Recent testing confirms Apple’s latest firmware update on AirPods Max has changed Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). RTings tested noise isolation on AirPods Max on firmware 4E71 which revealed that ANC on the wireless headphones is not as effective in blocking noise as it was before.
Active Noise Cancellation tech is used to reduce unwanted noises in the surroundings. Like Apple’s other compatible wireless headphones, AirPods Max’s outward-facing microphone detects external sounds and counters them with anti-noises before the users hear them. And an inward-facing microphone listens inside the ear for unwanted sounds to counter them with anti-noise.
This feature creates a cabin pressure-like feeling which can be irksome for users who are sensitive to ANC. Maybe, the company wanted to reduce the latest firmware.
Noise isolation on AirPods Max is reduced on the latest firmware update
Apple released 4E71 firmware in May and last month, a user reported that ANC on AirPods Max had worsened since the last firmware update. Although the new report confirms that noise isolation has changed on the headphones, it has not broken or gotten worse.
According to RTings, AirPods Max’s ANC or noise isolation “performance is great”. However, the Active Noise Cancellation system on the latest update “blocks out a bit less noise between the mid-bass to high-bass range than the previous firmware” which is used to cancel noises like “the low rumble of bus and plane engines.” Other than that, ANC can still reduce sounds like ambient chatter and the high-pitched whirl of AC units extremely well.
Although it is a minor difference, it has reduced noise isolation on the headphones. The publisher believes it might be introduced to make the ANC more comfortable.
Users have reported high cabin pressure when using their unit’s ANC. It’s a pressure-like feeling inside your ears when the ANC is on and is a similar sensation to when a plane ascends and descends. It’s caused by your brain perceiving the lack of low-frequency sound as a pressure difference between the inner and outer ear, which can become uncomfortable. The cabin pressure of these headphones feels strong when their ANC is on.
Like other devices, Apple’s firmware updates are automatically pushed to AirPods and if a user does not want to update to the latest version, they don’t have the option to manually control it.