The very first noise-cancelling headphones I ever tried were a pair by Bose, and to my ears they remain the gold standard for comfort and cancelling. But as we noted in our QuietComfort QC45 review, even the best wireless headphones can sometimes be missing a few things from our wishlist. And in the case of the QC45, the missing thing was a manual EQ – something its rival, the Sony WH1000XM4, already offers.
Good news! It's here!
EQ for you, and you, and you
EQ is one of those things you shouldn't really need. In an ideal world all music would be mixed to sound brilliant on everything, and your headphones would simply recreate the same sound. But we don't live in that world, and neither do our headphones.
Some songs have clearly been mixed for listening to on YouTube via tinny laptop speakers; others overcook the bass to try and distract you from the fact they forgot to write a tune; and some songs were recorded on a budget of roughly zero and sound like the band is playing inside a metal shed during a hailstorm.
EQ enables you to make little adjustments to compensate for these issues, and for the deficiencies in your own hearing – so for example I've lost a lot of my sensitivity to higher frequencies so I like being able to give them a boost in the mix.
Not having this option in the Bose QC45 was a real shame, when its rivals from Sony have offered it for years (along with numerous other ways to tweak their features, some more useful than others). It's one of the things that's pushed Sony's models to the top of our list of the best noise-cancelling headphones.
So the addition of an adustable EQ to the already excellent QuietComforts is a great upgrade, and all you need to do is install the latest firmware. The update is rolling out already, and will give you a choice of multiple pre-set EQs as well as your own custom settings.
Simply open up the Bose Music app, tap on Install Update on the QC45 control screen and follow the prompts to upgrade your audio experience.
The one thing still on our wishlist? The highly adjustable (10 different steps!) noise-cancellation settings from the Bose NCH 700 headphones. Here's hoping that's next month's great little surprise from Bose…