USB-C AirPods Pro 2 – A Sound Revolution or Just Another Upgrade

usb c airpods pro 2 a sound revolution or just another upgrade.jpg Technology

Apple has once again pushed the envelope in the realm of personal audio technology with the release of its AirPods Pro 2, now equipped with an array of new features as part of the iOS 17 update, officially available since September 18. Among these enhancements are Adaptive Audio, Conversation Awareness, and Personalized Volume, all of which are designed to significantly improve the functionality of the AirPods Pro 2. However, while these upgrades have been eagerly received by tech enthusiasts, one question seems to have taken center stage: Does the new USB-C version of the AirPods Pro 2 deliver a better sound quality than its predecessor, the Lightning version?

The USB-C version of the AirPods Pro 2 is similar to the Lightning model, with a few key differences. Notably, the new model sports increased dust-resistance (IP54 rating as opposed to IPX4), the ability to charge using your iPhone 15, and a significant upgrade in audio support with 20-bit/48 kHz Lossless Audio. This upgrade is designed to reduce latency dramatically, particularly for Apple’s upcoming $3,499 Vision Pro headset. While these are impressive features, they have sparked curiosity among tech bloggers and YouTubers who’ve noticed a new "acoustic architecture" in the AirPods Pro 2. This leaves us with an intriguing question: Has the sound quality of the earbuds changed with this new architecture?

AirPods Pro 2: Exploring the New Features and Evaluating Sound Quality

Since the announcement at Apple’s WWDC in June, we’ve been eagerly expecting the new features for AirPods Pro 2 that come with iOS 17, officially released on September 18. The upgrades, which include Adaptive Audio, Conversation Awareness, and Personalized Volume, are set to elevate the functionality of the AirPods Pro 2. However, as I’ve been testing these features on the new AirPods Pro 2 with MagSafe Charging Case (USB-C), I’ve been pondering a question that might be on the minds of many: Does the USB-C version of the AirPods Pro 2 sound any better than the previous Lightning version?

Comparing the New and Old Models

The new USB-C AirPods Pro 2 are quite similar to the previous Lightning model, though not identical. The new buds and charging case offer increased dust-resistance (an IP54 rating compared to the previous IPX4), and interestingly, you can use your iPhone 15 to charge the USB-C AirPods with the included USB-C cable. Moreover, Apple has added support for 20-bit/48 kHz Lossless Audio with a "massive reduction of latency" for the upcoming $3,499 Vision Pro headset. Apple has reportedly developed a "groundbreaking wireless audio protocol," and some have even noted that the AirPods Pro 2 feature a new "acoustic architecture."

Evaluating the Sound

The meaning of "new acoustic architecture" is up for debate, but it does raise the question of whether the sound has changed. The USB-C AirPods Pro 2 are designed to sound better with the Vision Pro Headset, but could this new architecture make them sound subtly different with current devices like the iPhone? Apple hasn’t confirmed any improvement in sound when you pair the new USB-C AirPods Pro 2 with current devices, but it doesn’t rule out that possibility.

The A/B Testing Experience

In an attempt to identify any differences, I paired both the old and new AirPods Pro 2 to my iPhone 14 Pro and listened to various tracks on both Apple Music and Qobuz. While I’ve been using the original AirPods Pro 2 for almost a year and the new USB-C AirPods for only a few days, I believe they are in comparable condition for this test.

Verdict So Far

Most listeners will likely not notice any difference in sound quality between the old and new AirPods Pro 2. They both deliver excellent sound for such lightweight devices. However, after the tests, I feel the new USB-C AirPods Pro 2 may offer a slightly more refined and cleaner sound. It’s possible that knowing about the change in the acoustic architecture may have biased my judgment, but further tests will clarify this.

More Tests Await

The question remains: Is my observation bias affecting my judgment? Will the sound performance between the two normalize once I upgrade to iOS 17? I am currently upgrading and continuing my testing. Once more people try the USB-C AirPods Pro 2 and compare them with the original AirPods Pro 2, we’ll hopefully get a more definitive answer on whether they really sound identical or not.


As the AirPods Pro 2 continue to evolve, the subtle improvements and additions, especially in sound quality, keep the product competitive in the market. The introduction of features like Adaptive Audio, Conversation Awareness, and Personalized Volume shows Apple’s commitment to enhancing user experience. And while the difference in sound quality between the old and new models may not be significant to the average user, audio enthusiasts might find the upgrades worthwhile.

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