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Wow – AirPods Pro 2!

How they’ve done it, I have no idea – the difference is unreal!

AirPods Pro 2
image courtesy of author

This I did not expect

AirPods Pro 2 have just, this moment, silenced me!

I was late coming to my first pair of AirPods. They were a pair of original non pro-AirPods, and I only started to wear them in April 2020. Even with all the headphones I have around me, more often than not, I choose the AirPods as my go-to set of headphones. Earlier this near, I switched to the AirPods Pro for the ANC and improvements in audio. I now have these – AirPods Pro 2…and blimme!!

I’ve rambled on in many videos about headphones – it doesn’t make for the most interesting read, but suffice to say, I have a lot of headphones. Studio grade, over-the-head, real headphones. But, somehow, these AirPods Pro have a special place in my heart.

For all the great Apple gear I own, these are the bit of Apple kit I use more than any other. Even days away from the studio, you’ll still find me wearing my AirPods Pro 2. Easy to use, convenient, good audio, they are just so useable.

Well – I had to try them

When Tim announced AirPods Pro 2 at the recent event, they were already in my cart before the end of the presentation.

In all, these are now my third pair of AirPods – that is how much I rate them. If they could deliver on the improvements they promised, then I figured it would be money well spent. And, boy, I have to tell you, they have delivered by the spade-full!

The tech bit

The breakdown on AirPods Pro 2 is that have an all new H2 chip inside. The chip clearly is working, and brings improvements to the already great audio. The job is only half done, though, as that H2 chip works hand-in-glove with a new, dedicated amplifier and driver.

Although these 2nd gen AirPods Pro 2 look almost identical to the three-year-old originals, there are a host of differences, both inside and out.

There is better Noise Cancelling and Transparency modes. The case is totally redesigned, with speakers and seems considerably heavier, to me. The battery life is up – Apple are claiming that the battery life is around 30% up from the originals.

In the box, there are no real surprises, except for the fact you now get an extra small set of silicon tips. Out of the box, the AirPods Pro 2 are fitted with the medium tips, but they are super easy to swap out. These tips though are not backward compatible, so you won’t be able to use them with your old AirPods Pro, in case you were wondering.

The case, as I mentioned, is re-designed. It has a hoop for a lanyard, not that I can see myself, ever using it, but hey, it’s there if you want it. The most obvious change to the case is that you’ll see there is a speaker now to help you find lost or misplaced AirPods, and using U1 technology, finding and locating them, will be even more precise. The speaker is more useful than just helping you find lost AirPods. That sound and function is useful for sure, but day to day, it’ll also make sounds when your charge is running low, or when you place them on charge. The case charging is more flexible too, as you can now use your Apple Watch charger as well as MagSafe or your lightning cable.

Audio

It’s truly day and night – that’s all I can tell you.

The audio stage feels wider, and more open, and the entire package seems to be thicker somehow on these AirPod Pro 2. The bass, the lower ends, are way more defined and easier to pick up on now in this second iteration. The presence of them stopped me in my tracks.

AirPods Pro 2, really start to come in to their own when you listen to tracks mastered for Spatial Audio. Part of the iOS 16 release was personalised Spatial Audio. By using the true depth camera on the front of your phone, it’ll scan your head & ear. Clearly, there is some computational algorithm at work here, but once scanned, the audio on Spatial tracks was noticeably improved, in particular, the head tracking. It seems to better follow your head in every direction.

I’ll leave a link at the end of the blog to a track mastered for Spatial Audio so you can to try it out for yourselves, (along with the link to the album I am currently listening to, as I write).

One new feature I am really ramped over, is that finally, you can adjust the volume on the stems themselves. It’s shall we say, fussy, but I am starting to get the hang of it now. I think it will be a case of muscle memory, and once the technique is mastered, it’ll become second nature.

I mentioned being a fan of ANC earlier. That was the reason I bought my first pair, actually. Although I never felt that Automatic Noise Cancelling needed to be improved, apparently it is twice as good as before. I’ve not been in a situation to try that out yet…but watch this space.

On top of that, there is this new Adaptive Transparency mode which reduces unwanted, outside noise, further still. Apple showed it off at the event, by walking past a construction site, if you recall. I think, what it does, by using the inward and outward facing mics & speakers, is register any extreme decibel sounds, and EQ them out before the potentially damaging frequencies hit your ears. You can also monitor the loudness levels on your phone as well.

My initial take

Well, that would be – BUY THEM! These are not iterative changes, rather, wholesale changes. AirPods Pro 2 are like a brand-new standard in earbuds.

I knew earlier this year, when I bought AirPods Pro, that there was very likely to be an upgrade this year. But…I really wanted to start to experiencing the noise cancelling. And, I’ve no regrets, either. If I am noticing such massive changes from a pair of only 6-month-old AirPods Pro, just try to take on-board quite how good these new AirPod Pro 2 actually are.

With even better ANC, Adaptive Transparency, volume controls on the stem, more battery life and the redesigned case, Apple has delivered with AirPods Pro 2.

The audio has to be heard to be believed. The only rumoured feature that we didn’t get, was an improved CODEC to allow us to benefit better from Apple’s hi-res, lossless audio. But, I am splitting hairs.

Go try a pair for yourselves – thank me later!

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Get in the vibe and listen along to today’s chosen soundtrack. I wrote this whilst listening to get in the vibe and listen along to today’s chosen soundtrack. I wrote this whilst listening tohttps://music.apple.com/gb/album/seeds/1551089219

Spatial Audio Track

https://music.apple.com/gb/album/circling-back-atmos-mix/1631737662?i=1631737663

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https://music.apple.com/us/album/circ…

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