Another AirPods Pro impressions post
Figured I’d add to the posts of impressions of the Pros for those who were still making their decisions. Overall, having messed with them since yesterday, I’m happy. And I’m going to against the grain here and say that I think I might actually like them better than my QC35s. More on that in a minute.
I tested the sound on mine using a variety of tracks I like to play when trying out new sound stuff (speakers, headphones, etc…). Tracks included:
Bubbles – Yosi Horikawa
Stylo – Gorillaz
Hide and Seek – Imogen Heap
Strobe (the full length version) – deadmau5
Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin
A demo of Take the Power Back – Rage Against the Machine
I was really impressed with what I heard. Bass was strong (I could feel it) but not overpowering, regardless of track being played. Highs were nice and clean and well-balanced. I was dubious when I read about Adaptive EQ but I’ll be honest – as I moved through my various tracks, each one sounded just as clean as the others, and there’s a lot of variations in that track list. Voices were nice to hear as well, from the auto-tuning in Hide and Seek to the gritty, noisy vocals in the Take the Power Back demo, voice tracks were really nice to follow along.
The Pros are loud, too. I have yet to max out the volume – I’ve come up to about 80% or so before that part of the brain kicks in that says “if you go any louder, it’s going to hurt.”
Transparency Mode is, as others have said, pretty damn cool. I expected an artificial-sounding pass-through but it’s perfectly natural. Running water, someone sitting down in a chair, your own breathing…I don’t know how they do it without making it sound like it’s coming through the speakers, but that’s exactly what it sounds like.
Comfort is pretty fantastic. The non-pro AirPods fit me just fine so that was never an issue. But these actually manage to feel just a little bit better – probably because they feel more anchored in the ear rather than just sitting there.
Hand in hand with comfort is a comparison to my QC35s like I mentioned earlier. First off, people are right – the ANC on those cans is phenomenal. Actually, in my mind, it’s *too* good. From the moment I put them on, I instantly feel like I’m in some kind of tunnel, completely devoid of sound. It makes my head and face feel weird – like they’re being pressed on by some unseen force. Even once I start getting music going, I still feel like that. I can only wear my QC35s for couple of hours before I have to take them off and give my ears and head a break.
The Pros, however, don’t seem to have that issue for me. The ANC is great but it’s not 100%, *and I’m perfectly ok with that.* Between the fact that they do let in a little bit of sound and that they’re vented to allow for air pressure equalization while in your ears, for me (and that’s all this post is…my opinion), the comfort and just sheer *usability* award goes to the Pros. I will 100% reach for these before I reach for my QC35s unless something so egregious is happening around me that getting stabbity is the only other option if I can’t completely drown it out.
I’m not an audiophile and have never professed to be one. I just know what sounds good to me and I know what feels good for me to use. And, for me, these are definite keepers and I’m really happy with them. If you’re on the fence, I’d say pick them up and just make sure you’re clear on the return policy and bounce ’em back if they’re not for you. This is one of those things that’s completely subjective and my thumbs-up could be someone else’s thumbs-down. You just won’t know until you give them a listen for yourself.
Good luck with the rest of your decisions!