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Do AirPods Have Good Bass?

Last updated: 1 year ago
5 min read

Apple AirPods are highly beloved among the mainstream public. And since most people also enjoy good bass, they wonder how good AirPods are at reproducing it.

In this article, you will learn:

  • How good is the bass on different generations of Apple AirPods
  • How it compares to the competition
AirPods on an iPad
CONTENTS (show more)

    Do AirPods Have Good Bass?

    For the most part, Apple AirPods earbuds and headphones have balanced bass responses. That means it isn’t perfectly neutral but slightly boosted to give the sound some warmth.

    However, the AirPods come in different headphone types. And the types have an impact on how well they produce bass.

    Here’s how to increase bass in AirPods.

    Now, let’s see the differences between classic earphones, in-ear headphones, and over-ear headphones.

    Regular AirPods

    The standard Apple AirPods, AirPods 2, and AirPods 3 are open (classic earphones without ear tips), which isn’t the best for bass.


    Being open affects the bass quality. Earbuds need an airtight fit to produce deep bass with their tiny drivers. The non-in-ear design doesn’t have the best fit.

    And they let you hear more ambient noise, which masks your music, making it harder to hear the details.

    Apple AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro
    Apple AirPods 2 (left) vs. Apple AirPods Pro (right).

    AirPods Pro and Max

    On the other hand, the Apple AirPods Pro and AirPods Max models have a better bass response. Thanks to a closed design, which prevents the outside noise from masking the music.

    Plus, the over-ear headphones (Max) have much bigger drivers, which help produce powerful sound. Also, enabling active noise cancellation doesn’t affect the sound quality.

    Let’s have a look at bass quality between various AirPods models:

    Apple AirPods modelDescription of their bass QUALITY
    AirPodsReasonable control and some bass punch, but you barely hear it
    AirPods 2Similar story to the 1. gen AirPods as they share the same sound quality
    AirPods 3Good control and a noticeable punch, but it could be more detailed
    AirPods ProFairly polite bass punch and good extension, but it could be more detailed
    AirPods Pro 2Noticeable punch, great control, and extension, with good details
    AirPods MaxPunchy and rumbly bass with great extension and natural decay

    Here’s more on what are bass earbuds.

    What AirPods Have the Most Bass?

    The AirPods with the most bass are Apple AirPods Max.

    Apple AirPods Max red background

    As mentioned earlier, different headphone types affect both bass quality and quantity.

    An open design (in AirPods 1, 2, and 3) will also dissipate the sound, which will lose its power, especially lower frequencies.

    In contrast, the closed design (AirPods Pro and new AirPods Pro 2, and Max) prevents the sound from escaping, channeling all of it directly into your ears.

    Let’s take a look at the bass quantity between different AirPods models:

    Apple AirPods modelDescription of their bass QUANTITY
    AirPodsIt can barely reach neutral bass response if you have an ideal fit; otherwise, it’s lacking
    AirPods 2Similar to the 1. Gen, they lack bass response, barely reaching neutral quantity
    AirPods 3Slightly boosted over the neutral response, making the sound noticeably warm
    AirPods ProVery close to neutral bass response, actually less bassy than AirPods 3
    AirPods Pro 2Similarly boosted bass to the AirPods 3 but with better sub-bass extension
    AirPods MaxSlightly boosted bass with a noticeable increase in sub-bass to produce more rumble

    What about alternatives to AirPods?

    Here are the top bassy earbuds and headphones with powerful low-end.

    AirPods and Bass

    Bass represents the lowest frequencies in the audible spectrum. To humans, the bass extends from 20Hz to 250Hz.

    The lowest frequencies also have the largest wavelengths and require bigger drivers to reproduce faithfully. In practice, the speaker cone should be at least 4.25 meters wide to reproduce 20Hz.

    Apple AirPods Max earcups
    A visible Apple AirPods Max driver.

    However, to overcome this problem, headphones use various tricks to make us hear the bass, despite using small speakers/drivers (from 100mm to 6mm or less).

    1. The most important trick headphones use to reproduce bass is to put a driver right in front of your ears, thus reducing sound loss.
    1. And secondly, when producing low frequencies, drivers vibrate, which causes headphones/earbuds to vibrate as well. Vibrations get transferred to your skin and bones, which are later picked up by the middle ear.

    Yes, even headphones use the bone conduction principle to make you hear the bass.

    And yes, Apple headphones don’t do anything innovative here. Their headphones and earbuds are adopting the same tricks to produce bass.

    Do Beats Studio Buds have better bass than AirPods?

    Overall, no. AirPods have better bass than Beats Studio Buds.

    In terms of quantity, Apple AirPods 3, AirPods Pro 2, and AirPods Max actually have slightly more bass than Beats Studio Buds.

    Beats Studio Buds
    Beats Studio Buds true wireless earbuds.

    On the other hand, the Studio Buds have a slightly better bass quality than the AirPods 3, but not by a lot.

    The main issue with Beats earbuds is their noticeable dip between 100Hz and 600Hz. Consequently, all of the AirPods mentioned above sound overall fuller in comparison.

    Comparison of AirPods bass compared to headphones in the same price range

    Apple AirPods 3

    Earphones cost $179 with MagSafe charging case. At this price, they have pretty fierce competition. And all the competitors have an in-ear fit (most other classic earphones cost much less than $100).

    Here are the frequency responses from some of the AirPods 3 competitors:

    Apple AirPods 3 vs Liberty 3 Pro vs Elite 7 Pro vs Vista 2 comparison

    As you can see, Apple AirPods 3 (blue) have a minimal boost in bass, similar to the Jabra Elite 7 Pro (green).

    On the other hand, Jaybird Vista 2 (pink) have a noticeable boost and a much warmer overall response. Not to mention Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro (red), which are 15dB above the target and way too bassy.

    Apple AirPods Max

    The Max version costs $549, with very little competition at that price range (at least from Bluetooth wireless options).

    We compared them to other high-end headphones that we have managed to measure so far:

    Apple AirPods Max vs HBB Hook-X vs HD 6xx vs WF-1000XM4 comparison

    As you can see, most premium offerings only partially boost the bass. Only RAPTGO x HBB HOOK-X (red) have a slightly more upper bass than Apple AirPods Max (blue).

    Otherwise, the Sony WF-1000XM4 and wired Sennheiser HD 6xx have less bass than AirPods Max.

    What Do Users Say About AirPods Bass

    Users, especially those upgrading from Apple AirPods 1/2, have many good things to say about Apple AirPods 3 bass performance:

    Amazon review AirPods 3
    Second Amazon review AirPods 3

    Apple AirPods Max users like their new set of headphones. But, it seems they expected a bit more bass:

    Second Amazon review AirPods Max
    Third Amazon review AirPods Max
    Amazon review AirPods Max

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 users are very happy with the upgrade, with some exceptions:

    Amazon review AirPods Pro 2
    Second Amazon review AirPods Pro 2
    Third Amazon review AirPods Pro 2

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Why do AirPods have no bass?

    You could have a loose fit, which is crucial for a good bass response. Also, see if the nozzle is clean, as it might be clogged, which muffles the sound. Or you might be used to louder bass boost, and that’s why you find a neutral-sounding AirPods lacking in bass.

    Can you change AirPods bass?

    You can change AirPods Bass with equalizer settings. If you’re using iOS, the best choice is to use an EQ built into a music app that you’re using (Apple Music, Spotify). You can also do the same on Mac or download a third-party EQ app that will increase bass across all apps, not just a music player.

    Are AirPods bass-heavy?

    No, no AirPods model is bass heavy. The most bassy model are Apple AirPods Max, and even they only have a strong sub-bass boost, which only boosts the rumble, not the kick.


    Apple AirPods do have bass, but it’s tuned to sound balanced and not bass-heavy. That is why some might suggest they need more bass.

    Furthermore, AirPods have good bass, but the audio quality goes up with the price.

    Nonetheless, if you plan to upgrade from older AirPods to new ones, you will surely get a better bass.

    Of course, if you’re in a dilemma, checking out non-biased reviews, like ours from Apple AirPods 2, Apple AirPods 3, and Apple AirPods Max, is always recommended.

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