AirPods Max first impressions

  • Build quality feels very high. In some ways this may be the most premium feeling Apple product I own.
  • The ear cups seem very comfortable so far. I’ve got big ears which often gives me trouble with over-ear headphones, but these are pretty roomy.
  • I don’t really notice the weight that much.
  • Not an audiophile but I like how they sound (only thing I’ve tested so far is The Mandalorian soundtrack).
  • Noise cancelling is even better than the Sony WH-1000XM4.
  • Transparency mode is much better than the equivalent on the XM4s.
  • I’ve only played with recording some stuff in voice memos so far, but the microphones seem pretty good.

I wound up snagging a pair for pickup this morning.

I’ve only had them for maybe 30 minutes, but initial impressions are good.

I do hope the headband loosens up a little so the ear cups don’t touch or risk hitting each other when storing them. Metal hitting metal is not cool.

At the moment I prefer the transparent mode, which comes astonishingly close to open back headphones. It also tames the bass a bit and makes them sound more neutral to me.

Excited to see everyone’s opinions as deliveries hit later today.

After a bit more listening, I’m overall pretty happy with these as convenient travel/active over ear headphones. While they don’t come anywhere close to my reference cans in terms of space, timbre, or balance, I wouldn’t expect them to. They land pretty close to their price in the spectrum of quality.

They’re a really good jump over the AirPods Pros, and I suspect a lot of people will be making that transition. The AirPods Max easily justify the price jump in quality and finish. Very much in line with Sennheiser and Sony offerings but with vastly superior internal tech. The device switching, and transparent audio are fantastic. I have some Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless earbuds that I stopped using after AirPods Pro came out, and the transparency on those is horrid in comparison.

If I were to grade these now…

Audio Quality for the price: A
Audio Quality overall, compared to any headphones: C+/B-
Build Quality: A
Technology: A
Comfort: A

I doubt anyone is expecting performance well above the price, and in its price range, these are fantastic. But I would class them with Sennheiser and Sony offerings in the $400 range with the added Apple premium price for the tech and build quality.


I completely agree with you on the weight. My desktop open back cans are 450g vs 384g of the AirPods Max, these things feel very light. Especially for having 20hrs of battery life.

Good call on The Mandalorian, I’m really glad Spatial Audio works with Disney+. I still need to test that out.

I definitely think the WH-1000XM4 and Sennheiser Momentum 3 are the targets with these, and they nail it. Probably the Bose 700 as well.

In that category, I think we have a new king.


I have to say I am really loving automatic device switching with these. So nice to be able to listen to music on my phone while working on my iPad, then have the audio source automatically switch over to the iPad when I want to watch a video.


In the end though, are they worth the price?


Awfully early to say (this is just the “first impressions” thread after all). Let’s just say I don’t have any regrets so far.


I think MKBHD is usually pretty accurate and the same applies here.

I the case has annoyed me a bit. It’s awkward putting them in and taking them out with letting the metal ear cups smack together. I don’t agree with him saying they’re heavy, but my baseline skews high.

I completely agree that the transparency mode in these is top notch.

To my use, at least this is going to be entirely irrelevant. My AirPods will spend pretty much zero time in their case compared to time hanging on a hook attached to a lightning cable, charging.

How have all of you gotten yours so soon? I ordered a pair but Apple is estimating a MARCH delivery timeframe.

I can’t get to an Apple Store near me as they are all closed due to the latest stay at home orders.

There were a few brief hours when the delivery time for online orders was for this week. They went from “ships Dec. 15” to “ships 12 - 14 weeks” very, very quickly.

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KGF can speak for themselves, of course, but I read that as “C+ to B-” over the entire spectrum of headphones which goes from very inexpensive (1/10th the cost of the Apples) to very, very expensive (10 times the cost of the Apples). If an A+ is achieved by a $5000 pair of headphones, it’s not unreasonable that a pair of $550 headphones might score a C+ in comparison.


I ordered less than an hour after Apple’s announcement last Tuesday.


Mine are scheduled for Dec. 28th and I ordered a few hours later than the announcement.

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Exactly this.

My desktop DAC/AMP and open back headphone setup were about $2,800. I referenced it when doing an initial comparison, but know that it’s completely unfair to compare the two. It’s certainly a factor worth comparing for me, but I don’t want to give the impression these don’t sound great. They absolutely do. These are the best bluetooth headphones I’ve listened to.

To @rhuleva’s question on getting them early. I did in store pickup yesterday morning around 7am. I’m a bit lucky being in Houston, TX where we have 6 Apple Stores. We’re doing express pickup only here. The employees are behind a large wall with plexiglass and intercom with just enough room to pass things underneath the glass.


As a recent transplant to the Houston area, I’m SHOCKED how quickly I’m able get things here. As soon as my trusty 2011 MacBook broke down I was able to secure a new M1 within a few hours (and this was week one of release).

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Right! It’s pretty incredible. I’ve only been here a year myself an am pretty surprised by this.

I checked this morning and AirPods Max in a couple colors are available for pickup today here again.


Great minds think alike :smile:, I looked as well. Anyone in our area keen on getting them in silver should act quickly this morning!

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I guess the price is “ok” then! :laughing:

They only turn off when they’re in the case. That might not be healthy for the battery.

Supply chain issues?

I suppose this is a fair point.

While I appreciate great sounding music, as a consumer there is a limit to the amount I can spend in the pursuit of it.

I suppose like in many things, if only money were not an issue!

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Oh, just become a prosumer. Easy! :stuck_out_tongue:

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