AirPods Max
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AeroSatan

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Regular Airpods over Koss PortaPro's?! wow, I've heard it all now, the regular AirPods don't even seal in your ear? I think a list like this really shows how different peoples preferences are.

One thing I find annoying reading through this thread is some of the arguments/justifications/excuses that have been made I rarely find in other dedicated headphone threads, since the advent of the APM it now feels like many people are saying that we can't judge headphones objectively anymore, now it's just about personal preference and sound signature/tuning, classic budget/mid/high-end/flagship categories have now came to an end, the APM exists outside the realm of traditional objective classification (?), I can't help feel that 'some' people on here with obvious biases are trying to move the goal posts in terms of the current process of reviewing and judging headphones, fitting their narrative that APM is possibility the best headphone in the world, with the H1 chips and DSP processing the APM can be any headphone it wants to be, it just comes down to tuning and preference now.

Pre APM world, for the most part, I think many headfiers accepted a 'general' classification of particular headphones, meaning kind of where about said headphone fitted on the ladder, or headphone wall of fame (rarr!), you would find courteous statements like, "I actually prefer headphone X than Y even though it's only a mid tier headphone because I prefer the mid range presentation, or bass emphasis etc, headphones like HD600 vs HD800 are a classic example, HD800 is arguably of the best hi-fi headphone in the world, in the true since of the meaning of hi-fi (hi-fidelity), but it's certainly not to everyone's taste, many prefer HD600/650, but we accept the HD800's position nonetheless, personally I love the HD800, I like a headphone that tests your ears to the point of cringing even, I see it similar to well done HDR on TV's that makes you cringe when a car headlight shines in your face, why do TV enthusiasts want that? because it mimics real life, I don't believe all music should should 'comfortable', you hear people say, "that 6k peak destroys that headphone", trying listening to a live band in a room lol, I understand preferences are important, you like what you like, but I still believe the continued search for objective classifications of headphones is very important.
Don’t forget the people who just realized that holding a zoom call and enjoying music and movies can only be achieved on these new apple offerings. And since they sound 85% as good as HD800’s they just might as well make it their all around end game. Can you imagine the vitriol and ridicule Sony would have it thrown their way if they tried selling an ANC set of headphones with a useless bra of a case, no way of totally turning them off and not having something most ppl buy to use on public transportation NOT FOLD, Not use USB C selling it for $550 🤣 😂
 
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MICHAELSD

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The main reason I would be surprised if AirPods Max had disappointing audio performance would be because Apple has done some astonishing work with the audio on all of its latest devices.

iPhone gets better every generation, and iPhone 12 Pro Max has astounding audio quality coming out of such tiny speakers. The focus put into making the higher frequencies in particular sound detailed and clear is apparent.

Also, if there were around a thousand prototypes I wouldn’t expect them to ship a product with subpar audio quality.
 
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CharlesL

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Not use USB C selling it for $550 🤣 😂
It seems like the only people that make the biggest deal about it being lightning and not USB-C are people not in the apple ecosystem. Everyone with an iPhone (the main target audience I think) has Lightning. Most iPad owners are charging with Lightning. Anyone using Airpods probably has lightning (maybe wireless). Most of the cases I'd be using the APM I'd have a lightning cable with me, and maybe not a USB-C. If I have USB-C with me for my laptops or iPad pro it's always in addition to Lightning. I'm never out without lightning. It also tends to give more charging options. USB-A to Lightning cables are quite, and I can get a USB-A port anywhere. USB-C chargers are impossible to find if I don't have my own and I don't see anyone carrying a USB-C to USB-A cable.

I really don't see this as a problem for their target audience, and arguably lightning is probably the better choice. With a 20 hour battery life I probably wouldn't need to charge while I'm out anyway and I have plenty of unused lightning chargers around the house when I'm at home. As I said above, if I need need a charge when I'm out, lightning is easier.
 
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AeroSatan

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It seems like the only people that make the biggest deal about it being lightning and not USB-C are people not in the apple ecosystem. Everyone with an iPhone (the main target audience I think) has Lightning. Most iPad owners are charging with Lightning. Anyone using Airpods probably has lightning (maybe wireless). Most of the cases I'd be using the APM I'd have a lightning cable with me, and maybe not a USB-C. If I have USB-C with me for my laptops or iPad pro it's always in addition to Lightning. I'm never out without lightning. It also tends to give more charging options. USB-A to Lightning cables are quite, and I can get a USB-A port anywhere. USB-C chargers are impossible to find if I don't have my own and I don't see anyone carrying a USB-C to USB-A cable.

I really don't see this as a problem for their target audience, and arguably lightning is probably the better choice. With a 20 hour battery life I probably wouldn't need to charge while I'm out anyway and I have plenty of unused lightning chargers around the house when I'm at home. As I said above, if I need need a charge when I'm out, lightning is easier.
Thanks for proving my point, these cans are only worth considering if you’re into an apple ecosystem, namely iPhones. I have an an iPad Pro, a MacBook Pro and an IMac. I literally wouldn’t use a lightning connector for anything but these headphones. For $550 they could’ve either charged wirelessly or use an USB C port like every serious apple product does besides the iPhone which should’ve made that move starting with IPhone X.
 
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Ilomaenkimi

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I saw a review that TIDAL Master for the same song has a better sound than Apple Music with the AirPods Max. I don't understand how that can be possible ... Andrea
That's possible, when you KNOW what you are listening. :) With Apple ecosystem Apple Mucis sounds very good, imo.
 
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MICHAELSD

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I saw a review that TIDAL Master for the same song has a better sound than Apple Music with the AirPods Max. I don't understand how that can be possible ... Andrea
Either way Tidal Master is going to be technically much higher quality than 256kbps AAC, and AirPods Max should be able to take advantage of that with a wired connection.
 
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torifile

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Hi has anyone tried the AirPods Max with TIDAL in hifi or Master quality? What if there is a difference in quality with Apple Music? Thanks. Andrew
I’ve listened to both and I can’t tell a difference. That said, I’ve never been known to have a golden ear so it’s hard to know how others my hear things.
 
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Thanks for proving my point, these cans are only worth considering if you’re into an apple ecosystem, namely iPhones. I have an an iPad Pro, a MacBook Pro and an IMac. I literally wouldn’t use a lightning connector for anything but these headphones. For $550 they could’ve either charged wirelessly or use an USB C port like every serious apple product does besides the iPhone which should’ve made that move starting with IPhone X.
I think 'only' might be a little too strong. I don't think absolutes apply. This is Apple though. They make products for their customers and exist in their ecosystem. This shouldn't come as a surprise. The value proposition of the APM at this time isn't nearly as appealing when you try to use them outside this situation. I think you are a bit of an unusual Apple customer with no lightning devices. You are definitely an argument they maybe should have considered USB-C.

Could Apple produce headphones to be used outside their ecosystem? Sure. Would they be as good? likely not. Would they produce such a set of headphones? Unlikely. Apple is perfectly happy to leave the rest of the market to other companies. In a similar way, they leave parts of the Apple market to other companies when they no longer feel that producing their own product adds value. (Consumer monitors, Wifi routers are examples).

I think this needs to be taken into consideration when looking at this headphones, especially in terms of features and value for price. I'm not suggesting that you only need to present in the best light (used with the Apple ecosystem), but maybe a more balanced view both ways. Without it, it's like reviewing one of these high end headphones plugged directly into an iPhone listening to streamed music rather than reviewing it with proper source files and powered through an amp.

I don't think Apple will ever produce on ear headphones. They seem like a set of compromises that excels at nothing in particular. The sport headphones will depend on if they feel they can provide value above and beyond what third party companies sell, or beats provides.
 
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AeroSatan

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I think 'only' might be a little too strong. I don't think absolutes apply. This is Apple though. They make products for their customers and exist in their ecosystem. This shouldn't come as a surprise. The value proposition of the APM at this time isn't nearly as appealing when you try to use them outside this situation. I think you are a bit of an unusual Apple customer with no lightning devices. You are definitely an argument they maybe should have considered USB-C.

Could Apple produce headphones to be used outside their ecosystem? Sure. Would they be as good? likely not. Would they produce such a set of headphones? Unlikely. Apple is perfectly happy to leave the rest of the market to other companies. In a similar way, they leave parts of the Apple market to other companies when they no longer feel that producing their own product adds value. (Consumer monitors, Wifi routers are examples).

I think this needs to be taken into consideration when looking at this headphones, especially in terms of features and value for price. I'm not suggesting that you only need to present in the best light (used with the Apple ecosystem), but maybe a more balanced view both ways. Without it, it's like reviewing one of these high end headphones plugged directly into an iPhone listening to streamed music rather than reviewing it with proper source files and powered through an amp.

I don't think Apple will ever produce on ear headphones. They seem like a set of compromises that excels at nothing in particular. The sport headphones will depend on if they feel they can provide value above and beyond what third party companies sell, or beats provides.

It’s not even so much as them thinking that for most of their customers a lightning cable wouldn’t be an issue. It’s the fact that 1) They're already producing new line of products which use USB C and 2) That would potentially attract more android users and users outside of an apple eco system because most of their chargers are USB C related even if the headphones wouldn’t be utilized to their best abilities. Perhaps then it would compel that customer to upgrade to other apple devices like an IPad Pro to take full advantage of these headphones. Whatever, I think they’ll be just fine without my $550. But that was one of the few reasons I personally returned my pair. That atrocious excuse for a case didn’t help their case either. Pun intended.
 
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gavinfabl

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I am sure some of you will have watched this. The review constantly compares the Sony XM4s and HiFiMan Ananda-BT at all stages. Like many have said, I would only consider these if you are all in on the Apple eco system. Most negative comments tend to be from people who have not even tried them. The other part is these arent just about music quality, they are about design, controls, purpose, noise cancellation and transparency modes, spatial audio with movies etc...
 
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tkddans

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AirPods Max VS Drop + THX Panda VS AKG K361
Link for comparisons of listening experiences with AirPods Max to Sennheiser HD 800 S and AirPods Pro

AirPods Max.jpg
63044547343__C87D5C83-6D05-4677-BC22-3EFE5C9F091B.jpeg

IMG_1749.jpeg


Here we go again. Will the Panda and K361 match the APM, where the likes of the ATH-M50x, the AirPods Pros, and Bose Quiet Comfort 1 have failed? Let's find out what one person on the internet thinks!


Too Long Didn't Read (TLDR)
People on the internet are silly. Trust your own ears and try different things. You may even disagree with someone when they say something is objectively better in some metric. Oh, and I like the APM most here. Skip down to the conclusion if you want details.


Price, features and accessories, and critical consensus
HeadphonePriceFeatures and AccessoriesCritical Consensus
(collected as of December 30, 2020)
Apple AirPods Max (a.k.a. APM)$550 (Apple)- Bluetooth
- Active noise canceling
- Transparency mode
- Spatial Audio
- Adaptive EQ
- Multiple Apple device hand-off
- Physical touch controls; two buttons for all controls
- USB C to lightning cable
- One port for charging and wired audio connection
Ranging from "not worth it, you can get equal quality headphones for $100-200" all the way to "this is definitely worth $550 and then some."

DMS's initial impressions stated the APM were perhaps closer to the Drop Panda in sound quality. In his full review, he says the APM is the best of the ANC market, but that ANC headphones are all bad. Concludes by suggesting the K361 ($115) as a wireless closed back alternative that is better than the APM. He calls the APM “soulless.”

Headphone Show repeats DMS' critical opinionand recommends the K371.

Z Reviews also calls the sound “soulless.”
Though he praises the ANC and transparency modes as best available.

Snazzy Labs agrees they are the best ANC wireless you can buy, but seems to go further to suggest the headphones do sound good enough for him to think about; but he isn't sure if he can say whether they are worth it for other non-audiophiles.

Whathifi gives 5/5 for sound quality, stating “we’re instantly thrilled by the super-crisp and spacious delivery. There’s a degree of clarity and energy [...] engaging and authentic. Lighter on their feet, [...] precise and exciting [...]”

Hi-Fi Insider says "the sound quality is very good. [...] Playing from a CD track [...] it gave me that hit, that dynamic range, that a high end headphone delivers. [...] These are worth owning [...] I think they are underpriced for what you get [including tech features as well]."

Painfully Honest Tech says, in a first impression video, "$549 is a lot of money. In the world of headphones [it's] not a lot. [...] I've been waiting on the promise of wireless headphones actually competing with wired options for sound quality, but also bringing all the features of wireless headphones. [...] If they fall off on the audio side, not so much." In a full review, he says "They immediately sounded good. [...] They sound very tight, very clean, and appropriate to the music that's playing. [...] The low end was very tight and filled out the headset in a nice way. [...] Vocals were precise [...] It was a very nice, well balanced sound. [...] Crisp, clear, super wide soundstage, everything felt like it had the appropriate amount of space around it. [...] For somebody who really appreciates headphones like myself, I was blown away by these. [...] These are the best noise cancelling headphones that I have heard, period. [...] These are a win. A major, major, major GO."
Drop + THX Panda$400-420 (Amazon)- Bluetooth
- Physical touch controls; one button for all controls
- Two ports. One USB C and one standard audio jack.
Several audio critics and mainstream YouTubers alike have made strong recommendations for Drop Panda. In recent comparisons with the APM, reviewers have stated that the Panda are not just cheaper, but better too in how they feel it sounds. In rarer cases from critics, they have faced some more scrutiny for not having enough resolution.

Z Reviews says “I’m ***** amazed. [...] In the $0 to $1500 range, these are one of the best closed back headphones. [...] one of the best sounding.”

El Jefe Reviews stated he ranks the Panda above the APM. He also ranked the Sony WH-1000XM4 and Sennheiser Momentum 3 below both the Panda and APM.

Randomfrankp, who may have more views on his comparison than any other video comparing the Panda to APM, believes the APM are not worth it over the sound quality of the Panda. He also believes the Sony and Bose competition are better buys for the overall value.

DMS believes the Drop Panda has a good noise floor, sound quality, and comfort. He sees it as having lush mids. He states the Drop Panda does a good job at blending bluetooth consumer headphones with "enthusiast level hifi."

Crinacle states, in a more critical impression of the technicalities:
"My biggest issue with the Panda is that it is blunt. Hits are soft, lacking impact and virtually textureless. This has broad effects on the overall technical ability of the Panda of course, the most obvious being its utter lack of resolving ability. [...] resulting in a veiled, muddy, and muffled presentation all around."
AKG K361 (BT version)$115 (Amazon)- Bluetooth
- One physical control for powering on and off
- No volume, track, or other control on headphone
See APM notes.

DMS recommends K361 over APM, in his APM video. Interestingly, in his first impressions video posted a month prior, has negative reactions to some aspects of the K361. "It does sound a bit strange [...] Something in here sounds weird. It almost sounds like it's out of phase, or as if there's like a scoop out of part of the highs. As a result, things end up sounding a little bit thin in part of the range, especially in vocals. I'm going to come back to it."

Headphone Show recommends K371. He suggest it over APM, in his APM video.

Z Reviews reviews the K371 and recommends instead the K361. He compares and thoroughly prefers and recommends K361 over the K371.



Comparison setup
All three headphones will alternate connecting through Bluetooth to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, using Apple Music.

All files played back are AAC. There are no "Apple Digital Masters." Attempts at using a wired connection to a high fidelity source (such as a playlist with CD lossless quality) will not be used. Though some critics have suggested it improves sound quality on the AirPods Max (and quite possibly the other headphones as well), wireless will only be tested at this time. The priority is to compare the sound quality in the most likely use case scenario for most buyers - then, in a future post or edit to this post, commentary on wired performance could come along.

Volume will be as loud as I can make it without discomfort on each headphone, so that they appear subjectively to me to sound in rough approximation to similar levels overall.


Background Info - Frequency Responses
Harman target or Harman "curve"

Harman_2018.jpg

As stated on headphones.com:
"The most common reference target curve is the Harman target. This target was developed by Harman Research to best identify what kind of tuning in headphones people on average preferred. Compensations based on this target do happen to follow the general emphasis conferred by the gain factors for the human ear (with a rise starting around 1khz), but with extra bass emphasis and an overall balanced sound for a wide variety of genres. Note that this target doesn’t strictly match the ear-related amplifications we see between 2-9khz, but rather this is based on preference - what people actually wanted their headphones to sound like."

Airpods Max: Elevated above Harman at 20 - 50 Hz (sub-bass); Recessed between ~1.5 kHz - 8kHz
APM Harman.jpeg


Drop + THX Panda:
Appears relatively flat until 1 kHz. Dips between 1 kHz - 6 kHz.
Panda-1536x689.jpeg


AKG K361:
Almost entirely follows the Harman curve, though with a dip below around 2k-4K. Another dip occurs under the curve toward the treble, before roughly following the Harman curve closely up through 20 kHz.
AKG K361.jpg

The above graph shows K371 against the Harman target.
762D6C28-7177-4A43-A3F6-4F237A944AB1.png

The above graph depicts the K371 alongside the K361. Graphs of the K361 are hard to find, but using these two, we can cross reference the K361 against the K371’s close approximation to the Harman target. Both headphones tune toward Harman in large part.

Note: These graphs were all found from others. I did not measure the headphones myself. For more graphs, try Crinacle.com.


Listening Comparison
Want to follow along? Here is a track list.

Track 1: Bass & Drum Intro
Artist: Nils Lofgren Band
Album: Live
Track highlights for testing: Bass guitar, drums, and live audience.

K361 (START)
- Cheers, guitars, drums, all sound nice and balanced on first listen during comparison. Note: I have listened to these for several hours earlier in the day and had strong impressions. I have taken a break to try again, starting over fresh with the K361. I need now to go to the other two to see what they offer that I may be missing.

Starting back on the K361 after listening to both Panda and APM on a full track, I notice differences immediately.
- Suddenly, the cheers of the audience feel wrong. They somehow just do to me, after the listening elsewhere. They sound...artifical? As if they were recorded and played back incorrectly. The tone or something seems just unrealistic.

Returning here from the APM...
- at 0:55, the stronger plucks of the guitar pick show a difference to the APM. The APM have a different tonal quality to the plucks that's more noticeable. Personally, I much prefer the APM interpretation. The K361, after trying the APM back and forth, can feel lacking. There is little thump to the bass guitar that I wish I had. The scene also generally begins to feel hollowed out by the lack of bass.
- Trying the 2:03 mark, the K361 feels like a pale imitation to the immersive feel the APM gave. I feel less like I'm in the club with the live instruments filling the space, and more like I'm hearing a recording that's been cleaned up too much.
- The balance is nice, but I don't get authentic and heart from this.
- The space around the sound doesn't feel real either.

Panda
- Switching over to the K361 after listening to it once all the way through the track, I IMMEDIATELY get a sense that the people are somehow more realistic to me.
- I'm not sure if this bothered me before, but the white noise the recording carries is more apparent to me now.
- Guitar strumming feels thicker than I remember feeling on the K361. Bass of the guitar seems more prominent now. Not sure if "better," but different impression forming. Different experience to me.
- Drums seem very punchy. The POP of each drum hit is clear and pronounced.
- The sound of drums dissipate nicely. I feel a fairly nice sense of the drums being attacked and then receding.
- Overall, after listening to an entire track without switching headphones, I have a good impression. Clean, poppy, hefty thumps, yet not heavy feeling. I could almost say it feels balanced but with just enough heart and clarity to make me enjoy it more than I remember enjoying the K361.

Switching quicker in A/B fashion from the K361 now...
- Compared to the K361, the audience suddenly gains their life back. Tone seems more authentic again.

Going back from the APM to the Panda...
- Now the cheers seem muddied at first impression. Repeating the start of the song a few times, and I grow to like it again and feel it is more authentic than at first return listen.
- Letting the song process past the audience cheers, the guitar somehow feels present enough but the plucking seems lackluster.

After switching back and forth between the K361 and APM...
- The Panda feels heartier than the K361, the thump is there, but the space feels less spacious to my ear.
- The clarity seems more evident however. I'm not sure yet if it's actually better at detail or separation, or if it's just the lack of bass filling the soundscape, making it easier for me to hear the instrument separation and notes...

Switching back and forth with the APM...
- The clarity and spaciousness of the APM becomes evident, more than it was with the Panda.
- The more I try each one, the more I simply have more fun with the APM's bass rich drums and guitar plucking. Mixed with the upper treble elevated perhaps, or for some other reason (I'm not an expert)...it does appear that the Panda has clearer drum pops but less space, less believability, less engagement.
- Try 2:25 - 3:00, listen to the drums, the feint cheer, the occasional snare and guitar. How does that thump of the drum feel as it repeats itself over and over? Try the APM next, same section.
- At 0:55 through 1:05, switching back and forth with the APM. How do the plucks sound to you? To me, they sound richer because of the bass. This is a bass guitar after all, and it's satisfying to me here on the APM compared to the Panda. This may be personal preference.
- Try 1:05 - 1:20. How deep does the bass go? Do you want more? Which one sounds like it has more space around it? The way the strings resonate with the bass on the APM, those engage and interest me in listening more.

APM
Starting fresh after the Panda. About 1 minute later. As with others, the whole track will be heard without any switching of headphones first.
- I hear what reviewers have said who were critical...the higher treble end does come out in a way that may appear to be too much, especially after listening to the others and forming an impression of what the song should sound like.
- There's a sense that some instruments are more prominent than others. But this may not be "worse" as much as it may simply be me being thrown off by the tuning difference.
- The bass can feel almost like it takes up too much space than it should. The brain is a funny thing. I've liked the tuning implementation, acknowledging it was elevated bass before, but now it seems like listening to this track on other tunings has me expecting the stage to sound a certain way. I've definitely enjoyed it before, though now my brain is making sense of it and not immediately taken by the impression. I need to move to A/B testing and alternate between headphones to see how they compare. I'm growing to suspect that what I feel, maybe what anyone feels about their taste, may be influenced by what they are accustomed to. Further testing is needed.

Switching from the Panda...
- What just happened. On the APM, the space just opened up. The audience felt as if air just filled up the space between them. The higher frequency is there like before, but somehow, after hearing it through a couple times, sounds authentic in its own way. The male voices shouting "ayyyy" "yo!" come off as wide open from one another in a large club room.

Switching again from the Panda...
- That cheering initially hits too high in the treble once again, but then it also has a certain clarity and openness to it that I appreciate greatly.
- Moving into the guitar plucks
- Listening in at 0:55, one of my favorite moments where the guitar plucking picks up, I hope to find some better answers...I need to A/B again

Switching from the K361...
- Coming straight from the K361, the scene feels "fuller" because of the bass enriched bass plucks, rather than it feeling bloated in the soundscape.
- At 2:03, a deep strum occurs followed by some drumming. It then picks up more intensely at 2:20. The intensity feels rich here with the APM. I can start to feel like I'm in a room where the bass of the instruments have nowhere to go but there. Live performances feel this heavy with the bass. This feels authentic, to me anyway.

From A/B'ing with the Panda...
- 2:25 - 3:00 Boom! Clarity. The bloated bass from before is gone. In its place is simply a spacious room with an articulated, thumpy drum
- Return back to 0:55 through 1:05. Listen to the tight pluck. Go back and forth with the Panda over these 10 seconds.
- As I sit here going back through those moments, with the APM on my head, I find myself not wanting to take off the APM yet. I'm engaged with what they offer on this song, once I'd had the chance to go back and forth enough with the others.

Track 1 Personal pick: APM. Immersive, engaging, authentic feeling.



Track 2: Piano Concerto in G, M. 83 I. Allegramente
Artist:
Cleveland Orchestra, Krystian Zimerman, London Symphony Orchestra & Pierre Boulez
Album: Ravel: Piano Concertos - Valses nobles et sentimentales
Track highlights for testing: Classical. Orchestra, piano.

K361
- Ugh! Immediately not liking how one of my favorite bits, the sudden clap at the start sounds. Going back to the Panda to hear again. Back and forth.
- After listening to the panda with the K361 back and forth over and over, I couldn't tell if they really sounded so different for the initial clap. Nothing worth splitting hairs for.
- Trying the same 1:44 - 1:48 as the others, the notes are more delicate appearing than the Panda, but artificial to my ear. Somehow I don't feel like I'm listening to a real performance as easily and quickly I felt when I picked up the Panda or the APM.
- It's again a "Harman" curved balance of frequency response, but the clarity, the space, the "pretty" I had more or less elsewhere are all vacant here. Moving from either the APM or Panda to the K361 feels lacking. Too safe, too sterile. Neither the thump and pop of the Panda nor the engaging authenticity of the APM.

Panda (Start)
Since I started Track 1 with the K361, I figure I could try starting with another pair and seeing how it may affect things.
- Love the first sound of the track. That silence broken by a sudden *clap* out of nowhere. Comes off well on the Panda. Going to other headphones to see how it sounds.
- Brains are weird. I'm now back on the Panda and thinking, that clap sounds just ok. Was the K361 really so bad? Now going to switch back and forth, back and forth...Ok I need to move on. I can't hear much of a difference between having to pair to each device. Trying the APM now, same moment.
- After listening to the start with the APM, and almost getting carried away to want to listen to them more, I'm back here to try and listen for the pitter patter of the keys. Will they sound so delicate, clear, and...well...pretty as they did in the APM?
- No. Where did the pretty go? There's something about it that feels muffled by comparison, distant, distorted. I'm also fighting with noise floor I think to hear the piano as cleanly as I'd like. It's possibly a volume issue - if the APM was able to go louder, would it also fight with white noise as much with the piano here?
- Every time I go back from the APM, I find myself wishing I could go back to the APM for this track.
- Trying another part of the track, from 0:30 - 0:50, let's compare with the APM again. Again...the instruments somehow appear as if muffled compared to the APM.

APM
- Listening for the initial *clap,* it seems clearer, more detailed in impression, though a tad softer perhaps - if only by a notch?
- Listening further into the track, the instruments pull me in. The light pitter patter on the piano keys at first, dancing into the track...ok I have to switch to try the others. This was very pretty for this track though so far.
- The APM keeps coming up as clear, spacious, separated! Compared to the Panda anyway. Listen very carefully at 0:35-0:38. Listen for the triangles. Do you hear them? Try it again on the Panda. They almost disappear.
- Listen in at 1:40 - 2:10. Soft moment, you may need to max volume. Focus on how the horn disappears as the piano takes position. Listen as the strings come in with an almost eery mood. Feel that. Try A/B'ing with Panda and K361. Which one has a gentleness meriting the moment? Which one creeps up on you? Which do you feel the most? To me, the Panda doesn't slouch here, but it loses the clarity needed for this moment to shine as well as it does on the APM. Listen close on the piano strokes at 1:44 - 1:48. On the APM, these appear gentle, with delicacy by the player that you can hear. Listen to the same moment on the Panda. Delicate replaced with flat at the peaks of his strokes.
- The instruments play alongside each other better here with classical music, compared to the Panda, to my taste. One man's impressions people. Doesn't have to be yours! Try it yourself.

Track 2 Personal pick: APM. Refined, delicate, spacious, clear


Track 3:
Behind the Yashmak (Live)
Artist: Esbjörn Svensson Trio
Album: E.S.T. Live in Hamburg
Track highlights for testing: Jazz. Guitar, synthetic sounds, piano, drums.

K361
A/B'ing with the Panda and APM took place for awhile before putting the K361 on. Taste may be affected.
- Going into these from the other two makes me feel extremely wanting of just about everything that made either the Panda or APM enjoyable in their own respects. Just as with Track 2.
- Listening longer, it's clear just how recessed some things are that I loved hearing before. The symbols of the drums, lost all muster as they recede as just soft sounds in the back. The soul and intensity engaged with by the APM are replaced here again with sterile feelings. I can't shake it now. Perhaps if I stopped listening for an hour and came back to it, I would find positives, but the sterility makes this headphone a moot point during this comparison at this time. A/B'ing may have its benefits to comparing some things, but I worry it may coat the pallet from strong tastes coming from before. I want to give K361 more credit but it genuinely feels difficult after tasting either the APM or Panda.

Panda
Let's try this second after the APM.
- Instantly the guitar feels louder, maybe even with more bass somehow or another compared to the APM? In any case, the louder volume feels less at risk to be uncomfortable compared to the APM. The upper treble perhaps being lower here may be responsible for it seeming easier on the ears. Maybe the cushy pads help feel like everything is softer somehow (maybe harsh frequencies get absorbed a bit more too there? idk)
- The sound is a bit flat, lacking character I felt like I had with the APM
- Go to 2:40 and listen onward. A/B with APM. The more I compare, the more it sounds as if the bass isn't as cleanly produced, perhaps with how elevated it's being pushed compared to the APM (idk). The Panda have a brighter signature in some ways, but less so in others. But where the APM have a redeeming separation and clarity, the Panda starts to sound less so.
- Going from the K361 brings life back to music. Though not as clear and articulate as the APM, it is nonetheless a major upgrade in the soul of things. I feel the intensity where I hadn't before. However...the Panda may be missing too much accuracy with the tonal qualities. One person's feelings here! Please be skeptical and listen for yourselves with my same comparison to see if you get what I've gotten out of it.

APM (Start)
I'll keep rotating starts like this. Though not full listening as I did with track 1, I will be switching more quickly between the headphones, with a different starter each track.
- Immediately on starting, having had the volume maxed out from classical listening, I had a pleasantly loud and engaging experience with the noises of guitar strumming and audience noises. Need to turn volume down a notch or two though. This will be dangerous!
- A couple notches lower and starting over, I'm loving the audience and live performance authenticity once again. From the audience member quiet sounds in the background to the strumming, to the intermittent sounds from the band popping in. From breathing of band members to instruments, there's a separation once again. It's enough to appreciate it on these high midfi priced headphones. Ok, switching back and forth to the others as I finish typing! Track got as far as 1:54 before stopping. Pleasing! Very pleasing!
- At 2:40 onward, A/B'ing with Panda. Immediately I notice the volume needs to be turned up to match the perceived loudness of the Panda. Compared to the Panda, the APM has less bass, though it has more sub-bass. Can't tell if this is better or worse for this track in terms of realism, but I do find myself preferring the APM's relatively lower 50 - 200 Hz where the Panda is relatively higher.

Track 3 Personal pick: APM. Clear and spacious again. Engaging, intense, sense of accuracy, and enjoyable.

Track 4:
Beautiful World
Artist: Tennyson
Album: Like What - EP
Track highlights for testing: Electronic. Male vocals.

K361 (Start)
- At first listen, these tracks seem to be interesting on any initial headphone. That dripping water is pretty fun at the start!
- Is there a big white noise floor I hear? Or would it be so present on each headphone? To what degree is this the track or headphones? It's pretty bad here, starting at around 0:21 when the track begin’s to try incorporating faint water drips in the background.
- Going back from the APM a bit, this track on the K361 has the sub-bass at a level that is far more tolerable, if not unfortunately so soft its sad.
- I can raise the volume to imitate engagement of the APM or Panda, but it hurts my ears to get to this point here. So, at loud but comfortable volumes, the K361 is very meh. At loud, but uncomfortable levels, it feels like I may as well yell out loud to someone "OH YEA...THIS SEEMS FUN...I CAN HEAR THIS LOUD..THAT MAKES THIS FUN YEA?!" I can't seem to get anything out of these that makes me want to put them on when I have the Panda or APM to choose from.

Panda
Trying the Panda last here after going between the APM and K361...
- Beginning is ok. Not as "soulful" to me as the APM, nor as clear.
- Listening in at the first sub-bass heavy segment of the track, at 0:30, the sub-bass doesn't turn me away like it did on the APM.
- Not sure if it's a cup placement issue, but the right cup seems to sound oddly separated from the left in a way that I don't recall experiencing on the other headphones, or at least not in a way that distracted me like it does here.
- Compared to the APM, the vocals at 3:02 sound like someone is talking through a can. Something feels hollowed out there. Still, the sub-bass is not as distracting thereafter.

APM
- Let's try jumping to the APM from the K361 this time.
- My god immediately everything is beautiful by comparison. Please tell me, if you are comparing K361 with APM too, that you hear this too? The water pouring at the start, the birds chirping, the musical notes coming in, the space between it all. Come on!
- At around 0:30, the sub-bass seems too high for enjoyable listening compared to when I fell in love with this track on the HD 800 S. It seems the sub-bass was produced/mixed to already go very high, so the APM does not do the listener any favors here by having such an elevated sub-bass tuning. It's just a tad much here, where normally the APM either make a track fun or at least not unenjoyable like this.
- The sub-bass is good quality, but it's too much in segments. Some bass heads may enjoy the excess, but this is a song I know all too well with certain tuning and this is not my favorite experience of it.
- Go to 3:02 onward and try on all three. The APM sound nice here. Their clarity help it highlight the multiple voices well. Then at 3:24 when the light sounds pepper in. But too shortly after, that heavy sub-bass comes in again. Too much for me.
- Trying to lower volume just until the sub-bass doesn't cause discomfort as it has...it's just ok at a lower volume. Instead of being uncomfortable, the sub-bass becomes distracting. Neither is good.

Track 4 Personal pick: None. They all feel painful, painfully bad, or devoid of any joy or engagement. Listen to this track on HD 800 / 800 S to see a great reference point. Try on anything but these.

Track 5:
Not the End of the World
Artist: Katy Perry
Album: Smile
Track highlights for testing: Pop. Female vocals. Variety of synthetic sounds. Bass up through high frequencies.

K361
- Though not muffled by bass as with the Panda, everything here feels muffled by way of being less clear than either the Panda or APM.
- Entirely inoffensive. No expression, and no exceptional traits other than matching the harman curve. Sure you can listen longer periods than the APM, but for what?

Panda (Start)
- I'm feeling, with the relatively higher bass here compared to either the K361, that the song sounds "muffled" with the Panda. Does it sound "bad?" Not really. But the same strengths as before come again with the APM to make it more interesting than the Panda to me. The clarity alone just makes me time and again prefer the APM over the Panda.
- It does have points over the APM for seemingly less fatiguing. The Panda makes long listening as easy as possible, though it seems to suffer for it in fidelity.

APM
- At 0:30 onward, comparing the timbre of metal clanging, the vocals, and the very present but controlled sub-bass...the APM seem to win this one for my preferences off the bat.
- The timbre, though helpful in making the space feel clear, does start to fatigue here.

Track 5 Personal pick: APM in quality. Panda to relax and avoid fatigue if an issue with discomfort.


Track 6:
Underwater Love
Artist: Soulperfreesia
Album: Amalgamation
Track highlights for testing: R&B/Soul. Female vocalist accompanied by backup female vocals. Drums. Interesting transition from high range frequencies at start of song to a soulful ranged song.

K361
- Immediately noticing a gentler expression. Less articulation, but easier on the ears during the first bright segment compared to APM.
- Vocals are apparently less soulful compared to APM. Moving to Panda....
- I'm so bored. These work great if you don't have the others to try.
- At this point I'm fairly sure I have no motive to keep these for myself. Great balance for Harman, clear enough for entry audio enthusiasts, and easy to listen to, but not much else going on yet for me. Not in this comparison, not among the tracks so far.

Panda
- Relaxing on the ears like the K361, but again with more character as always. More interesting. Oddly enough, the instruments sound closer to authentic here. I say oddly, because the beginning segment normally appears intentionally digital sounding to draw contrast with the more realistic portrayal at 0:27.
- The 0:27 drum initiates with its usual strong thump in the track I know, followed by the soulful vocals. Bass is a bit high, but may be to someone's liking. Doesn't seem as controlled or articulate as the APM's. Still, pretty fun!
- Here, the Panda has a relaxing, albeit lower fidelity to the APM perhaps, sound of instruments to accompany the vocals.
- Vocals are more relaxed as well in the highs, compared to APM.

APM (Start)
- Listening through the first segment until it really starts around 0:35 with soulful vocals. A/B'ing now...let's try K361.
- APM appears too sibilant here, in both instruments and vocals during high pitch points.

Track 6 Personal pick: Panda. Relaxed, soulful, not fatiguing.

Track 7:
Star / Pointro
Artist: The Roots
Album: The Tipping Point
Track highlights for testing: Hip-hop/rap. Unique contrasting beginning with the remaining song. Spoken word male vocals. Claps, background female vocals, and light drumming.

K361 (Start)
- Nothing special. Decent.

Panda
Tried second...
- Claps began with a strong impression. Love how they sound so far.
- Bass feels to muddy the waters a bit. Could be very interesting to some people though. Not my taste. Seems almost distant and not together with the rap.
- Vocals sound muffled to my ear.

APM
- Clarity again rears its head. Vocals clear up from the Panda, bass is far tighter and controlled.
- It's almost as if the instruments and vocals just play more nicely with one another. They feel like they're in a band together, rather than a bass off somewhere doing it's thing too loud while someone tries rapping with a bad microphone (the Panda felt as such to me by comparison).
- The more I type with the track going and these on my head, the more I enjoy the track where I wasn't with the others. Clear winner for my taste here. Very subjective though. (isn't most things?)

Track 7 Personal pick: APM. Clear, cohesive.

Track 8:
Toothbrush
Artist: DNCE
Album: DNCE
Track highlights for testing: Pop. Male vocals. Claps. Guitar and drums.

K361
- Starting to sound cheap with these over-used ears! Vocals, instruments, none of it pops. None of it sings. None of it has heart. Bass, mids, treble, you name it, there's nothing that sparkles or brings joy compared to Panda and APM.
- Can't help but feel these are just...not...enjoyable, after either the Panda or APM. Same old same old. Better reference pair than m50x it seems perhaps, and with wireless convenience, but I'm spoiled now and don't want these K361's at all.

Panda (Start)
- The breathiness of the vocals are present, but still these vocals seem like they could be somehow more....apparent in the space. Again, I'm missing clarity I know could be.

APM
- Oh yes...getting addicted to the vocals over the Panda. Going to this second in the comparison felt refreshing. The clarity and space gives that impression.
- Some comfort issues with the treble spike in the APM. I've also been listening to music at loud volume for a very long time. I do wonder if it would bother me fresh (because I tested these songs many hours ago with fatigue not nearly as experienced).
- Listen to 1:20 through 1:40. Where the Panda and K361 lack heart, the APM does. The song feels much more interesting to me here. But can my ears take the treble fatigue?

Track 8 Personal pick: APM. Fun, spirited, sparkly. Maybe too sparkly. Don't play music too loud, kids.

Track 9:
Early Morning Light
Artist: Sarah Jarosz
Album: Undercurrent
Track highlights for testing: Singer/Songwriter. Wistful vocals and acoustic accompaniment.

K361
- The echo or reverb from the vocals are clear here. Good or bad? Not sure, but worth noting.
- Seemingly the easiest on the ears. Probably owed to the sharpest drop in treble on the upper end.

Panda
- Not sure what to say except that it's easier on the ears than APM, but not as easy as K361.
- Going back and forth and trying these again, they sound less spacious than the APM. Not sure if that really matters terribly or not to the listener though. The tonal quality is also different seeming to me, or perhaps I'm just straining to qualify for the differences I'm hearing.

APM (Start)
- Feeling the vocals/acoustics allow slightly higher volumes than track 8, but not too much. High pitch female vocals do reach a fatigue point at times.
- After going back and forth with K361 and Panda, I would describe the APM as different with how it sounds more open than the others. There seems to be more space around the singer. The reverb feels somewhat more authentic?

Track 9 Personal pick: TIE!
I'm really not sure which one I would prefer. The APM have spaciousness, but may be fatiguing if too loud. The others are fine for this track. This may be personal preference. Tough one. In earlier impressions in the day, I thought I had preferred the APM far above the others.



Track 10:
Familiar
Artist: Agnes Obel
Album: Citizen of Glass
Track highlights for testing: Alternative. Female vocal-centric, with strings, finger snaps, synthetic sounds, piano, and digitally altered male (or female?) sounding vocals.

K361 (Start)
- Piano feels weak. Too softened somehow? Let's check the others.
- Trying the vocals after hearing it on APM. Gross! Get it away get it away! Too soft, too squished away somewhere and dampened. Try this yourself and tell me you don't prefer the APM vocals here over the K361!
- For consistency, trying the same segments..0:55 - 1:30 and 2:00 - 2:43 (just as I had on Panda and APM)...I'm actually finding myself enjoying the portrayal of the song more than Panda. Where Panda takes artistic liberties and mushes up a bit with the less articulate bass, the K361's safer approach to balance at least gives me a closer rendition of the song that is closer to what I am used to. However....
- At moments I can't help but feel I hear a distorted sound. Just at around 2:25 - 2:29. I think this is more the artist mumbling a bit and possibly the mixer lifting her volume up? Hmm. I'm not an audio engineer, but it sounds wonky or flat in a way here that it does not as much on the APM. In any case, the APM handles it more delicately and it shows to my ear anyhow. Not a big deal, but worth mentioning?

Panda
- MUCH better than the K361 with these vocals. What about the APM compared to it?
- 0:55 - 1:30. Coming over from the APM, what do we hear... Ok...right off the bat, the start of the segment doesn't soar with those strings as it does on the APM. They simply don't have the separation, texture, and clarity needed. Snaps, plucks, simply don't play separated enough. While not exactly muddy, it isn't separated well enough either.
- Let's try 2:00 - 2:43. Without switching to APM yet, I already feel the Panda is missing the mark. I've listened to this track many many times elsewhere (HD 800 S, speakers in cars/at home). Unclear, lacking beauty in the female vocals and distinguishability of the various sounds in this segment. Checking back using the APM...


APM
- Trying this second after K361, the piano and strings feel soft, but again clearer and with more separation yet again as always.
- Listening in through vocals, very pleased! Very pleased!
- Moving over here from the Panda, immediately feeling much happier with the APM vocals. The APM vocals here just sing. Lovely.
- 0:55 through 1:30...that segment is fairly pleasing to listen to with that clarity and spaciousness the APM offer. Let's try moving to the Panda...
- At 2:00 - 2:43 again, after Panda disappointed... Ok, maybe these are psychological tricks, I don't know. Maybe I have a bias or something, but I enjoy the tone of the female vocals more here. The clarity though again seems to work in favor for the APM.

Track 10 Personal pick: APM

Track 11:
The Xith Commandment
Artist: Chuck Mangione
Album: Feels So Good
Track highlights for testing: Jazz. Wind instruments, guitar, drums. Dynamic range of quiet to loud moments. Stereo utilized to exchange sound from one ear to another.

K361
- Stranger sounding compared to the Panda and APM again. Seems to produce a different tone or something. It could even be that these are the MOST accurate, and I wouldn't even know. Compared against two other headphones here though, these don't sound good to me, tonally.
- Listening on from 3:00 - 3:55, what impression do I get when the segment enters a new intensity...ok that seems only decent once again. Nothing special stands out. It gets the job done in the cleanest way, with little low end that I have come to enjoy in this competition. It's losing this taste test, so to speak. Over to Panda for the same moment...

Panda (start)
- Skipping right to 2:30 onward, right as the music transitions from calm to something more intense. Drums kick in well, followed by horn. Great OOMPH that wakes you up in a good way. Nice moment on almost any device! A/B'ing over to APM, straight to our main competitor at this point...back from the APM here, the smooth jazz was definitely preferred. This punchiness by comparison, with the horn blaring a bit too harshly without the comparative delicate resolution of the APM makes for a less pleasing jazz experience here.
- Trying 3:00 - 3:55, a longer segment as we did for K361, let's see...ah! At least here I feel like I'm getting something. But it almost feels, blurry by comparison. Maybe it's the less than articulate bass in the drums and bass guitar.

APM
- Going from 2:30 into the drum entrance, as we did with Panda...rather than punch the listener in the ears with the drums, they mozy on in - full of jazz spirit here. Drums carry their own kick, but just not as loud by comparison. Smooooth. Back to Panda to hear again...back to the APM from a rougher revisit on the Panda, the APM again solidifies the "smooth" description from before. Lets' try K361...
- Covering 3:00 - 3:55 as done with the other two headphones.. Oh come on! Night and day! Yes please, give me this jazz please. So much tighter bass in the drums and guitar compared to the Panda it isn't a contest. This is a whole other tier. Ridiculous. Utterly preposterous!

Track 11 Personal pick: APM. Tight, controlled, on point with jazz.

Conclusion
Well that's it. The longest and most grueling journey of comparisons I've done yet. The APM became my preferred headphone rather quickly as soon as I started comparing.

At first listen through an entire track, without comparing anything, each headphone was surprisingly strong on their own. It was only when I started to compare them back to back in short bursts throughout a track that the differences stood out more and more.

The APM has my personal preference for enjoying music for essentially these reasons:
- soundstage
- clarity
- perceived authenticity/accuracy to life
- control
- tuning style and engagement with the music tried today

The biggest downside for me after so much listening is that the APM may face discomfort at some times, at loud enough volumes, with songs that exhibit a high amount of treble (around 8 kHz) or sub-bass, since the APM already have elevations there. With few exceptions, the APM are my recommendation.

Drop + THX Panda Notes
Compared to the APM, these were relatively muffled at times. Clear in some impressions, perhaps with some percussion, but not all. Particularly in the bass region, the Pandas seemed to lack control to me. Vocals also seemed somehow less than clear, compared to the APM. Less space, less clarity. The relatively elevated mids couldn't save these from my critiques on the tracks I heard.

While the Panda has some strengths, is fairly relaxing and easy to listen to (at times, where the APM are not), they simply don't deliver the same clarity and resolution on certain things to my ear. Maybe I need more practice or direct examples to try that others can direct me to. Maybe the drums are nicer sometimes? Eh. Maybe I'm just too much of a sucker for clarity and the space portrayed by the APM. You try comparing and see what you think here.

K361
Balanced according to the Harman curve. These could be a good recommendation for an entry enthusiast, perhaps more so than the m50x (an old standard recommendation everywhere). These are my new gift for someone if they could use wireless headphones. At $115, not bad at all. But quite simply without anything particularly special, and not excelling in qualities demonstrated by the APM.

Reflecting back on the critical consensus on these, I end up agreeing with DMS where he hears something off in the K361. They do indeed. Tone is off, or it feels thinned out in places. How he or any of the critics who've recommended the K361/371 so strongly over the APM, based on what I've heard, is very odd to me. The K361 seems woefully under competitive to either the Panda or the APM unless you are an entry enthusiast who wants the strictest harman curve and basics taken care of. The K361 take no risks and yield no rewards for the listener who wants the richness and tonal quality experienced by the Panda or APM.

EDIT:: The K361, while having a less enjoyable experience for me, may be someone’s preferred headphone. It does after all follow the Harman target nicely. It’s a fantastic headphone considering the price at just over $100. With my limited experiences anyway, I wouldn’t recommend any similarly priced headphone more than the K361. Not just closed back. Any headphone at $100-$150. Open, wired, you name it! Just as we see many using the M50x in studio work, podcasts, and more, I could easily see the K361 competing strongly there.

Final Thoughts
There are many variables in this kind of testing and comparison running. Mainly, do you like the tuning I do? The APM have a dip between 1.5 kHz and 4 kHz and people may simply not enjoy that. Similarly, people may not enjoy the elevated sub-bass, even if it is of good quality. The elevated treble around 8 kHz can also be fatiguing for many people, for certain tracks. This is certainly not a good thing for the APM.

There may also be very big problems with the methodology I didn't account for. Could listening fatigue have affected results? Could I have chosen other tracks? I doubt these concerns are significant enough to detract from the validity of my observations enough to change the results dramatically, but it's worth considering.

I want to end by saying this...try my experiment yourself if you disagree. I only shared exactly what I observed, with proper audio terminology or not, as best I could. If you try my methods out and have different results on clarity, separation, etc., cool. Have a conversation about it.

If you don't like your APM, try comparing them to other headphones on tracks, your own if you like, and see if you really don't like them. I suspect the brain may get used to tonal qualities, to a headphone's overall qualities even, and may genuinely enjoy it more than other headphones with enough time falling in love with that set. Or, maybe not, and the APM is just better to my ear no matter if I had it for awhile or not.

Just try things for yourself please. This is all just me. One guy on the internet. Please don't blindly listen to others who say you can definitely buy something for less money that you will enjoy more. I didn't! I heard what I heard. Try things for yourself people.

I've yet to find cheaper headphones I enjoy more either objectively or subjectively. In today's audio market, I stand strong at this time by saying the APM are worth, on audio quality alone, $550 or around that (at least as far as closed back wireless goes, ANC or not!). Pandas are $400, praised by many without the price being scrutinized, and I did NOT enjoy them more for my ears - not nearly as much in some cases.
 
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tinyman392

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Thanks for proving my point, these cans are only worth considering if you’re into an apple ecosystem, namely iPhones. I have an an iPad Pro, a MacBook Pro and an IMac. I literally wouldn’t use a lightning connector for anything but these headphones. For $550 they could’ve either charged wirelessly or use an USB C port like every serious apple product does besides the iPhone which should’ve made that move starting with IPhone X.
To be honest, their entire AirPods line charges using Lightning. As do the Magic Keyboard, Trackpad, and Mouse. It seems like the majority of their accessories charge using Lightning. Though some AirPods and the AirPods Pro also charge using Qi. I'm not sure how it would be possible to charge the APM using Qi as there would be no real good way to get it to set on a Qi charger appropriately (someone mentioned this was missing in another post). They could in theory try MagSafe, but then you'd need another even more rare charger that also costs a heck lot more (and would dramatically raise the price of the APM).

One thing that is consistent with Apple's USB-C products, they can all be used to charge other things using USB-C rather than with Lightning only having the ability to get charged. So USB-C = bi-directional charging while Lightning = unidirectional charging. So smaller products would charge using Lightning.
 
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MayaTlab

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Just a couple more measurement sets in :

Oratory1990's (FR) : https://headphonedatabase.com/oratory?ids=238

0dB's (FR, ANC, THD) : https://www.0db.co.kr/REVIEW_0DB/1682002#29
For the latter to be compared, for example, to the B&O H95 (https://www.0db.co.kr/REVIEW_0DB/1595906) or the HD560S (https://www.0db.co.kr/REVIEW_0DB/1601308) :

Above 1000-2000hz don't read too much into the exact values in dB, there is some variation between test rigs / methodologies, and your own ears won't compare to someone else's ear anyway in terms of FR at your own eardrum (within reasonable boundaries, that's no excuse for poorly measuring headphones). Just look for trends. The most significant one of which on the APM seems to be the more or less recessed response at around 3000hz.

THD seems to be very, very, very low. Not that it should matter that much, I haven't seen much evidence that people can discern THD levels that low anyway.

I'm quite curious to see them measured on Rting's rig (different hardware and methodology), and I'd be curious as well to see how they measure on a B&K 5128.
 
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WhatsHiFi

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And then the bass. It's significant with that treble like bass and treble heard. Mids sounds a bit recessed and I'm not getting the mids definition. Bass is fairly avg. Actually worse quality than a lot of closed-backs I’ve heard. It get boomy at times and not so tight.
This more or less sums up how I wanted to describe the sound. Also, everything seems somewhat compressed and/or digital. They are still really beautifully built and sits perfect on my head. I’m also starting to be disturbed by the crown which will move the volume when I move them or put them on/off my head. But just as Sony and Bose’s alternatives don’t stand a chance since they are in a different price tier. Speaking purely of sound APM don’t stand a chance against the wired more pricey stuff like Sony MDR-Z1R when connected to the same iPhone and Apple Music. They lack a lot of detail for each and every instrument and the treble is to harsh.

Just want to be as unbiased as can be and if APM is good enough cause they bring so much more functionality then that is surely added values.
 
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