I Love AirPods Pro (Part I)

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #360

I love my 1st gen Apple AirPods.  In my review back in May 2018, I said my only complaint about them was their price ($159), griping that they were, “3x more expensive than my beloved Klipsh S4i wired headphones (now discontinued but still available for around $50 at Amazon.com), which are more comfortable, sound better, and include an inline remote.”

I (Still) Love my Gen 1 AirPods

Much as I loved my Klipsch wired headset, I came to love my original AirPods even more. They’re the most hassle-free Bluetooth headset I’ve ever used and are easier to use with multiple Apple devices than any other Bluetooth headset or speaker I know.

Since then I’ve tested literally dozens of other headphones, earphones, and earbuds, but when the testing was done, I was always happy to go back to my AirPods.

In addition to their relatively high price, I discovered one other drawback to the first (and second) generation AirPods: Because of their “universal fit,” they don’t form a seal in your ear, so they provide little noise reduction (and no active noise cancellation).

Noise Cancellation Can be a Good Thing

I’m not a fan of noise cancellation in general, but I absolutely love it in two environments. My hobby is woodworking, so the first place I love it is in my garage workshop, where the noise level often exceeds 100db.

By the way, I know this thanks to my Apple Watch’s Noise app, which regularly alerts me to sound levels high enough to cause hearing damage.

The other place I love noise cancellation is on airplanes, trains, busses, and noisy public spaces. So, I’ve been leaving my AirPods behind when I’m in my workshop or using public transportation. In those cases I’ve been using either Mixcder E7 Wireless Active Noise Cancelling over-the-ear headphones ($59.99) or Phiaton Curve BT 120 NC ($79.00) in-ear headphones.

Both have been more than adequate for reducing noise in loud environments, but neither is as comfortable as my AirPods, and neither sounds as good—with or without noise cancellation. What I really wanted were AirPods that either sealed my ear canal to provided better passive noise reduction and/or active noise cancellation.

AirPods Pro: A Dream Come True

Apple recently made my dreams come true when it introduced AirPods Pro ($249). Unlike the original AirPods, which are “one-size-fits-most” and lack silicone or foam tips that would seal out ambient noise, AirPods Pro come with three sizes of soft silicone tips.

AirPods Pro have soft silicone ear-tips that seal out ambient noise.
AirPods Pro have soft silicone ear-tips that seal out ambient noise.

And, their active noise cancellation is noticeably better than other noise-canceling headsets I’ve tested.

Finally, their audio quality is significantly better than the original AirPods (or my other noise-canceling headphones).

I’ve got much more to say about AirPods Pro, but I’m out of space… Please tune in next week for the thrilling conclusion and recommendations.

…and that’s all he wrote (this week)…

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