The second generation Apple AirPods Pro convinced us above all for a significant step forward in terms of intelligence of the active noise cancellation function, but audio quality has also improved tangibly. And this is surprising above all because of the continued absence of support for lossless formats, a detail that many complain about especially if we consider the price range in which the accessories are placed.
But in an interview with the specialized portal What Hi-Fi, engineer Esge Andersen responsible for acoustics explains some processes and reasoning that led to this decision, and adds some interesting information on how Apple managed to improve audio quality without changing codec. For those who have no problems with English and are passionate about audio, the suggestion is to follow the SOURCE link at the end of the article and read the entire interview: it doesn’t take much time. For everyone else, here are some ideas and highlights that we found particularly interesting:
- Pocket AirPods Max. This was basically Apple’s goal when work began on the new generation of AirPods Pro.
- Space issue. Andersen explains that the most important steps forward in terms of quality have been made not so much by improving the technology, but by better positioning the various components in the available space. For example, Apple redesigned the vents to ensure optimal airflow to the drivers, same reasoning for the microphones.
- Long live simplicity. In this specific case, simplicity has been the key to progress: compared to the first generation, which had one air intake at the back and one at the front, in the second generation there is only one at the back. This allowed the high frequencies to be more ringing and the bass to be cleaner and more powerful. Reducing and minimizing air turbulence problems was particularly important.
- Quality at all volumes. It is often the case that headphones, speakers and speaker systems only sound particularly good at certain volume levels, while Apple has worked hard to ensure that this does not happen by fine-tuning the response of the speakers at each volume step – both in stereo and in that Spatial Audio. Not only that: optimizations have also been made based on the various use cases and even based on the type of Apple device connected.
- A team of expert listeners. Apple explains that it has an entire team of listeners who evaluate and decide how each speaker should sound based on various scenarios. This team makes it possible to cover a much greater quantity of circumstances and above all to have a reasonably homogeneous sound for each type of audio product, from HomePod speakers to AirPods Max headphones to TWS earphones. Apple strives to build a sound that everyone likes. And above all, the design must never hinder the quality of the result.
- Hi-Res codecs? Andersen explains that sound quality is always a priority for Apple, but that he currently believes that there are other factors that have a greater impact on it without needing to change the codec. And what’s more, the current codec is particularly reliable and stable under all circumstances and situations.