Beats Studio Pro vs AirPods Max: Which is Better in 2024?

Odi Productions May 14, 2024
150 People Read
Beats Studio Pro vs AirPods Max side by side

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. 

In this article, I'm going to share my HONEST experience with the Beats Studio Pro vs AirPods Max in detail, after personally owning both products. I have thoroughly tested each of these headphones for hundreds of hours, and aim to offer a critical opinion from the perspective of an audiophile and professional music producer.

I'll be comparing these two head to head on categories like price, comfort, features, battery life, noise cancelling, and sound quality.

Then at the end, I'll share which is the better overall value for the money, and my overall recommendation on which you should buy.

I've also conducted a separate Beats Studio Pro review and Apple AirPods Max review, for those who are interested in reading more detailed thoughts after.


Key Takeaways

Beats Studio Pro headphones on desk

  • Apple AirPods Max has superior sound quality and noise cancelling to the Beats Studio Pro, but it is much closer than the price difference suggests.

  • Both the AirPods Max and Beats Studio Pro have the same features including Spatial Audio, Dolby Atmos, and Transparency Mode.

  • Beats Studio Pro is a better overall value at half the price of the Apple AirPods Max's $500+ pricetag.


Beats Studio Pro vs Apple AirPods Max Price Compared

Overall, the older Beats Studio Pro is $270 cheaper than the Apple AirPods Max at current market prices for brand new. This translates to the Studio Pro being 108% less expensive than the AirPods Max.

Beats Studio Pro Prices

  • Retail: $349.99

  • New: $249

  • Renewed: $158 (save up to $91)

Apple AirPods Max Prices

  • Retail: $549.00

  • New: $519

  • Renewed: $449 (save up to $70)


Order HERE for the LOWEST PRICE AVAILABLE 

(Do NOT pay retail): 

Save up to $91 on Beats Studio Pro with Renewed below:

Save up to $70 on AirPods Max with Renewed below:

Disclosure: These links may provide a discount and in return, give us a commission in order to run the website 🙂


Comfort

Apple AirPods Max in space grey on office desk

When it comes to testing headphone comfort, I always start by weighing each headphone on my scale:

  • Beats Studio Pro weight: 268.6 grams

  • Apple AirPods Max weight: 387.8 grams

The Apple AirPods Max is a whopping 119.2 grams heavier than the Beats Studio Pro, translating to the Studio Pro being 44% lighter.

Considering both headphones are in the same category of full-sized, over-ear headphones, this is a significant weight difference for the AirPods Max.

I can clearly feel this difference when wearing both on my head, and that weight penalty makes the AirPods Max slightly more cumbersome over time.

Apple alleviates some of this weight with the suspension headband design, that I actually find to have less top-of-head pressure than the Beats Studio Pro's headband cushion.

Overall, I find the Studio Pro to be more comfortable to wear all day, largely due to the lighter weight and having less clamping force than the AirPods Max.

Both closed-back headphones will generate warmth in the ears after 1-2 hours of wearing.

Is the Beats Studio Pro or Apple AirPods Max better for working out in the gym?

I find the Beats Studio Pro to be better for working out in the gym and for running due to being 44% lighter and more secure on the head during movements. The AirPods Max feels cumbersome but also slightly slippery due to the headband design. I do think the AirPods Max has better noise cancelling for those who prioritize that during a workout.

Beats Studio Pro Comfort: 4.0 out of 5

Apple AirPods Max Comfort: 3.5 out of 5

Winner: Beats Studio Pro


Features / Battery Life / Noise Cancelling

Holding Beats Studio Pro in hand

Features

In case you didn't know, Apple acquired the Beats by Dr. Dre brand back in 2014 for $3 billion.

So technically both the Beats Studio Pro and AirPods Max are Apple products, thus they share practically identical features and compatibility in the Apple ecosystem of iOS and MacOS devices.

The Beats Studio Pro was released in mid-2023 and is actually about 2.5 years newer than the AirPods Max, originally released at the end of 2020.

That said, they both have the latest features including Spatial Audio, Dolby Atmos, and Transparency Mode.

Both have adaptive noise cancelling and built-in microphones for taking calls.

Looks

I personally prefer the minimalist look and design of the Beats Studio Pro over the AirPods Max.

When worn on head, I find the Beats headphone to be way less bulky, although I cannot deny the AirPods Max's design is more striking and iconic.

The Studio Pro improved upon a proven design from the Studio 3 by actually removing most of the superfluous Beats branding aside from the simple letter "B" on the earcups.

If you are looking to make more of a fashion statement, the AirPods Max captures the most unique aesthetic amongst the sea of wireless headphones today.

Beats Studio Pro vs AirPods Max Battery Life Comparison

The Beats Studio Pro advertises 20 hours longer battery life than the AirPods Max, which is double the amount.

  • Beats Studio Pro Battery Life: Up to 40 hours

  • Apple AirPods Max Battery Life: Up to 20 hours

In my testing, I found both advertised claims of battery life to be true, but sometimes the AirPods Max would be low battery due to having to use the Smart Case in order to fully turn off.

This is a major annoyance from a user experience perspective.

Contrastingly, the Beats Studio Pro has a simple power on/off switch that I wish the AirPods Max had instead.

It's impressive that the Beats Studio Pro has roughly double the battery life of the AirPods Max since they both share the same features.

Beats Studio Pro vs AirPods Max Noise Cancelling: Which is Better?

The AirPods Max has superior noise cancelling performance to the Beats Studio Pro, although it is closer than the price difference suggests. To my ears, the AirPods Max has a more sophisticated adaptive noise cancelling which reacts to outside noise, whereas the Beats Studio Pro's noise cancelling technology is simpler.

Both headphones feature a Transparency Mode to hear outside noises, and also the ability to completely turn off any noise cancelling or Transparency modes.

Both headphones should be effective enough for airplane travel or in noisy environments like coffeeshops and offices.

Beats Studio Pro Features / Battery Life / Noise Cancelling: 4.5 out of 5

Apple AirPods Max Features / Battery Life / Noise Cancelling: 4.0 out of 5

Winner: Beats Studio Pro


Beats Studio Pro vs AirPods Max Sound Quality Comparison

Apple AirPods Max headphones in Smart Case

If you're like me, you're probably most curious about whether the Apple AirPods Max sound quality justifies being almost double the price of the Beats Studio Pro.

Prior to performing this head-to-head comparison, it is an interesting narrative since both headphones represent the flagship model of their respective brands.

My expectations beforehand were that the AirPods Max should be in a tier above, considering the massive price difference.

But after listening to both as objectively as possible, the Beats Studio Pro is uncomfortably competitive with the AirPods Max when it comes to sound quality.

First, I actually prefer the sub-bass response, impact, and slam of the Studio Pro over the AirPods Max, which translates to the Beats being more fit for modern genres like Pop, Hip Hop, and EDM.

The AirPods Max has a more balanced, darker, and mid-centric frequency response that makes it more versatile for genres like rock, acoustic, classical, and jazz.

Also, there is more vocal and instrument detail and information from the better mid response in the AirPods Max.

The Beats Studio Pro sounds noticeably thinner overall, and is very treble forward, with an "in your face sound" that can be hit or miss depending on the genre.

The treble is a stark contrast between the two, with the AirPods Max having a smoother treble with less sibilance. The Studio Pro has a ton of detail in the treble, but it is a bit too aggressive and slightly artificial in my opinion.

I think most audiophiles would probably rate the AirPods Max as having better technicalities, bigger soundstage, and natural timbre.

Conversely, many consumers would probably prefer the more "fun" sound signature of the Beats Studio Pro, which is true to the brand.

Also for watching movies, TV, or playing games, I think the AirPods Max has a more natural representation of voices and space, whereas the Studio Pro can sound slightly off.

Overall, the AirPods Max does have slightly better sound quality, but I could see many people actually preferring the Studio Pro's consumer-friendly sound signature.

Beats Studio Pro Sound Quality: 7.8 out of 10

Apple AirPods Max Sound Quality: 7.9 out of 10

Winner: Apple AirPods Max


Value

Considering how competitive these two have been in each category, the Beats Studio Pro is clearly the superior value at roughly half the price of the Apple AirPods Max.

The AirPods Max typically sells for over $500 new, and the lowest price I have seen is around $449.

The Beats Studio Pro is typically $249 new, but I've seen it for as low as $179.99.

I can tell you with confidence that the AirPods Max is nowhere near twice the headphone that the Studio Pro is, and they even share all the same features. 

Beats Studio Pro Value: 4.0 out of 5

Apple AirPods Max Value: 3.0 out of 5

Winner: Beats Studio Pro


Beats Studio Pro Overall Rating: 8.1 / 10

  • Sound Quality: 7.8 / 10

  • Comfort: 4.0 / 5

  • Features / Battery Life / Noise Cancelling: 4.5 / 5

  • Value: 4.0 / 5

  • Total: 20.3 / 25


Apple AirPods Max Overall Rating: 7.4 / 10

  • Sound Quality: 7.9 / 10

  • Comfort: 3.5 / 5

  • Features / Battery Life / Noise Cancelling: 4.0 / 5

  • Value: 3.0 / 5

  • Total: 18.4 / 25


Overall Winner: Beats Studio Pro

Holding Beats Studio Pro headphone earcup in hand

Dollar for dollar, the Beats Studio Pro presents too much value at roughly half the price of the Apple AirPods Max, making it our winner for today's comparison.

The one argument I can see in favor of the AirPods Max is if you prioritize noise cancelling performance and primarily listen to classical, acoustic, jazz, or older music in general.

I'd say the noise cancelling of the AirPods Max is one level above the Studio Pro.

Also, it does have slightly better sound quality, more natural timbre, and is more versatile when it comes to all genres as opposed to just modern music.

With that said, the AirPods Max didn't blow me away for its $500+ pricetag, and I'd gladly save the $250 price difference.

At the $300 and under price point, the best alternatives would be the Sennheiser Momentum 4Apple AirPods Pro 2, or Sony WH-1000XM4, all of which I've reviewed quite favorably.

I recommend you check those individual reviews out if you're shopping for new headphones.


Order HERE for the LOWEST PRICE AVAILABLE 

(Do NOT pay retail): 

Save up to $91 with Renewed below:

Save up to $70 on AirPods Max with Renewed below:

Disclosure: These links may provide a discount and in return, give us a commission in order to run the website 🙂


Frequently Asked Questions

Beats Studio Pro vs AirPods Max: Which has better bass?

In my opinion, Beats Studio Pro has better bass response, impact, and slam compared to the Apple AirPods Max. The sub-bass on the Studio Pro is more powerful and satisfying, while the AirPods Max focuses more on the mid frequencies for detailed vocals and instruments.


How We Tested and Our Methodology

RecordingNOW.com is a 100% independent publisher with over 10 years of experience testing and reviewing consumer electronics and headphones.

We currently purchase the products we test with our own money, and are not paid by any company or manufacturer to influence our opinions or decisions.

After purchasing the product, we conduct up to hundreds of hours of detailed hands-on testing in a controlled, acoustically-treated environment.

ODi Productions is our resident expert and author of this article, with 10 years of experience as a professional music producer, tech journalist, and audiophile.


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Holding Sony WH 1000XM4 vs AirPods Max side by side

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Sennheiser Momentum 4 vs Apple AirPods Max side by side

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase.