After more than a decade of QuietComfort headphones, Bose has unveiled the flagship QuietComfort 35, the successor to the wired QC25 and the first version that’s wireless and contains active noise-canceling circuitry. Bose wasn’t the first to do this, with AKG, Sony, Sennheiser, and Phiaton all beating the company to the punch. But Bose is arguably the most recognizable name in noise canceling, and has held out on releasing a wireless version for a long time (although it has released wireless headphones without noise cancellation before).
The around-the-ear QC35 employs microphones to listen to outside sounds, and sports two discrete DSP chips to cancel out the unwanted noise with equal and opposite waveforms in less than a millisecond. This has to be done as close to instantaneously as possible, or else it wouldn’t work, especially for fast transient sounds as opposed to the droning of an aircraft engine or the ambient noise of a loud city street. The QC35 also features a customized Bluetooth wireless system to maximize connection reliability, and should last 20 hours on a single charge, which the company says is enough to get you through an entire flight from New York to Hong Kong. The QuietComfort 35 is available starting now for $349.95 direct from Bose, in either black or silver.
Bose also unveiled the QuietControl 30 (right), a revised pair of noise-canceling in-ear headphones (earphones) that let you fine-tune the amount of external noise you want to let through. This way you can leave them inserted while working out, walking around in public, or even while taking a phone call, so that you don’t tune out your surroundings too much and risk your safety. The QuietControl 30s are also wireless Bluetooth-enabled and last up to 10 hours on a single charge. The QuietControl 30 will land in September for $299.95.
Finally, Bose unveiled a few less-expensive wireless models for gym rats, the SoundSport and SoundSport Pulse. Neither earphone pair features noise-canceling circuitry, but both are sweat and water-resistant, with built-in mics to take calls. They also have soft, flexible silicone eartips that stay put while working out, and come with extended wing locks for a more secure fit. The Pulse version adds a heart-rate monitor that works with Runkeeper, Endomondo, and other compatible fitness apps. The SoundSport is available now for $149.95; the Pulse will arrive in September for $199.95.
I’ve tested many Bose QuietComfort and other headphone models over the years. They’re usually not accurate enough for audiophiles to love — especially when the noise-canceling is turned on, but even with it off. But recent versions have become better at music playback and can now deliver an exciting, larger-than-life sound, while the noise-canceling circuitry is second to none. Many people continue to just put them on, turn on the noise canceling, and enjoy the silence without even playing music through them. Since Bose fans have waited years for a wireless version, the QC35 could be a big seller in the high-end market.