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Bose NC700 Review (Noise Cancelling Headphone)

seerious

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the app is only a surplus to the product to do a bit more things, like firmware update, adjusting EQ,

Their EQ adjustment is atrocious though. You can increase the "thump" or "rumble" (literally what they call it). Everything else will only make it much worse. Very frustrating.


However I don't mind mine though... I'd be very interested to see Amir measure a pair one day.

I just wish Sony had more bands to play with in their app. The XM4 would be a no-brainer if we could also adjust 100 - 200hz range - is it really so hard for these manufacturers to include a 10 band graphic EQ in the app!
 

phoenixsong

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Holy sh*t, is this a headphone review with stock pads or should I stop reading? I skim read the review in 10 seconds and didn't see reference to pads, so stock pads right, tell me I'm right?! (I suppose I'm saying I wouldn't have skim read it if I had not expected it to be a 50/50 chance that the review was of a headphone that was actually using stock pads, lol, - really really, hopefully I didn't have to explain that!).............so we can actually apply some value to this review......Am-I-right-Am-I-right-am-I-right....faster faster, faster faster!
Lol no need to open a can of worms on an obviously clean new slate
 

Johannes AU

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Their EQ adjustment is atrocious though. You can increase the "thump" or "rumble" (literally what they call it). Everything else will only make it much worse. Very frustrating.


However I don't mind mine though... I'd be very interested to see Amir measure a pair one day.

I just wish Sony had more bands to play with in their app. The XM4 would be a no-brainer if we could also adjust 100 - 200hz range - is it really so hard for these manufacturers to include a 10 band graphic EQ in the app!

Yes, worse ..... thats why I always prefer flat.
 

Johannes AU

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Thanks, great review. I own these and liked them the best over the other nc headphones. I have mild tinnitus and another rare ’feature’ in which strong noise cancelling makes me feel nausea. I am serious :) Many years ago when the first nc headphones came I bought a pair and and was puzzled what the hell. I did some research and apparently some people share this disorder - the nc somehow messes up the inner ear and thus nausea. So back to these headphones… some models have mild / different nc that I can stand. These are one of them. Beats another. These also sound quite nice and the ergonomics are superb, so my choice was easy. Highly recommended!


Yes, the product is constant, people/users are variable/different, as long as the product pleased you instead of bringing pain to you, thats is GOOD, no one can speak for you.

Same as when Amir lost all the cherries and feel depressed, but the bird(s) are happy .... this is individual life we have to accept and respect.
 

Stokdoof

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Nice review Thanks,

Responding to the last para of review:

Tourist cherry picking in the Netherlands , just cover the complete thing against birds.

20210627_101706.jpg
 

edechamps

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The behaviour when turned off is extremely typical of Bose noise-cancelling headphones. My QC35 is also horrible when used passively. They're just not designed for that. I always recommend everyone using Bose NC headphones to never listen to them off.

This is exactly how I don't like seeing DSP used. This isn't "using DSP to improve an already good design", this is " DSP making up for crappy design". I know, I know, DSP is the future, whatever. This is still indicative of Bose's whacked out design philosophy.

I must respectfully disagree here. What's important is the end result. As long as the end result is good, it doesn't matter how it's achieved. I couldn't care less that they used a poor acoustical design as long as the sound that reaches my eardrums is accurate (thanks to factory EQ). If Bose has a working solution that just happens to use extreme levels of DSP, then so be it.
 

Helicopter

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The behaviour when turned off is extremely typical of Bose noise-cancelling headphones. My QC35 is also horrible when used passively. They're just not designed for that. I always recommend everyone using Bose NC headphones to never listen to them off.



I must respectfully disagree here. What's important is the end result. As long as the end result is good, it doesn't matter how it's achieved. I couldn't care less that they used a poor acoustical design as long as the sound that reaches my eardrums is accurate (thanks to factory EQ). If Bose has a working solution that just happens to use extreme levels of DSP, then so be it.
Considering these have their own DSP built in, I completely agree. I have never used my QC35ii passively, and never plan on doing so. When the NC700 gets here, I am going to instruct my wife that these don't work properly when they're not turned on. Measuring the raw response on NC700, I would liken to popping the top off of a DAC. It is completely worthwhile because it gives us information about the engineering and design, even corporate philosophy often. However, it is further removed from what really matters, the sound waves (or signal) leaving the product, compared to simply leaving DSP on, measuring outputs.

The related argument how everyone should apply EQ response to traditional headphones so raw response doesn't matter, I find much less compelling; there is an incorrect assumption about universal willingness and capability to tweak things, and even if there weren't, the conclusion doesn't really follow the premise anyway. It is a weak and incorrect, but overbearing argument. A better way to put it for a passive headphone is that you should really use EQ if you can, and if you can and will, then you should consider to prioritize performance within that use case. For me, I have a weak portable setup without EQ, a powerful fixed setup with EQ and a powerful fixed setup without EQ, so for passives, both are important, and either one might be compelling... but I digress.
 

fieldcar

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That's exactly what I did. Set it to LDAC and would not take.
I know you're probably a headphone jack holdout, but it may be worth looking to upgrade to a newer phone. Android 11 nails this. It even avoids all of the quirks when you have to choose the often times non-standard bit and sample rates supported by the codec. For example, to get AptX-HD working from developer options, you need to choose that codec, select 24-bit, and select 48KHz, once everything is correct, then it actually changes. If you choose the wrong bit and sample rate, everything defaults to SBC without displaying it, and it's usually not apparent until you navigate away from developer options and then back (minimize window, then bring it back up through running apps list).

Here is what my Oneplus 7 pro shows in the bluetooth/device options. A simple codec selection box. I think pixel phones do the same thing.
1625234186366.png
 

Robbo99999

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Lol no need to open a can of worms on an obviously clean new slate
Yeah, fair enough, I was a bit excited last night after drinking a bottle of wine (not a particularly regular occurrence), pleased to see stock pad, will read review in more detail.
 

fieldcar

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Their EQ adjustment is atrocious though. You can increase the "thump" or "rumble" (literally what they call it). Everything else will only make it much worse. Very frustrating.


However I don't mind mine though... I'd be very interested to see Amir measure a pair one day.

I just wish Sony had more bands to play with in their app. The XM4 would be a no-brainer if we could also adjust 100 - 200hz range - is it really so hard for these manufacturers to include a 10 band graphic EQ in the app!
Look for Wavelet in the play store. They let you play with a 9 band eq in the app and apply full AutoEQ targets to match the Harman target. It's not a perfect fix due to the variances of the Oratory1990 target's being used, but it's a great foundation, then you can double that up with that 9-band EQ on top of it to tweak the target EQ. A big quirk is that the controls aren't visible until you have the headphones connected and music playing in something like spotify.
1625235759584.png
 

Robbo99999

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Not bad for a noise cancelling headphone, with it's various niggles you probably wouldn't want it otherwise.
 

KeithPhantom

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I have used my QC35II passively (actually, I used them like this the most) but they needed to be corrected by EQ in order to do that. Stock they just sound bad, and for what I remember from auditioning the NC700, they were even more deficient even in the upper midrange. Now, EQ is a must in my listening sessions.
 

m8o

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Back in the day the company I worked for sold those boat anchors. We always joked what sounded worse: 901s with the equalizer or without? The answer was a resounding - yes!
Now that's funny! :D
 

cyruz

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By the way, last version of Poweramp Equalizer on Android added a proper parametric... I just tried it, it makes the NC700 a portable delight.
 
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dfuller

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I must respectfully disagree here. What's important is the end result. As long as the end result is good, it doesn't matter how it's achieved. I couldn't care less that they used a poor acoustical design as long as the sound that reaches my eardrums is accurate (thanks to factory EQ). If Bose has a working solution that just happens to use extreme levels of DSP, then so be it.
Okay, but here's the issue. They're near on unusably bad without it, and starting with such a junk response severely cuts your headroom because you're asking the drivers to do something they really don't want to do. And it's Bose's MO: start with the cheapest stuff you can get away with and force it to do what you want it to with EQ. To me, that's the silliest thing in the world. It makes a lot more sense to start with something decent enough and improve it with light touch DSP.
 

KeithPhantom

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In my opinion, DSP is the future of transducers. They inherently need DSP in order to diminish the shortcomings of pure analog solutions. But, DSP need to be used in already excellent transducers to boost their capabilities and improve the experience.
 

Leporello

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Hmm, just received a pair of NC 700s today. And a week ago I purchased a pair of Sony WH1000 XM4s. The return window for both is still open. Wondering what to do, since I do not intend to keep both (though I may end up doing just that).

1. Neither pair sounds particularly good with default settings. Sony has hugely overblown bass and somewhat peaky treble. Bose is somewhat more neutral, but the treble sounds weird and "synthetic". The bass is not particularly strong but it has a boomy quality to it. The sound of both phones can be adjusted with their own apps. Sony is much better in this regard. The amount of bass can be decreased with 'clear bass' slider. There is also a very simple eg, which nevertheless has proved useful. With these rudimentary tools the Sony can be made to sound quite decent, if not truly hifi. The Bose cannot be adjusted the same way. There is an eq in the Bose app but it is even coarser than the one in the Sony. After adjusting the eq the Sony manages to sound more open than the Bose.

2. Both Sony and Bose have superb ANC, much better than what I currently have (Sony MDR100ABN). Sony manages to completely silence the compressor of my noisy fridge - the ultimate test :cool:. Bose also does a good job at this but perhaps not quite as effectively. Playing pink noise from my loudspeakers I also feel that the Sony ANC is able to cancel somewhat lower frequencies than Bose.

3. I am tempted to keep the Sony, but it has one big problem (to me): the background noise inherent in ANC is surprisingly loud. You cannot help noticing it the very moment you put the phones on. The Bose has this "wooosh", too, but it is quieter and not as disturbing. I might get used to the noise in Sony, the again I might not. Anyone else with this problem, too?
 

dfuller

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DSP needs to be used in [conjunction with] already excellent transducers to boost their capabilities and improve the experience.
You summed up my thoughts in 2 sentences. And it isn't as though great "no dsp needed" transducers don't already exist - imagine what you could do with those as well as DSP? I think for stationary speakers DSP is a godsend and I can't wait for passive speakers to die out entirely.

That said I think for headphones I'm decidedly anti-DSP for repair reasons (as well as usability). Active headphones require an onboard battery to work, and that onboard battery is rarely if ever replaceable (and god forbid any of the silicon fails!)... and then there's the part where battery life is really still quite limited. That to me makes them kind of a poor choice unless you absolutely need ANC.
 
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