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Bose QuietComfort 35 II Review (Noise Cancelling Headphone)

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II noise cancelling headphone. It was kindly purchased new by a member and drop shipped to me. It costs US $299 on Amazon including Prime shipping. It has an incredible 44,000 reviews on Amazon averaging 4.5 stars! Are the masses right? We are going to find out.

The 35 II doesn't feel fancy, nor cheap:
Bose Quietcomfort 35 II Review Noise Cancelling Headphone.jpg


The cups are on the smaller side but fit my ears fine:
Bose Quietcomfort 35 II Review Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphone.jpg


They are on the softer side and seal well which means they wear warm. Fine right now in winter but I suspect they may get too hot in summer.

I briefly tested the noise cancelling function using my Audio Precision fan noise as stimulus. Just wearing the 35 II was enough to kill 90% of the noise. Turning it on removed the last bit but really, it was fine without it. Noise sources with lower frequency content will likely show off the effect more.

Note: The measurements you are about to see are preformed using standardized GRAS 45CA headphone measurement fixture. Headphone measurements require more interpretation than speaker tests and have more of a requirement for subjective testing as a result. In addition, comparison of measurements between different people performing it using different configurations requires fair bit of skill. So don't look for matching results. Focus on high level picture. Listening tests are performed using RME ADI-2 DAC and its headphone output.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Measurements
Let's start with frequency response of 35 II and comparison to our preference target to figure out tonality of the headphone, with the unit bot on and off:

Bose Quietcomfort 35 II Measurement Headpone Powere On and Of Frequency Response.png


I first ran it with it powered off and was surprised how bad the response was. Equally so, I was impressed once I turned it on and it not only flattened the variations in bass and mid-range but also pulled up the bass response to below 20 Hz! Here is the powered on response again:

Bose Quietcomfort 35 II Measurement Headpone Powere On Frequency Response.png


That is pretty good tracking of our target response! It is essentially perfect to 1 kHz. Here is the relative variations:
Bose Quietcomfort 35 II Measurement Headpone PowereOn Relative Frequency Response.png


Good news extends to very low distortion at decent levels:
Bose Quietcomfort 35 II Measurement Headpone Powere On Distortion.png


Considering how much bass we already have -- so we don't have to boost it -- that is excellent level of distortion in that region.

Here it is in absolute level:
Bose Quietcomfort 35 II Measurement Headpone Power On Relative Distortion.png


Again, remember that this is to be compared to post EQ for other headphones that are weak in bass.

Clean, not fuzzy group delay shows that we have one radiator doing its job, not a bunch of other resonances mixing in:
Bose Quietcomfort 35 II Measurement Headpone Power On Group Delay.png


The entire curve is lifted up from 0 degree indicating a constant delay of about quarter of a millisecond.

Impedance radically changes when the unit is on or off:
Bose Quietcomfort 35 II Measurement Headpone Power On Impedance.png


Paradoxically, even though we are using the internal amplifier when the unit is on, it is not the most efficient headphone to drive:

most sensitive noise cancelling headphone review.png


Bose QuietComfort 35 II Listening Tests and Equalization
I was instantly at ease with the tonality of the 35 II. The clean and appropriate bass response was a delight. Spatial qualities were a bit light and higher frequencies a tad dull so I put in a bit of salt and pepper on it:

Bose Quietcomfort 35 II Equalization EQ Headphone.png


Once there, toe tapping started and I could listen endlessly to my test tracks. So much so that I did not want to take them off to take the pictures for the review!

As an aside, here is the EQ that I applied to AKG K371 headphone:



So darn close! Indeed the Bose could also use that broad light boost in pink filter I had in K371. I wonder if Bose measured the response of the K371 and used that as the target for 35 II. Anyone know which came first?

Conclusions
Amazing what happens when you follow the science and tune a headphone to proper target curve. You get a happy Amir who loves the 35 II with just a bit of EQ. What else is there to say?

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II gets my high recommendation if used with recommended EQ. Without it, it is still recommended but just not as highly.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
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sweetchaos

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#2
To import this PEQ profile into 'Equalizer APO', use:
Preamp: -3.4 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 4000 Hz Gain 3.5 dB Q 2.0
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 6100 Hz Gain -2.0 dB Q 4.0
To import into your favorite PEQ app, enter it manually.
Otherwise, see my PEQ guide.
..................................................................................................................
For those who don't have PEQ-capable app, and want to use GEQs instead.
Preamp: -2.5db
32 -0.4
64 -0.2
125 -0.2
250 -0.2
500 -0.3
1000 -0.3
2000 -0.4
4000 2.6
8000 -1.3
16000 -0.3
Preamp: -3.7db
20 -1.1
25 -0.8
32 -0.6
40 -0.4
50 -0.3
63 -0.2
80 -0.3
100 -0.3
125 -0.3
160 -0.3
200 -0.2
250 -0.2
315 -0.2
400 -0.3
500 -0.2
630 -0.2
800 -0.3
1000 -0.2
1250 -0.2
1600 -0.2
2000 -0.1
2500 0.0
3150 1.0
4000 3.3
5000 0.8
6300 -1.9
8000 -0.2
10000 -0.3
12500 -0.4
16000 -0.5
20000 -0.4
If you want to import into "Wavelet" (Android App):
GraphicEQ: 20 -3.5; 21 -3.5; 22 -3.5; 23 -3.5; 24 -3.5; 26 -3.5; 27 -3.5; 29 -3.5; 30 -3.5; 32 -3.5; 34 -3.5; 36 -3.5; 38 -3.5; 40 -3.5; 43 -3.5; 45 -3.5; 48 -3.5; 50 -3.5; 53 -3.5; 56 -3.5; 59 -3.5; 63 -3.5; 66 -3.5; 70 -3.5; 74 -3.5; 78 -3.5; 83 -3.5; 87 -3.5; 92 -3.5; 97 -3.5; 103 -3.5; 109 -3.5; 115 -3.5; 121 -3.5; 128 -3.5; 136 -3.5; 143 -3.5; 151 -3.5; 160 -3.5; 169 -3.5; 178 -3.5; 188 -3.5; 199 -3.5; 210 -3.5; 222 -3.5; 235 -3.5; 248 -3.5; 262 -3.5; 277 -3.5; 292 -3.5; 309 -3.5; 326 -3.5; 345 -3.5; 364 -3.5; 385 -3.5; 406 -3.5; 429 -3.5; 453 -3.5; 479 -3.5; 506 -3.5; 534 -3.5; 565 -3.5; 596 -3.5; 630 -3.5; 665 -3.5; 703 -3.5; 743 -3.5; 784 -3.5; 829 -3.5; 875 -3.5; 924 -3.5; 977 -3.5; 1032 -3.5; 1090 -3.5; 1151 -3.4; 1216 -3.4; 1284 -3.4; 1357 -3.4; 1433 -3.4; 1514 -3.4; 1599 -3.3; 1689 -3.3; 1784 -3.3; 1885 -3.2; 1991 -3.2; 2103 -3.1; 2221 -3.1; 2347 -3.0; 2479 -2.9; 2618 -2.7; 2766 -2.5; 2921 -2.3; 3086 -1.9; 3260 -1.5; 3443 -1.1; 3637 -0.6; 3842 -0.3; 4058 -0.2; 4287 -0.5; 4528 -1.0; 4783 -1.6; 5052 -2.3; 5337 -3.0; 5637 -3.8; 5955 -4.5; 6290 -4.6; 6644 -4.3; 7018 -3.9; 7414 -3.7; 7831 -3.5; 8272 -3.5; 8738 -3.5; 9230 -3.5; 9749 -3.5; 10298 -3.5; 10878 -3.5; 11490 -3.5; 12137 -3.5; 12821 -3.5; 13543 -3.5; 14305 -3.5; 15110 -3.5; 15961 -3.5; 16860 -3.5; 17809 -3.5; 18812 -3.5; 19871 -3.4
Otherwise, see my GEQ guide.
 
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voodooless

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#4
Bought them a few years ago. Always thought they were pretty good. Except for the firmware shinanigans where they suddenly downgraded the noise reduction performance because they introduced a newer model it has been a smooth ride. Still use them every day for meetings and the occasional tune.
 

beefkabob

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#5
My daughter, bless her heart, has destroyed two sets of the QuietComfort 25. They also have a mic. Not sure about these.

The sound deadening is fantastic. It's the best I've ever used short of CIEMs that just block everything. Better than my in-ear Sony headphones.

However, I was not at all impressed with the sound. So either they have dramatically improved the sound with the newer model, or my hears are out of standard.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #9
However, I was not at all impressed with the sound.
The EQ at 4 kHz is needed to lift the sound and make it more open. Without it, it can sound dull and closed.
 
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#13
Qc35 version 1 better than qc35ii better than sony 1234 better than nc700.
As far as I know QC35 series came way earlier than k371. And qc25 which came even earlier was not bad either.
from frequency response point of view qc25's sound quality is extremely bad. qc35 is a significant improvement.
source: I helped in developing the firmware inside qc35.
 

trl

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#14
I've noticed myself how the internal DSP is correcting the freq. response inside the Q35 ii. This is not happening in other cans like Beats Studio 3 nor in Plantronics BackBeat Pro2 nor in Voyager 8200 UC.
 

trl

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#17
your discovery is correct. it's a small feature based on qualcomm kalimba dsp technologies.
Good to know, thanks for sharing. I've done some measurements after I've heard for the first time how the sound coming from the QC 35 ii is changing with/without the DSP.
 

JohnYang1997

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#19
from frequency response point of view qc25's sound quality is extremely bad. qc35 is a significant improvement.
source: I helped in developing the firmware inside qc35.
Well. Qc35 yes. Between Qc35ii and qc25... not so sure. It's a matter of a broad emphasis around 4khz vs a 4kdip+6kpeak. I thought qc35ii was as good as qc35 until I bought one myself. I couldn't stand it the whole flight. But I could listen to it for a long time without issue on qc25. I would even argue if the bass on sony is not so discomforting, it can be better than qc35ii. I really don't understand why qc35ii became so much worse than qc35.
 

m_g_s_g

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#20
This is my pair of choice for travelling and desktop computer work when I want/need complete isolation. They always sounded surprisingly good to me, and yes, they are hot to wear in summer.

They filter out the PC fans noise (even if semi silent Noctua) and of the NAS nearby, and of the furnace, and of my barking dog, and of the not too distant fridge,... I always use them tethered (no Bluetooth), even when travelling. The mic is Ok (my Zoom colleagues say).

I was using Oratory’s EQ, but will try @amirm settings. It seems to me that having less -but carefully chosen- PEQ points always make the cans sound more natural.

Thanks for this review. Good products like the QC35II deserve recognition even if there’s usually not a lot of love here in ASR for Bose (and Sonos?) stuff.
 
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