AirPods Max Vs. Beats Pro: Apple’s Best Over-Ear Headphones?

Apple's new AirPods Max are designed to offer a tech-first personal experience while Beats Pro are a club and studio-ready set of headphones

Apple’s recently announced AirPods Max are an exciting new offering for over-ear headphone buyers. It’s interesting to see Apple branding on this product, since the tech giant usually places headphones under the Beats by Dr. Dre brand. As a result, it's a good time to compare AirPods Max with the Beats Pro, the other top-end option for over-ear headphones from Apple.

 

AirPods Max Vs. Pro: Apple’s Over-Ear & In-Ear Headphones Compared

At $549, AirPods Max are a high-end set of headphones and Beats Pro’s $399 price brings it into a similar category. AirPods Max and Beats Pro are both over-ear headphones, but the similarities stop there with these two very different products. Apple is not selling the AirPods Max as a studio solution, rather describing them as offering a top-quality personal listening experience. In contrast, Beats Pro is said to be ready for “relentless, heavy-duty use” in the studio and able to withstand the rigors of club use. AirPods Max is a wireless solution, using Bluetooth 5.0, while the Beats headphones have the more traditional 2-meter audio cable with 3.5-millimeter connector and gold-plated quarter-inch adapter. This is really a choice between old-school bass-heavy, club headphones and high-tech noise-canceling, smart headphones.

AirPods Max Vs. Beats Pro: Which Is Best?

 

When choosing between Apple’s AirPods Max and Beats Pro over-ear headphones, the shopper should consider whether they will be used for personal listening when at home and traveling, or if the need is for studio and club use.

Beats Pro is aimed at the professional market, which is not meant to imply that AirPods Max would not be up to the task. This is simply not the use case in mind. Instead, AirPods Max are meant to be top-quality personal listening devices and as such, they are loaded with active noise-canceling, adaptive equalization, Spatial Audio and other technologies that simplify and automate daily life. For example, as Siri-enabled devices, the wearer can ask for a weather update, check messages and even reply without ever touching an iPhone.

This brings up another interesting difference. AirPods Max works best with Apple products. The Bluetooth connection means they can be used with an Android phone or Windows computer, but Siri and Spatial Audio require an Apple device. This is an incentive for Apple fans, but may discourage others from the purchase. Again, this is the professional versus personal difference. In a studio or a club, it makes much more sense to plug in than to wirelessly pair. Beats Pro doesn’t rely on any fancy tech to provide good quality audio with the setup as easy as plugging them in. Not to mention, they are also $150 cheaper than Apple's new AirPods Max.

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