Sep 6, 2020
It’s very frustrating. I have a brand new pair and I can hear everything even if the volume is high. Please Bose, respond to this problem, give us something. It’s been one year+ and nothing from you
Jun 15, 2018
I do not work for Bose. In 2018, Bose's policy changed and they began only supporting only the current version of the firmware. For a very short period of time when this discussion first came out, they offered another earlier version but from what I read in this community, it had mixed results. I believe that option is now gone but have not myself checked. Bose does not like customers here to discuss regressing the firmware as its their copywritten property. Many of us find that as 'strange' since there are 9 firmware versions probably on many different QC35ii's - though Bose will tell you that to support the QC35ii they will first ask the users to upgrade the firmware. It is quite 'obvious' 🙂 on figuring out how to do what you want via other googled sites.
You can try upgrading once or twice more using both method (connect and web) though your prospects of restoring your ANC are not good.
Bose of course did an extensive investigation (hence this thread) and was unable to verify any of the customer claims that firmware has anything to do with a change in ANC and as far as I know that investigation is completed with nothing to say it will be reopened in the future. I personally at this point technically believe it is neither firmware or the upgrade process specifically but rather involves perhaps units with malfunctioning chipsets (i.e., chips that are supposed to provide a specific set of values to a 'stimulus' and are rather providing different values not anticipated by the firmware. That could account, for example why your unit upgraded to 4.5.2 and had an immediate difference, while a unit like mine upgraded to 4.5.2 both via the web and connect and still performs fine.
Another possibility you may want to try as it 'could' be a hardware issue is to exchange the unit with the retailer you purchased from or Bose if it makes financial sense to you as the exchanged unit may be on a different firmware and still work. Then from that point on, always use Bose Connect app after putting your phone in airplane mode.
Sep 12, 2020
Thanks joelirwin for taking the time to reply.
My unit is probably 18 month old now so will be out of warranty no doubt. if there is no "fix" on offer from Bose then it will likely be the last Bose product I purchase.
So many people with the same problem but no acceptance that there is a problem to fix is frankly in my opinion a disgrace.
Hey guys, I’m still on 1.3.4 and was just away to click the update, then read all the feedback on here regarding the latest corrupt firmware, I presume I should not click update at all as I love my NC headphones and don’t want this spoilt by Bose disregard to listen to Customers who purchased (in good faith) their products....probably never again by the looks of things.
So stay on 1.3.4 or take the leap of faith?
I have the AE serial and from UK
Apr 30, 2019
Sep 25, 2020
I just was given a pair of these headphones yesterday that had firmware 2.5.1. Unfortunately I allowed my phone to update the firmware on it. It was while it was updating that I decided to manually grab some other firmwares because I like to have a library of them for each updatable device I own. I was horrified to find out about this issue, and even more horrified to find out that Bose doesn't release standalone firmwares or even "allow" reverting.
I dodged a bullet, I think, in that for some reason my phone didn't update my QC II's firmware to 4.x, but only to 3.1.8. I don't know why this happened, but I will now be halting all further updates.
To Bose and the public at large: The question of whether or not the new firmware causes a performance degradation is actually red herring. The real issue is whether or not a hardware manufacturer can or should retain control over what released firmwares are "allowed" on customer-owned devices. The reasons you give for not "allowing" reversion (I'm not calling it a downgrade because this is a qualitative and unproven description) are both specious and likely disingenuous. The latter first: the real reason is that you have likely made contracts with third parties like Google and Amazon with promises of functionality you will include which involves them paying you. Which of course puts your contracts with them at odds with the best interests of your customers. It's better if you just own this and take your lumps.
Now, as to why the reasons you give are specious. The given reasons were security and interoperability. Security: if there is a security issue with previous firmware versions, then the proper and responsible way to address this is to release a security vulnerability report. I see none issued, and there are presumably many people (especially now) with older firmware versions who, if there really are security concerns, are now vulnerable. Vulnerability reports identify the vulnerability and allow people to make informed decisions on upgrading based on the identified threat. Since you have made no effort at releasing this, then there are only two conclusions, and that is you are either being irresponsible, or that there really are no security concerns to speak of. Interoperability has the same reasoning as above. If there really are inter-firmware interoperability issues, then the proper way forward is to specifically identify each of those issues and identify the firmware version in which each one is remedied so people can intelligently decide whether or not a firmware update is justified.
It is literally astonishing Bose has not adopted this kind of model, especially in light of the enormous amount of bad publicity this has generated. This issue would literally go away over night if people could decide which firmware they wanted. It is clear that Bose wants to maintain control over headphones that people have purchased and rightfully own. This is why they can't countenance that. That and the fact that downloadable firmwares would also make back-and-forth testing much easier to do. If Bose really wants to be transparent, "trust us, our investigation says the firmware isn't to blame" is not the way to do it. If Bose wants to be transparent they release that audio quality report and then say "but here are versions 2.5.1, 3.1.8, and every other major release firmware, see and hear for yourself, but once you realize the quality is the same, please upgrade to get the latest security patches, oh, and these are the security fixes addressed in each version".
Pushing firmware updates with no means of reversion is irresponsible on its face, and it only promotes people fighting the update process. Companies who are genuinely interested in interoperability and who have the best interests of their customers (and not side-channel deals with other companies) truly at heart and who are truly interested in real security provide open reversion processes so that people can update their firmware secure in the knowledge that they can revert any time if there is a problem.
Trust is a hard thing to earn back. I for one am glad I personally spent no money on these headphones, and you can rest assured that until Bose adopts a model that is more in line with best practices, I for one will never spend a cent on Bose. Further, I publicly admonish everyone else not to spend money on Bose either and to write Bose to tell them they have lost a future customer. We own our headphones, not Bose. Not Google or Amazon or whomever else has paid Bose for one-button access to our property.
(Edited for clarity)
Jun 5, 2018
I have been raising this issue about the much reduced ANC on QC 35 II headphones after a firmware update for a good few years, if you read many of the posts you will see that reverting to an older firmware does not fix the issue anyway (I believe that upgrading to 3.1.8 has caused the issue for some people), I personally have had several QC 35 II headphones as replacements from BOSE to resolve the issue, all having an immediate reduced ANC after installing the latest firmware (I have not updated the latest pair, the ANC isn’t as good as my first pair but I don’t want to risk making it even worse, even though they seem to have Bluetooth connection issues sometimes that maybe fixed by later firmware), whatever the firmware or the firmware installation software has done seems to change the headphones meaning reverting to old firmware doesn’t seem to have an impact. You then have the issue that BOSE have had a review done, so as far as I can see they are no longer investigating this, so we must all be wrong in reporting a reduced ANC. If you have the older version of firmware and your ANC is good then you risk reducing your ANC by upgrading, so you need to decide if any later features and/or bug fixes are worth the risk of losing the level of ANC you have now.
Dec 30, 2020
I have a QC 35 (I) that I bought sometime in early 2018. I recently upgraded the firmware for the first time (yesterday) and found that the noise isolation became terrible when ANC was turned on. I used the Bose updater software to manually revert to previous firmware. Going back 2 versions to v2.5.5 fixed the issue for me. (Going back one version to v3.3 did'nt work )
Jan 13, 2021
As of yesterday, I sent my QC53II back to Bose. Overnight the ANR stopped being as effective as it was when I first bought the set.
I haven't been actively updating the software, but either my wife or I did accidentally a few days ago. For info, I haven't been updating the firmware simply because I "plug and play" and don't tend to use the Bose Connect app. It's only when my wife started using them only a few days ago, that I used the App.
The ANR was so good before that I could work and not be disturbed.
My daily (lockdown induced walk) was bliss because I would put on the QC35II, and walk without being disturbed - listening to very quiet radio chat or music. Nothing would get past the ANR. I live next to a busy main A-road town bypass, even walking along that I would have to be very careful to keep a lookout for cars as I would not hear them.
Overnight, the ANR effectiveness was reduced. Wearing them around the house to work, I have noticed more ambient noise. When walking in the same places (daily walk remember) the ambient noise is much more pronounced - cars, footsteps and even bird song get through. Things that I have never experienced before when wearing the QC35II.
A poster mentioned above that it is likely (in their opinion) that people are jumping on the band-wagon after a minority of complaints. In my case, both my wife and I noticed a reduction in ANR quality and that then prompted my search for any reports and potential issues. Hence, I stumbled onto this thread.
I appreciate the amount of work that Bose and their Engineers have done to investigate and so far I have been impressed with the return and replacement policy. However, I'm dreading that the new replacement will have the same issue.
I take care of my headset, and it lives in the carry-case when not in use.
The cushions are in very good condition.
I have executed all the trouble-shooting advice to no avail.
The ANR toggle in the Connect app makes little difference when toggling from "low" to "high" ANR. "OFF" works, "OFF" to "low" engages ANR but essentially "high" makes very little difference anc certainly not back to the original ANR.
Is Bose still looking into this issue or is "case closed" and no further fault found?
(PS I can forward the S/N of the returned headset if required as well as the UPS tracking info if needed)