Bose is finally bringing aptX Adaptive support to its flagship headphones and is making its first foray into spatial audio, too
American audio manufacturer Bose has shaken up its headphones lineup with three new models: the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones, the Bose QuietComfort Headphones and the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds.
The trio replace the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, Bose QuietComfort 45 and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, with the QuietComfort Headphones available to buy now from Bose’s online store and the two Ultra models available from early October.
We hope to receive review samples of all three soon but, for the time being, let’s have a look at what each pair brings to the table.
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones
The QuietComfort Ultra Headphones replace the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 as Bose’s flagship over-ear option and come with a price tag to match that esteemed position. They’ll cost £450, which is around £100 more than similar offerings from Sony, Bowers & Wilkins and Beats, but not quite as dear as the Apple AirPods Max.
The headphones have been re-engineered to deliver improved active noise cancellation and call quality, and support Bose’s new “Immersive Audio” technology. This is the company’s take on spatial audio and seeks to position you at the centre of a wider soundstage as audio is virtualised in front of you. It works on every audio platform and device, unlike similar proprietary formats like Apple’s Spatial Audio and Sony’s 360 Reality Audio.
Bose Immersive Audio offers two listening options: “Still” and “Motion”. The former is designed for use when you’re sitting in one place and has the audio fixed in one position, while the latter uses a form of head tracking to ensure sound is always in front of you as you move around.
Other key features include Bose’s CustomTune technology, which uses the headphones’ mics to measure how acoustic waves move through your ears and balances output accordingly, and Bose Aware Mode with ActiveSense – a transparency mode capable of automatically implementing noise cancellation should your surroundings suddenly become overbearing.
The QC Ultra Headphones have a luxurious new design and can be folded flat for easy transportation in their carrying case. Both physical and touch controls are supported, as is the high-resolution aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec via the Snapdragon Sound platform on compatible Android devices. Battery life is quoted at up to 24 hours with Immersive Audio off and around 18 hours with it engaged.
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds
The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds are the follow-up to the most effective noise-cancelling earbuds on the market, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, and cost slightly more than their predecessors at £300.
Like the Ultra Headphones, they support Bose Immersive Audio, CustomTune sound calibration and Snapdragon Sound on Android, while also using dynamic mic mixing and adaptive filters to boost voice pickup in windy conditions.
With Immersive Audio off, the buds will last around six hours in-ear, a figure that drops to four hours if you’re using Bose’s new spatial processing. They don’t support wireless charging by default, but Bose is launching a new wireless charging case cover that will be available for £50 from 20 October.
Bose QuietComfort Headphones
Completing the new lineup are the Bose QuietComfort Headphones, which are the successors of the Bose QuietComfort 45. Bose is addressing one of the big gripes we had with their predecessors by allowing users to manually adjust the level of noise cancellation and set custom ANC modes rather than simply selecting between “Quiet” and “Aware” modes.
The new QC Headphones support Bluetooth 5.1, offer battery life of up to 24 hours and come with an audio cable that houses an in-line mic – a rarity when it comes to premium over-ear noise-cancelling headphones.
They’re available to buy from Bose now, cost £350 and come in Black and White Smoke variants, as well as a limited-edition Cypress Green colourway pictured above.