19 votes

Steve Guttenberg: ”Apple AirPods Pro, it's $249, but sounds like a cheap, throwaway headphone“

78 comments

  1. [21]
    nothis
    Link
    I just can't take high end audio seriously. Like, dude just said the top end is "huuuuuu, silvery, tinkly... uhhhh crisp?". Apparently what the "average, non-audiophile person" considers "clear"....

    I just can't take high end audio seriously. Like, dude just said the top end is "huuuuuu, silvery, tinkly... uhhhh crisp?". Apparently what the "average, non-audiophile person" considers "clear". Like, dude...

    I mean, it's 2019. This is apparently the guy's job. This is a device that produces frequencies. You can record those frequencies. You can compare them to the exact input sent in. You can show the difference, maybe even accounting for noise or weird interference. That's it. There's only so many frequencies the ear can distinguish.

    The main reason I don't buy into the whole "smoky, with a fruity aftertaste" style of audio description is because I actually know a thing or two about color reproduction. It's the same thing but with 3 frequencies. For years, now, we've figured out how to calibrate against a known standard (CIELAB). As a professional (or "color-phile") you'd laugh at any serious review that complained about a monitor's colors being "tinkly". You have a proportion of the full visible spectrum of light that can be reproduced, you can calibrate towards a neutral white point, which sacrifices some range for accuracy. You can now look at a graph like this and see what range of color it can produce. That's the base line, it won't get any better than that. You want it "warmer" (say, a night-shift style feature?) and cut off some blues, do it in software. You want it "cooler"? Do it in software. You want to simulate weird paper for print? Do it in software!

    There is no good reason I am aware of that a high end speaker/headphone shouldn't just reproduce sound as accurate as physically possible and let you do all the "warm", "cold", "crisp" stuff in software. Maybe some technical restriction makes lower frequencies harder to reproduce or something, well, just show where it gets cut off. But what does "it sounds compressed" even mean? Are they just playing the wrong fucking audio?

    Why isn't there like... a button. An "audiophile-button" or whatever. You want it to sound "accurate", press here, to see the loudest possible accurate output. You want deep bass? Use this setting. I just can't believe that, in a high-end, $250 headphone, it can't just produce a stable range of accurate frequencies and do any "flavor" in software. Even if the form somehow determines which frequencies are pushed and which are muffled, you should be able to compensate for that. This should be a solved problem!

    I even kinda get technical limitations having more of an impact on tiny wireless headphones but I'm seeing the exact same, vague, flowery style of review for headphones that are basically as big as your head. You can put any sound-producing machinery you want in there and it's just really hard to believe that you couldn't calibrate that against a perfectly neutral base line if you wanted to. I've seen reviews of $3000 headphones describing their sound as "warm". And liking it.

    23 votes
    1. [6]
      vivaria
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I think the problem of audio reproduction is more complicated than you're giving it credit, and I don't think a 1:1 comparison is appropriate here. Sound waves are very different than light waves...

      The main reason I don't buy into the whole "smoky, with a fruity aftertaste" style of audio description is because I actually know a thing or two about color reproduction. It's the same thing but with 3 frequencies. For years, now, we've figured out how to calibrate against a known standard (CIELAB). As a professional (or "color-phile") you'd laugh at any serious review that complained about a monitor's colors being "tinkly". You have a proportion of the full visible spectrum of light that can be reproduced, you can calibrate towards a neutral white point, which sacrifices some range for accuracy. You can now look at a graph like this and see what range of color it can produce. That's the base line, it won't get any better than that. You want it "warmer" (say, a night-shift style feature?) and cut off some blues, do it in software. You want it "cooler"? Do it in software. You want to simulate weird paper for print? Do it in software!

      I think the problem of audio reproduction is more complicated than you're giving it credit, and I don't think a 1:1 comparison is appropriate here. Sound waves are very different than light waves in terms of frequency ranges and physical properties (mechanical vs. electromagnetic). I'd wager those differences introduce additional challenges for how devices reproduce sound (vs. how devices reproduce light).

      Also, the mechanisms we use to perceive sound are very different than the mechanisms we use to perceive light. Perception has a funny way of messing with our expectations when it comes to how things "should" be from ideal models. (Optical illusions and phenomena like the Helmholtz-Kohlrausch effect are good examples of this. The latter specifically offers a criticism of the luminance channels of color spaces like CIELAB, which you mentioned.) ^

      I think there's likely a lot of nuance here, and lots of conceptual rabbit holes to go down re: wave propagation, acoustics, perceptual understanding, etc. I'm sure people have built careers on trying to pin down how these things work, while we're mostly lay people. My gut is that your background in color reproduction is leading you to believe you understand the problem domain better than you actually do.

      ^ I've spent the last month conducting a review of grayscale conversion techniques for my thesis, and how to best capture relevant information of an original color image within a converted grayscale image. It's closely related to the domain of Image Quality Assessment, and from what I've read into IQA... it's messy! How humans perceive quality, and capturing those factors in qualitative/quantitative assessment... it's real complicated.

      19 votes
      1. [5]
        nothis
        Link Parent
        You're absolutely correct about there probably being tons of traps in the form of perceptual oddities or weird interference patterns! I just have doubts these are impossible to standardize in a...

        You're absolutely correct about there probably being tons of traps in the form of perceptual oddities or weird interference patterns! I just have doubts these are impossible to standardize in a way that would make talk about sound quality revolve more around a set of exact statements rather than using, literally, words like "tingly" which seem to be made up on the spot.

        I'm using my color example less to say that it equips me for sound discussion but more so because it is another example of a very complex perceptual phenomenon (color is a deeeep rabbit hole) and yet it seems there is little mystery among professionals discussing high end quality standards for monitors. There's just too many examples of obvious audiophile BS (thinking about stuff like "extra crisp sound" digital cables, here) that I'm fairly confident to call out a certain disregard for science.

        Also I was looking for a good pair of headphones last year and trying to find good reviews that give you any kind of comparable information was infuriating, so maybe I'm still just a little pissed at that, lol!

        4 votes
        1. [4]
          vivaria
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Totally fair! @babypuncher gave a great couple of examples of that kind of pseudoscientific nonsense, too, and I absolutely agree it's prevalent. Honestly, I totally get where you're coming from...

          Totally fair! @babypuncher gave a great couple of examples of that kind of pseudoscientific nonsense, too, and I absolutely agree it's prevalent.

          Honestly, I totally get where you're coming from with regards to picking out a pair of headphones, too. There's definitely a disconnect between <the acoustic engineers who try to construct an earphone to meet certain specifications> and <the reviewers who try to translate what they experience into words to make a recommendation>. I think there's a lot of fuzziness from the latter camp and it's hard to rely on those sound descriptors to make a decision. I'm just as curious as you are regarding the answer to the question "why is it that different headphones have different sound signatures, and why can't sound signatures be entirely handled by software processing?" I just didn't want us to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater by dismissing the whole field of acoustics as a pseudoscience. :P

          I guess my only other addition is that there are specific audio concepts like "soundstage" that I'm curious about, that relate to how we perceive spatial cues. I don't think there are parallels in how we perceive colours... which is what triggered me to get all "wait maybe there's more to this than aiming for a perfectly flat frequency response!!"

          Another interesting quote I found was this:

          Headphones also need to be rolled-off in the highs to compensate for the drivers being so close to the ear; a gently sloping flat line from 1kHz to about 8-10dB down at 20kHz is about right. You'll notice all headphone measurements have a lot of jagged ups & downs (peaks & valleys) in the high frequencies; this is normal and mostly due to reflection cancellations in the folds and ridges in the outer part of the ear.

          Which got me thinking... "the distance from our ear to the speaker, and the shape of our ears interfere with how we perceive sound? Hm, again, this may be more complicated than light reproduction."

          6 votes
          1. [3]
            Gaywallet
            Link Parent
            Pinging @nothis as well so they can see this: You both bring up great points, and I've actually stumbled across a website which I've relied heavily upon when reviewing future audio purchases. The...

            Pinging @nothis as well so they can see this:

            You both bring up great points, and I've actually stumbled across a website which I've relied heavily upon when reviewing future audio purchases.

            The website is https://www.rtings.com/. They have pages which describe their testing methodology. I think the closest analogous test to comparing a color gamut to what is actually produced would be the raw frequency response test that they conduct during their ratings. They also split these frequency response tests into ranges (bass, mid, treble) and rate each range because certain kinds of music may favor closer representation within certain ranges.

            Additional tests such as soundstage examine how soundwaves are presented to the head as compared to an 'ideal' speaker setup where a person is set at the 'perfect' position away from a set of actual speakers. They also test other important features such as how much sound is isolated or cancelled, breathability of headphones, and comfort.

            There's always more tests and a larger rabbit hole you can go down when evaluating any product, especially when senses like sound and sight are involved, but I think it's fair to say that this kind of testing does exist but hasn't quite reached the same level of universal adoption in rating/testing as monitor reviews typically have.

            3 votes
            1. vivaria
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              That "raw frequency response test" page has some great descriptions as to why hitting a flat response is so much less straightfoward for audio.

              That "raw frequency response test" page has some great descriptions as to why hitting a flat response is so much less straightfoward for audio.

              Our reference for the ideal headphone frequency response is the loudspeaker. For loudspeakers, it is widely accepted that the ideal response is a flat frequency response measured with a measurement microphone, on-axis, in an anechoic environment. However, headphones, due to their design, can't be measured with a measurement microphone and therefore a dummy head must be used. Also, the microphone inside dummy heads have a similar response to the human eardrum, which is quite different from a measurement microphone. Additionally, the shape of the pinna (the outer ear) and the ear canal add resonances to the response of a dummy head above 1kHz, making its response even more different than that of a measurement microphone.

              3 votes
            2. nothis
              Link Parent
              Those sites look great, thanks!

              Those sites look great, thanks!

              2 votes
    2. [7]
      emdash
      Link Parent
      I have to agree. Some audiophiles almost manage to out-snob segments of the coffee & wine community, which is genuinely impressive to me, actually. That is, they're so focused on their own...

      I just can't take high end audio seriously. Like, dude just said the top end is "huuuuuu, silvery, tinkly... uhhhh crisp?". Apparently what the "average, non-audiophile person" considers "clear". Like, dude...

      I mean, it's 2019. This is apparently the guy's job. This is a device that produces frequencies. You can record those frequencies. You can compare them to the exact input sent in. You can show the difference, maybe even accounting for noise or weird interference. That's it. There's only so many frequencies the ear can distinguish.

      I have to agree. Some audiophiles almost manage to out-snob segments of the coffee & wine community, which is genuinely impressive to me, actually. That is, they're so focused on their own personal areas of expertise to the point where they ignore the context of the overall situation—and end up delivering less interesting reviews & opinions because of it.

      Criticising the AirPods for not being up to the grade an audiophile would expect is the same thing as complaining to the staff of a mid-market coffee shop about why they don't sell $500 bottles of wine.

      Like dude, it's a coffee shop.

      5 votes
      1. [5]
        Odysseus
        Link Parent
        Not only that, truly accurate and neutral headphones AREN'T what most consumers really want. Most people prefer a sound that has a strong, punchy bass and clear, detailed highs. It might not be...

        Not only that, truly accurate and neutral headphones AREN'T what most consumers really want. Most people prefer a sound that has a strong, punchy bass and clear, detailed highs. It might not be accurate, but it's what most people find enjoyable. Most people listen to high end headphones and go "what's the difference" or "this sounds kind of flat". If the average consumer could tell the difference and strongly preferred a clear, accurate sound, I guarantee Apple would have done it.

        2 votes
        1. [4]
          mike10010100
          Link Parent
          Funny how this wasn't the go-to defense when Beats were the topic of discussion. This kind of "Apple knows best" attitude rivals the audiophile complaint above in the amount of snob, IMO.

          truly accurate and neutral headphones AREN'T what most consumers really want.

          Funny how this wasn't the go-to defense when Beats were the topic of discussion.

          If the average consumer could tell the difference and strongly preferred a clear, accurate sound, I guarantee Apple would have done it.

          This kind of "Apple knows best" attitude rivals the audiophile complaint above in the amount of snob, IMO.

          7 votes
          1. [3]
            Odysseus
            Link Parent
            I say that because if you look at all major players, including the Sennheisers the reviewer seemed to be so fond of, and the vast majority of the true wireless headphones do not offer a neutral...

            I say that because if you look at all major players, including the Sennheisers the reviewer seemed to be so fond of, and the vast majority of the true wireless headphones do not offer a neutral response.

            I'm not saying apple knows best, I'm just saying that if the mainstream market demanded flat sound signatures, headphone manufacturers, Apple included, would have done it.

            1. [2]
              alexandria
              Link Parent
              Shure is a major player and IIRC from looking at the frequency ranges and tests it's clear that they do?

              I say that because if you look at all major players, including the Sennheisers the reviewer seemed to be so fond of, and the vast majority of the true wireless headphones do not offer a neutral response.

              Shure is a major player and IIRC from looking at the frequency ranges and tests it's clear that they do?

              1 vote
              1. Odysseus
                Link Parent
                Do they make true wireless headphones? I wasn't aware. In any case, Sony and the Galaxy buds also offer relatively neutral sound signatures as well. That doesn't negate the fact that the vast...

                Do they make true wireless headphones? I wasn't aware. In any case, Sony and the Galaxy buds also offer relatively neutral sound signatures as well. That doesn't negate the fact that the vast majority of them are still very much tuned for mainstream appeal with emphasis on the high end and the low end

      2. mike10010100
        Link Parent
        I mean they both play music, no? They're both noise-cancelling, expensive, bluetooth headphones. So comparing coffee to wine is kind of a misleading analogy here.

        Criticising the AirPods for not being up to the grade an audiophile would expect is the same thing as complaining to the staff of a mid-market coffee shop about why they don't sell $500 bottles of wine.

        I mean they both play music, no? They're both noise-cancelling, expensive, bluetooth headphones. So comparing coffee to wine is kind of a misleading analogy here.

    3. [2]
      mike10010100
      Link Parent
      The fact is that a ton of reviewers do use professional recording an measurement equipment. https://www.soundguys.com/sony-wh-1000xm3-wireless-bluetooth-headphones-review-19824/ This, for example,...

      The fact is that a ton of reviewers do use professional recording an measurement equipment.

      https://www.soundguys.com/sony-wh-1000xm3-wireless-bluetooth-headphones-review-19824/

      This, for example, includes professionally measured audio frequency response across all ranges and flowery language for those who aren't as well-versed in the subject.

      Here's the one for the AirPods Pro.

      https://www.soundguys.com/apple-airpods-pro-review-27106/

      But I completely agree, the fact that at a software level we cannot individually choose the frequency response range via some kind of EQ on all high-end audio equipment is crazy.

      The XM3 at least has a companion app that will let you do such EQ changes. I don't believe that the AirPods do at all.

      5 votes
      1. babypuncher
        Link Parent
        RTINGS similarly gathers precise measurements of headphone response and other metrics I never would have thought of. They have a fancy tool for comparing any two headphones that have been through...

        RTINGS similarly gathers precise measurements of headphone response and other metrics I never would have thought of. They have a fancy tool for comparing any two headphones that have been through their lab.

        I'll be curious to see how the Airpods Pro stack up to similarly priced competitors once their review is up.

        1 vote
    4. [4]
      babypuncher
      Link Parent
      The amount of snake oil and misinformation going around in the audiophile community is insane. As you've pointed out, it's very easy to measure sound output and compare it to the input to...

      The amount of snake oil and misinformation going around in the audiophile community is insane. As you've pointed out, it's very easy to measure sound output and compare it to the input to determine accuracy.

      The biggest issue I see is people buying into analog and "high res" audio thinking it sounds better than CD-quality music. People believe that because digital audio is stored in discrete samples instead of a continuous wave that it must come out of your speaker in a stairstep pattern. Such a waveform would violate the laws of physics, and Nyquist-Shannon makes it pretty easy to reconstruct the exact original analog waveform as long as the original recording went through an appropriate low pass filter before being digitized. Unless these people are bats, they cannot hear the difference between a 44.1khz CD and those expensive 192khz downloads from Tidal.

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        vivaria
        Link Parent
        I think you've made a bit of a leap here. You're right about misinformation in the audiophile community, but the questions "Does an increased bit depth improve sound quality?" and "Does a wider...

        I think you've made a bit of a leap here. You're right about misinformation in the audiophile community, but the questions "Does an increased bit depth improve sound quality?" and "Does a wider frequency range improve sound quality?" are very different than the questions "What factors lead to audio being perceived as accurate / high quality?" or "How can we assess (qualitatively, quantitatively) the degree of accuracy / quality that a device reproduces sound for human perception?"

        The former is much easier to address with a blog post on xiph.org (bless Monty) but the latter I imagine is much more difficult.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          babypuncher
          Link Parent
          Monty has a video on Xiph.org where he measures the waveform produced by a cheap DAC and compares it to the original analog source, showing that they are identical. Measuring the reproduction...

          How can we assess (qualitatively, quantitatively) the degree of accuracy / quality that a device reproduces sound for human perception?

          Monty has a video on Xiph.org where he measures the waveform produced by a cheap DAC and compares it to the original analog source, showing that they are identical. Measuring the reproduction capabilities of a speaker is another task entirely, but I wasn't talking about that. I was just pointing out that analog, "high res digital", and CD audio will all sound the same to human ears. What speakers or headphones you use can still have a profound impact on the perceived quality of a recording.

          2 votes
          1. vivaria
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            EDIT: I understand where I misunderstood things. You mean sound output of a DAC, not sound output of a speaker/headphone. I assumed you were talking about speakers/headphones considering the...

            Measuring the reproduction capabilities of a speaker is another task entirely, but I wasn't talking about that.

            I might be misunderstanding something here, because you've also said:

            As you've pointed out, it's very easy to measure sound output and compare it to the input to determine accuracy.

            Are those two things not in conflict?

            EDIT: I understand where I misunderstood things. You mean sound output of a DAC, not sound output of a speaker/headphone. I assumed you were talking about speakers/headphones considering the context of the OP. Sorry about that.

            5 votes
    5. tomf
      Link Parent
      (apologies in advance for my overly wordy response) tldr; there are a lot of variables and automation won't be a complete solution that might be close enough for you, but will not be close enough...

      (apologies in advance for my overly wordy response)

      tldr; there are a lot of variables and automation won't be a complete solution that might be close enough for you, but will not be close enough for everybody, and most attempts at automating this through simple EQ settings are awful.

      The issue is that there are dozens of variables, even when the source and earphones are the same. The purpose of an EQ is to lower problem frequencies -- but this is only to compensate for what you are hearing. It's like saying, 'this is the best carrot you'll ever try. It was picked in its prime and I have seasoned it perfectly.'.. that carrot will be the best ever for some, but not for others. There is no way to automatically determine perceived sound.

      There are even more variables with speakers --- like walls, speaker position, your own position, etc etc. We use equalizers to compensate for these things.

      While a button of 'fix this' would be nice, it's not possible to accurately compensate for earphones. Can you do it with a good mic in a room with some software? You can get close -- but even the output of that might not sound perfect to you for whatever reason, and the position of the speakers still might not be ideal.

      To relate it to color, it'd be like having an extremely bright, yellow lit room and trying to color grade film. You can try, but once you get proper lighting, you'll see that it's off. Even if you fly by histograms and other tools, it still won't be perfect.

      For my own devices, stereos, I often adjust the EQ using Sheffield Lab's Drum Improvisation (the second one), Fleetwood Mac's Dreams, some Father John Misty, random Martin Denny tracks, Bags & Trane, some exotica / lounge stuff, Master of Puppets (full album), then go back through the cycle once more. I don't want to keep messing with the EQ for every track, as tempting as it is, but running through this cycle typically gives me a pretty good balanced output that works with the relative environment.

      All of this being said, the audiophile scene is ridiculous -- I am totally aware of that. But saying that certain IEMs are tinkly or crisp, I know exactly what they're on about. For me, tinkly would be a little too high around 8k-10k or so, where crisp would be balanced in the 2k - 5k range. But then again, I have to trust that the person reviewing this is on the same page with these terms --- even though its often fairly accurate. Once you're in a certain scene and understand the language of that scene, it makes sense.

      Anyway, there are a lot of variables, so its just not possible to have one unified method to automate perfect sound for everybody. Most built in EQs use gain, which isn't the best practice since you can't 'add' bass to something without adding distortion... but that's a whole other bag.

      1 vote
  2. [22]
    JXM
    Link
    The video is right, they don't offer audiophile quality sound, but guess what: I can fit them in my pocket. That's the main selling point of Airpods.

    The video is right, they don't offer audiophile quality sound, but guess what: I can fit them in my pocket. That's the main selling point of Airpods.

    8 votes
    1. [21]
      papasquat
      Link Parent
      You can fit these in your pocket and they're a fifth the price. I still can't really understand what airpods bring to the table.

      You can fit these in your pocket and they're a fifth the price. I still can't really understand what airpods bring to the table.

      8 votes
      1. [18]
        emdash
        Link Parent
        Because you're performing a naïve cost benefit analysis that intentionally ignores many merits that these products provide. This is the same trap that I've talked about before when people perform...

        Because you're performing a naïve cost benefit analysis that intentionally ignores many merits that these products provide. This is the same trap that I've talked about before when people perform comparisons on purely specifications alone: it doesn't consider the broader picture and the non-technical aspects of device usage.

        8 votes
        1. Parliament
          Link Parent
          Get your affordability and ecosystem integration in one place with AirPod replicas off Alibaba/AliExpress/DHGate. I spent $38 on a pair and have been happy with them.

          Get your affordability and ecosystem integration in one place with AirPod replicas off Alibaba/AliExpress/DHGate. I spent $38 on a pair and have been happy with them.

          3 votes
        2. [16]
          papasquat
          Link Parent
          If those merits that you're talking about aren't measurable, then they don't exist. This is very prevalent with the defense of apple products. People say that "They feel more solid". Alright, does...

          If those merits that you're talking about aren't measurable, then they don't exist. This is very prevalent with the defense of apple products. People say that "They feel more solid". Alright, does that mean they weigh more? Does that mean that the materials don't flex as much? When people say "It just works" does that mean it crashes less? If so, how much less, and under what circumstances? Does that mean the UI is easier to navigate? How so? None of that data ever exists. Quite convenient really.

          Those kinds of ephemeral, flowery descriptors are very useful for a company's brands because they don't ever actually have to be backed up by literally anything. It just needs to have people online willing to say "It's just better, trust me on that, jeez".

          6 votes
          1. [13]
            NaraVara
            Link Parent
            There is no way you actually sincerely believe that there is no such thing as subjective experience.

            If those merits that you're talking about aren't measurable, then they don't exist.

            There is no way you actually sincerely believe that there is no such thing as subjective experience.

            8 votes
            1. [8]
              Rocket_Man
              Link Parent
              I don't think that's the argument they are making. They may be saying that every quality is backed up by a physical property that can be measured. This is true, subjectivity only comes into play...

              I don't think that's the argument they are making. They may be saying that every quality is backed up by a physical property that can be measured. This is true, subjectivity only comes into play when interpreting that stimulus.
              For example let's say that a phone has a lot of flex in it's body. That's the physical property, you might give that to two people and they could both subjectively both disagree on the "build quality" of the phone. However their subjective opinion of build quality is still backed by the measurable flex in the phone. If you gave them a different phone with the same flex you should expect the same subjective feelings about build quality.

              4 votes
              1. [6]
                NaraVara
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                Not really. Because even most of the "objective" things he wants to measure are just descriptions of subjective sensations people have when using it. Your statement below is a good example. It...

                They may be saying that every quality is backed up by a physical property that can be measured. This is true, subjectivity only comes into play when interpreting that stimulus.

                Not really. Because even most of the "objective" things he wants to measure are just descriptions of subjective sensations people have when using it. Your statement below is a good example.

                If you gave them a different phone with the same flex you should expect the same subjective feelings about build quality.

                It doesn't hold because many tactile sensations come from the interactions of multiple individual properties and how they're put together.

                It's the reason you can sit in two cars that put out the same horsepower and torque and still have one feel faster than the other. Your subjective sense of speed or agility depends on the power, how the power is being delivered, the transmission, the weight, how much engine noise gets into the cabin, your seating position, etc. And all of that is important, because unless you're trying to set times on a race-track or drag strip what you value is feeling the enjoyment of having a sense of speed much mores than covering ground as fast as you can.

                And based on what you, individually, value when I say the word "speed" you're going to have different preferences about what kind of car you prefer or think feels "faster." Software UX is full of little design cues like these. It's why simply having a progress bar that has an animation (like lines that move across it) makes people feel like a process is executing faster than having a progress bar that's static even if the animated progress bar process is actually slower.

                People will make the argument that this is just delusional and people are suckers, but the fact at the end of the day is the "sucker" is actually experiencing more joy and less frustration in their use of their tool. So whose the bigger fool?

                When someone says a thing "feels solid" that could mean weight, but it could also refer to the give of the material, how the weight is distributed across it, the overall shape of it in your hand, and a host of other factors that all work together to impart a feeling of stability and sturdiness. At some point, trying to tie it back to a specific metric basically turns into an exercise in measuring the stats of the iPhone.

                It's the wrong approach to take and it's not even a helpful approach in figuring out what kind of phone you want. It's basically only useful if you want to have a ruler to use for a dick-measuring contest. But most people don't want to buy a product based on how big it's spec-dick is compared to other products. They just want the one they like that feels nice and appeals to what they're looking for. It ends up sounding like getting mad at people for liking what they like instead of what you insist they ought to like whether they do or not.

                3 votes
                1. [5]
                  Rocket_Man
                  Link Parent
                  We are mostly in a agreement then on what we were originally discussing. Subjective feelings are backed by measurable properties, even if it's a combination of properties. Where you and I...

                  We are mostly in a agreement then on what we were originally discussing. Subjective feelings are backed by measurable properties, even if it's a combination of properties. Where you and I personally disagree I think is that looking at those stats can't give you a good enough overview of a product for comparisons. A good example of stats done well I think is https://www.rtings.com/ because they are comprehensive.

                  Personally I don't really care if people like apple products. They do like them more because of the social status associated with apple though.

                  4 votes
                  1. [4]
                    NaraVara
                    Link Parent
                    Not quite. I didn't say it was a combination of properties. I said it was an interaction of multiple properties. Interaction effects are different from merely additive ones. Apple had extremely...

                    even if it's a combination of properties

                    Not quite. I didn't say it was a combination of properties. I said it was an interaction of multiple properties. Interaction effects are different from merely additive ones.

                    They do like them more because of the social status associated with apple though.

                    Apple had extremely strong brand identification and loyalty even back when it was a dying brand for quirky nerds. So this just doesn't track with history.

                    1 vote
                    1. [3]
                      Rocket_Man
                      Link Parent
                      Could you explain how they are different? I'm sorry I don't understand it.

                      Not quite. I didn't say it was a combination of properties. I said it was an interaction of multiple properties. Interaction effects are different from merely additive ones.

                      Could you explain how they are different? I'm sorry I don't understand it.

                      2 votes
                      1. [2]
                        NaraVara
                        (edited )
                        Link Parent
                        Sure. It's from statistics. An interaction effect is basically acknowledging that some effects are based in more than just the sum of their parts. Think about weather as an example. The...

                        Sure. It's from statistics. An interaction effect is basically acknowledging that some effects are based in more than just the sum of their parts.

                        Think about weather as an example. The temperature itself is a straightforward, additive process. More temperature = you feel hotter and more uncomfortable. But then you factor in humidity and two things happen. One is that the humidity also makes you feel hotter, but then there is an additional interaction effect that comes from heat and humidity together where the moisture in the air inhibits your sweat's ability to cool you down making you feel even hotter than before. It's not the humidity alone that's doing it, and it's not the heat alone doing it. They work together to have more of an impact than just adding the independent effects of both together.

                        Similarly, a lot of subjective senses people have about how fast something is (software-wise) or how sturdy it feels or whatever are based on the interaction effects of numerous small design and UX considerations. It's not reliably captured by any single metric.

                        1 vote
                        1. Rocket_Man
                          Link Parent
                          Thank you, that was a good explanation!

                          Thank you, that was a good explanation!

              2. papasquat
                Link Parent
                Yes, this is exactly what I meant, sorry if I was being unclear. A subjective statement of quality is meaningless to other people unless it can be backed up with objective measurements. Someone's...

                Yes, this is exactly what I meant, sorry if I was being unclear. A subjective statement of quality is meaningless to other people unless it can be backed up with objective measurements.

                Someone's opinion that Apple devices are the greatest thing ever produced has the exact same merit as someone saying that Apple devices are the worst pieces of technology ever created if they can't actually be backed up by objective fact. Opinions like that can both be safely discarded when trying to convey an actual argument to another person.

                Saying something is great will always be subjective, but there's a difference between saying that a chair is great because the joints are cut with a .01mm tolerance, the curves on the backrest are 10 degrees, and that is a popular, attractive angle, and the boards are joined with zero gaps and saying that the chair is great "because its high quality". The first is a meaningful statement on which other people can decide whether or not the chair actually is great based on their own subjective point of view of greatness, and the second is just someone's opinion based on absolutely nothing that can be safely ignored.

                2 votes
            2. [4]
              mike10010100
              Link Parent
              No, just that subjective experiences can often be generated from hype/marketing alone. Grey Goose is a great example of this. Sold like shit until they increased the price dramatically, then sold...

              There is no way you actually sincerely believe that there is no such thing as subjective experience.

              No, just that subjective experiences can often be generated from hype/marketing alone.

              Grey Goose is a great example of this. Sold like shit until they increased the price dramatically, then sold like hotcakes.

              2 votes
              1. [3]
                NaraVara
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                Apple haters tend to have a terrible understanding of the role hype plays in the brand's popularity. It's very often trotted out as a post-hoc explanation for why consumers seem to express...

                No, just that subjective experiences can often be generated from hype/marketing alone.

                Apple haters tend to have a terrible understanding of the role hype plays in the brand's popularity. It's very often trotted out as a post-hoc explanation for why consumers seem to express different value systems than the ones techies would prefer they have because. . . reasons I guess.

                Sold like shit until they increased the price dramatically, then sold like hotcakes.

                You're a bit confused about the Grey Goose story. It didn't "sell like shit." They pulled the brand and purported pedigree straight out of their butts and invented super-premium vodka out of thin air. Grey Goose isn't shitty vodka elevated to high status by branding. There was just no such thing as "high status vodka" before then because the entire concept of something that is supposed to be a neutral spirit carrying single-malt scotch levels of pretension fundamentally makes no sense.

                But you can't just hype up trash and expect the reputation to stick. You still need to deliver something that differentiates it at the end of the day. Insofar as there is anything to judge the quality of a vodka on, Grey Goose is still very good vodka. It just so happens that the only difference between a very good vodka and rotgut is a willingness to filter it a couple more times more and lower your yield, so it was a very low bar to clear. The people who buy fancy vodkas likely hadn't had much experience with decent spirits beforehand to be drawing favorable comparisons.

                Jaegermeister is a much better example of the phenomenon you're talking about. That was a long-standing brand but just happened to be consumed as a digestif for old German grandpas. Hype and branding made its popularity explode among college students. But the relationship of the liquor market to Apple's products is pretty tenuous at best. There is very little evidence to suggest Apple is reaping some sort of Giffen Good effect.

                2 votes
                1. [2]
                  mike10010100
                  Link Parent
                  Oh hey, neat, right out of the gate someone has labeled me an Apple hater, as I type this on my Macbook Air... On the contrary, I've provided a decent amount of evidence in other threads that...

                  Apple haters tend to have a terrible understanding of the role hype plays in the brand's popularity.

                  Oh hey, neat, right out of the gate someone has labeled me an Apple hater, as I type this on my Macbook Air...

                  There is very little evidence to suggest Apple is reaping some sort of Giffen Good effect.

                  On the contrary, I've provided a decent amount of evidence in other threads that there is a significant status symbol associated with Apple products.

                  But here's some more!

                  https://www.deccanchronicle.com/technology/mobiles-and-tabs/090718/iphone-ipad-are-status-symbols-research.html

                  On the contrary, there's a decent amount of evidence that Apple is reaping the rewards of people seeing them as a status symbol, even among common memes.

                  1. NaraVara
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    I was using Microsoft XP to post on Slashdot with my Bill Gates as Locutus avatar. Using a product doesn't mean you can't have an irrationally negative outlook on the company or its other...

                    Oh hey, neat, right out of the gate someone has labeled me an Apple hater, as I type this on my Macbook Air...

                    I was using Microsoft XP to post on Slashdot with my Bill Gates as Locutus avatar. Using a product doesn't mean you can't have an irrationally negative outlook on the company or its other products.

                    There is very little evidence to suggest Apple is reaping some sort of Giffen Good effect.

                    On the contrary, I've provided a decent amount of evidence in other threads that there is a significant status symbol associated with Apple products.

                    You're committing numerous category errors here. A status symbol is different from a Giffen good. Giffen goods are products where increases in price drive increases in demand, in contradiction to how regular supply and demand works. It is still highly in doubt among economists as to whether the effect actually exists.

                    Your arguments are generally inconsistent but you've made two neither of which are actually supported by arguing they have status associated with them. One is that that Apple products are Giffen goods. This was the general point you conveyed with the Grey Goose analogy, implying that people are only buying it because it's expensive rather than because it provides some kind of intrinsic functional or experiential utility for them. Simply saying Apple is a status-bearing brand doesn't actually prove this argument though. Status is maybe a precondition of being a Giffen good (probably, but like I said it's a poorly understood and controversial point in economics) but doesn't actually mean it is a Giffen good in itself. It also doesn't mean that the status is empty or not backed by anything. It's perfectly plausible that the good bears high status because it's actually really good.

                    But you're not able to actually draw the line from one to the other. Just pointing at articles that say, functionally, that people like Apple as a brand doesn't then validate your broader argument that the prestige is a primary driver of their sales or economic success. Like I mentioned to someone else, Apple had exactly this level of devotion even before it was a well regarded brand because the people who used their products actually liked their products.

                    But here's some more!
                    https://www.deccanchronicle.com/technology/mobiles-and-tabs/090718/iphone-ipad-are-status-symbols-research.html

                    Did you actually read this article or did you just google "Apple is a status symbol" and paste the first thing that came up? Because their research methodology is "high incomes are tightly correlated to Apple product ownership, therefore it is a status symbol." Just stop for 5 minutes and think about how weakly that actual correlation ties into the claim you're trying to make.

                    On the contrary, there's a decent amount of evidence that Apple is reaping the rewards of people seeing them as a status symbol, even among common memes.

                    I'd love to see this "decent amount of evidence" if you can produce it, because cherry picking tenuously justified headlines isn't doing it.

                    And still, you make this habit of ignoring big parts of people's posts when it's inconvenient to your argument. So again:

                    But you can't just hype up trash and expect the reputation to stick. You still need to deliver something that differentiates it at the end of the day. Insofar as there is anything to judge the quality of a vodka on, Grey Goose is still very good vodka. It just so happens that the only difference between a very good vodka and rotgut is a willingness to filter it a couple more times more and lower your yield, so it was a very low bar to clear. The people who buy fancy vodkas likely hadn't had much experience with decent spirits beforehand to be drawing favorable comparisons.

                    2 votes
          2. [2]
            emdash
            Link Parent
            I didn't say they weren't measurable or describable, I said they don't fit on a specifications sheet. At this point I can only feel you are intentionally ignoring the points I'm making for sake of...

            If those merits that you're talking about aren't measurable, then they don't exist.

            I didn't say they weren't measurable or describable, I said they don't fit on a specifications sheet. At this point I can only feel you are intentionally ignoring the points I'm making for sake of arguing.

            1 vote
            1. mike10010100
              Link Parent
              It seems like they could though?

              I didn't say they weren't measurable or describable, I said they don't fit on a specifications sheet.

              It seems like they could though?

              2 votes
      2. Odysseus
        Link Parent
        It's kind of like smartphones. You can have two android phones with the exact same specs and apps loaded and have a wildly different experience. There's other things to consider like call quality...

        It's kind of like smartphones. You can have two android phones with the exact same specs and apps loaded and have a wildly different experience. There's other things to consider like call quality (as much as disliked the original airpods, the mic on those blew the one on my phone out of the water), latency, sound quality (airpods pro, while imperfect, do tend to outperform a lot of cheaper in ear true wireless earbuds in sound quality), reliability (I've owned bluetooth headphones that were finicky and wouldn't always connect, even people who hate apple will admit that their products do play nice within the ecosystem really well), and most importantly, comfort. Your example, much like the sony wf-1000xm3, are big and heavy in the ear, which can get uncomfortable really fast.

        2 votes
      3. babypuncher
        Link Parent
        Even the reviews on that listing complain about quality issues and buggy behavior. They offer some similar specifications on paper, but the actual user experience is very different. They are also...

        Even the reviews on that listing complain about quality issues and buggy behavior. They offer some similar specifications on paper, but the actual user experience is very different. They are also completely missing a lot of features that the Air Pods have, so it's not even an apples-to-apples comparison.

        1 vote
  3. [2]
    Tau_Zero
    Link
    When it comes to headphones (or displays, tvs, soundbars), I like to see what the RTINGS analysis comes up with. They provide a lot of hard data from frequency responses to thermal imaging of the...

    When it comes to headphones (or displays, tvs, soundbars), I like to see what the RTINGS analysis comes up with. They provide a lot of hard data from frequency responses to thermal imaging of the ear area, along with analysis and practical review. They don't have the new AirPods Pro yet (but it has been purchased for review according to the upcoming list), so we'll have to wait a bit. That said, here's some others that have come up in discussion compared to the previous AirPods 2 (2019) with a mixed score of 6.3 out of 10

    Again, these are comparisons with the AirPods 2, not the Pro. In general, it appears AirPods 2 win on comfort and portability, are comparable or better on battery and mic, but generally worse on sound. It will be interesting to see how the new AirPods Pro with the new design stack up when the review is published.

    7 votes
    1. babypuncher
      Link Parent
      I love RTINGs approach to reviewing consumer electronics. If you know what you are looking at, these hard measurements can tell you a lot more than some flowery subjective declarations like we get...

      I love RTINGs approach to reviewing consumer electronics. If you know what you are looking at, these hard measurements can tell you a lot more than some flowery subjective declarations like we get in the video above.

      Similarly, their reviews for TV sets are essential for anyone who likes to play video games on their television.

  4. [31]
    tlalexander
    Link
    Beats has come full circle. Cheap headphones with over emphasis on branding, then something something music store and Apple buys them and now they have become Apple cheap headphones with over...

    Beats has come full circle. Cheap headphones with over emphasis on branding, then something something music store and Apple buys them and now they have become Apple cheap headphones with over emphasis on branding.

    5 votes
    1. [29]
      Odysseus
      Link Parent
      Have you tried them yet? Because honestly, they're kinda great. I haven't bought a pair yet, but after giving them a try, I fully plan to. The audio quality on them aren't gonna win Apple any...

      Have you tried them yet? Because honestly, they're kinda great. I haven't bought a pair yet, but after giving them a try, I fully plan to.

      The audio quality on them aren't gonna win Apple any awards, but honestly, I have a nice little set up with a few different really great headphones for when I want to focus purely on audio quality. The catch there is that I can't take that set up with me on my commute to and from work or when I'm traveling, which, unfortunately, is probably when I get to listen to music the most.

      What's great about these is that aside from being one of the few true wireless headphones with active noise cancelling, is that they absolutely nail everything else. They're small, unobtrusive, easy to use, and the sound quality is absolutely okay as far as bluetooth goes.
      The detail on the high end is lacking, but I disagree with his assessment that the lows are muddy. Is the instrument separation and clarity absolutely phenomenal? No. But they're at least as good as the earbuds that come included with the samsung galaxy phones. Is it a flat, neutral sound? No, it's colorful as hell. If classical music is your thing, these headphones aren't gonna do it for you, but for most rock, pop, hip-hop, and electronic music, they're gonna sound pretty decent.

      He recommended the sennheiser momentum true wireless earbuds, and while I'm sure they sound better, the battery life is absolutely abysmal (according to Senneheisers spec) and they don't have active noise cancelling, which is a huge plus if I'm on the subway. Plus, they're expensive, even compared to the Airpods Pro. The Sony WF-1000XM3's are the only other true wireless headphones that really offer ANC while providing superior sound, a decent battery life, for roughly the same price as the Airpods Pro. The only catch is that they're big, and they're uncomfortable as hell for me. I would not be able to wear them for more than 10 minutes at a time, which really defeats the purpose of having headphones for a commute.

      As for why I don't go for cheaper, wired in-ear monitors for my commute instead? Because when I'm on the go, I'm streaming music from spotify and even if I did keep lossless audio files on my phone, the built-in DAC on my phone isn't gonna be able to pump out the sound quality to really take advantage of the higher quality headphones. I'm not gonna carry a portable DAC/amp with me when the subway and city noises are gonna prevent me from hearing all the rich detail of any song. The sheer convenience of going full wireless isn't something you really appreciate until you start using it for your day to day. It's all the little inconveniences of having wires that you don't really notice until all of a sudden, they're gone.

      I stayed away from the original Airpods because I thought the sound was nowhere near being worth the cost, even for bluetooth earbuds, but I'm pretty sold when it comes to the Airpods Pro. I tried them out not expecting to like them based off my experience with the Airpods, and I'll admit, with the high cost, I'm a little annoyed that I like them as much as I do, but in my opinion, for my use case, they're completely worth it.

      10 votes
      1. [2]
        Grzmot
        Link Parent
        What about the Sennheiser PXC 550? I use those for daily commuting and journeys and they're great. They're over-ear in a seriously small package thanks to how the cups are formed.

        The audio quality on them aren't gonna win Apple any awards, but honestly, I have a nice little set up with a few different really great headphones for when I want to focus purely on audio quality. The catch there is that I can't take that set up with me on my commute to and from work or when I'm traveling, which, unfortunately, is probably when I get to listen to music the most.

        What about the Sennheiser PXC 550? I use those for daily commuting and journeys and they're great. They're over-ear in a seriously small package thanks to how the cups are formed.

        6 votes
        1. Odysseus
          Link Parent
          I'll have to check them out, thanks for the suggestion! I'm actually using on ear wireless headphones for my commute right now (an old pair of Jabra move headphones - they're cheap and the sound...

          I'll have to check them out, thanks for the suggestion! I'm actually using on ear wireless headphones for my commute right now (an old pair of Jabra move headphones - they're cheap and the sound is surprisingly decent for the price. I've had em for a few years and they're definitely showing their age)

          The reason I'm opting for wireless earbuds over wireless headphones is because I moved to Japan and maneuvering headphones on a crowded subway is not the easiest thing to do, especially cause I keep them in my backpack and I don't always remember to put them in before getting on the train. Pulling earbuds out of my pocket is a lot easier, except wired earbuds tend to tangle in my pocket.

          2 votes
      2. [26]
        tlalexander
        Link Parent
        I just use $40 wireless headphones. I got them years ago and they’re still working. I’m not saying I need high audio quality, but that $250 is a lot to spend to not get high audio quality. I...

        I just use $40 wireless headphones. I got them years ago and they’re still working. I’m not saying I need high audio quality, but that $250 is a lot to spend to not get high audio quality. I wouldn’t really spend that much on headphones in any case because I just don’t want to.

        5 votes
        1. [24]
          emdash
          Link Parent
          Your comment here, and really the entire video, misses the point of AirPods. As @JXM said, they fit in your pocket, and they provide incredible ecosystem integration with iPhone and Apple Watch;...

          Your comment here, and really the entire video, misses the point of AirPods. As @JXM said, they fit in your pocket, and they provide incredible ecosystem integration with iPhone and Apple Watch; that remains unrivaled by any other product out there. No stupid pairing, less frequent audio disconnects, auto-playing music are the other useful features. It's rounded out by the fact they provide decent sound, but anyone who's looking for audiophile quality from earbuds is searching in the wrong place.

          6 votes
          1. [13]
            papasquat
            Link Parent
            You're saying that as if that's unique to airpods. There are at least a dozen manufacturers making high quality true wireless earbuds, the vast majority of them are cheaper than the airpods, some...

            You're saying that as if that's unique to airpods. There are at least a dozen manufacturers making high quality true wireless earbuds, the vast majority of them are cheaper than the airpods, some of them drastically so. I see no reason to spend $250 on a set of earbuds over a $50 dollar set if the expensive ones don't even sound good.

            I've heard people say things about ecosystem integration, but I'm still not sure what that even means. I don't want my headphones to be in an ecosystem. I just want to listen to music on them. I'm not sure what "ecosystem integration" really actually even means in a practical way.

            8 votes
            1. [8]
              emdash
              Link Parent
              Then respectfully, who are you to criticise this feature, or dismiss AirPods in price alone, while ignoring or not understanding the benefits they do provide? It's okay to not want to care about...

              I've heard people say things about ecosystem integration, but I'm still not sure what that even means

              Then respectfully, who are you to criticise this feature, or dismiss AirPods in price alone, while ignoring or not understanding the benefits they do provide? It's okay to not want to care about the product, or choose not to participate in the Apple ecosystem, but the market is showing they do care about ecosystem integration & fit+finish, and denying this as a selling point borders on being intentionally dense:

              “Wearables, Home, and Accessories” were up 54% YoY, to $6.52 billion

              Neither AirPods or Apple Watch experienced an increase in ASP over the past year, yet Apple managed to increase sales revenue by over 50%. That's not a 50% increase in "deluded sheep" buying a product, that's not a 50% increase in advertising to gain those sales, that's 50% more of the market genuinely saying "I want these"—because of the experience they provide.

              That experience may not fit on a spec sheet, it may not be some quantifiable metric, but it's nonetheless a massive part of what makes Apple products successful, and you shouldn't ignore that.

              7 votes
              1. [2]
                papasquat
                Link Parent
                That's great, but it still doesn't tell me what "ecosystem integration" means. They're bluetooth headphones. they pair using bluetooth and send audio using one of several codecs that are available...

                That's great, but it still doesn't tell me what "ecosystem integration" means. They're bluetooth headphones. they pair using bluetooth and send audio using one of several codecs that are available to several manufacturers. What other integration do they have? Does ecosystem integration just mean that they're made by the same company that made your phone? If so, what advantage does that provide? I've used the things before, and the experience was like every other wireless headphones.

                6 votes
                1. emdash
                  Link Parent
                  So you're looking for concrete examples, then? Fine. Here's a few examples of what ecosystem integration means. It means Apple designs the silicon that exists in these earphones, allowing for...

                  So you're looking for concrete examples, then? Fine. Here's a few examples of what ecosystem integration means.

                  1. It means Apple designs the silicon that exists in these earphones, allowing for absurd levels of power efficiency, which lets them to achieve 4-5 hour battery life in one of the smallest and most "pocketable" cases of any set of earbuds?
                  2. It means Apple is able to custom-mold the SiP on the AirPods Pro based on the form factor of the device to cram more & better technology into the product.
                  3. It means when you pair your new AirPods for the first time, you get a fancy, aesthetically pleasing animation & set of onboarding steps that aren't replicated by any other device.
                  4. It means when you pair your new AirPods to one device, they will pair with all other devices—irrespective of vicinity—over iCloud, automatically.
                  5. It means when you open the case lid, you'll get a slide up graphic indicating the battery level of your AirPods with zero interaction on your phone needed.
                  6. It means Apple has been able to import the same force press technology from their MacBook trackpads & iPhones to produce the haptic click effect one perceives when they touch the solid-state button on the side of the AirPod.
                  7. It means, when you're in volume control management on iPhone, you can toggle automatically between ANC & transparency modes without digging into menus.

                  This is in addition to the actual "features" that the product offers. But if you haven't been convinced these are meaningful features that increase the desirability of the product, or I get some bullet-by-bullet refutation of why the above points aren't important, then I'm done here.

                  3 votes
              2. [5]
                mike10010100
                Link Parent
                It's interesting that being a status symbol isn't anywhere in your analysis, considering that the "AirPods are for rich people" memes are so prevalent. Whew lad, "deluded sheep"...who here used...

                but the market is showing they do care about ecosystem integration & fit+finish

                It's interesting that being a status symbol isn't anywhere in your analysis, considering that the "AirPods are for rich people" memes are so prevalent.

                That's not a 50% increase in "deluded sheep" buying a product, that's not a 50% increase in advertising to gain those sales, that's 50% more of the market genuinely saying "I want these"—because of the experience they provide.

                Whew lad, "deluded sheep"...who here used that kind of language? It's like someone personally insulted you when they discussed how people might be buying into something not because of the quality of a product but because of the status symbol it provides specifically surrounding its cost.

                1 vote
                1. [4]
                  emdash
                  Link Parent
                  You'd have to have an extremely cynical take on the world if you think a large portion of the market is purchasing AirPods purely for "status", when was the last time you surveyed AirPods owners...

                  You'd have to have an extremely cynical take on the world if you think a large portion of the market is purchasing AirPods purely for "status", when was the last time you surveyed AirPods owners about why they use the product?

                  Whew lad, "deluded sheep"...who here used that kind of language?

                  You mean like here, on Tildes, where some have previously insulted purchasers of Apple products for seemingly making not making the under their own free will?

                  1 vote
                  1. [3]
                    mike10010100
                    Link Parent
                    I mean, when was the last time you surveyed AirPods owners about why they use the product? You're here throwing out reason after reason for why they choose to buy them without evidence, but the...

                    You'd have to have an extremely cynical take on the world if you think a large portion of the market is purchasing AirPods purely for "status", when was the last time you surveyed AirPods owners about why they use the product?

                    I mean, when was the last time you surveyed AirPods owners about why they use the product?

                    You're here throwing out reason after reason for why they choose to buy them without evidence, but the moment someone else comes in an suggests that it might be some other reason, you ask for a source? If you get to make assertions about people buying them for the ecosystem without evidence then I get to make assertions about people buying them as status symbols without evidence.

                    You mean like here, on Tildes, where some have previously insulted purchasers of Apple products for seemingly making not making the under their own free will?

                    Uhhh... you yourself brought up the sheep language? In response to someone saying "why didn't you buy wireless headphones before there was literally no other option from Apple?".

                    It comes off as an extreme response to a reasonable question. Much like most of your statements here, or on any Apple topic, really. And to see that this has been the case for over a year now? Whew.

                    1 vote
                    1. [2]
                      emdash
                      Link Parent
                      Most of my friends use them because the choice was obvious, and they'd work the best with their iPhone—even the non-techy ones know that. On Twitter, it's clear why people use them too (Gruber,...

                      I mean, when was the last time you surveyed AirPods owners about why they use the product?

                      Most of my friends use them because the choice was obvious, and they'd work the best with their iPhone—even the non-techy ones know that. On Twitter, it's clear why people use them too (Gruber, Ritchie, Snell, etc)—and the sample size they have exposure to is far larger than yours or mine.

                      Uhhh... you yourself brought up the sheep language?

                      No; I brought it out into the open and rephrased it to what they—and many here—actually meant. You're accusing people of buying AirPods for "status": that fits in with the defnition of the commonly thrown around term of "sheep".

                      Much like most of your statements here, or on any Apple topic, really. And to see that this has been the case for over a year now? Whew.

                      This is just a personal attack and gaslighting. You're not conducting this argument in good faith at all, so I'm done with you.

                      2 votes
                      1. mike10010100
                        Link Parent
                        The plural of anecdote is not data, but let's go with this. They chose them because the choice was obvious. This is a nonanswer. So basically, the sample size is "people who stan Apple and those...

                        Most of my friends

                        The plural of anecdote is not data, but let's go with this.

                        because the choice was obvious

                        They chose them because the choice was obvious. This is a nonanswer.

                        and they'd work the best with their iPhone—even the non-techy ones know that. On Twitter, it's clear why people use them too (Gruber, Ritchie, Snell, etc)—and the sample size they have exposure to is far larger than yours or mine.

                        So basically, the sample size is "people who stan Apple and those who follow them religiously".

                        Yeah, sorry, that's not polling dude. You know this, but you're using these claims, again, without citation or data, as if that provides some level of certainty.

                        The fact is that the highest stated reason for why people didn't want to buy AirPods is because they were too expensive. You cannot then turn around and pretend like the high price is not indicative of a certain amount of status symbol.

                        Even Gruber doesn't disagree.

                        So right now, it seems like you are not only misrepresenting people's views on whether or not AirPods are considered status symbols, but are actively ignoring the data that suggests that they are.

                        https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/5/23/18635755/airpod-apple-earbud-memes-rich-people-explained

                        The fact is that Apple could have invented these bluetooth headphones and left the headphone jack in for those who couldn't afford the objectively more expensive bluetooth option. But they didn't. Instead, they came out with accessories that "solved" the issue while bumping up the total price of the phone by almost 1/4 in order for it to remain a portable music device by Apple.

                        No; I brought it out into the open and rephrased it to what they—and many here—actually meant.

                        To be frank, it looks like you took their words and twisted them into a personal insult, when in fact, what they were talking about was, in that instance, the fact that you didn't buy a set of bluetooth headphones until Apple removed your option not to buy bluetooth headphones.

                        Which, as far as I can tell, is fact.

                        You're accusing people of buying AirPods for "status": that fits in with the defnition of the commonly thrown around term of "sheep".

                        No, "sheep" would be "I bought them because Apple told me to buy them". Buying them because they are widely considered a status symbol is a distinct step above "sheep". But it's a statement that you have outright rejected, simply because it seems you believe it applies to yourself.

                        This is just a personal attack and gaslighting. You're not conducting this argument in good faith at all, so I'm done with you.

                        On the contrary, you yourself linked to a thread almost a year ago where someone said to you that they didn't see people shutting down conversation, they just saw people disagreeing with you and you getting upset and claiming people were shutting down conversation.

                        Is it possible perhaps that you're taking Apple topics a little too personally, and have been doing so for quite some time?

                        4 votes
            2. [4]
              stu2b50
              Link Parent
              That's really not true. In the true wireless market, there are only a few that have similar functionality Galaxy Buds Jabra Elite Sony <insert numbers here> In terms of Pro features, only the...

              There are at least a dozen manufacturers making high quality true wireless earbuds, the vast majority of them are cheaper than the airpods, some of them drastically so

              That's really not true. In the true wireless market, there are only a few that have similar functionality

              • Galaxy Buds

              • Jabra Elite

              • Sony <insert numbers here>

              In terms of Pro features, only the Sony's have ANC, and the Sony ones are very large, and more expensive. They do however sound better and have better ANC.

              The Galaxy Buds and Jabra's have a worst software implementation, and the Buds can't pair to two devices for some fucking reason. Additionally, before the 75t release Jabra has a mediocre case.

              Basically, the AirPods are not outliers in price nor functionality at their price point.

              7 votes
              1. [3]
                papasquat
                Link Parent
                The three you mentioned, plus surface buds, the cambridge audio IEMs, kilpsch, RHA, beats, audio technica. I haven't used all of those, but they're all decent brands and their products have all...

                The three you mentioned, plus surface buds, the cambridge audio IEMs, kilpsch, RHA, beats, audio technica. I haven't used all of those, but they're all decent brands and their products have all gotten good reviews, Plus at least six Chinese brands. I think all of them are cheaper than $250 also. Apple really doesn't have a unique product with these things.

                5 votes
                1. [2]
                  stu2b50
                  Link Parent
                  The surface buds are infamously bad, and while it is true most of those are around ~150, none of them have active noise cancelling. The only other ones with ANC are the Sony's, and like I said...

                  The surface buds are infamously bad, and while it is true most of those are around ~150, none of them have active noise cancelling.

                  The only other ones with ANC are the Sony's, and like I said those are tradeoffs too; more expensive, much bulkier, worse software.

                  And if ANC isn't your thing, then you can just get the old airpods.

                  The true wireless earbud market is competitive right now, and the airpods are perfectly fine within that market. They are around market price for their features, and there is no competitor which completely beats them at all in terms of features; it's always trade offs.

                  2 votes
                  1. mike10010100
                    Link Parent
                    Based on what review? All the ones I've read indicate they're really good?

                    The surface buds are infamously bad

                    Based on what review? All the ones I've read indicate they're really good?

          2. [9]
            Grzmot
            Link Parent
            Pairing only needs to be done the first time you connect headphones to a device. This is done in about a minute. Now when I want to use my headphones, all I do is turn them on, and if I Bluetooth...

            No stupid pairing, less frequent audio disconnects, auto-playing music are the other useful features.

            Pairing only needs to be done the first time you connect headphones to a device. This is done in about a minute. Now when I want to use my headphones, all I do is turn them on, and if I Bluetooth is on on my phone, they're connected in under 10 seconds. The only time I've experienced audio disconnects is when I forget my phone in one room and walk far way from it with 2+ walls inbetween. That's not a problem Apple can fix. The newer version of my headphones also supports auto-playing at this point.

            A lot of is branding and brilliant marketing on Apple's side, and there are definitely headphones which offer all these features for cheaper cause they don't have a fruit slapped onto the chassis.

            5 votes
            1. [8]
              NaraVara
              Link Parent
              Apple and Beats headphones can be paired to multiple devices and switched from one to the other just waving the thing around in front of your device. There's no process of having to enter "pairing...

              Pairing only needs to be done the first time you connect headphones to a device.

              Apple and Beats headphones can be paired to multiple devices and switched from one to the other just waving the thing around in front of your device. There's no process of having to enter "pairing mode" and going into Bluetooth settings to select it when you want to go between an iPhone, iPad, or MacBook.

              This is actually hugely convenient and I end up using my BeatsX over my far superior (in sound quality and isolation) Sonys quite often just because of it.

              1 vote
              1. [7]
                Grzmot
                Link Parent
                My headphones simply connect to all paired devices in reach and accept transmission from all of them. Fairly simple, but I've only used it when working with a laptop, having my phone next to it...

                My headphones simply connect to all paired devices in reach and accept transmission from all of them. Fairly simple, but I've only used it when working with a laptop, having my phone next to it and accepting calls.

                2 votes
                1. [6]
                  NaraVara
                  Link Parent
                  That doesn't make any sense. You would get conflicting streams of audio from multiple devices.

                  My headphones simply connect to all paired devices in reach and accept transmission from all of them.

                  That doesn't make any sense. You would get conflicting streams of audio from multiple devices.

                  1. [2]
                    Diff
                    Link Parent
                    I mean it doesn't not make sense. Most people only listen to one device at a time.

                    I mean it doesn't not make sense. Most people only listen to one device at a time.

                    2 votes
                    1. NaraVara
                      Link Parent
                      Most households have multiple people in them. Often, those people will share in the use of various devices and you might not want your siblings' show on the iPad coming into your headphones. It...

                      I mean it doesn't not make sense. Most people only listen to one device at a time.

                      Most households have multiple people in them. Often, those people will share in the use of various devices and you might not want your siblings' show on the iPad coming into your headphones.

                      It makes zero sense to me that a headphone maker would allow their headphones to accept simultaneous input from all linked devices. The design logic defies reason.

                  2. [2]
                    Don_Camillo
                    Link Parent
                    for me this ist the only way it makes sense. It's simple and easy and allows you to do nice things, like listening to music from your tablet, while simultaniously get the audio from a game your...

                    for me this ist the only way it makes sense. It's simple and easy and allows you to do nice things, like listening to music from your tablet, while simultaniously get the audio from a game your playing on your desktop to hear your phone ringing through your headphones.

                    1 vote
                    1. NaraVara
                      Link Parent
                      This seems like something that's only situationally useful in a college dorm. Use cases where you need to have multiple devices piping audio to you simultaneously are way fewer and far between...

                      This seems like something that's only situationally useful in a college dorm. Use cases where you need to have multiple devices piping audio to you simultaneously are way fewer and far between than needing to switch your audio input from one source to another. In fact, the far more useful function would be to go the other way and have one source beam audio to multiple outputs. But that presents significant UI issues since one of the main challenges of bluetooth audio is making sure that sound comes out of where you expect it to and never out of where you don't expect it to without any unnecessary friction or hassle.

                      Apple's solution around the W1 chip has been the best I've experienced at accomplishing this by far.

                      1 vote
                  3. Grzmot
                    Link Parent
                    They're connected to each device in reach, but obviously cannot transmit at the same time.

                    They're connected to each device in reach, but obviously cannot transmit at the same time.

                    1 vote
          3. Kenny
            Link Parent
            The ecosystem is something that is missed in the cost-benefit analysis much of the time.

            The ecosystem is something that is missed in the cost-benefit analysis much of the time.

            3 votes
        2. Odysseus
          Link Parent
          That's completely fine. If you they aren't worth the cost to you, then they aren't worth it. I disagreed with your sentiment that it was simply cheap headphones with an overemphasis on branding....

          That's completely fine. If you they aren't worth the cost to you, then they aren't worth it. I disagreed with your sentiment that it was simply cheap headphones with an overemphasis on branding. Even the video would disagree with that sentiment as he does mention that it's there's a lot of tech packaged into an a tiny and form factor. His gripe was that they weren't audiophile quality and that there are headphones that offer better sound quality for the price. Again, he's right, but that's not the point of airpods and to dismiss the plethora of other refinements and conveniences offered by the Airpods Pro seems a bit myopic in my opinion when looking at the product as a whole.

          I liked his review, he sets out to critique them from a strictly audio quality standpoint, and he did that fairly well, but it only looks at one (admittedly very important) facet of the product

          5 votes
    2. babypuncher
      Link Parent
      Beats have gotten better since Apple bought the company. They still over-emphasize bass, so I wouldn't recommend them over a good pair of cans from Sennheiser or Beyerdynamic, but they aren't...

      Beats have gotten better since Apple bought the company. They still over-emphasize bass, so I wouldn't recommend them over a good pair of cans from Sennheiser or Beyerdynamic, but they aren't complete trash like they used to be. I wouldn't blame some bass-heads for peferring them over my DT-990s.

      I still tell people to buy ATH-M50's if they want that fun punchy sound with better clarity up and down the spectrum.

      2 votes
  5. elcuello
    Link
    For me it come down to this. If I have to spend $250 on a pair of headphones not matter what type AirPods would be the last I would choose. Considering sound, comfort and Apples arrogance in...

    For me it come down to this. If I have to spend $250 on a pair of headphones not matter what type AirPods would be the last I would choose. Considering sound, comfort and Apples arrogance in pricing. I have an iPhone and a Macbook but I doubt I will ever pay for anything sound related from Apple.

    2 votes
  6. tomf
    Link
    Totally off-topic, but it's funny -- for a video from an audio guy, you'd think the levels in the video would be better.

    Totally off-topic, but it's funny -- for a video from an audio guy, you'd think the levels in the video would be better.

    1 vote