10 Ways to Improve Your AirPods Pro Sound Quality

Although Apple’s AirPods Pro wireless earbuds sound great out of the box, you can make them sound even better by tweaking some settings. Read on to learn some tips for getting the best audio quality out of your AirPods Pro.

1. Update Your AirPods

The first way to improve the sound on your AirPods Pro is to make sure they’re updated. Apple occasionally releases firmware updates for AirPods to tweak their equalizer and improve their sound quality. You might never have noticed this, as AirPods update automatically in the background.

However, you can also force your AirPods to check for and install these firmware updates. Here’s how to update your AirPods Pro firmware:

  1. Make sure your AirPods Pro are in their charging case.
  2. Plug in or wirelessly charge the case.
  3. Make sure your iPhone is connected to the internet.
  4. Keep your AirPods Pro within close range, or connected to, your iPhone.

Your AirPods Pro will update automatically. Depending on the update, their sound may improve.

2. Toggle the Noise Control Settings

Surprisingly, one of the best ways to improve the sound quality of your AirPods Pro may be to turn off Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). This doesn’t necessarily mean you should turn on Transparency mode—you may want to keep all audio processing off for the best sound.

While this sounds counter-intuitive, as you’d think noise cancellation would improve the sound, that isn’t always true. The process of active noise cancellation (ANC) can actually hinder the audio quality due to the intense sound processing going on behind the scenes.

For instance, Apple’s Adaptive EQ technology inside the AirPods Pro automatically adapts the EQ of these earbuds 200 times per second to provide the best noise cancellation experience. But these minute changes can create a warbling or fluttering effect with high-end sounds if you listen while moving around.

At other times, ANC seems to improve the equalization of the AirPods Pro by boosting the bass. Apple has a habit of changing this all the time with new AirPods Pro firmware updates, so the best thing you can do is experiment with the ANC, Transparency, and Off settings on your AirPods.

Now that you know this, here’s how to toggle the Noise Control settings on your AirPods Pro:

  1. Make sure your AirPods are connected to your iPhone.
  2. Open Control Center by swiping down from the top-right corner of the screen. Or if your iPhone has a Home button, swipe up from the bottom.
  3. Long-press the volume bar, which should show an AirPods Pro icon.
  4. Tap Noise Control and select one of the available options. If you own AirPods Pro 2, you’ll see an Adaptive option, which you can also try.

If you’re in doubt about which option sounds the best, the safest bet is usually to turn Noise Control off to eliminate any unnecessary processing of the sound.

3. Take the Ear Tip Fit Test

If your AirPods Pro still sound iffy, it could be because the included ear tips aren’t sealing your ears well enough. Luckily, there’s a quick way to determine which size (small, medium, or large) is best for you.

Apple provides a software-based Ear Tip Fit Test on your devices. This lets you know which ear tip size best keeps sound from leaking in or out of your ears. To find the Ear Tip Fit Test:

  1. Connect your AirPods Pro to your iPhone.
  2. Open Settings and select Bluetooth.
  3. Tap the Info (i) button next to your AirPods Pro.
  4. Scroll down to tap Ear Tip Fit Test, then follow the onscreen steps.
  5. If an ear tip doesn’t give a good seal, switch to a different size and try again. You might need to use a different size on each ear.

During the test, you’ll hear some music playing. As we mentioned, this is all part of a test to see what produces the best sound. Hopefully, you’ll now have a good idea of which ear tip size suits you the best.

4. Modify the EQ for Your AirPods Pro

Everyone’s ears, preferences, and levels of hearing loss are different. So what might sound great to someone else could sound terrible to you. For this reason, Apple includes Headphone Accommodations that let you customize your AirPods Pro’s equalizer (EQ).

These settings are particularly useful for anybody with substantial hearing loss, but they can also be great for anyone looking to boost the bass, high-end, or mids of their AirPods Pro. You can even take a hearing test to perfectly match the AirPods Pro EQ to your hearing.

Here’s how to edit your AirPods EQ on an iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings > Accessibility.
  2. Scroll down and tap Audio & Visual.
  3. Tap Headphone Accommodations and enable the toggle at the top of the screen.
  4. Now, you can choose between three preset options that optimize the sound for Balanced Tone, Vocal Range, or Brightness.
  5. Alternatively, tap Custom Audio Setup to complete a short hearing test and customize your AirPods Pro EQ based on the results. After completing the test, choose Audiogram from the EQ options.

If you struggled to choose between the comparisons with Apple’s hearing test, you might want to install Mimi Hearing Test (Free) to run a more detailed hearing test instead. Then, link it with your Health app and choose those Audiogram results from the Headphone Accommodation settings for perfectly customized EQ in your AirPods Pro.

5. Disable or Edit Spatial Audio

Apple’s Spatial Audio feature creates the effect of sounds coming from all around you: above, below, in front, and behind, as well as the classic left and right directions you get with stereo audio. Your AirPods utilize Dolby Atmos mixes in streaming apps to achieve this, but the Spatialize Stereo feature can create the same 3D effect with stereo sources.

Unfortunately, though, not everything sounds better with Spatial Audio. Some songs feel more distant, lose their punch, or become muddy when played back with Spatial Audio.

Moreover, Apple’s dynamic head tracking feature pans sound when you turn your head, so it always sounds like it’s coming from your device screen. This is excellent when you’re watching a movie, but terrible while listening to music—especially if your iPhone is in your pocket and you turn your head while walking around.

So you may want to experiment with disabling both of these features—Spatial Audio and dynamic head tracking—to improve the sound of your AirPods Pro.

To disable Spatial Audio, play a song and follow these steps:

  1. Bring up Control Center on your iPhone.
  2. Long-press the volume bar, which should show an AirPods Pro icon.
  3. Toggle the Spatial Audio or Spatialize Stereo button in the bottom-right corner.
  4. To keep Spatial Audio but disable Dynamic Head Tracking, choose the Fixed option.

6. Disable Conversation Awareness

If you own the AirPods Pro 2, you’ll have access to a handy feature called Conversation Awareness. It’s one of the Adaptive Audio features that allows your AirPods to constantly listen to voices in your surroundings and tune your listening experience on the fly.

For instance, when someone speaks in front of you, your AirPods Pro will lower the audio volume and emphasize their voice more. This allows you to hear them better and hold a conversation easily. When both of you are done talking, your AirPods will revert to the default Noise Control setting you’ve set.

While this is handy, it can negatively impact your AirPods Pro’s sound quality, especially when you’re out listening to music in public. Fortunately, you can disable it by following these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Bluetooth on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the Info (i) button next to your AirPods Pro.
  3. Scroll down and toggle off Conversation Awareness under the Audio section.

Alternatively, you can toggle it off after long-pressing the volume slider in the iOS Control Center.

7. Modify the EQ for Your Music App

You can adjust the equalizer settings of your music app to vastly improve your AirPods Pro’s sound quality. The exact steps depend on the music streaming service you use; here’s how to do so with two of the most popular music streaming apps: Spotify and Apple Music.

To modify the equalizer in Spotify:

  1. Open Spotify.
  2. From the Home tab, tap the Settings icon.
  3. Select Playback > Equalizer.
  4. Test out the presets to see what sounds best to you. Most people recommend Bass Booster for AirPods Pro users.
  5. Alternatively, you can adjust the EQ manually by dragging the sliders at the top of the screen.

To modify the EQ in Apple Music:

  1. Go to the Settings app on your phone.
  2. Scroll down to Music.
  3. Select EQ from the list.
  4. Choose the EQ setting you want. For example, pick Increase Bass if you want to boost the bass in your AirPods Pro.

With this, you can boost the bass in your AirPods Pro or make whatever other changes you need to improve the sound quality—everyone’s ears and tastes are different, after all.

8. Adjust the Audio Quality Setting

It’s possible you aren’t getting the best music quality possible from your music streaming app. Thankfully, it’s easy to change these settings, depending on which service you use.

For now, we’ll only cover how to do this in Spotify and Apple Music since those are the most popular music streaming apps. Keep in mind that other streaming services like Tidal and Amazon Music Unlimited provide super hi-fi music streaming for audiophiles, though.

Here’s how to improve audio quality in Spotify if you have a Spotify Premium subscription:

  1. Open Spotify and tap the Settings icon.
  2. Choose Audio Quality.
  3. Select High or Very High for both streaming and downloading.

In Apple Music, choose your music quality by following these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Music.
  2. Under Audio, tap Audio Quality.
  3. From the Cellular Streaming option, select High Quality. While you can enable Lossless Audio, it won’t affect the sound quality because wireless earbuds like AirPods Pro don’t support it.

After this setting change, your music should sound much clearer. However, you should note that this could greatly increase the amount of data used by Spotify or Apple Music. 160kbps (High quality) or 320kbps (Very High quality) is a big data difference compared to 96kbps (Normal quality). Consider changing this only when on Wi-Fi if you need to save data.

9. Charge Your AirPods

While this may seem obvious, we often forget that our earbuds are low on battery after listening to them for a long time. When any audio device is low on battery, its sound quality tends to deteriorate. Make sure your AirPods Pro are charged up if the sound quality seems poor.

Speaking of which, here’s a quick tip for wireless charging: you can simply tap your finger on the AirPods Pro case to check the battery status. If it shows amber, it’s still charging. If it shows green, it’s fully charged.

To more easily keep track of your AirPods Pro battery level in the future, you can add the Battery widget to your Home Screen:

  1. Tap and hold in a blank space on the Home Screen.
  2. Tap the Add (+) button in the top-left corner.
  3. Scroll through the available widgets and select Batteries.
  4. Choose the widget size you like, then tap Add Widget and position it on your Home Screen.
  5. Whenever your AirPods Pro are on, find that widget to check the battery level.

Now you can more easily keep track of the battery on your AirPods to avoid low-power situations and preserve their sound. Low battery could also be why the microphone isn’t working on your AirPods.

10. Buy Memory Foam Ear Tips

Apple’s silicone ear tips for the AirPods Pro work just fine. But if you’re looking for a better fit or improved bass response, memory foam ear tips might be a better alternative.

Memory foam, the material commonly used in mattresses, has a soft, fluffy build that adjusts to your ear and remembers its shape to provide maximum comfort. And while there are tons of memory foam ear tips for AirPods Pro that you can buy, we recommend Foam Masters memory foam ear tips.

Hopefully, swapping in foam ear tips will fix any remaining lackluster sound on your AirPods Pro.

The methods we listed above should allow you to boost the bass or tweak the equalizer to improve the sound of your AirPods Pro. It’s important to get the best sound out of your headphones, especially if you paid a pretty penny for them.

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