Bose QC-25 Around-ear Noise Canceling Stereo Headphone review

dalethorn

Headphone user
Dec 9, 2012
416
1
18
58
Cleveland TN.
dalethorn.com
#1
Here's the Bose QC-25 - the most famous of the noise cancelers I think. And it's extremely good at canceling noise, with a couple minor caveats. From what I hear with this headphone, they managed to not only be the best at noise cancellation, but they produced a near-perfect audiophile signature at the same time. I can't say that all aspects of the sound quality are audiophile-grade, but listening to many very familiar music tracks, the details were present and the tone qualities seemed correct. The build quality is luxurious, and if the QC-25 proves to be durable, the $300 USD price tag seems like a good value. In the picture links I included, you'll be able to see the major differences between the Active mode and Passive mode signatures.

http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=4209
 

dalethorn

Headphone user
Dec 9, 2012
416
1
18
58
Cleveland TN.
dalethorn.com
#3
Very interesting!
I've been discovering more as I go along. One big thing I didn't know in the review tests - if you're in a noisy area and benefitting from the Noise Canceling, and it's outdoors and windy, the mics that measure the ambient noise will also pick up the wind, just like a digital camera making a video. And that wind noise will overpower the music even with a 10 mph breeze if you're facing into it. That makes me wonder if there's already a solution for it, or whether a solution is even possible.
 
Jun 21, 2013
369
1
18
Wellington, New Zealand
#5
I've been discovering more as I go along. One big thing I didn't know in the review tests - if you're in a noisy area and benefitting from the Noise Canceling, and it's outdoors and windy, the mics that measure the ambient noise will also pick up the wind, just like a digital camera making a video. And that wind noise will overpower the music even with a 10 mph breeze if you're facing into it. That makes me wonder if there's already a solution for it, or whether a solution is even possible.
There is a solution.
There are 2 ways to cancel noise: feed forward and feed back.
Feed forward designs have microphones outside the earcups that pick up the ambient noise, invert its phase and drive the earphone with enough of the noise to cancel the noise that leaks in through the earcups.
Feed back designs have microphones inside the earcups. They pick up the combination of the signal (music) and the noise that has leaked in, then subtract the music signal. The result is the noise that has leaked in. They then invert the phase of this and drive the earphone with it.
The QC-25 may be a "feed forward" design. I have a pair of Blackbox (Phitek) M14 headphones which are "feed back" design. They do a very good job of canceling wind noise, very useful in the "Windy City" where I live (windier than Chicago...)
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/capital-life/6111069/How-windy-is-Wellington-really
 

dalethorn

Headphone user
Dec 9, 2012
416
1
18
58
Cleveland TN.
dalethorn.com
#6
I think these are the updated ver. to what I have, the QC-15. I really like them for travel.
They are definitely the update to the QC15, and probably very similar in performance. I didn't have the QC15 at home to evaluate at length, but after using it a few times at the Apple store, my impression is the QC25 was made to look and feel more luxurious. I think high-fliers who rack up a lot of air miles, who wear fancy watches et al, will appreciate what Bose did to spiff-up the QC25.
 

dalethorn

Headphone user
Dec 9, 2012
416
1
18
58
Cleveland TN.
dalethorn.com
#7
There is a solution. There are 2 ways to cancel noise: feed forward and feed back.
Feed forward designs have microphones outside the earcups that pick up the ambient noise, invert its phase and drive the earphone with enough of the noise to cancel the noise that leaks in through the earcups. Feed back designs have microphones inside the earcups. They pick up the combination of the signal (music) and the noise that has leaked in, then subtract the music signal. The result is the noise that has leaked in. They then invert the phase of this and drive the earphone with it. The QC-25 may be a "feed forward" design. I have a pair of Blackbox (Phitek) M14 headphones which are "feed back" design. They do a very good job of canceling wind noise, very useful in the "Windy City" where I live (windier than Chicago...)
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/capital-life/6111069/How-windy-is-Wellington-really
This is interesting. I wonder if Bose doesn't do feedback because of the extra steps involved. i.e., I gave the QC25 review some extra days to determine whether it could present a similar level of musical detail and faithful tone as other headphones I have, such as the Beyer T90. I used a lot of tough test tracks, and found those details to be - if not as good as the T90, close enough for enjoyable listening to refined music.
 
Jun 21, 2013
369
1
18
Wellington, New Zealand
#8
This is interesting. I wonder if Bose doesn't do feedback because of the extra steps involved. i.e., I gave the QC25 review some extra days to determine whether it could present a similar level of musical detail and faithful tone as other headphones I have, such as the Beyer T90. I used a lot of tough test tracks, and found those details to be - if not as good as the T90, close enough for enjoyable listening to refined music.
Hmmmn. My M14s are getting old after several years of daily use. The headband is held together with tape and the on/off switch is getting flaky. They aren't made any more, so I'm going to audition the current Blackbox M10 and the Bose QC25. I'll have to remember to step outside the shop on a windy day when auditioning the QC25...

Edit: I personally prefer the "feed back" design. It makes the seal of the earpad to the head less critical. I wear spectacles, so the seal is less than perfect. The feed forward design can't compensate for this, but the feed back design just works a little harder to compensate. Feed back may be more complex, but it can be made to work well - Phitek are big in the commercial headset arena (phitek.com/headphones) and in the professional aviation arena.
 

dalethorn

Headphone user
Dec 9, 2012
416
1
18
58
Cleveland TN.
dalethorn.com
#9
Another discovery about the QC25: If you listen with your head down somewhat, with chin close to chest, the QC25 produces a fairly strong rumble, which disappears as soon as you lift your head. It may be that the mics are in those small holes at the bottom of the earcups, and they don't like being crowded or blocked.
 

audioguy

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
2,731
6
38
Near Atlanta, GA but not too near!
#10
My bride gave me a pair of Bose Quiet Comfort 35 headphones for Christmas. Primary use is for when I am working out (treadmill, etc) and air travel.

Last evening, I "connected" them to my Mac (Blue Tooth) and played music from Tidal. Can not describe how much fun I had. Are they accurate? Probably not but they sounded great. I really got lost in the music. And I realized yet again, that once you to get to a "reasonable" quality transducer (speaker or headphone), the music really is all that matters. The obsessiveness that can overtake one in this hobby, really can cause one to completely forget what the primary purpose of this hobby should be.

Consider me a fan. And the fact that they are wireless makes them even more enjoyable.

Great gift. Highly recommended.

I had another pair of Noise Cancelling phones that were not wireless that I used for exercise and travel and the noise cancelling ability of those, while acceptable, is nowhere near as excellent as the Bose. They broke, hence the new pair.
 
Feb 28, 2015
34
0
6
#11
I went on a trip to London last week and picked up at QC30 (?) noise cancelling ear phones for the journey. The noise canceling feature was just awesome on the flights. It just removed about 99% of the aircraft drone. It turned out to be a pretty comfortable flight. It is amazing how much stress is relieved by just the noise canceling. It managed both flights on a single charge which is amazing. I thought the sound quality was OK. It fell short compared to my son’s Audeze and Oppo headphones but the noise canceling makes up for this shortfall.

If you are looking for excellent noise canceling along with decent sound, I can highly recommend it.

Highly recommended.
 

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