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logical
  • Andrei Gheorghe, 35
  • Bucureşti, România
  • Work: Infineon Technologies
  • School: Fac. de Electronică şi Telecomunicaţii

 

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   "Burn Bucharest, Burn You Fucking Maniacs" [Lake Of Tears, 11 Martie 2006]

Bose QC35 II vs Sony 1000XM3 – An honest personal experience
Bose QC35 II vs Sony 1000XM3 – An honest personal experience

pe scurt, mi-am luat căşti... pe lung, am scris un review exhaustiv între 2 modele din care am avut de ales... l-am scris în engleză pentru că l-am pus pe reddit:

My girlfriend bought the Bose a few months ago and I used them from time to time and was impressed by them and how nice it is to have ANC even while working from home. So last week I decided to also buy a pair of ANC headphones and after reading all comparisons on reddit and watching a lot of review videos, it seemed like the Sony should be even better. For me sound quality was the most important factor and all reviews (almost all) said that Sony has better sound.

A week later, I had thoroughly tested both headphones for 7 days straight and can tell you my honest opinion.

First of all, I will start with sound because I said it is the most important for me. The Sony sound like crap out of the box. No highs, no mids, only bass. I went and installed the app and configured the EQ to Bright and decreased the ClearBass to 0 and then it was more acceptable, but wait. After using them with the EQ on I noticed a lot of weird things. For example, if I went over a certain volume, the EQ would temporarily disable until I lowered the volume again (like around 80%). I am guessing this is coming from a bad clamping protection, but is really annoying. I like my music loud and I always seemed to cross that threshold. Then, the EQ does not work when using the wired connection. So if I wanted to use them to play a game and used the wire to have no delay, the sound was all bass, EQ off. Stupid. To make matters worse, the only codec advantage that Sony has over Bose, the Apt-X and the LDAC, they are both disabled if you turn the EQ on. Again, stupid as hell. So if I want to use any EQ setting I have to use the SBC codec. At least with the Bose I can use the AAC on my Android phone, but Sony explicitly tells you that it switches to SBC to enable de EQ. And on top of all this, if any of these weren’t enough, noise cancellation also makes sound worse. With noise cancellation disabled, the sound was decent but when you turn the noise cancellation on it instantly becomes more muddy, it’s not even hard to tell, the difference is huge and immediately noticeable.

On the other hand, the sound of the Bose is brighter out of the box and it just sounds so much better without any tinkering. The wired connection sounds identical to the bluetooth one, noise cancellation has no noticeable effect on the sound quality and I can listen to them up to 100% without any weird clamping effects. And it uses AAC codec by default on my Xperia phone. I put +2db on the bass from my sound player eq and that makes even Scooter sound good on them.

To finalize the sound quality comparison, there is one last thing which makes the Bose way ahead of the Sony. Soundstage. The Bose has a more stereo sounding sound, with left and right separation very noticeable on the instruments and the voice always seems to come from inside your brain. I love this, listening to strong voices like Sia are really something. The Sony sound a lot more mono, the voices always seem to come from in front of you and so they are more passive. Listening to Sia on the Sony really made her sound like a different singer. Maybe the angled drivers on the Bose give this advantage, I don’t know. But if lots of stereo in your headphones make you dizzy (I’ve heard about this) than maybe Sony is a better choice.

As a note, I’ve tested the headphones with a lot of genres that I listen to, from Pop to Extreme Heavy Metal and except some electronic music like Scooter of Vitalic, the Bose is the clear winner. Some of the songs I used: Sia – Unstoppable, Scooter – Soul Train, Vitalic – Waiting For the Stars, Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing, Lamb of God – Remorse Is For The Dead, Rotting Christ – Non Serviam and Vaya Con Dios – Neh Nah Nah.

Regarding comfort, Bose is again the winner. The Sony feel very comfortable when you put them on but after 30 minutes your ears begin to really head up and itch because they are in contact with the foam inside all the time. I also felt the weight of the headband on the top of my head. The Bose have so much space inside the cans that your ears do not touch anything inside, you only feel the grip around the years but that fades after a few minutes. I had a long gaming session with the Bose on and I literally forgot I had them on for like 5 hours straight. No competition here.

The ANC I could only test with apartment sounds, as we are in lockdown in Romania due to the pandemic. I would say they are same, certainly not much of a difference like some reviewers say. I even felt like for a washing machine sound the Bose was better because the Sony left a midrange resonance sound pass through. For other things like voices, vacuum clear or hair dryer they were the same. But since the ANC on the Sony made the sound quality even more muddy than default, I would clearly make the Bose winners here also.

For connectivity, again, there is no competition. Since the Sony disables the EQ on wire, Apt-X and LDAC, these are unusable for me. So I am stuck with SBC. With the Bose I can have wired or AAC with the same sound quality. Also, Bose can pair with 2 devices at the same time, a huge advantage if you have a phone and laptop that you want to use them with. Just hit stop on one device and play anything on the other and the switch is instantaneous. The Sony can only connect to one device at a time, so to switch between laptop and phone there is a long process to unpair, shutdown, turn the bluetooth on on the other device, turn the headphones on. It takes like 30 seconds (when it works from the first try) and is really annoying.

The controls on the Sony are again a joke. At first they appear so interesting and fun, with the touch sensors, but if you use actually use them they are a mess. Each time I take them off and put them on I touch something. I wanted to give my girlfriend a listen of a certain portion of a song and when she touched them she skipped to next song, obviously. The putting your hand on the right can to allow exterior voices is nice, but only works like half the time. I once had to put my hand 3 times on the can to make it work. It’s faster to take them off, but that will probably make them skip a song.

Now for the final nail in the coffin. The Sony has a problem with sudden head moves. If you turn your head to the left or right really fast, you will hear a lot of distortion in the headphones. Same if you rock your head on some techno music, you will hear the sound pressure changes. It is really annoying and kind of restricts you to stand still with them on. The Bose has no such problem, I did some heavy air guitaring with them on around the room and no problem. They also stay really firm on you head so you can jump or bend over and they stay in place. The Sony fells of if you bend over.

Also, I like that the Bose tells you how much battery you have left each time you turn them on. The Sony does not and the only way to see the battery level is to pair them with your phone and use the Sony headphones app. No other way.

The Sony wins only at two minor things: they have a USB-C charger port and a longer 3.5mm jack wire (which you cannot use anyway). The Bose uses the older MicroUSB and have a shorter 2.5mm jack wire.

So that’s it. I feel like the Sony had so much potential and they have a lot of tech and engineering but implemented very poorly. Like different design teams worked on parts of them and when they put them together they made a mess. Normally I am a Sony fan and use their Xperia phones, their TVs and other audio devices, but these headphones are not worth it.

Returned them and bought the Bose instead.

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Sunday November 29, 2020 - 00:25am (EET)

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