Why Are So Many Folks Complaining About the Sound Quality of AirPods?
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Why Are So Many Folks Complaining About the Sound Quality of AirPods?

It is said that the AirPods may experience supply shortages during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas shopping season due to its increasing user demand. However, there are still many netizens complaining that the AirPods have a poor sound quality and easily fall out of their ears.

So the question is, why do so many people complain about the AirPods audio quality?

AirPods Audio Performance Analysis

First of all, there are many aspects that affect the audio performance of headphones, such as hardware, Bluetooth audio protocol, and headset design.

In terms of hardware, iFixit's teardown report shows that the AirPods contains many components, including infrared distance sensors, speakers, microphones, batteries, W1 chips, and Maxim's 98730EWJ low-power stereo audio codec. 

Inside the plastic casing is laying a long antenna, which iFixit explains it is the AirPods' hanging boom design for maintaining balance by increasing the antenna length. In other words, AirPods has evenly distributed the weight of the earbuds. The advantage is that it does not cause a weight drop feeling of the ear. 


If seen purely in terms of the internal component, the AirPods is still stuffing a lot of things in its limited physical volume. But the priority is the wearing comfort, not the audio part. It just cannot accommodate more components into its strictly limited cavity to improve audio performance. So AirPods made this compromise. Each AirPod weighs only 0.14oz (4g), comparing with ordinary wireless Bluetooth earphones on the market, it is indeed a lot lighter. Furthermore, it adopts a semi-open design, which is the so-called hanging ear type that can give you a sense of nothing on ears. 

To further prove, let's take a look at the teardown diagram of Sony's first-generation noise reduction bean WF-1000X. As can be seen from the figure, the cavity of Sony's wireless Bluetooth headset is significantly larger than AirPods. The motherboard is basically designed for audio performance and noise reduction. Sony completely abandoned the comfort of the headset; the weight of each earbud came to 6.8g, which is 2.8g heavier than the AirPods, due to its massive internals. As a result, the earbud cavity is heavier than its plug end, which means the earplug has to support more external weight when inserted into the ear canal. The disadvantage of this design is its unevenly distributed weight - so that you may feel swollen after a long-time wearing because of the overweight cavity.


Also, the audio chip that the wireless Bluetooth headset equipped with will directly affect the audio quality. Though the Sony WF-1000X only supports the AAC and SBC Bluetooth codecs, due to the advantages of its big cavity, the audio performance is better than the AirPods that only supports the AAC protocol. Of course, this is only one of the cases. The other is it mainly depends on whether the supported Bluetooth codec is good if you want better audio performance under a similar size and weight, such as the most commonly supported Sony LDAC and Qualcomm aptX HD. The highest transmission bit rate of LDAC is 990kpbs, aptX HD is 576 kbps, and AAC can only reach 320kpbs. The higher the bit rate transmitted, the less the sound is compressed, and the more details come out. Because Apple's iPhone always supports only the AAC Bluetooth codec, the AirPods audio quality is naturally not much better.


However, the biggest reason why netizens complained about the sound quality of AirPods is that AirPods' excessively high prices make people expect too much of its sound quality. From the above analysis, we know that the Qualcomm aptX HD Bluetooth audio protocol performs much better than the AAC protocol supported by AirPods.


Then let's take a look at some cost-effective wireless Bluetooth headsets that support Qualcomm's aptX HD Bluetooth audio protocol:

1.Lenovo HT10 TWS Bluetooth Earbuds











Lenovo HT10 TWS bluetooth waterproof super long standby wireless earphone


$69.99


$59.99





2.Xiaomi Earphone Wireless BT4.1 Headphone











Xiaomi Earphone Wireless BT4.1 Headphone Neck Halter Style AAC APTX Hands-free Calling


$73.89


$62.99





3.MEIZU HD60 aptX Touch Control Bluetooth Headset











MEIZU HD60 aptX Headband Touch Control Bluetooth Headset Hi-Res Over-ear Headphone with Dual Noise Reduction Mic


$113.79


$113.79





4.QCY M1 Pro Magnetic Switch Bluetooth Headphones











QCY M1 Pro Magnetic Switch Bluetooth Headphones with Mic Sports IPX4 APTX Stereo Headset


$49.99


$24.99





5.OnePlus Bullets 2 Wireless Earphones











OnePlus Bullets 2 Wireless Earphones AptX Hybrid Magnetic Control Google Assistant


$199.99


$94.99





6.Whizzer B6 IPX7 Waterproof Wireless Earbuds











Whizzer B6 IPX7 Waterproof Upgrade Earphone Wireless Earbud


$82.93


$65.66





7.Doogee Dopods Beat Bluetooth Earphones











Doogee Dopods Beat Earphone Bluetooth 5.0 TWS CVC 8.0 Earbuds with Qual comm QCC3020


$39.99


$35.99





8.HiFuture MoonWalker aptx Pro Sports Bluetooth Headset











HiFuture MoonWalker aptx Pro Sports Bluetooth Headset with Ear Hook with IPX6 Sweat and Water proof


$15.5


$15.5





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