AirPods Pro reduces noise after updating firmware? really?

“Did you find that AirPods Pro worn on your ears is weak in noise reduction?”

This is news that has been circulating on the Internet recently. The reason is that after updating the 2C54 firmware of AirPods Pro, some users find that its noise reduction effect is weaker than the initial version, which is obviously different from the original noise reduction effect of AirPods Pro. Some users believe that Apple has adjusted the noise reduction performance of the headset by updating the firmware.

In fact, this is not the first time that users have noticed that the noise reduction effect of AirPods Pro is weakened. As early as last year’s 2B588 firmware, this phenomenon has been discovered by some careful users.

The 2C54 update continues to adjust based on 2B588, so more users this time found that the noise reduction effect of the headset was significantly weakened.

In the AirPods Pro noise reduction test released by foreign media RTings on January 20th, they compared the noise reduction of headphones using 2C54 firmware and found that when the noise reduction mode is turned on, the noise reduction is weaker than in previous versions.

This situation mainly occurs in the low-range scene (20Hz-250Hz, such as aircraft, cabin). The noise reduction performance of the new firmware will be slightly weaker than the previous firmware.

However, things did not give a comparison of the new and old firmware, and just explained the test results through a line chart and a few sentences, so we have not seen how much the noise reduction gap between the firmware is.

The majority of users on Apple Weibo ’s voting on Weibo did not notice that the noise reduction of the headset changed.

Moreover, this time it is found that the noise reduction of the headset is still only a few users, and most users do not actually feel the difference.

This may be that Apple did adjust the noise reduction ability of the headset, or it may be that the subjective hearing of the user has changed, but before the test results of the official or authoritative organization came out, we all classified this change in hearing as metaphysics.

In fact, in addition to AirPods Pro, noise-canceling headset manufacturers such as Bose and Sony have also been exposed to metaphysical events similar to “reducing the noise reduction performance of headphones with firmware”:

In 2017, Bose was complained by British and American users due to the weakening of the noise reduction function of QC35. Eventually, Bose returned the headquarters for testing by recycling the headsets of 20 volunteers who reported problems.

However, the final results showed that the new firmware did not change the noise reduction performance of the headset.

In 2019, Bose was once again exposed to the firmware that weakened the noise reduction performance of the QC35 II.

Some users think that before updating the firmware, the headset can hardly hear external noise in the noise reduction mode.

The experience is as quiet as turning on the TV mute button. After updating the firmware, users can hear external noise in noise reduction mode, which is different from the original experience.

However, this time is also a small probability event. Finally, Bose also responded to The Verge’s firmware issues via email. The results are also consistent with QC35, confirming that the firmware has not changed the noise reduction performance of the headset.

As for Sony, they have said to some users with similar feedback that they did not change the noise reduction performance of the WH-1000XM3 through firmware. Some netizens even wrote downgrade strategies to return the headset to the “peak performance” by returning to the old firmware.

However, whether it is the past QC35, WH-1000XM3, or today ’s AirPods Pro, they all have one thing in common. The statement that the noise reduction performance is suspected to be weakened by the firmware has no data to support it.

It is more of a user’s precious memories. And the everyday sense of hearing. Although RTings said in the test report that the noise reduction performance of the 2C54 firmware headset is not as good as before, whether this is really the reason for the firmware still requires a question mark.

This may be the “metaphysics” in the headset industry.

In summary, I think there are two possibilities for AirPods Pro noise reduction:

One is to assume that the official has adjusted the noise reduction performance of the headset through firmware. The reason for this is I think it is to alleviate the discomfort caused by long-term wearing under the condition that the user cannot customize the adjustment, or other experience reasons, but the manufacturer did not inform the user when adjusting this function;

The other is that the firmware does not adjust the noise reduction performance of the headset, but different user conditions (such as how to wear and use scenes) will also affect the noise reduction effect of the headset to a certain extent, so experience deviation occurs.

In addition, the saying that “noise reduction is weakened by firmware” has precedents, which will give people a psychological suggestion that once the noise reduction of the headset becomes weak, the reason for the firmware update will be immediately thought of.

In short, whether the manufacturer will change the noise reduction performance of the headset through firmware is still a matter for a small number of users. No matter how we guess, in the end, only the manufacturer will know the answer. As a user, I think that instead of taking the time to debate metaphysics, it is better to make suggestions to manufacturers and optimize the current products.

▲ Sony Headphones software can adjust headset noise reduction and ambient sound intensity

From a subjective point of view, I think if Apple wants to adjust the noise reduction performance of the headphones, it may wish to refer to Sony’s solution and use the slider bar to give the user the noise reduction strength of the headphones to adjust, so that users with different noise reduction habits can choose for themselves.

Users can select different intensity noise reduction through the keys of AirPods Pro so that even users who are sensitive to noise reduction pressure can also use the noise reduction function by adjusting the intensity.

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