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  • Noise cancelling on Apple Airpod Pro 2s or Sony WF-1000XM4?
  • oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    Noise cancelling on Apple Airpod Pro 2s?
    Any users willing to comment?
    I’ve said before on here that you only get proper sound cancelling on over the ear headphones, but I’m trying to slim down my travel kit and I’m hoping that Airpod Pro 2s might be good enough to deal with plane noise.
    What about the Sony Earbuds? Sony WF-1000XM4?
    I’ve fallen out of love with Bose.

    SirHC
    Full Member

    Found my Airpod Pro 2’s to be pretty good when flying, they have a couple of modes to choose from as well. As good as a set of bose over the ears IMO.

    They do integrate very well with the Iphone/ipad, the other options are a bit clunky. Mine work between both iphones and the ipad without issue.

    DickBarton
    Full Member

    Do the Airpods work well on an Android device? I’ve got some Jabra 75t (I think) but I can’t seem to keep them in my ears (despite trying the 3 ear sizes)…

    johndoh
    Free Member

    I like my AirPod Pro 2s as well – great for the commute. I’ve never compared to over-ear ones though.

    robvalentine
    Full Member

    If you have an iphone get the airpods, otherwise get the Sony’s. I had the 1st gen airpod pros and they were comfy for me, and the noise cancelling worked well. I am now on Android and got the XM4’s, they are also good, but a bit bulkier. I tried some galaxy bud pro’s and they are excellent if you are on android, good noise cancelling and less bulky than the samsungs

    zilog6128
    Full Member

    I have the AirPods Pro 2, cannot compare them to anything else but the noise-cancelling is very good, I bought them for a flight & although I could still here the engine noise it was very muffled, I found them totally acceptable for the purpose! They were really comfy for me out of the box but also came with 3 extra tip sizes so should fit most people I’d have thought.

    The transparency mode is excellent too & very useful (don’t know if other ‘phones have something similar?)

    They work so well with iPhone (and swapping between iPhone/iPad/Mac etc) they’re a no-brainer IMO. Not tried them with an Android device but apparently they do work although lacking some of the extra features, so not sure whether they’d be worth the money in that case.

    jameso
    Full Member

    I’m hoping that Airpod Pro 2s might be good enough to deal with plane noise.
    What about the Sony Earbuds? Sony WF-1000XM4?

    Dunno about the Apple pods but fwiw I have the Sony MX4 in-ears and the over-ear equivalents. There’s no comparison when it comes to plane use, the over-ear version is great at deadening background noise while the in-ear just quietens things a little.

    jon_n
    Free Member

    I can’t comment on the Airpods, but I’ve got the baby brother of the WF-1000MX4s – the LinkBuds-S. Most of the reviews say that the ANC is pretty much the same as the MX4s with nearly as good sound quality, but they are physically smaller, lighter and more comfortable – and they are just over half of the price.

    They have the different sounds modes, auto pause/transparency when you speak, bluetooth multipoint, etc etc

    My ears don’t get on that well with earbuds – I typically find them uncomfortable after an hour or so, but I can wear these for 3-4 hours at a time. On a recent flight I compared the ANC to my over ear Bose NC700s – the Bose blocked out a bit more noise, but the Sony’s were perfectly good enough to use for music/films etc – easily good enough for short haul flights where I don’t want to carry a big set of cans around with me…

    jimbob99
    Free Member

    I have some airpod pro 2’s, and they’re really good, I flew recently with them, and was impressed with how much noise they block.

    However, my wife has some over the head WH-1000XM3’s, and the noise cancelling is far superior (as you’d expect with over the ear types). But, as you say, they’re bulky etc etc.

    GolfChick
    Free Member

    I have the Bose over ears as well as airpod pro 2’s. The noise cancelling wins on the bose but its marginal, I’ve flown with the airpods and it meant it was easier to sleep, amazing how much noise they got rid of without me realising. Being a full apple eco system user I’d go for the airpod pro 2’s for sure.

    timmys
    Full Member

    I have AirPod Pro 2’s and overhead WH-1000XM2’s. I honestly can’t remember the last time I used the Sonys versus the Airpods being used daily. Based on purely noise-cancelling I’m sure the Sony’s are better, but the convivence of the AirPods blows all other considerations out of the water.

    Plane travel is about the only time I’d bother with over the ear ‘phones – and that a lot more to do with being able to plug into the the plan’s entertainment system than anything to do with quality of NC.

    zilog6128
    Full Member

    and that a lot more to do with being able to plug into the the plan’s entertainment system

    although someone mentioned on another thread you can get a BT dongle that you plug into the planes headphone socket and then just pair any BT phones with it 🤷‍♂️

    oldtennisshoes
    Full Member
    thecaptain
    Free Member

    Another +1 for the airpods noise cancelling being great. I haven’t had mine long but am very pleased with them. So much better than the bone conduction things I’ve been using up to now, which are basically inaudible on a windy run. Also very comfortable on the long flight back from the USA where I bought them 🙂

    You can still hear stuff through them but it’s very much softer.

    oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    Thanks all, I think I need to invest!

    seadog101
    Full Member

    I have the WF-1000MX4s, they’re good, and the sound quality is amazing.  I couldn’t get a good fit with the tips that came with them, but I experimented with tips of the many other ear buds I have and found some that worked fine.

    I will admit that the noise cancelling isn’t as good as I had hoped for.  It’s certainly decent enough to keep the background drone on long flights to a minimum, but blissful silence it’s not.

    Like the OP, I have them for minimalistic travel, as big bulky over the ear are a hassle.  Also, for me, I find over ear make me feel hot and uncomfortable.

    Out of the possible Apple/Android, Air pods/XM4 combos, the only one where you’ll get high Res audio (in the form of LDAC) is with Android/XM4.

    I’ve got WH-1000XM3 over ear and XM4 buds. The NC is obviously better with the over ear, but you can get good results with the buds – they are very sensible to having the right fit tip wise though to maximise their potential

    zilog6128
    Full Member

    the only one where you’ll get high Res audio (in the form of LDAC) is with Android/XM4.

    Snake oil

    https://www.soundguys.com/ldac-ultimate-bluetooth-guide-20026/

    Snake oil

    I’ve not read it word for word, so may have missed the bit where they stated that LDAC was no better than AAC and SBC (except at 330kbs)

    I guarantee you in a blind test I could tell you a switch up to LDAC

    prettygreenparrot
    Full Member

    <p>Hi-res audio 🤣</p>

    <p><span style=”caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; font-family: app-sans, sans; font-size: 18px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;”>The 990 and 660kbps bit rates are roughly as good as CD quality, but quickly lose fidelity above 20kHz</span></p>

    <p>20kHz? Anyone over 30 will struggle to get  close to that. Fidelity above 20kHz? Who cares if only your dog can hear it?</p><p>https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10924/</p><p> </p><p>to the OP, folks have nailed it already. If you have an apple device then the AirPods Pro are pretty good. They’re easier to fit and live with than the Sonys imo. Though they look dorky. </p>

    molgrips
    Free Member

    Snake oil

    Oh not this again.

    There seems to be something in it. I can’t tell immediately if the stream is compressed or not (SBC vs LDAC or compressed vs lossless media) but after some time my ears start to hurt if it is. In fact, once my phone forgot its settings and reverted to SBC without me knowing, and after an hour or so I realised what had happened for this reason. With mp3 vs lossless, I can tell straight away in most cases, if I am listening with headphones.

    I’ve not seen this discussed, but it’s certainly a thing for me.

    molgrips
    Free Member

    Fidelity above 20kHz? Who cares if only your dog can hear it?

    It’s not a case of hearing tones in the music above 20kHz. A higher frequency response means waveforms can be sharper.

    zilog6128
    Full Member

    I guarantee you in a blind test I could tell you a switch up to LDAC

    whilst using noise-cancelling on an airplane? 😉

    The noticeable difference with LDAC on Android is more to do with the other options on Android being relatively poor, which is not a problem iPhones have.

    https://www.soundguys.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-bluetooth-headphones-aac-20296/

    I can’t tell immediately if the stream is compressed or not

    LDAC is neither uncompressed nor lossless – both are impossible over BT due to the low bandwidth.

    mrchrispy
    Full Member

    ive some sony xm3’s and they are great but bulky.

    I’ve also had both airpod pro 1 and 2. both are good but the 2’s are better and the apple integration makes it a no brainer. if you have apple devices get the pro2’s

    prettygreenparrot
    Full Member

    It’s not a case of hearing tones in the music above 20kHz. A higher frequency response means waveforms can be sharper.

    Do you mean sampling rate and sound frequency?

    a higher sampling rate can capture higher frequency waves than a lower sampling rate. true.

    If my instrument or audio tech has a frequency response out to 25kHz it doesn’t matter – neither I, nor any regular human, can perceive that.

    once your sampling rate is high enough to capture your highest frequency of interest any extra sampling resolution is effectively wasted effort. If you capture a 20kHz waveform sufficiently with a sample rate of 40kHz then sampling at 80kHz makes no difference to the resolution of the 20kHz reproduced waveform. And capturing frequencies no one can hear is of limited utility.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/computer-science/shannon-sampling-theorem

    Once you’ve captured your waveform then you can do all sorts of stuff with it. For mp3s, AAC, ATRAC (such fun), … and other compressed audio files there are inevitably some losses of information. Though the use of ‘psychoacoustic’ models aims to limit perception of this loss. To the point where, for higher bit rate files, most listeners can tell no difference between compressed and non-compressed files.

    https://www.ee.columbia.edu/~dpwe/papers/Brand99-mp3.pdf

    https://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2015/06/02/411473508/how-well-can-you-hear-audio-quality

    whilst using noise-cancelling on an airplane?

    Not sure what am airplane has to do with anything, unless that’s going to be the op’s only intended use.

    But yes, using NC and possibly on public transport.

    I use the intro to Wish You Were Here as as one of my reference points

    I’ve never tried airpods with an iPhone as I don’t particularly like iOs, but would like to give them a go to compare/see if they live up to the hype

    saxabar
    Free Member

    I see OP already has a Bose set, but the QC Earbuds II are well reviewed. Any thoughts about which are best for someone who otherwise uses Apple devices (and seemingly has massive ear holes!)?

    CountZero
    Full Member

    LDAC is neither uncompressed nor lossless – both are impossible over BT due to the low bandwidth.

    Absolutely this. BT cannot carry any form of Lossless audio, it’s just not capable of it. There are some up-and-coming wireless audio formats that allegedly promise lossless audio, but nothing is available yet. I don’t bother with wireless any more, it works ok, but I got fed up with batteries dying and having to wait until the ‘phones charged enough to use again – five hours usage might be ok, but if you’re working a ten-twelve hour day, not so much. As the music on my phone is all lossless, my wired studio-grade over-ear headphones and canalphones/IEM’s sound so much better, although I’ll admit that cables do drag or catch on things, I’m prepared to put up with it.
    My UE TripleFi Studio IEMs have triple-flange silicon eartips which block all background noise as effectively as PPE hearing protection, my Røde NTH-100 headphones not so much; they’re for studio production use, so excellent audio quality, but because they’re passive wired closed-back, there’s still some bleed-through. Still, as they all have removable cables, I can use them with any type of audio sockets.

    oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    Not sure what am airplane has to do with anything, unless that’s going to be the op’s only intended use.

    Not the only intended use, but the one with the most sustained, loudest conditions.

    bensales
    Free Member

    Maybe another consideration with the AirPods…

    I tried them out, and found I had a reaction to the rubber grommet things that go into your ear. Which is weird as I never have any other reactions to rubber or latex type materials and have worn that style of earphones from other manufacturers loads before. A google before returning them found it was a reasonably common issue.

    flyingpotatoes
    Free Member

    Can’t comment on the airpods as I’ve never used them but I have the Sony wf-1000xm4 and really like them though initially they were very uncomfortable due to the foam tips which hurt my ears. Switched to silicone tips and the pain has gone.

    Noise cancelling is excellent, you can still slightly hear the plane engine noise if the volume is on low (presume the airpods are the same).

    Think it comes down to the mobile you use. If android get the Sony, if iPhone get the airpods.

    Can’t go wrong with either.

    lorax
    Full Member

    I have Airpod Pro 1s and they’re excellent for travelling. I have no doubt that Bose or other decent over-ear noise-cancelling headphones would be better on a flight, but not so much better that it would be worth the additional size and weight when travelling with just hand luggage.

    The original in-ear tips were fine, but I bought some third party memory foam tips that are much more comfortable, especially when using them for several hours.

    molgrips
    Free Member

    If my instrument or audio tech has a frequency response out to 25kHz it doesn’t matter – neither I, nor any regular human, can perceive that

    You may not be able to hear a 20kHz tone, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect the waveforms you can hear. A perfect square wave at say, 200Hz can be represented as the sum of all odd harmonic sine waves, to infinity. So take a 200Hz sine wave, add a 600Hz sine wave, then a 1kHz sine wave and so on up to infinity. If your speakers have a lower frequency response that means they can’t move as fast, so that limits the harmonics that can be added – which will result in a less square wave. That means that if you are trying to reproduce a square wave, the fidelity will be worse. And don’t forget that a 20kHz frequency response doesn’t mean it stops working at that frequency; the response falls off gradually and 20kHz is just the point at which it drops below a certain level.

    So a nominal frequency response of 20 or 30kHz or even higher can still in theory affect what you can hear, even if actual tones at those frequencies are inaudible.

    Now this is theoretical – I haven’t listened to enough systems to be able to prove that this makes a difference, but it is certainly plausible from a physics perspective. From a biological one, there could be all sorts of other things going on in your ear and possibly outside it. Also, in real-world acoustics you won’t ever be trying to reproduce a perfect square wave but there will certainly be high harmonics involved.

    Point is that listening experience is MUCH more complicated than simply saying ‘oh you cannot hear frequencies above 15kHz so they don’t matter’.

    If you capture a 20kHz waveform sufficiently with a sample rate of 40kHz then sampling at 80kHz makes no difference to the resolution of the 20kHz reproduced waveform.

    No-one’s listening to pure sine waves, outside of maybe electronic music, so the higher frequencies are represented in the shapes of the waves of the lower frequencies.

    Re LDAC vs SBC, I can definitely tell.

    To the point where, for higher bit rate files, most listeners can tell no difference between compressed and non-compressed files

    I can tell – in fact, I can’t listen to mp3 music on headphones for long, it hurts my ears. I’ve no idea why, but I can listen to “HD” audio for hours on headphones.

    lankystreakofpee
    Full Member

    I had some WF-1000XM3 until the dog chewed one of them 🙁

    I found all of the tips that came with them were uncomfortable and they would fall out of my ears or not fit in at all. I was a bit underwhelmed with the sound quality as well until I bought some “Comply Premium Tips” which made them fill my ear properly and then they were awesome! Comfortable to wear for a 10 hour flight and I thought the noise cancelling was good, but I didn’t have anything else to compare to.

    Anyone with XM4’s I can highly recommend these. Much comfier, a better seal and ultimately improve the noise cancelling

    20230930_104413~2

    jam-bo
    Full Member

    I bought some AirPod pros yesterday to free up some bag space on short trips.
    really impressed so far compared to my Sony 910 over ear ones. Noise cancellation seems as effective and the adaptive mode that appeared as they updated themselves on the train home seems really good.

    comfort wise they seem pretty good too, I find over ears get a bit hot sometimes, and don’t always work well with glasses. they do give off a good ‘don’t talk to me vibe’ in the office though.

    functionality with iOS is really good, be interesting to see how well they might work with PC/teams etc.

    CountZero
    Full Member

    bensalesFree Member
    Maybe another consideration with the AirPods…

    I tried them out, and found I had a reaction to the rubber grommet things that go into your ear. Which is weird as I never have any other reactions to rubber or latex type materials and have worn that style of earphones from other manufacturers loads before.

    There’s basically two types, the thin ‘mushroom’ type, or double/triple-flanged ones which are silicon, and the Comply ones, which are foam that you sqidge down and they expand to fill the ear canal. I use triple-flange ones, and moisten them slightly to get them to slip into my ears. I do concede that they can irritate after a bit, mainly because the ear canal gets a bit sweaty and itchy.

    There’s a third option, but more expensive, although still cheaper that top end earphones, and that’s custom eartips made to fit the canalphone of choice. They’re a lot more comfortable, but a pair cost ~£120 a pair. Worth it with good quality canalphones, like my UE TripleFi 10’s, which I got off eBay for about half-price.

    benos
    Full Member

    @CountZero I’m with you on the IEM choice. Passive noise isolation will always result in better audio quality and is worth the small effort you need to put in to get the right tips and fit. I like the earplug-style foam tips.

    oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    Thought it was time to update this thread.

    tldr Apple Airpod Pro 2s are amazeballs and the ones I’m using.

    After my Jabra Elite 75ts died, I was forced to ramp up the search for replacements.
    I tried some Jabra Elite 10s as the obvious replacement to the 75s, but I couldn’t get them to sit nicely in my ears due to the different tip shapes – they went back.
    I then thought I’ds try the Jabra Elite 4s as they use a rounder tip – noise cancelling not great, so they went back.
    Sony WF-C700N I got for a bargain price of £60 – they are pretty good and are now my backup buds
    But the Airpod Pro 2s are excellent, Shouldn’t really be a surprise as I’m fully Apple (watch,phone,ipad,macbook)
    Definitely worth the money. Tested them on a recent trip with a couple of flights and the noise cancellation is good enough for me not to take over ear headphones with me again.
    I will probably try a pair of Sony WF-1000XM5 at some point, as reviews for them are excellent too.

    brownperson
    Free Member

    I’ve owned both. Still have the Airpod Pro 2s. In my experience, they are better than the XM4s; better fit, more comfortable, much better connectivity (with an iPhone and various Apple devices), better audio quality and better noise cancelling.

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