Hardware Bose wireless headsets - the ugly truth no review tells you

Costello

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Hi,

I have owned two wireless headphones from Bose, namely the Bose QuietComfort 35 and the Bose HP 700, and they both suffer from a major issue, exceptionnally annoying and costly.

Bought my first set about 2-3 years ago, the QC 35.
After a few months, this started happening:

qc35.jpg

The ear pads / cushions slowly degrade and completely fall apart, very quickly
Guess how much replacements cost? $35 fucking dollars (USD)
https://www.bose.com/en_us/products...-cushion-kit.html#v=qc35_earcushion_acc_black

upload_2020-12-6_10-26-51.png


I have had to replace the ear pads twice a year. I've given up on official replacements (after one $35 attempt) because they are as bad as any, so I started using cheap chinese replacements, but the effect is exactly the same.

I was told by the Bose support that this is normal wear and tear and that I should pay more attention/be more careful about usage. That's bullshit and let me tell you why.

I bought a new set when the Bose HP 700 came out. Bougth them in January 2020.
Since my QC35 is still working well I basically use both for different things: the old QC35 when I'm on the move or when I want a quiet nap. The 700 when I'm gaming at home on the PC. The 700 basically rests either on my desk or on my head. Doesn't get scratched, doesn't get wet, it shouldn't degrade by any means.

After 11 months this is what they look like now:

Image.jpeg


As I'm being forced to buy yet another replacement set of earpads I thought I would express my annoyment publicly.
You don't hear much about this in reviews because the ear pads don't degrate within days, but months.

If you're considering getting a Bose headset you have to take this into consideration.
Bose if you're reading this, seriously you have got to fix this and to stop blaming the customer for improper use! It's not just me - you'll find plenty of testimonies on forums and blogs.

I have to add that in the first few months of use the HP 700 was extremely buggy (crashing, not being able to connect, forgetting devices, etc etc.), until they release firmware updates. Now there's still the occasional issue (noise cancelling disables itself - requiring you to re-enable it manually, audio connecting in voice mode instead of music mode, etc.) but a lot better than the first few months. The QC35 doesn't have that kind of issues, at least not anymore. And of course, audio quality is excellent so it's not all bad.
 
Last edited by Costello,

VinsCool

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Damn so much degradation in such short time :o

I've used the same headphones for nearly 3 years now, and the level of damage is still less than the photos you posted here, and I have been using them every day, and hardly even took care of them (rain, snow, cold, heat, that thing just never was given a rest).

Not gonna say I am praising a brand more than another, but in my case I am incredibly satisfied with Audio Technica, the fact they lived for so long and still work great is everything I need to say they have been darn reliable so far :P
 
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bobmcjr

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Yep. Can confirm. I'm on my 3rd set of pads, and have a 4th for when these inevitably fail.

Edit: Also weird issue with my QC35's, or possibly my phone. So these support SBC and AAC audio codecs. When I have my phone set to AAC for higher quality audio, a handful of songs cause connection issues that manifest in bursts of static and sometimes a high pitched (>2kHz) ringing in one ear.

Specifically some variants of Proto Man's whistle from Mega Man 3 (not this one at the moment, but for reference
)
 
Last edited by bobmcjr,

The Real Jdbye

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Hi,

I have owned two wireless headphones from Bose, namely the Bose QuietComfort 35 and the Bose HP 700, and they both suffer from a major issue, exceptionnally annoying and costly.

Bought my first set about 2-3 years ago, the QC 35.
After a few months, this started happening:

View attachment 236912

The ear pads / cushions slowly degrade and completely fall apart, very quickly
Guess how much replacements cost? $35 fucking dollars (USD)
https://www.bose.com/en_us/products...-cushion-kit.html#v=qc35_earcushion_acc_black

View attachment 236913

I have had to replace the ear pads twice a year. I've given up on official replacements (after one $35 attempt) because they are as bad as any, so I started using cheap chinese replacements, but the effect is exactly the same.

I was told by the Bose support that this is normal wear and tear and that I should pay more attention/be more careful about usage. That's bullshit and let me tell you why.

I bought a new set when the Bose HP 700 came out. Bougth them in January 2020.
Since my QC35 is still working well I basically use both for different things: the old QC35 when I'm on the move or when I want a quiet nap. The 700 when I'm gaming at home on the PC. The 700 basically rests either on my desk or on my head. Doesn't get scratched, doesn't get wet, it shouldn't degrade by any means.

After 11 months this is what they look like now:

View attachment 236914

As I'm being forced to buy yet another replacement set of earpads I thought I would express my annoyment publicly.
You don't hear much about this in reviews because the ear pads don't degrate within days, but months.

If you're considering getting a Bose headset you have to take this into consideration.
Bose if you're reading this, seriously you have got to fix this and to stop blaming the customer for improper use! It's not just me - you'll find plenty of testimonies on forums and blogs.

I have to add that in the first few months of use the HP 700 was extremely buggy (crashing, not being able to connect, forgetting devices, etc etc.), until they release firmware updates. Now there's still the occasional issue (noise cancelling disables itself - requiring you to re-enable it manually, audio connecting in voice mode instead of music mode, etc.) but a lot better than the first few months. The QC35 doesn't have that kind of issues, at least not anymore. And of course, audio quality is excellent so it's not all bad.
Ahh, the ear cushions for my Sony WH-H900N started wearing out as well. The (faux leather) fabric was fine, but the seams which were glued rather than sewed together came apart, and I tried to glue it with textile glue but it didn't hold.
What I ended up doing and recommend other people do the same, was rather than paying for overpriced 1st party replacements or cheapo Chinese crap, I bought a superior 3rd party replacement. Got mine from Wicked Cushions on Amazon, and so far they are holding up well. I use them every day wired with my laptop, sometimes wireless with my TV, and bring them around with me, and they are not showing any signs of wear yet.

They have different designs for the QC35.
https://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Cushions-Premium-Bose-Replacement/dp/B08KYDSMYR/
https://www.amazon.com/WC-Premium-Replacement-Headphones-Cushions/dp/B083YRFH54/

Yep. Can confirm. I'm on my 3rd set of pads, and have a 4th for when these inevitably fail.

Edit: Also weird issue with my QC35's, or possibly my phone. So these support SBC and AAC audio codecs. When I have my phone set to AAC for higher quality audio, a handful of songs cause connection issues that manifest in bursts of static and sometimes a high pitched (>2kHz) ringing in one ear.

Specifically some variants of Proto Man's whistle from Mega Man 3 (not this one at the moment, but for reference
)
I will suggest to you the same thing I suggested to Costello above :)
 
Last edited by The Real Jdbye,
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It's not just Bose, I think quality in general has taken a dive over the decades. I just tweeted this the other day..

 
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player594

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They break down like that mostly due to the oils in your skin. And the skin around the ears is known to be heavier on the oil. Try cleaning your ears inside and around the outside before using the headphones. Every brand I've used from Sony to Bose. Also wiping the pads off gently with alcohol after use can help.
 

FAST6191

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They break down like that mostly due to the oils in your skin. And the skin around the ears is known to be heavier on the oil. Try cleaning your ears inside and around the outside before using the headphones. Every brand I've used from Sony to Bose. Also wiping the pads off gently with alcohol after use can help.
That sounds like a monstrous pain in the arse, though I should be interested to see the results of someone doing it for just the one headphone.

That said I have had watch straps last for years, belts and wallets too. Ears might be worse in many ways but surely not that much. Going back to when I was mostly using headphones that did not leave a flat stripe across my hair if using them for hours and instead getting ones that hook over the back of my ears then while your typical foam does break down eventually it is usually a mechanical effort.

As far as the robustness of pleather (faux leather) then yeah that does seem to be a thing that bothers headphones I have tried. I usually stick with either electrical tape (vinyl actually holds up, almost as though those that made such things in the 70s and 80s and still work for me today knew a thing or two) or deal with bits in my hair until such time as it wears away to the under layer and then all is good.
Making circular things that wrap around, stretch and hold things is tricky if you are new to it but if you know someone that has a sewing machine and has the ability to use it then it is within reason to get some going there, might even get some proper leather.
 
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Chary

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Holy crap that’s bad.

I’ve got the QC 35 II’s and I’ve had them for 3 years I think. They’re prob my favorite ANC headphones. Never had any issues like this—the earcups are pretty much the same as when I bought them.
 

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I used to own the Bose QuietComfort 15 for like 6+ years. Same thing happened with those. I hate PU Leather so much. I wish they would just stop making it for things for people to sit on or put on their heads. That's why I use DT 990 Pro with the felt type material. Infinitely better than PU leather.
 

Kwyjor

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I have two different pairs of Koss headphones whose cushions wear out similarly. It gets really nasty when the black stuff starts flaking off and getting everywhere.

Fortunately, the ones I purchased have a lifetime warranty! Whenever they start to decay I can ship them off with a cheque whenever I need to and get a practically brand-new pair. I am very impressed with their service.
 

Hanafuda

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I haven't sprung for wireless headphones yet. But I've got decades of frustration behind me with 'consumer grade' headphones. (I'm 53yo) I've got a plus-sized cranium which doesn't help either. Creaking, cracks, microphonics, soft materials rotting, I've endured all that many times over ... and that's without even getting into the 'sound signature' crapshoot. I solved all this a couple years ago by throwing money at the problem. Lots of it, although strictly speaking I got a fantastic deal. I bought a Sony NW-WM1A Walkman and MDR-Z1R headphones, on sale at Bic Camera in Tokyo. The Sony US retail, which is what you will pay for Sony high-end unless you go gray market, for these two items combined at that time was $3500. I paid about $2300 in Tokyo. The Walkman is made of a solid chunk of aluminum (CNC milled to accommodate the board, screen, buttons, etc) and the headphones have all metal structural parts including the adjustment clicks and hinges, a 'memory titanium' headband that resists deformation, and sheepskin pads with memory foam filling. And they are made in Japan (see video below). There are no creaks. None. Comfort is excellent. Sound is beyond excellent.

Unfortunately I guess the message here is "you get what you pay for" .... with headphones and just about everything else. Sucks, but pretty much universally true. And no way I could've afforded this extravagance in the past. So, hang in there guys.

Two and a half years in, with hundreds of hours of use:
z1r.001.JPG

z1r.002.JPG

z1r.003.JPG




Video showing production of the MDR-Z1R headphone at Sony Taiyo in Oita Prefecture. Segment begins at 0:48.
 
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GoldenBullet

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I gotten into the trap of cheap Chinese IEMs recently and the most you have to worry about for damage is the wire and water damage to the piece itself from rain.
I do have a couple of Sennheiser's, the HD 58x and 6xx, and they haven't been damaged much other than maybe sweat, dents in the metal housing, and wires needing replacement.
 

The Real Jdbye

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They break down like that mostly due to the oils in your skin. And the skin around the ears is known to be heavier on the oil. Try cleaning your ears inside and around the outside before using the headphones. Every brand I've used from Sony to Bose. Also wiping the pads off gently with alcohol after use can help.
Don't use alcohol. It can dissolve the glue they used to glue it together. It's fine with the replacement pads I have now, because they're sewed together, I think it might've contributed to the problem I had with the original cushions though. It was fine before I started cleaning them with IPA.
 
Last edited by The Real Jdbye,
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