Huawei and Apple's true wireless headphones have entered the era of high-definition audio

In recent years, TWS true wireless earphones have become the most mainstream category in the earphone market with great convenience. According to the research data from the China Business Industry Research Institute, in 2022, the output value of China's wireless earphones will reach 124.6 billion yuan, 4.5 times that of wired earphones, of which more than 60% are true wireless earphones.

When it comes to true wireless headphones, many friends may first think of its creator, the Apple AirPods series. At the autumn new product launch in early September, Apple released a new generation of AirPods Pro 2. It is worth mentioning that this is the first time Apple has updated the AirPods Pro product line after three years. During this time period, other brands have not stopped, and their high-end true wireless earphones have made great progress in both product functions and technology. Among them, Huawei's FreeBuds series is a typical representative. And the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 they released in July this year is actually comparable to Apple's AirPods Pro 2 and even surpassed in some aspects, such as audio quality.

Major brands work together, true wireless headphones enter the era of high-definition audio

There is no doubt about the convenience of TWS true wireless earphones in terms of user experience, but there has always been a weakness compared to traditional wired earphones, which is audio quality. After all, the loss of audio information during wireless transmission is a difficult problem to overcome. "The sound quality can only be heard loudly" has also become a mantra for many people to ridicule true wireless headphones.

However, for headphones, sound quality is always a very important function point. According to the report of StrategyAnalytics, a research institute, among the features that consumers pay most attention to when purchasing TWS true wireless headphones, active noise reduction, transparency mode and spatial audio have become the most important factors, and these features can actually be summarized as audio quality.

Therefore, solving the sound quality problem has become the most critical hurdle for true wireless headphones to move towards a new stage of development.

The good news is that many brands of true wireless earphones have realized this problem and are continuing to work hard for the "good sound" of true wireless earphones. You can clearly feel that in the past year, various manufacturers have been improving the sound effects of TWS true wireless earphones, and improving sound quality has almost become a common issue in the entire industry. We borrow the concept of the video field. If the sound performance of true wireless headphones was smooth in the past, it is now high-definition.

Yes, an era of high-definition audio belonging to true wireless headphones has arrived.

The contrast shows advantages, there is more than one road in the high-definition audio era
High-definition audio is the general trend of the TWS true wireless headset industry, but how do understand high-definition audio and how to achieve it? Different brands have different paths.

Here, according to what we have introduced above, we can actually divide "HD audio" into three points:
  • Transmission and codec - high fidelity
  • Noise Cancellation - Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency Mode
  • Hearing - spatial audio, tuning, and more.
The high-definition audio we pursue is nothing more than starting from these three levels.

So how do achieve it? The technical routes of different brands are indeed different. However, we believe that they can be roughly divided into two categories: one is Apple, which takes computing audio as the core, and has a particularly strong ability to combine chips and algorithms, but does not particularly pursue the ultimate in specific acoustic configuration;

The other type is represented by the Huawei FreeBuds Pro series, which balances the acoustic configuration and computing audio, and exerts strength with both hands.

How exactly? It just so happens that both Huawei and Apple have just launched their own new products of "Pro" true wireless earphones. Let's compare Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 with Apple's AirPods Pro 2.

Transmission and codec

The first is the transmission and codec part. We know that most true wireless earphones are mainly based on Bluetooth transmission. Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 supports Bluetooth 5.2 transmission, while Apple AirPods Pro 2 supports Bluetooth 5.3. Compared with Bluetooth 5.2, Bluetooth 5.3 is mainly enhanced in low-rate transmission, encryption control, etc., but it has nothing to do with the sound quality of the headset. So this difference can basically be ignored.

The focus is on codecs. The basic workflow of a true wireless headset is that the front end first encodes and compresses the sound information, and then transmits it to the headset through Bluetooth, and the headset then decodes and plays the sound information. The encoding and decoding process involves the "loss" of the sound source information, which is what we often call lossless and lossless, so it is closely related to the final sound quality performance.

Apple AirPods Pro 2 uses the AAC codec (Advanced Audio Coding) that has been passed down for many years. The code rate in Apple products is about 256 Kbps. Although this codec scheme is not bad, it is indeed a bit old and difficult to use. Meet the current demand for high-definition sound quality.

The Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 supports LDAC and L2HC 2.0 dual high-definition audio codec protocols. Among them, LDAC is an audio codec developed by Sony, which can achieve a maximum bit rate of 990Kbps and high-resolution audio of 24bit/96kHz.

L2HC is Huawei's self-developed wireless audio coding technology. L2HC 2.0 can achieve an audio transmission bit rate of up to 960Kbps and has a more flexible bit rate space than LDAC. In some scenarios with strong interference, it can be adapted to a lower rate. bit rate, so as to take into account the sound quality and stuttering problems.

It supports LDAC and L2HC 2.0 dual high-definition protocols. Obviously, Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 can better reduce the loss of sound source information, so as to make the sound more fidelity and close to lossless, so that it can truly meet everyone's needs for high-definition audio. The Apple AirPods Pro 2 are indeed lagging behind on this point, but they take a different approach, which we'll talk about next.

Noise reduction

In terms of noise reduction, it can reflect the difference in thinking between AirPods Pro 2 and FreeBuds Pro 2. Let’s talk about Apple first. Although the codec protocol is not as good as other high-end wireless headphones, they focus on the secondary sound of the sound. In terms of processing, that is, computing audio, the advantage lies in "computing".

In terms of noise reduction, AirPods Pro 2 uses a two-way microphone to detect the noise outside the earphone and in the ear, and then with the powerful computing power of its own H2 chip, it emits anti-noise waves to cancel the noise. In this process, the core advantage of AirPods Pro 2 lies in the organic combination of the powerful self-developed H2 chip and self-developed algorithms to achieve unimaginable computing power, thereby improving the noise reduction effect.

The solution of Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 is different. First of all, it has a three-dimensional array composed of three microphones, plus a bone conduction microphone specially designed for call noise reduction. There are four microphones in total. Through a more complete combination at the hardware level, To assist in more immersive noise reduction, it can achieve a maximum noise reduction depth of 47dB.

Especially in terms of noise reduction of calls, four microphones still have considerable advantages. Coupled with the DNN calculation of hundreds of millions of samples, Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 can achieve excellent quiet calls.

In addition, FreeBuds Pro 2 has a functional advantage, that is, it can achieve intelligent dynamic noise reduction. It can intelligently identify the environment you are in, and then automatically switch to the matching noise reduction mode, making the noise reduction experience smarter and more convenient.

To sum up, AirPods Pro 2 and FreeBuds Pro 2 can be said to have the same goal in different ways. They have different ideas, but both achieve a very good noise reduction effect and experience, which is also composed of the different ecological characteristics behind Apple and Huawei.


The sense of hearing is actually whether a headset has a good sound, which is most directly presented in front of consumers. Here we are divided into tuning and spatial audio.

The first is tuning. When it comes to this, I believe that many friends will think of the joint tuning of Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 by Devialet. Indeed, through the cooperation with professional acoustic brand Devialet, Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 has obtained a more professional Acoustic technology blessing, so as to achieve a pure sound quality with surging bass and rich details.

The Apple AirPods Pro 2 is still based on the advantages of its H2 chip. In order to allow users to get a better sense of hearing, it uses a powerful adaptive algorithm to perform real-time calculations according to the user's ear shape, so that every detail of the sound can be heard. Please the user's ears. This process will be a very test of computing power, and it is difficult to complete without the cooperation of the H2 chip. This is also where Apple can focus on computing audio.

The FreeBuds Pro 2 focuses on high-definition spatial audio. This is Huawei's first headset that supports Audio Vivid spatial audio. It supports three-dimensional sound, surrounds sound, and stereo sound sources. It uses Huawei's self-developed scene-based spatial audio sound field rendering engine, and provides three spatial audio sound effects modes for audio theater, movie theater, and concert hall, matching the original sound source scene and interpreting a realistic sense of presence.

It is worth mentioning that in terms of stereo sound, AirPods Pro 2 supports Dolby Atmos, while FreeBuds Pro 2 is Audio Vivid. Both are 3D audio standards, each with its own advantages. However, Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 also incorporates its own technology on the basis of satisfying Audio Vivid, which further enhances the immersion of spatial audio.

In terms of head tracking, Huawei FreeBuds Pro2 is equipped with a six-axis attitude sensor, which can reshape the sound field position in real-time and create a 360° high-definition spatial audio surround sound.

Compared with Apple, Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 pursues the ultimate high-definition and presence. For example, when you listen to the live version of the music, it seems that you are in the concert scene, and listening to the audio drama is like following the protagonist into the scene of the story. Both directions have their own advantages, but if you are a user who likes "immersive sound", Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 may be more suitable for you.

Through the above comparison, we can find that Apple AirPods Pro and Huawei FreeBuds Pro represent the two camps of other headphone brands, whether in terms of transmission, codec, noise reduction, or the final sense of hearing. Paths and understandings vary. In fact, Apple's core advantage lies in the self-developed H2 chip and the powerful software and hardware integration capabilities behind the chip, allowing it to focus and radically move towards the road of computing audio, and the core advantages of Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2, It is an organic combination of "computing power" and "professional acoustics", which is relatively more "traditional" and more stable. Both will show advantages in different scenarios and needs, so you can choose according to your own situation and needs.


All roads lead to Rome. No matter how different the paths are, there is only one purpose: to push the true wireless earphone industry into the era of high-definition audio faster.

Just like video, more than a decade ago, we couldn't imagine that mobile phone photography could beat card cameras and rival professional cameras. But now, cell phone imaging does it, and in some ways is ahead of professional cameras.

The same is true for true wireless earphones. With the continuous efforts and innovations of Huawei, Apple, and other brands in technology, we can fully expect that true wireless earphones can achieve true audiophile-grade HiFi sound quality in the future so that earphones can completely get rid of the shackles of wires.

From this point of view, perhaps, the era of "high-definition audio" is only the beginning, and there may be "ultra-clear audio" and "extremely clear audio" in the future. Ultimately, true wireless headphones will create a "sound" that everyone can immerse in anytime, anywhere. new world".

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