• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphone Review

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 20 11.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 45 24.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 93 51.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 24 13.2%

  • Total voters
    182

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,210
Likes
232,258
Location
Seattle Area
This is a review, listening test and detailed measurements of the Bose QuietComfort 45 wireless/wired Noise Cancelling headphone. It was kindly drop shipped to me by a member and costs US $329.
Bose QuietComfort 45 noise cancelling headphone Bluetooth Wireless Review.jpg

The 45 has excellent feel and the white color gives it a feeling of luxury. I like the physical buttons with their tactile feel. In use they headphones are mostly comfort but did heat up my head pretty quickly. Manual tells you to download the app which I did. I did not like all the permissions and registration it requires to work. There is supposed to be EQ function in there but in my quick use, I did not find it.

For testing I used the included cable. It eliminates the effect of the BT codec and gives me more flexibility in testing its dynamic capabilities.

Bose QuietComfort 45 Measurements
I started testing while the headphone was off and I was surprised how bad channel balance was. Turning the unit on nicely fixed that other than some disparity at higher frequencies:
Bose QuietComfort 45 noise cancelling headphone frequency response measurement.png


With the unit/noise cancelling on, compliance with the target is very good especially in bass. There is just a dip between 7 and 10 kHz, assuming one ignores the channel mismatch. As a result, our relative frequency response looks really good:
Bose QuietComfort 45 noise cancelling headphone relative frequency response measurement.png


I was impressed by how low the distortion was at 94 dBSPL:
Bose QuietComfort 45 noise cancelling headphone Relative Distortion THD measurement.png


Although something is going on between 2 and 3 kHz:
Bose QuietComfort 45 noise cancelling headphone Distortion THD measurement.png


Group delay looks very messy due to noise cancelling circuit when the unit is on:
Bose QuietComfort 45 noise cancelling headphone Group Delay measurement.png


Notice the latency of about 14 milliseconds so if you are into gaming, that may matter to you.

When I turned the unit on, I noticed the general noise reduction but was bothered by what seemed to be a hiss especially in the left channel. So I measured for this:

Bose QuietComfort 45 noise cancelling headphone Noise Cancelling measurement.png


As you see, we get noise reduction from 80 to 400 Hz but above that, the headphone electronics is injecting its own noise. Shame that we are stuck between having good frequency response and noise.

Bose QuietComfort 45 Listening Test and Equalization
With the unit off, sound is not offensive but not that hi-fi either. Turning the headphone on brings a revelation with superb bass and excellent overall response. At first I thought there would be no need for EQ but tried filling the gap around 8 kHz and it added nice spatial effects without getting bright:

Bose QuietComfort 45 noise cancelling headphone Equalization measurement.png


I just picked the 10 dB as a starting point (measurements say 15 dB) and it worked well enough that I stayed with it. With this filter, the response was essentially reference quality. My test tracks sounded beautiful.

On loudness front, it got loud enough. If you push it you start to get static and grunginess that sets in gradually. Really, for everyday use, it is fine.

Conclusions
Bose should be commended by providing a headphone that complies with research targets when turned on with noise cancelling. If the story ended there, it would get my highest award. Alas, it produces hiss with NC on which while low level, was audible to my ears when there was silence between tracks. That takes it down a notch but otherwise still leaves a positive impression.

I am going to recommend the Bose QuietComfort 45 with or without EQ.

------------
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/
 

Attachments

  • Bose Quietcomfort 45 frequency response.zip
    33.6 KB · Views: 93

ALaylowguy

Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2022
Messages
46
Likes
136
before your review, all comments I know of expressing that this headphone is from bad to moderate when it comes to sound quality. Thanks a lot Amir.
 

thewas

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
6,564
Likes
15,634
Interesting that the channel imbalance is so large in passive mode and disappears in the active modes, guess its due to different internal cup volumes due to electronics and nicely corrected by their EQ/DSP.
Like their predessors QC35 and QC35 II models they are good purchases which I have recommended to few friends which commute a lot and all are really happy with them.
 

Bam!

Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2022
Messages
64
Likes
73
Thanks for the great review. I really like these headphones and was always amazed that people talk about how bad they sound compared to the 35, I have these too and to me they sound identical (45 has usb c) I use the Bose app for eq (-2 0 -4) imho better than without.
 

perdido34

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
37
Likes
60
There are two Bose apps: Bose Music does have rudimentary EQ (bass, mid, high); the older Bose Connect has no EQ.

I just got these last week for work calls in a room with a loud window A/C unit. The cans plus Zoom block the air conditioner's sound almost completely for me, and totally for the caller. They have less of a vice grip on my head than the Sony WH-1000MX2 they are replacing. For music and TV, they are quite listenable, but nowhere near audiophile-quality headphones (cf AKG K-702 or Senn HD-600).
 

delta76

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 27, 2021
Messages
1,598
Likes
2,404
There are two Bose apps: Bose Music does have rudimentary EQ (bass, mid, high); the older Bose Connect has no EQ.

I just got these last week for work calls in a room with a loud window A/C unit. The cans plus Zoom block the air conditioner's sound almost completely for me, and totally for the caller. They have less of a vice grip on my head than the Sony WH-1000MX2 they are replacing. For music and TV, they are quite listenable, but nowhere near audiophile-quality headphones (cf AKG K-702 or Senn HD-600).
measurements disagree with you. this is as "musical" as K702 or HD600
 

PeteL

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
3,303
Likes
3,829
Thanks for measuring the hiss level. Indeed it's quite audible some Bose headphones I heard but I don't think I heard this one. It is quite annoying that they can't fix that. They have been designing NC headphones for more than 10 years. Now I don't see that in the review, but can you turn on the headphone to benefit from the DSP but turn off the noise cancelling if you don't need it, and if so does the noise go away?
 
Last edited:

Galliardist

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
2,555
Likes
3,255
Location
Sydney. NSW, Australia
These still look to be not quite as good as the QC35. I'll have to listen to see if the hiss bothers me before considering these (I'm losing my 35s to my wife who now uses her iPhone quite a bit!).

I don't need to rush into anything fortunately as when I return to work I'll have to use provided headphones which is what I bought the 35s for.
 

Thomas_A

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 20, 2019
Messages
3,357
Likes
2,367
Location
Sweden
These Bose does not dissapoint. Variability above 1 kHz is expected though

 

perdido34

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
37
Likes
60
measurements disagree with you. this is as "musical" as K702 or HD600
There is no hiss in either of these headphones. Both have audibly more midrange detail. The K702 has much better soundstaging (which no one has figured out how to measure) than the Bose. All three of these headphones are in the same approximate price range. Do you see anyone using noise-canceling headphones to monitor recording sessions? Never. But plenty of producers use the Senns, especially for classical music.

Don't get me wrong--the QC45 headphones are good at what they do--noise canceling, phone calls/Zoom sessions (voice quality of the mic is pretty good), and (for me) casual music listening. But if the listening environment is quiet, I'm going to use the HD600 (or my Focal Clear OG cans, which I'm leaving out of this comparison because they are much more expensive).
 

perdido34

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
37
Likes
60
measurements disagree with you. this is as "musical" as K702 or HD600
Tell me how measurements identify musicality, please? By "musical," I really was saying only that I prefer either of these alternatives to the Bose when I'm listening to music.
 

perdido34

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
37
Likes
60
What exactly is that? I am very sceptical about this snobbish claim. And in my book they are indeed very "near" to my HD 600.

For me there are only good and bad sounding headphones. This is a good sounding headphone.
If you want to put everything into two categories, fine--they are good-sounding headphones. But there are degrees of "good-sounding," wouldn't you agree?
 
Top Bottom