high end of this track. The percussion is coming right through with out you now, bieber’s voice is produced in a way.
It just sits right on top of the mix like the angel riding into christmas, on a star wow now friends, since that time, i’ve got the nc 700s by bows back in the house to compare those as well and i’ve spent some time with them today. Comparing them to the airpods max now don’t, you agree with me that apple has a huge, missed opportunity by not naming these air cans before we even talk about their sexy design or their extreme price tag. Let’S just talk about how do they sound? They sounded good. I was really impressed with what apple was able to do with an over ear headphone as a function of sound alone, they’re one of the best bluetooth over ear, headphones, i’ve ever heard and they’re in the top end of that market for sure, but we’re competing against The other big name brand expensive headphones out there and that’s the bose nc 700s and the sony w1000x 1000x mark 5.. I forget the name every single time i say sony’s we’re, going to call them the xm4. Now my sony xm4 review isn’t out yet, but they have improved so much over the xm3s, in fact, to the point that they’re even almost better than the nc 700s as a function of sound – and i reviewed the nc700s last year and they were the best noise Canceling i had yet ever heard in a headphone and their sound was better than the xm3s.
Then, of course, i have the neurophones on there, which aren’t quite as mainstream, but there are 400 pair of headphones that claims to personalize their sound to your ear canal and i’ve never experienced a headphone better than that. When i compared the neurophones to the brand new airpods max the nerf phones, of course, crushed them, but what is so interesting to me, the airpods max did have a very rich high end. It also had a really nice decently clean base. All the clashing frequencies i experienced in the airpods max were in the mids, which is to be expected if you’ve ever listened to the sony xm3s, you understand clashing frequencies in the mids same thing with nc700s, but their clashing frequencies are a little bit higher. They have more of a rich high end, less of a bass response, but what i get from those is just a net cleaner, sound, more colors in the music from the nc 700s to the xm3s. Now the xm4s have improved so dramatically. They have a real high end for the first time in sony’s history and headphones, which really kind of blew me away. Their noise cancelling is better, but not as good as the bose and so we’re. Just talking about those two things to give you an idea of how the airpods will compete with them. Now the airpods sound had a really really rich high end. I was thoroughly impressed with all the types of music i like to go through.
I have a little playlist that i do every time, of course, that you saw they were really impressive. Their dynamic range was also very impressive when i listen to that beethoven symphony. Yes, it’s digital music, so it’s not the top end analog style, listening experience, but for for the average joe they’re not going to know the difference anyway, dynamic response was phenomenal, really really appreciated how it was subtle and there was character when the songs was were quiet And there was bright beauty when the songs got loud and i experienced very very little to no distortion in the sound coming through the bluetooth. In now again, the high end was really really rich. The mids were clashing a little bit and the lows were pretty nice and so overall i’m extremely impressed. I was waiting for these to sound terrible, but they did not in any way shape or form so the sound i’m giving it an a an a. How does it stack up against the other two? This is insane but i’m, actually putting it in first place. I think these sound the best out of these three headphones airpods max sony, xm4 and bose nc700 come in third place. Sony supplanted bows in their latest release, but apple has done something really special with the sound here and we haven’t even talked about function or aesthetic or noise canceling per se, but that’s pretty impressive. Now, of course, when these come into play, these get number one always their sound.
Is phenomenal. I’Ve never experienced anything like these headphones. These are the neurophones, the neurophone 800, if you will so as a function of these three, i mean these are the big dogs but here’s the problem and here’s. What is so confusing to me apple put these at 550 dollars, that’s 200, more than these 150 dollars. More than these now, as that conversation around price moves us into function, apple does have really really nice components on these they’re heavy, and you know from jurassic park. If they’re heavy, they should be expensive, they’re made of metal. I love the way the metal feels on my head in my hands and i love the way this headband feels on the top of my head they’re, an incredibly comfortable listening experience, they’re too heavy to actually work out in, but they’re too expensive to actually work out In now, before we get into cost and and whether or not it’s an appropriate amount of money to pay for a set of headphones. Let’S talk very briefly about noise canceling in apple’s transparency mode, which other headphones call. Ambient sound or natural, sound, but apple’s transparency is the finest transparency mode it’s, the finest ambient sound, letting in mode i’ve ever heard better than sony bose neura anybody’s. It felt just normal and i really really respect that they were able to pull that off with i don’t know their extra amount of microphones in there pumping in a more natural sound into the headphone, making them excellent travelers and the noise canceling was just perfect.
I mean it’s, not better than bose. Bose still holds the candle for the best noise, cancelling i’ve ever heard sitting around in my apartment with all the natural sounds that are here, but quiet all three of those. In fact, all four of these big wigs completely knock. It out making it silent sony’s, you have a little bit of a high frequency hiss, even though it’s really really good noise cancellation. I used to travel with the sony xm4s. I got rid of the bose nc700s and if i keep these, i would start traveling with these for sure, because they’re excellent they’re right up there with the finest noise cancelling but bose, just felt a little bit more claustrophobic to me and that’s telling me that it’s, An excellent excellent noise, cancelling headphone now to price 550 dollars. That is a lot of money to pay for a bluetooth headphone, knowing that its competition is more than 200 dollars less than that. For the most part, the neurophones come in at 400, the bose nc 700 is coming at 400. The sony xm4s come in at 350 dollars, so typical brand name high end bluetooth, high tech, noise, canceling, active noise. Cancelling headphones are in the three to four hundred dollar range and suddenly apple releases, a competitor and it’s 150 more at 550.. That seemed just absurd to me, especially with the way they advertised it. They talked about how big their drivers were and how they have these fancy double neodymium, magnets and other kind of just bs, which all headphones already have those exact same things.
In fact, i think the sony’s have bigger drivers than the apple headphones. Actually, i shouldn’t say that i don’t know for sure, but i definitely know that you know the ath m50x has 45 millimeter drivers and that’s bigger than those. So you know they get away with that flexing apple likes to flex, and they just you know they have. The sexiest products out there – and these are the sexiest headphones i’ve ever seen or worn period they just they’re just design is perfect, but 550 dollars is a lot of money, especially when it’s competing directly with these other ones. Personally, i think it’s way too high. I bought it to do this review and i thought i’d be returning them immediately, but i have second thoughts about returning these because of the way they’re in my apple environment. Already they instantly connect to my phone they’re great for apple tv, they’re, great for the laptop because i’m in the apple family and apple released a product, something a product in a category that i care about, which is over ear headphones and they did a great job. With it am i willing to drop 550 on this and not return it? The jury is out. I have not made up my mind and they sold out, which tells you the market said it was a great price if the market is speaking in that way to, you know creating a massive demand by selling them out so quickly.
That means that the price was right, because if it was actually too high, the market would speak on that by not selling them out. But what is too high for apple six hundred dollars? Seven hundred dollars there’s no way to know unless they did it. We know with apple they get away with extremely high prices because of their sexy thing that steve jobs started way back in the day but i’m. For that i love the innovation there. I just think this was a bit of a rip on their customers. Just a rip off of all their customers, they know what they made was really really good. They could have even sold it for 450 100, less, which puts it again, above all of the competition that they’re against all of it i’m sure that their profit margins at 450, retail msrp us dollars would still be excellent, especially because they use slave labor. To make these things we all know that, but they pushed it to 550 because they could and it worked and it sold out. So i don’t know it leaves me a little bit confused, because here i am a sucker, i bought them and i may not return them, especially when i start traveling again, as covid starts to finally blow away next year. These become really good travelers, especially for air travel, because the noise canceling is excellent. The ambient mode they call transparency is excellent. The sound is excellent. The volume was excellent tons of drive in them.
Instant connect is excellent. Phone calls with them is so much better than sony’s so anyway, before we wrap up, if you’ve made it this far i’m going to show you a quick chart now i made this chart a couple years ago and it was supposed to to to illustrate visually the Law of diminishing returns, which basically says that the more money you go, the less increase in quality you get, and so you have to go exorbitantly higher on price to get those fractional marginal increases. This is a lot that goes through everything from athletes, training at the highest level, to actors to filmmakers to anything in life. Anything human advancement, it’s, just the way it works and it’s the same thing here, economically with price and quality. So, looking at this chart, you see at the very bottom, enter some headphones i’ve reviewed in the last couple years that are more budget like the mpow, zero, five, nine, the mixed cedar e9 and the lennar nc90s, and those just steps they just step stone up in Quality as the price goes up, but around 300 is when things get pretty interesting, sony bose all kind of clustered around there with some innovative aura, headphones and nura, of course, at the 400 price range, but blowing my mind, and then you get the apple air cans. All the way at 550, but just barely edging sony and bows as far as overall quality. So they do take first place.
But are they really worth 550 now enjoy a little doodle that my daughter made after the chart was done, but just look at this chart and this is kind of what i’m talking about with headphones. I like to plot them out. I like to look at that. Compare them in quality. This is an overall estimate from oliver’s subjective lens of sound quality and functionality for a bluetooth headphone in 2020 and that’s, where they all land. So overall, should you get them? I can’t make that decision for you. You have to decide if it’s worth 550 dollars, so 2020 has been a weird year but it’s fun to see exciting products like the apple airpods max, which should be called the air cans so friend. Thank you so much for watching appreciate each and every one of you hopefully you’ll join me as we continue to make really beautiful videos into 2021 and beyond and spread the audio gospel everywhere. We go, have a great new years and i’ll see you all.