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AirPods Transparency Mode: What Is It & How It Works Explained

AirPods Transparency Mode What Is It & How It Works Explained

Transparency mode compares the outside sound of exterior and interior microphones, shaping the audio with the H1 chip and blending with music.

Apple‘s AirPods Pro come with two different modes for advanced noise-control and, of course, both can be switched off. The best known is active noise cancellation (ANC) and this same feature is found on many of the more expensive headphones and earbuds. Transparency mode is the other option and Apple’s implementation is particularly effective at making the earbuds virtually disappear in an acoustic sense. The way this works is quite interesting.

Three years after launching the first AirPods, Apple introduced a more full-featured version, the AirPods Pro. Sharing the same Siri integration and easy pairing, AirPods Pro broke new ground by placing microphones that faced outward to pick up spoken commands, just like the original AirPods and other wireless earbuds, but also facing inward mics to allow the H1 chip to hear the sound the same way a human ear does. This is what enables the AirPods Pro to produce such great sound quality, as well as impressive noise cancellation, and the surprisingly effective Transparency mode.

Transparency mode allows environmental sounds to be heard naturally, nearly identically to what would be heard if the AirPods Pro were removed from the ears. This is done by channeling outside sound from the exterior microphones and shaping the sound with feedback from the interior microphones using advanced algorithms that run on the H1 chip. Apple’s AirPods Pro also contain a unique pressure-equalizing vent system that very few competing wireless earbuds have matched. The reason it’s important for comfort is that active noise-canceling doesn’t block or remove sound, but rather plays an inverted wave, effectively neutralizing the sound, but still creating pressure on the ear. The AirPods Pro pressure vents relieve what some experience as a somewhat painful or clogged-up feeling during noise cancellation, when using Transparency mode, and even when noise control is off. In Transparency mode, background noise is somewhat reduced, ambient sounds are clearly heard and voices come through clearly, while music and other sounds coming from the paired device are blended into the soundscape.

How To Activate Transparency Mode

There are two ways to activate Transparency mode, using the AirPods Pro directly or using the iPhone or another Apple device that the wireless earbuds are paired with. To quickly switch this feature on and hear someone speaking or listen to other ambient sounds, the wearer can press and hold the Force sensor which is located on the stem of the AirPods Pro. This is a toggle that switches between active noise cancellation, Transparency mode, and off. The options can be customized to reduce the toggle to only two or even just a single noise mode. When actively using the paired device, it might be easier to change between noise-canceling, ambient sound, and off by using the on-screen buttons. In that case, the noise mode controls can be switched by using the AirPlay control panel, which can be found by swiping down from the upper right corner of an iPhone or iPad. On a Mac, the sound menu is located in the upper right also. With an Apple Watch, tapping the AirPlay icon, which looks like a triangle with circles radiating from the top point, reveals the noise mode controls.

It should be noted that when Transparency mode is enabled and no sound is playing on the paired device, it will sound and feel as if nothing is happening, but the AirPods Pro will still be actively processing audio and using battery power. It’s similar to using active noise canceling with no music playing. If there is a need to conserve battery power, it might be better to remove the earbuds rather than use this feature during long usage sessions. Of course, Apple isn’t the only wireless earbud manufacturer to offer something like Transparency mode, with some using the term ambient sound, but many seem to agree that the AirPods Pro has one of the best implementations, matching the natural sound of the environment while eliminating ear pressure at the same time.


Source: 24baze
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