A difficult first contact (by my fault)
Of course, as always, Apple did it right, packaging of the carrier (DHL) just perfect, maximum protection for minimum space and recycled cardboard, delivered with engraving with my name within 48 hours, small white cardboard with cellophane and small zipper which makes it possible to remove the latter without the slightest difficulty.
Do not forget, when unpacking, the spare tips and the small cable hidden under the plastic at the bottom of the box, easily accessible thanks to the ingenuity of the packaging designers.
Note the small green zipper to pull the bottom, they are strong, at Apple!
As requested in the small unfolding manual, I bring the new case, a little bigger than the old one (less tall and wider) to the phone, and I open it.
The installation procedure starts, except that I wanted to take screenshots (I always think of this blog in everything I do), and bing, now the step is skipped without the possibility of y return.
I say to myself “damn, but not serious, let’s try the thing without fixing it”.
I launched Apple Music, and there I have to say I was incredibly disappointed: “what? Okay, the highs are precise, but puree, there is no bass! “
And yet, God knows if I’m not the guy to want a lot, in general!
Frankly, at that point I was wondering if I would return these AirPods to Apple, except since I had them engraved in my name, I wasn’t sure I could do it.
The average tips proposed by default seem largely large enough to me, I tried to put the small ones (3 sizes are “offered”: small, medium and large), and with these last (the small ones therefore), it was even worse .
I specify that I was really afraid of tearing everything by pulling on the tips to take them out, but in fact, I realized that we could go there without fear, the installation of new tips being very simple: you push the tip, it clicks, it’s done. You just have to look: the system is slightly oval, you have to match the curves on the mouthpiece side and the earpiece side, but it’s really quite simple.
But hey, I told myself that the settings proposed by Apple would be able to improve the thing, it was still necessary to know how to restart this damn procedure, which I had all the trouble in the world to find on the Internet (it was the second day of release of these headphones, this explains it) and I ended up finding the solution a few hours later on iGen: it is through the Bluetooth preferences and the information that it happens.
The importance of the choice of eartips for the sound quality of AirPods
So I did the test proposed by Apple: listen to a few seconds of music, and analyze by the system.
Result, both the small and the means did not give satisfaction according to the system, the big ones, tried last, yes.
And there, miracle, I had quite other headphones in the ears.
When I spoke of settings, above, you should know that these tip settings are the only ones offered by Apple.
Certainly, and this is quite normal, I do not have the equivalent of a very high-end closed or open headphones, headphones much more expensive, but the sound of the AirPods Pro is relatively balanced: the bass is present, but do not overwhelm the rest of the sound spectrum.
In classical music, the violins are well rendered (notably that of Rachel Podger in La Stravaganza), the piano in some works is a little hard, sometimes. Bach’s Magnificat conducted by Valentin Tournet presents very present choirs, the timbres of the orchestra of which quite pleasant, the voices of the perfect soloists.
In a completely different style, I did not really appreciate the sound of Mylène Farmer’s last CD in public, while Rammstein is very well rendered.
The rendering of Ibrahim Maalouf’s last record, S3NS, is really astonishing, it is even very good, just like that of the last Mika (what a joyful record, sometimes, it feels good!).
Overall AirPods Pro are significantly better than normal AirPods, for me it’s pretty clear: more precise, more balanced, superior in every way.
I was even amazed that I could hear a difference between Qobuz CD quality and Apple Music with these little tips.
The quality of noise reduction
The noise reduction is quite effective, but again it depends on your choice of eartips.
This is indeed an active reduction of ambient noise (in addition to being passive since we have in-ear headphones) carried out thanks to two microphones, not total suppression of external noise.
However, in my house with lots of life around, this reduction is quite sufficient. I imagine it is also in public transport, I have not yet had the opportunity to test the thing.
I would also like to remind you that noise reduction makes it possible to listen to music more quietly, and therefore to destroy our precious eardrums less.
I was also amazed at the maximum sound volume of these headphones: anyone who uses them thoroughly will have to worry about their ears in a few years.
The Transparency mode is quite impressive: the sound goes through the microphones, is even very slightly amplified, but remains very natural.
Note again that until this day, I didn’t really like in-ear headphones, because I had the impression of “choking the ears”, which is not the case with these headphones at all.
I’m going to be a little picky here, but I find AirPads Pro a bit more painful to take out of the box than normal AirPads, but once in the hands, they slip right into the ears, without needing return them, as is the case with normal AirPods.
We go from the box to the ear with a gesture.
Otherwise, unlike the latter, the AirPads Pro are practical to use since we no longer tap them, we pinch them.
I read that some did not like it, especially when running, I find these new gestures much clearer.
Note that you can adjust pinches for the left and right earbud differently.
A short pinch stops playback or restarts, a long pinch switches from Transparency mode to Noise Canceling mode and vice versa, two short pinches move forward one song, three short pinch moves backward one song. Be careful, these last two gestures do not work with all applications: in any case on Mac, Roon does not switch from one track to another with pinches.
With Music, no problem
On iPhone, both Apple Music and Qobuz respond to gestures.
Note that no gesture allows you to go back or forward within a song, regardless of the program.
That said, it lacks the volume control.
Good … for me who have an AppleWatch, no problem, we adjust it with the crown of the watch and it’s just perfect in terms of comfort (what precision and what softness in the rise or fall of the volume), but for those who do not have one, you will have to go through the phone, the Mac, or the iPad, or ask Siri to lower or raise the volume which is really not practical.
Siri that you activate either with a pinch of an earpiece, or with Hey Siri.
Regarding the hold in the ears, it is excellent for me.
I had said in my review of normal AirPods that they held on well, but still made me feel like they were going to fall out when I ran, when they didn’t.
Here, none of that: it is certainly the silicone of the tips that hooks much better than the smooth plastic of the AirPods.
I add that these headphones are really comfortable.
Autonomy and other little things
Autonomy, I’d better not make it a subtitle, since in fact, I haven’t really tested it.
Here is still, for example, the state of charge of my two AirPods Pro after using 2:20 of continuous listening:
I just know that I hardly see a difference to that of the old AirPods when they were new: because I immediately put them back in their little box, they are always charged when I need them.
Note that like the Series 2 AirPods, you can charge the case inductively or via cable.
About the latter, some will not be happy since on the one hand, we have a Lightning connection, on the other a USB-C.
Me, I’m very happy since I have chargers of this type everywhere, but I imagine anyone who has USB-A chargers will find fault with it.
As the future is in USB-C and this technology has a lot of advantages (think, with ONE charger you can recharge everything), I have nothing to complain about, on the contrary, if not is that Apple could have delivered a small charger with the AirPods.
I also note that the transition from Mac to iPhone or iPad poses absolutely no problem.
On Mac, a few small tests in different applications:
On Roon, you will have to choose System Output as the audio zone, having taken care to select the AirPods Pro in the permanent audio menu of the Mac.
Finally, in small things, it should be noted that these headphones withstand sweat (normal AirPods already did), but also rain, which is very appreciable; this is not the case with the case: nothing serious, you would have to be a little stupid not to leave it in a bag or in a pocket.
AirPods Pro are a hit it seems, and I have to say that’s pretty normal.
Again, don’t expect a hi-fi-worthy sound miracle, but in the in-ear headphone business Apple has done a great job.
I write a good part of this article while listening to an Apple Music Play-List for two hours and 20 minutes, and I must say that I am quite amazed, not to mention that I absolutely do not feel them: perfect comfort.
Always so practical, light, even more comfortable to wear, in any case for me, but it seems, for a lot of users too, endowed with this activo-passive attenuation of ambient noise which changes a lot of things, these AirPods Pro are a real hit.