AirPods Pro 2 Designed to be ‘Pocketable’ AirPods Max, Says Apple Engineer
Apple engineer Esge Andersen explained in a recent interview with What Hi-Fi that the company’s intention with the audio quality of its second-generation AirPods Pro was “to give everybody an AirPods Max in their pocket.”
The company launched the AirPods Pro 2 with a new H2 chip, improved Active Noise Cancellation, and more battery life back in September. They were very well-received, bagging especially rave reviews for major improvements to sound quality despite sporting similar shells to the originals.
The original AirPods Pro’s audio quality was already up there with some of the best, but the AirPods Pro 2 elevates the sound profile with higher, cleaner highs and better, deeper bass. Andersen, who is on Apple’s acoustics team and has been working at the company for 11 years, explained that attention to airflow was key in achieving these advancements.
“When we talk about good sound, it’s all about how we move the air in the product – which is kind of weird because it’s not talking about the enclosure or how it looks – but it’s about ensuring that we also design for airflow.”
According to Andersen, Apple had to change the venting system for the second-generation model to optimize airflow for the audio driver inside. As a result, the AirPods Pro 2 has a simplified venting system with just one vent at the back of the buds, as compared to two (one in the front and one in the back) on the first generation.
By focusing on airflow, Apple was able to find ways to make the earbuds sound cleaner and more open, reduce unwanted noise from affecting the sound, and extend the higher and lower frequencies with as much clarity as possible while keeping distortion low.
Improving the high-frequency response was particularly challenging, Andersen said. The team had to optimize “the airflow for the driver so we can get better excursion.”
In addition to ensuring the AirPods Pro 2 sound great, all that work on airflow optimization also helped improve Active Noise Cancellation. Apple touts the AirPods Pro 2’s ANC as being twice as good as the previous generation.
Andersen said that another key focus in the AirPods Pro 2’s development was guaranteeing uniform sound reproduction across every volume level. As such, the acoustics team carefully tuned the drivers for each volume step in both stereo and Spatial Audio. He added that the AirPods Pro 2 are “able to give the same sound signature at lower level as higher level.”
Apple has also personalized the AirPods Pro 2’s sound quality for different devices and use cases. “If you’re on your Apple TV with a bigger screen, our tuning is different than it would be on an iPhone,” said the Apple engineer.
You can check out Esge Andersen’s full interview over at What Hi-Fi. If you still haven’t gotten your hands on a pair of AirPods Pro 2, now’s the time — they are currently on sale for $299.98 on Amazon.ca, the lowest they’ve ever been, for Black Friday.