Bose QC 35 II noise-cancelling headphone review

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With its place on the prime of the Bose line supplanted by the sleeker Bose Noise Cancelling 700, and more and more aggressive rivals nipping at its heels, Bose has been chopping away on the retail value of its QC 35 II, the bread-and-butter entry in its over-the-ear noise-cancelling headphone lineup.

I noticed a pre-Black Friday sale on the Bose web site that knocks the value of those cans down from $350 to $200 for those who by order Sunday, November 8 (they’re at the moment $199 on Amazon). Drop one other $50 and you’ll customise a number of parts—together with the outside of the ear cups and the within of the scarf—with numerous finishes. This provides a little bit of wait time to your order, as you may count on, however I discovered it to be nice enjoyable. Extra on that later. Late studying this? The identical sale value can be in impact from November 22-to December 1. Bose additionally gives a gamer-oriented variant—the Quiet Consolation 35 II Gaming Headset—that comes with a growth mic and a PC desktop controller.

This evaluation is a part of TechHive’s protection of the very best headphones, the place you’ll discover opinions of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options it is best to think about when looking for such a product.

It’s bargain-hunting season

Cut price searching involves me naturally. As I child, I keep in mind my father would solely ever purchase a automobile on the finish of the mannequin 12 months, when the seller was anxious to filter out the “leftover” stock. When it got here to sound gear, dad would counsel me to both search for a final 12 months’s mannequin or else “the second from the highest” in a line of receivers, turntables, or audio system, arguing that the primary “step down” piece shared nearly all the identical options and performance-tuning parts as the road’s standard-bearer—minus solely an additional enter, possibly fitted in a smaller enclosure, or missing the phrases “Elite Sequence” on the cupboard.

bose qc 35 ii image 3b Jonathan Takiff / IDG

These ‘telephones look fairly good on me, if I do say so myself.

With the QC 35 II, a case will be made that these headphones are simply nearly as good if not higher than the NC 700 additionally in my evaluation assortment. Sure, these newer, pricier headphones boast cleaner styling, they’ve extra “sensing” microphones to shush undesirable noise and make clear your voice when making cellphone calls in a public setting, and the NC 700s additionally provide extra finite gradations of noise cancelling: 10 ranges versus simply two (plus “off”) on the QC 35 II.

Sound presentation is impartial, pure, and fairly high-quality on each fashions, though increased frequencies are prolonged a tad extra on the NC 700. Neither Bose mannequin will bust your ear drums with bombastic bass, however that’s an excellent factor, so far as I’m involved. I used to be thrilled nearly to tears by the QC 35 II’s candy sonorities, even-tempered steadiness, and depth of presentation on my favourite Keith Jarrett (+ Euro group) originals album My Tune beaming in Qobuz “CD-quality” decision (after which AAC) from an iPhone 12 Professional. So unhappy to be taught this wonderful pianist/composer/improvisor has suffered two incapacitating strokes.

Later, I earned a surprisingly big-screen impression of the Netflix collection The Queen’s Gambit even watching on an 11-inch iPad. The Bluetooth-connected QC 35 IIs whipped up a 3D-ish sound subject in my head, marked with crystal-clear dialogue, weirdly efficient directional audio cues, typically thunderous orchestral scoring, and snappy throwback hits from the Sixties (assume Kinks, George Fame, Surprising Blue). Who knew a narrative a couple of sensible (and troubled) younger feminine chess wiz may present such rousing and riveting enjoyable?

The brand new Tom Petty Wildflowers & The Relaxation assortment digging deeper into his darkish, twang-rock divorce classes likewise held my consideration for a number of hours with no fatigue. With windy string charts and balmy bossa nova rhythms, fragile chanteuse Melody Gardot’s new Sundown within the Blue album buffeted my mind like a billowy cloud. C’est Magnifique! And whereas I ain’t the largest hip-hop fan, I may respect the readability of expression, musical invention, and bubbly bass depths plumed on a Tidal mixture of hip-hop hits from the likes of Jeezy and Yo Gotti (Vroom, Vroom) and Anderson.Paak (a sparkle-plenty Jewelz).

bose qc 35 ii image 2a Jonathan Takiff / IDG

This reviewer went for a Euro-mod coloration mixture, with components assembled to order in matte copper, sage and two tones of grey.

Each Bose headphones assist the usual SBC and higher AAC Bluetooth codecs, the latter the highest act on iOS merchandise. Neither mannequin can deal with the higher-res LDAC, LDHC, aptX, or aptX HD cell codecs, which could disappoint Android customers and people who personal some fashions of high-end digital audio gamers. That stated, I detected negligible sonic variations throughout A/B listening assessments with the aforementioned Keith Jarrett set wirelessly after which wired with a 3.5mm cable to a Sony CD moveable.

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