Airpods Review – An Audiophile’s Perspective

by admin
Summary
I was ready to bash on the Airpods when I purchased them. While they’re far from being perfect, the convenience of airpods won me over. The charging case is convenient, earbuds require minimal fiddling, and connectivity is flawless. The sound quality still leaves a lot to desire, switching between devices can be a hassle at times, and lack of isolation is a problem oftentimes, but it’s still miles ahead of other earbuds even after years.

 

Quality and comfort

Comfort is the main reason I decided to keep the Aairpods. Everyone has different ear shapes, so I highly recommend trying them out in person instead of trying to read about it. There’s very little adjustability since there are no ear tips, but if they do work, they require minimal fiddling in your ears to get them to stay in.

The Airpods also feel very light, so I actually forget they’re in my ears sometimes. By removing the traditional ear tips, the Airpods do not run hot, but they also do not isolate noise at all. You can hear everything around you, which may or may not be a good thing. They’re also slim width wise, so you can easily throw on a beanie or hood on top of your head without interfering with the earbuds.

The few cons I have are that because they stick out, you have to be extra careful when you’re throwing on a sweater or using your hood. In addition, because they’re plastic, I do feel a slight discomfort on the upper area of my ear, but it’s not enough to irritate me, even after 3-4 hours of continuous usage. Lastly, the seam where the tip is glued to the main body is noticeable in one of my earbuds, and I noticed visible dirt build up after 3-4 days of usage, which means I’ll just have to wipe it down pretty frequently.

The magnetic case is amazing and easy to carry, and I can see why everyone raves about them. The only downside is that they get dirty very quickly.

 

Functionality and connection

There’s absolutely no issue with connection quality, and the Airpods pair easily with any devices; however, the touch actions take a while to get used to. Even when you get good at them, they’re not the most reliable way to pause, play, or call siri. This isn’t an issue for me since I use my apple watch most of the time.

In addition, switching between devices can be a pain. If I’m on my phone and want to connect to my macbook, I have to go into settings and manually select them.

 

Sound

As expected, the airpods have a sound signature that appeals to the mass. This translates to bumped bass, slightly recessed mids, and slightly bumped treble. The bass extension is surprisingly decent and doesn’t sound outrageously loose. I did have to EQ it down since unnecessarily bumped bass gives me a headache, but it’s reasonably tight and full. Highs are unimpressive and barely crisp and fast enough to be considered decent, and mids do a decent a job reproducing the voice, but lack texture you’d see in expensive earbuds.

Thanks to the lack of tips, soundstage is wider than expected, and separation is adequate enough to pick out instruments in layered music. There’s also enough depth that surprises you once in a while for headphones this size, but it’s nowhere close to a lot of quality earbuds.

Overall, they handle most genres reasonably well if you can bump the bass down. As with other truly wireless earbuds, you shouldn’t be looking at these if you’re looking for an audiophile experience, but these will surprise you here and there.

On a non-music related note, call quality was surprisingly good. I took 2 phone calls in the lobby of a concert hall, and people on the other line did not have any trouble understanding me. Here’s my EQ setting for non bass heads in Spotify.

 

Music section
Giorgio by Moroder – Daft Punk
  • 00:00 – 00:36 – Bass extension has a surprising amount of depth and separation is decent. The background voices are way more muted than most earbuds.
  • 00:36 – 1:08 – Again, there’s plenty of bass extension, which most people will like. I needed to turn them down. The guitar pops sound great. Separation is in line with the Jabras, but feels airier due to the non-isolating nature
  • 6:58 – 7:30 – Treble is slightly crispier than the Jabra 65ts, but still not quite crisp. Bass lines keep up pretty well along with the record spins.
Tom Sawyer – Rush
  • 00:00 – 00:50 Separation is enough to hear all the parts, but it’s still a bit limited like the Jabras. It does lack depth, so it falls a bit flat when all the instruments come in.
Come Away with Me – Norah Jones
  • 00:00 -1:00 Piano and bass parts are a lot more present than most earbuds, causing her voice to be slightly drowned out, but there’s still a decent amount of depth in her voice and bass lines.
Four seasons L’estate III Presto – Vivaldi (Pavel)
  • 00:00 – 00:44 Violin attacks are surprisingly sharp, and there’s actually some bass extension and depth from the bass line, whereas it felt very minuscule on the Jabra 65ts.
  • 00:45 -1:04 Pavel’s aggressiveness is present and sharper than the Jabra 65ts.
  • 1:05 – 1:20 – Again, there’s slightly more lower end extension and depth than the Jabra’s, but it’s still not impressive enough to be boasted about.
Count Bubba – Gordon Goodwin
  • 00:00 – 00:41 Separation is decent as mentioned above and similar to the Jabras, but it sounds slightly flat and dry. It’s still a bit better than the Jabras.
  • 1:10 – 1:39 All sax parts are balanced and actually sound decent here.
 Closing thoughts
The main reasons I’m keeping the Airpods are convenience, comfort, and ease of use.  For example, if I want to quickly go to the laundry room, I can throw these on in seconds and be listening to a podcast with no fiddling. Same goes for trying to listen to a podcast while cooking or running to the grocery store. In addition, they have no issues with winter clothes, which is important for NYC. While I’m a bit disappointed by their lack of isolation, I have my dt 770s at work I can use, so I’m not too worried. I also still have the Jaybird X3s for working out since I prefer isolation at the gym. I hope this audiophile’s perspective of Airpods was helpful!

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