The H2 chip in second-generation AirPods Pro offers Adaptive Transparency, a new mode that amplifies voices and muffles loud sounds.
of Apple AirPods Pro It’s been known for its excellent active noise cancellation features since it debuted in 2019, and the second-gen AirPods Pro are no different, but what’s the earbuds’ new adaptive transparency mode? While the first-generation AirPods Pro won over music listeners and fit well into the Apple ecosystem, a lot has changed in the years since their release. The rest of the audio industry has caught up, and competing true wireless earphones match or better the feature set of the original AirPods Pro. That led the company to develop a second-generation model with an improved Adaptive Transparency mode.
The most eye-catching feature of the second-gen AirPods Pro wasn’t sound quality or improvements to active noise cancellation, but a new charging case. The latest AirPods charging case looks familiar to the original, but it has some quality of life changes. Features a drawstring loop so the cover can be safely stored in a pocket or attached to a bag. There’s a speaker that pops out to help find the charging case if it gets lost, and the case essentially works like an AirTag. It can be charged with a Qi-certified wireless charger, MagSafe charger, or Apple Watch charging pad. But beyond the redesign of the charging case, a new chip facilitates Adaptive Transparency mode.
The H1 chip powered active noise cancellation and transparency modes in the first generation AirPods Pro. It is an Apple-designed silicon that processes audio data and manages fast connections with Apple devices. However, the second generation AirPods Pro feature an improved H2 chip paired with a separate U1 chip. The latter of the two processors, the U1 chip, enabled ultra-wideband support for precision finding. More importantly, the H2 chip adds additional computational audio features, including an adaptive transparency mode.
How Adaptive Transparency Mode works on AirPods Pro 2
A normal transparency mode in true wireless headphones uses inside and outside microphones to amplify outside noise. This could be important if users want to listen to music while still hearing the sounds around them. For example, people may need to hear voices, traffic, or other sounds while listening to music. The problem with normal transparency mode is that it can amplify sounds that are already loud, making sounds very loud in the user’s ear. Adaptive Transparency Mode uses on-device processing in second-generation AirPods Pro to reduce ambient noise.
Now, second-generation AirPods Pro can analyze ambient noise and determine which noises need to be amplified in the user’s ear. Sounds such as voices and passing cars can be heard in Adaptive Transparency mode, but louder noises are suppressed. Loud music at a concert, construction tools, or an emergency vehicle siren are some types of loud sounds that can be reduced through Adaptive Transparency mode. This could be a game changer for people who often work in noisy environments, resulting in hearing loss. Previously, people could block out loud sounds with active noise cancellation or traditional earplugs, but missed out on other important sounds. With Adaptive Transparency mode, users can listen to music and listen to important sounds safely while blocking out the noisy ones.
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