Bose, the brand that started the noise-canceling headphones craze, aims to take the technology to the next level with the launch of its new true wireless model, the QuietComfort Earbuds II.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are available starting September 29, with pre-orders starting September 8. They are priced at $299 / £279 / AU$429. They will initially be available in a ‘triple black’ finish with an alternative ‘soap’ color variant to follow.
The QuietComfort Earbuds II marks the debut of a new Bose technology that aims to calibrate sound and noise cancellation to the unique shape of each individual ear. Yes, even yours.
The ‘CustomTune’ sound calibration is activated each time the QuietComfort II headphones are taken out of the charging case and placed in the user’s ears. A proprietary tone is played and a microphone inside the earpiece evaluates the acoustic response of the ear canal. The information is used to fine-tune audio performance and noise cancellation in less than half a second.
As far as audio performance is concerned, ‘CustomTune’ optimizes the frequency response according to the distinct properties of each specific ear – so no matter how your ears change the sound, the headphones will adjust their audio to compensate. .
For noise canceling, ‘CustomTune’ targets frequencies that are generally shown to be most resistant to noise canceling algorithms – and continually examines the user’s environment, adapting to its changes to ensure optimal performance.
One internal and three external microphones per earcup listen for external sounds, which are then countered by Bose’s ANC technology in a fraction of a millisecond. The specific methodology is unique to Bose, the company says.
The clever customization of ‘CutomTune’ even extends to the Quietcomfort Earbuds II’s transparency mode. It’s now called ‘Aware Mode with ActiveSense’ – which in effect means a transparency mode that instantly responds to loud and/or sudden external sounds, activating noise cancellation for as long as needed. It’s a smart idea – it will help you hear more, but it will also protect your hearing.
Bose has reduced the size of the QuietComfort II headphones by about a third of the model they replace, and at 6g each, they’re also much lighter. Despite that, you still get big 9.3mm drivers producing the sound.
Comfort is further advanced by Bose’s ‘FitKit’, which is how the company describes the three earpiece sizes and three sizes of stability bands included in the package. That means there are a total of nine tuning options for each earcup, which should be ample.
QuietComfort II headphones use Bluetooth 5.3 for wireless connectivity and support the standard SBC Bluetooth audio codec as well as AAC. There is no support for aptX or other lossless audio.
They’re rated IPX4 for moisture resistance, which should make them adequately sweat-proof – it’s the same as the Beats Fit Pro. The earbuds have six hours of battery life – their charging case holds three more full charges. 20 minutes connected via USB-C to power provides a few more hours of playback.
Control is available via capacitive touch controls on each earcup, and Bose is compatible with any source player’s voice assistant. They also work with the company’s music control app, meaning EQ adjustment, access to noise-canceling modes and other customization options are all available.
Bose’s timing is impeccable – with the AirPods Pro 2 appearing at the same time, we’re up against the titans of noise-canceling headphones.