ssmith369
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Jan 24, 2019

Re: QC35 ii + iphone = low volume?

As I previously mentioned several days ago on this thread I have already contacted this number and the language barrier was so bad, I had to ask the representative to repeat nearly everything she said. I also already mentioned what the outcome of this call was. And I quote:

 

"Thank you for your reply Greg

 

I have already done this before posting on this forum. That experience was nearly as frustrating as the volume problem itself. Apart from the language barrier, the only option that were given to me were to return the headphones for a replacement, which involved me returning my headphones first, then wait at least 2 weeks for a new pair to be sent out. This wasn't acceptable. I have to send devoices back as part of my job, and all suppliers send out the replacement first! The other option she mentioned was to go to a Bose store and they "may" change them!! equally unacceptable."

 

Is this the best BOSE can do? It is obvious I am wasting my time here too as we are just going round in circles.

 

Please can you answer two simple questions that only require a yes/no answer.

 

Are BOSE aware that the QC35ii have a considerablty lower max volume than other bluetooth headphones? Yes/No

Are BOSE planning on fixing this low max volume? Yes/No.

 

I hope these questions aren't too complicated, and I actually finally get an answer!!!

 

This is painful

 

Steve

 

 


Austin Dude
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Jan 21, 2019

Re: QC35 ii + iphone = low volume?

I read ssmith369 post and agree with the experience that he had with support. After reading many stories form users here and other posts elsewhere, I've come to the same conclusion that Bose doesn't care or they don't want to address the isssue. What I've learned is that users do take the time to research and troubleshoot on their own before reaching out to support. This shows me that there is a large segment of headphone users that take the time to make comparisons and expect a great user experience. 

 

As a developer, I made the call to support. Heard nothing that was useful. In fact the representative from the Phiilipines said this was the first that she's heard of low volume with the QC 35II headphones. She spent several minutes doing web searches to learn about the issue with iOS devices. She said it was "Apple's issue." I called Apple, started a support case with them. Not hearing anything worthwhile, I decided to take a deeper dive into the issue.

 

First, I did some db outputs from iPhone 5 running v10, iPhone 7 v12 and iPhone Max v12 which a lot of people here also seemed to zero in on. I also did outputs using an iPad Pro v12 and MacBook Pro v10. Measured the bluetooth output through some of our test gear and found differences in output as I would expect. 

 

All of tests used the default bluetooth codecs from device. Reviewed the log files on each device. iOS codec information in latest Xcode are now set to "private" meaning I was unable to verify AAC codec but going on limb to say that is the default for iOS and Bose. Volume had to be set to 90% on iOS devices to gain any kind of separation between upper lows and mid and mids to highs.

 

The next test was to increase the gain on each iOS device and see how this impacted the headsets.

Some posters have said that this isn't possible however that is false. Developers do have the ability to modify sound settings for their apps if needed.  We increased the gain keeping the range between +2db and +5db. The results were terrible. The Bose QC 35II sounded horrible even with modest gain increases.

 

Next test was to look at how Bose handles EQ. This is key. Bose dynamically modifies EQ to fit their expectations and hardware. Regardless of how you go about it, Bose is going to set limits on gain and EQ that meets their sound requirements. The Bose sound that we enjoy is going to be set by Bose period no matter what the device sends it. If you push the bluetooth gain beyond what the firmware expects, it's going to sound horrible. No getting around this EVEN with the gains from the device pushed upward even the slightest.

 

The fix isn't with engineering as much as the culture of Bose. With ANC headphones catching up to the quality we expect from Bose and with the Sony WH1000m3 passing them, it will be interesting to see if this culture will continue or if Bose will provide better drivers, speakers, etc. that can take more powers and allow users some flexibility with their sound preferences. 

 

The good thing is that Bose EQ is constantly making active adjustments whereas Sony has taken a slightly different path which is to not make these adjustments but allow the user to customize their personal preferences.

 

I wanted to post this as I've seen little in the way of engineering tests to get to the bottom of the issue. It boils down to Bose being the issue not iOS. They've made the decision on loudness and EQ not Apple. Balls in their court.

 

Final comment. Love Bose and owned many of them over the past 10 years. As part of my testing purchased Sony WH1000M2 and latest WH1000M3. I have to say I am impressed. I was able to dial in the EQ on the sound tracks tested on the Sony's and found the differences to be negilible. Actually liked the Sony's much better including the sweet spot at vocals. With both EQ output the same, bass was absolutely better but vocals were satisfying.

 

For a Bose fan, it was difficult returning the QC35II but considering the support many of us have received and blaming iOS devices was just too much. Looking forward to upcoming 5 hour flight to see how they feel.

I hope this helps some of you.

ssmith369
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Jan 24, 2019

Re: QC35 ii + iphone = low volume?

Thank you so much for your very detailed, thorough and useful post. I, as I am sure many other QC owners, are very grateful to FINALLY here evidence of what we already were presuming.

 

It is interesting you mention that the representative you spoke ot in the Philipinnes didn't know anything about the deficient volume. I had the exact same conversation. It would appear the only people that don't know about this volume issue is Bose themselves!! Speaks volumes, pardon the pun. Either that, or they are just burying their head in the sand hoping it will go away.

 

I have recently connected my QCs to my Dektop Dell Pc via Bluetooth. Still a fair bit quieter than my other BT headphones. So it is not just an issue with IOS!

 

Come on BOSE. We all know there is a volume issue, we now have proof of such. ARE YOU GOING TO ADDRESS IT.

 

Or at least acknowledge the problem exists. This would be a start.

 

Thank you again for your reply.

 

Steve

 

 

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Aidensky
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Jan 14, 2019

Re: QC35 ii + iphone = low volume?

Trust me, this is not the first time their customer service representatives have been aware of the volume issue. It’s one of the most complained about issues with Bose headphones. The customer service reps read from a script (a cheat sheet, if you will) and their first response to most customers ringing with issues would be to say ‘that’s unusual’ ‘That’s the 1st time I have heard of this issue, let’s try some troubleshooting etc etc)’ 

 

we know the issue has been a complaint since the very first wireless model and Bose have never addressed the issue nor have they addressed any customer individual complaints, other than to read from the script to spend useless time troubleshooting an issue that can’t be troubleshot..if the customer persists then the next step ) (from the script) would be for the representative to suggest there may be a hardware issues and arrange for the headphone to be sent for repair/replacement and I can 100% guarantee that the returned/replaced headphone will inherit the exact same behaviour with volume control.

 

IMO, Their volume is ‘Capped’ and that is why there is no fix and/or why there is No Issue (from bose’s perspective) They use an algorithm which is coded to work in harmony with the ‘Active EQ’ feature of the device. If they removed to volume cap they risk these headphones losing their usp (active eq) and the Bose sound signature is potentially compromised. The probable reality is that these headphones sound awful & distorted at any volume over & above the limit that Bose have already fixed. 

 

Another reason could be battery related? They are quoted at running “Up to” 20 hours on a single charge, however we now know this estimate is volume dependant and is significantly reduced if listening at higher volume. My QC35 ii can last around 12-14 hours with the volume slider set to around 60% so would assume their marketing claims of 20 hours is based on lower listening levels. This is possibly why we see Bose headphones sounding significantly quieter at ‘say, 40% than any competitors at 40%. It would appear there is a high degree of Smoke & Mirrors Bose are using to disguise and/or make their marketing claims (Active EQ & 20 hour battery)  hold up in real world usage.

joelirwin
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Jun 15, 2018

Re: QC35 ii + iphone = low volume?

A vendor like Bose has perhaps two choices imho with regards to a product they have released.  A 'issue' identified by its customers could be considered by the vendor as 'by design' or a 'problem to be rectified'.  If it is the former, then there is a 'disconnect' between the customer and the vendor/manufacturer.  So which is it here vis a vis the 'volume issue'?  I may have missed something but I do not recollect any of the support moderators here saying that there is an issue with the volume necessitating a change to the firmware of the QC35ii (assuming the a firmware change can have an impact on the way the volume and playback is controlled).  I do not work for Bose nor am I saying myself whether it is by design or problematic.  I would think I and others here would love to see and read a response here or elsewhere by Bose about the way the volume and playback was designed for the QC35ii.  If you have a link, let us see it if you can.

Here is what I know:

1. Volume and playback is subjective even in the best of cases since all our hearing is different and it also changes as we age.  I have a QC35ii (also had a QC35i and a QC25 and even earlier models) and I rarely turn it up to maximum volume since 1/2 to 3/4 is normally loud enough for me and I am in two professions where audio is an intrinsic part of my deliverables - wedding videography and film scoring.  So personally, I don't hear anything on any of my Bose products (two revolves, QC35ii, Soundlink Mini II and Soundsport Wired) that make think that the volume and equalizations need to be modified in the firmware.

2. I never believe statistics the vendors give - I measure for myself.  I measure all the capacities of my batteries - especially my USB chargers.  I have never believed the EPA estimates on car stickers.  In fact, I don't even believe the on screen MPG estimate for my Prius - whatever it says, the reality is it is usually a couple of numbers lower.  In fact, I never understood why car manufacturers can't divide the miles travelled since last reset by the number of gallons used.  Even if they only know how many gallons are left it would still work if I started with a full tank. 🙂  So I never believed the Bose battery estimate.  I use it at the volume I normally listen to and based on the percentage left, I can figure out for myself how much time is left.  In fact, I wonder why TIME LEFT can not be figured out somehow in Bose connect.  If the QC35ii doesn't have a timer chip or API function, it should.

3. From the Bose position, the QC35i came out in June 2016 and the QC35ii came out in Sept. 2017.  Looks like they are on around an 18 month cycle.  Both of these are BT 4.x compliant headphones.  Two versions of BT 5.x are already out (5.1 about a month ago).  Bose has limited amount of engineering, design and programming resources.  Fixing firmware is one thing.  Making significant changes to the functional design as a volume 'issue' (imho) suggests is something else.  Now I am sure they are reading everything here and looking at the how they designed the volume and playback (and ANC) for the QC35ii and using it for the functional specifications of the next generation QC (with BT 5.x).  They don't make profit from doing major changes to QC35ii firmware (though we can argue they lose potential future customers).  Though how many current QC35ii owners would want to purchase the next generation - the Bose target for their future short term headphone market is probably not us.  We can also assume that they hard at work designing and testing the next generation for a production window of probably June to Sept. so it's available for the holiday season.  So let's ask ourselves, do we think Bose can spare enough resources (engineering, programming, and support staff) for what we would probably agree is a redesign of the volume and playback (it's really not a simple bug fix) or do they take what we have been 'complaining about' and use it as input for their next generation headphone product to be released later this year?  ..... Food for thought....

Silversurfer20
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Feb 12, 2019

Re: QC35 ii + iphone = low volume?

I just got these headphones and noticed like others that the sound could be louder. After testing them with different music services I have concluded that Amazon Music the headphones sound the loudest. Much louder than Apple Music, Pandora or Spotify. Just an observation. Anyone else noticed this?
Maverick987
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Feb 16, 2019

Re: QC35 ii + iphone = low volume?

Ok. Just bought these and was disappointed with the sound quality. So I played with my iphones settings and turned off “ sound check” in the music setting. Omg. Way better. Try that. 

Moderator

Re: QC35 ii + iphone = low volume?

Hi Maverick987,

 

Thank you for posting. That's great information that will surely help a lot of users.

 

Regards,

 

Tony G - Community Support

joelirwin
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Jun 15, 2018

Re: QC35 ii + iphone = low volume?

@Maverick987  Good suggestion for people who use the default iphone music player.  You are referring to going into "Settings" then tapping on "Music".  At the bottom is the "playback" section.  I checked mine and my EQ was OFF, my Volume limit was OFF and my Soundcheck was to the left (OFF).

So I did an experiment, I turned Soundcheck on to the right and played music and then turned it back to the left/OFF and played music and with my player, I heard absolutely no difference.  It played quite loud enough for me all the time with ALL my Bose devices.  So I am guessing the Soundcheck setting is specific to the Apple supplied music player.  It has no impact on "Ecoute" which is the player I use (much more functional imho - including drill down options for genre).

Jaymondoo
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Mar 6, 2019

Re: QC35 ii + iphone = low volume?

My Bose headphone work normally with my laptop MacBook via Bluetooth and use to work fine on my phone but after factory resetting my phone, they seem to be operating at a third of the volume. 


@Shiloh_C wrote:

Hi TwinkieMayne!

 

Congratulations on the new purchase!  I'm sorry that you're disappointed with the volume performance, we certainly want you to enjoy your headphones fully!

 

I'm wondering if for troubleshooting purposes you can try pairing the headphones with another device, a smartphone or tablet and see if the volume issue spans across several devices?  This will help us isolate where the issue could be coming from to determine if the pair is defective.

 

Swing back and update me if you can?

 

Thanks,

Shiolh_C