Bose QC35ii measurements and thoughts

Discussion in 'Audio Science' started by Vtory, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    From this fall, my (real) life changed slightly, so I needed something that can protect me from noisy labs and library. After several auditions, my final decision was bose qc35ii. Moreover, giving most of my head time to them (f***ing real life..) wasn't as painful as expected. WTF.

    I still don't think qc35m2 meets the audiophile criteria. But the gap became surprisingly closer than imagined. Long ago, heard qc25 briefly and was disappointed. Using digital camera analogy, I thought bose and anc cans were like crappy cell phone cameras while good hifi headphones were like decent dslrs from nikon/canon. Using the same analogy, now I am starting to think that qc35m2 (and competing anc cans) could be "pixel" (still cell phone camera, but takes really acceptable quality photos imho).

    They sound ok, and measure ok. Honestly I can immediately list ten hifi headphones that are less-ok. qc3m2 was that "ok"..

    Here are my measurements with minidsp ears and compensation curve version 2. For your sake, I also attach a comparison graph with hd600 (worn stock pad) and elex.


    upload_2018-10-18_11-36-22.png

    upload_2018-10-18_11-36-43.png

    LR channel matching was great. Measuring small over-ear headphones with artificial ears was a bit bothersome though.

    Treble was a bit too polite but amazingly cohesive-ish and smooth-ish. 2.5k peak was audible, but did not sound as bad to my ears as shown in the graph (this peak disappears in other compensations such as minidsp's heq or my original version 1). It added good amount of crispiness and crunchiness to instruments and vocals. Some parts of musics sound a bit rough though.

    Bass was kinda one-noted and soft. qc35m2 had very deep sub-bass but was not mid-bassy and that's good in my book, too. Mid was clean and never harmed by bass. This was surprising for my prejudice toward "bose" house sound..

    Compared mark 2 with mark 1 with three different situations, and I was assured subtle but significant improvement (particularly in treble) happened in mark 2 maybe due to some running changes. Good job bose.

    Overall, very pleasingly dark and warm tone. (Artificially) mimics good traits of good hifi headphones. Fatigue-free and tuned/geared toward long-time listening.


    upload_2018-10-18_11-51-25.png

    upload_2018-10-18_11-51-36.png

    Distortion results (measured at 85db SPL) also look good.


    PS. Bose was historically known for superior noise cancellation. But that's not valid any more imo. I don't mean bose anc sucks. Sony now do better than bose -- 1000xm2 outperformed qc35ii. presumably 1000xm3 would outdo 1000xm2. Other competent anc cans such as senn px550 did equivalent jobs.

    [​IMG]

    PS2. What I liked qc35ii over other auditioned anc headphones was better tonality and comfort. Wearing comfort was truly superb. Insanely lightweight at 233g (=0.51lbs), quite loose clamping, good material choice for head/ear cushion, and smartly designed inner-space (very spacious regardless of small ear cups). Loved all of these.

    PS3. Hope google/alexa button (newly added to mark 2) is also compatible with apple siri in near future..
     
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  2. westermac

    westermac Friend

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    I have a pair of QC35ii and really like them for what they are: wireless, great battery life, very comfortable, good isolation, not-great-but-also-not-crappy sound. I bought and promptly returned the Sony XM2 which sounded a bit better and had some nifty touch controls but comfort was nowhere near as good; very shallow ear pads/earcups.

    I am also pretty prejudiced toward Bose, but was surprised by how pleasant and coherent the frequency response is (that 2.5kHz peak is definitely not as noticeable as the measurement might indicate). Good driver matching makes for decent imaging too. I wouldn't consider them hi-fi either, but they're just fine.
     
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  3. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    I felt exactly the same as you. lol
    Touch control might be ok perhaps after getting familiar (I personally dislike triple button clicks!) but that shallow space.. my (large) ears easily touched the "wall".

    Heard good things for xm3 from international friends. But they are weirdly unavailable near my place (or prol in US). Could not test anywhere. Oh well.
     
  4. aamefford

    aamefford Nothing like chamberpot coffee

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    Thanks for this. These are on my radar as part of a shift from upper end closed cans to upper end open cans and likely the Bose QC35ii for bedroom and travel.
     
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  5. maverickronin

    maverickronin Friend

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    What about Alexa? Can you disable that or anything?

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    One hardware button was assigned to immediately call Alexa or Google assistant depending on OS, by default (but no Siri for now). Using bose's app, you can also assign a toggle of noise-cancellation degree (3 levels: high-low-off) to that button, which I am currently using.
     
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  7. Metro

    Metro Almost "Made"

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    Sonarworks True-Fi has a profile for the QC35ii. If you have True-Fi software, it should be worth trying when you're playing from a PC or Mac. Here is the response measured by Sonarworks:

    [​IMG]

    I've been using a Sony 1000XM2 for over a year for my daily bus+train commute and for flights. I chose it over the QC35ii based on better noise cancellation and sound quality, but the Bose does have roomier, more comfortable earcups. BTW, True-Fi also has a profile for the XM2, and it makes it sound quite good.

    The XM3 has been getting rave reviews in the media ever since it was launched, making it a runaway hit and in short supply worldwide. It keeps going on backorder at Amazon and Best Buy, and someone on head-fi said it was completely sold out in the entire UK.

    I haven't tried the XM3 yet, but Sony has apparently improved the comfort, which makes me tempted to upgrade my XM2. However, many on head-fi feel that bass on the XM3 is boosted too much, and use EQ to tame it. The XM2 has a slight bass bump but it is much more pronounced on the XM3. For this reason I want to wait for Bose to bring out their next generation before deciding. Bose is long overdue for an update and they need to get it out soon because they are getting trounced by Sony.
     
  8. maverickronin

    maverickronin Friend

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    Good that it's just a button to trigger something on your phone. Skimming the Amazon page makes it sound like it somehow runs on/in the headphone itself.
     
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  9. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

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    I have a pair of QC25s that I picked up on clearance a few months back. They don't sound great (as I expected) and would have been completely overpriced had I paid retail. But I picked them up to use for air travel, and I knew not to expect stellar sound. If the QC35 sound significantly better than they may have a winner, because the noise cancelling is impressive.

    They're not good enough to use on a lawnmower, Etymotic ER-4 variants are much better in this regard. But I'll occasionally use them at the office and they're great at eliminating air conditioning sounds and general low level chatter. They emit a very low level hiss, which is barely audible and easily ignorable. But I find this noise reduction quite relaxing. Those bastards at Bose are using this for some sort of MKULTRA secret mind control, I just know it.

    Comfort - Bose always seems to get the comfort just right. Every pair of Bose I've ever tried has always been lightweight and comfortable. Even if they often sound like runny poo.
     
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  10. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Definitely worthy step-up, maintaining basic sound character. Higher mid and entire treble are much more refined than qc25 (qc25 to qc35 mark 1: big improvement-tonally righter, mark 1 to mark 2: small improvement-less weirdness and better refinement).

    I also own er4s and have a long history of love-hate relationship lol. To me even after years of using them, it still takes time and pain when inserting them into my ears. As you know, deep insertion is so important for them.

    Also thinking that, for some extremely noisy situations (e.g. running lawn mowers), sony's anc cans may work greatly. Did not test them in actually mowing lawns though lol. Sony's 1000x families work much better for cancelling high frequency dynamic noise than boses.
     
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  11. Zed Bopp

    Zed Bopp Friend

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    I'll just copy my previous thoughts on the v.1...

    I own a pair of QC35s and they're basically very good for what they mean to do. Great ANC, no wire, light weight, awesome battery life, comfy, stylishly low profile looks and very easy to pair and use in general. Pretty much every other company making portables should learn a thing or two from Bose concerning basic usability. For this reason they get lots more use than many better sounding alternatives I own.

    SQ is quite agreeable generally with a modest bass & treble boost that works when on the go. They aren't high fidelity by any stretch, but get the job done. Bass has some nice punch to it, though it's a bit sluggish & mid-bassy but they aren't overly V-shaped. My biggest gripes are some lacking energy in the presence region (vocals, lead instruments etc.) and some fuzziness/"digi-fizz" in the highs.

    So, the sound is an agreeable "meh", but man are they a joy to use when mobile. On flights I wouldn't even think about just having passive isolation anymore - this thing is very relaxing on a plane, even without any sound coming out of 'em.
     
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