With the announcement of its AirPods Max, a luxurious pair of active noise-canceling portable headphones, Apple has made headlines. It is potentially the most expected headphone package since the long-awaited WH 1000XM4 has been launched by Sony earlier this year. Now the question is which headphones of the high end are best purchased?
Following the popularity of true wireless earbud devices such as the AirPods and AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max is the first pair of over-ear headphones from Apple after a long time. Sony’s WH-1000XM4, meanwhile, is the fourth round of common noise-canceling headphones, and the former WH-1000XM3 is commonly considered the best available wireless headphones for the money.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 exceeded the already major WH-1000XM3, but the headphone market would not pause for everyone and multiple rivals want to knock it off – one such adversary is the latest Apple AirPods Max.
The priority is different for everyone. Although in this article I have broken down the key variations to help you understand which headphone is right for yourself.
Apple AirPods Max vs Sony WH-1000XM4: Specification
|Sound Output Mode||stereo||stereo|
|Driver||"Apple-designed" 40mm dynamic driver||40mmdome driver with a Neodymium magnet|
|Active Noise Cancellation||Yes||Yes|
|Charging time||5 minutes||10 minutes|
|Run Time (Up To)||20 hours||30 hours|
|Intelligent Assistant Compatible||Siri||Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant|
|Included Accessories||Smart Case, Lightning to USB-C cable||3.5 mm jack|
|Color||Sky Blue, Space Gray, Silver, Pink, Green||Black|
|Width||6.64 inches||3 in|
|Profile width||3.28 inches||7.3 in|
|Height||7.37 inches||9.9 in|
|Weight||13.6 ounces||18.34 oz|
The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones are almost similar to the WH-1000XM3, although some minor improvements have been made by Sony.
The substance from which the headphones are made is less shiny and brusque. The earpad’s coils are marginally bigger for an improved fit; the construction of the headband has been changed to fit best on a broader variety of heads and the shape has been smoothed out to streamline the look.
Like the XM3, the procedure is done using an earplug contact panel to allow Quick Attention mode and the taping and swiping gestures. The left ear cup (power and a custom button) has physical keys, including a USB-C port and a 3.5 mm jack.
The AirPods Max is probably the most impressive with their five paint choices (gray, silver, sky blue, green, and pink). But perhaps the flourishes of their style go beyond just a pleasant coat of paint.
The warm, chunky memory pads that are easy enough to use for hours and an elastic headband is also perfect for listening to daily sessions. The ear cups can be connected with magnets and separated and re-joined quickly – comfortable when not in use to store in your pocket.
Apple says the attachment of the ear cup to the headband facilitates stabilization and distribution of the weight of the ear cup for further convenience. The Digital Crown is inspired by Apple Watch. It appears like a multi-purpose dial for volume replay, track skipping, Siri activation, and telephone calls.
Between ANC and Transparency Mode, the Noise Control button switches. Compared with Sony comes in, you get five colors (finally!).
The headphones of Apple obviously vary, but it’s hard to tell what is better because we haven’t worn or worked them. They cover the same terrain, so it seems like a draw is a decent result for now
Sony XM4 is much more aesthetic than the AirPods Max. In black and silver colors, the more conventional Sony XM4.
More fun the AirPods Full, but the sleeker Sony. No matter what you pick, a finely developed concept is assured.
Undoubtedly, Sony and AirPods Max are the best noise-canceling headphones in the market right now, but it would be an underestimate to say that rivalry would be fierce.
Each of the ear cups has three microphones for sensing noise from the area. And inside the ear cup, there is a microphone that tracks the audience’s ear. Noise cancellation is able to constantly respond to the headset fit and activity in real-time with computational audio. The noise cancellation is highly efficient since it can be calibrated for outside noise 200 times a second.
Using a special algorithm and a Bluetooth Device on Chip (SoC) to track audio and ambient noise, the specialized HD Noise Cancelling Processor of Sony WH-1000XM4 QN1 makes accurate changes 700 times a second to maximize noise cancellation. Just like the 700, with the Sony Companion App, you can change the intensity.
Apple defines a run time of “up to 20 hours” for AirPods Max, with noise cancellation and space audio allowed (Apple’s immersive audio processing technology). Meanwhile, the Sony WH-1000XM4 lasts about 30 hours, which ensures that you cancel the noise for about 38 hours.
The WH-1000XM4 offers five hours of play for 10 minutes only. Sony takes you out of the door faster. And Apple? An hour and a half of playback time get you a five-minute charge.
The AirPods Max is, as you would imagine, not without the features. They are wireless and have active noise cancellation, like Sony’s ones. Besides the Adaptive EQ and audio spatial technologies, Apple’s H1 chip is also an important feature.
Apple has built its own 40 mm AirPods Max Dynamic Driver with promising “rich, deep bass, accurate mid-range, and crisp clean high-frequency extension.” Apple achieves a gross harmonic distortion of less than 1% of the neodymium ring magnet motor – also at a maximum volume.
The whole experience is driven by the same H1 chip incorporated in AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. This is known now for the ability to work perfectly wirelessly and very rapidly. There are no drop-outs and automatic coupling that attaches automatically to your handset is enabled to be predictably genius as you reach an earphone.
Adaptive EQ operates by measuring and adjusting a sound signal in real-time to change the tone and seal of the ear coils, whereas spatial audio is intended to supply an immersive sound environment for the contents of external sounds captured in 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos using the gyroscope and accelerometer for monitoring the orientation of the head and replenishing the tone appropriately.
There is also a clarity mode, like many other headphones of this kind, which allows you to listen to music simultaneously while also listening to the world around you. Along with the two AirPods collections of Audio Sharing, you can share audio with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV 4K.
And again, as with many other headphones, they play and pause the audio automatically when they are put on or taken off their heads.
You can’t wait to test them with the above-mentioned digital crown function dial. And they are fitted with a smart case (image above which places AirPods Max in an ultra-low-power condition to help sustain the battery charge while it’s not in service.
Sony noise-canceling headphones feature a new DSEE Intense audio processor, which uses artificial intelligence to scan music in real-time to play a more precise sound. Sony has compressed audio to a nearly high quality.
Sony also has Speak-to-Chat, which interrupts the music immediately when you start listening. It is not ideal yet handy because it means you should not remove your headphones to speak with a flight attendant or co-worker.
Adaptive Smart Control is also present on the Sony headphones, which recognizes your desired positions and changes the sound controls accordingly. Then there is ‘Wearing Detection,’ which means that when you take them off you stop and start playing when you put it on, you automatically pause music.
With Ambient Pressure Optimizer, Sony’s bag of tricks still continues, which tweaks their sound for high altitude, ideal if you happen to lead a jet-setting lifestyle.
On the report, Apple’s plan features more impressively than Sony’s – for users of other Apple products in particular. However, it is entirely another concern about how these functions function in the real world.
With its audio efficiency and a greater level of refinement and transparency than its predecessor, the WH-1000XM4 has taken a significant move forward. The boisterous aspect of XM3 has been minimized and the effect has been a more articulated audiophile sound.
There’s more room for treble frequencies as Sony proceeds with its outstanding low-end control knack. It extracts more information with greater definition, clarification, and differentiation from the middle range. It is an amazingly balanced performer and eliminates a lot of noise from the tracks with the DSEE Intense engine, for a significantly enhanced audio source.
The AirPods Max offers the 40mm custom driver that produces a ‘rich, deep bass, precise intermediate and crisp, clean high-frequency range.’ If Max imitated the AirPods Pro results, it would not surprise us. They must be pretty warm and have a luxurious, textured hue, but dynamics (high and low) and bass were not as good as they might.
Sony snapped the price of £349, as previous attempts in the 1000 XM range. Many luxury wireless headphones start at this price. The Apple AirPods Max is not though. That is a very expensive expense of £549. The victory here is easy for Sony. Given how rare Apple goods dropped in price, consumers won’t be looking for a discount on breath soon.
Apple AirPods Max
• Comfortable Design
• Superb Audio Quality
• Favorable Battery Life
• Ear Detection
• Multiple Color Options
• No 2.5mm Or 3.5mm Analog Audio Input
• No Power Button
• Powerful custom ANC
• Dynamic sound with loads of detail
• Intuitive app-based controls
• Sensational sense of timing
• Support for two simultaneous Bluetooth connections
• Still high price
• No IP rating
• No aptX or aptX HD support
The AirPods Max really seems like a really sexy headphone set. But Sony’s could look the better choice based on what we know now. They are cheaper, noise cancelation is leading the market, and their smart characteristics operate over a number of devices and we agree that they are more efficient. Their job is undertaken to remain at the top of the order of pecking.
However, if any company is able to explain this price tag, it is presumably Apple. The business has a track record in various product areas and has produced astonishing success in a new emphasis on sound quality. Don’t just think of the AirPods and AirPods Pro, but of the HomePod and HomePod Micro, all of them with four or five-star reviews.
The AirPods Max has been a long time coming, but as with Apple’s other headphones, they could well prove worth the wait. We’re sure Sony and Bose aren’t too worried. Both firms have a long history of producing stellar headphones with superb sound quality, and the differentials in price will keep the competition separate for many people.
For the minted Apple fan looking for a seamless user experience, though, the AirPods Max might prove preferable.