QC35 II - Constant hiss in the left earcup (with ANC)
I bought Bose QC35 II recently, and I was overwhelmingly happy with its features, sound quality and design, until on the very first day, one little annoying issue had almost ruined all the joy for me.
After a few hours of listening to music for the sake of testing, finally paused it just to sit and work in the silence. I immediately noticed some steady noise on my left. My first thought was that it was coming from the somewhere in the room, but once I put my headphones off, it became obvious the room was completely silent. It turned out, the noise was coming out from the headphones themselves, when ANC was on. Ironically, it became noisier in the ANC-capable headphones than without them.
The left earcup is constantly hissing. I've spent hours reading similar topics and trying different suggestions in attempts to get rid of the issue, but to no success. To sum it up:
- The issue persists across all the devices, both wired and unwired. Even disconnecting it from every device makes no difference. Which means, the hiss is not forced by audio streaming or bluetooth connections.
- Headphones reboot, that several other forum topics suggest (turn off -> plug in USB charger -> wait -> turn on), doesn't help either. I attempted it several times already.
- When not used for a while, the left earcup seems to produce slightly less noise (but I'm not sure). However, 30+ minutes of music playing (or maybe using ANC) is enough to get it hissing as usual.
To be absolutely fair, the hiss in my case doesn't appear as bad as some people on the forums described it. It isn't too loud, but quite noticeable, even when listening music on 10-15% volume. You probably won't hear it when walking in town, due to other people's voices and some higher frequency sounds that ANC isn't supposed to fully cancel. But in more quiet environments, where ANC cuts most of the sounds, the hiss really gets in the way. It grows more annoying the more you hear it, to the point I actually have to play something in the background or just turn the ANC off for a while.
And to top it off, the right earcup works flawlessly in comparison. Now, this clearly indicates there's something wrong with my pair. I'm well aware of the ANC technology basics, I know it isn't perfect and it may produce some inevitable noises, but when one earcup's ANC works perfectly, and the other's hisses like an $80 Chinese brand, this makes me almost confident I've got a defective product.
So I've contacted the official BOSE support center in my country of living (Russia). I've waited 4 working days for their decision, and in the end, to my absolute surprise and disappointment they said they "couldn't identify the issue, even after hours of extensive testing". So I got my pair back. They also reinstalled the firmware (which was already the latest version, according to the BoseConnect App) and I was hoping that fixed the issue, which is why they couldn't see it. But then again, once I got to a quiet room, I found out the left earcup was hissing as bad as before.
The QC35 is a great product nonetheless, the sound quality is excellent and the headphones are extremely light and comfortable to wear. But faulty ANC practically ruins it for me. I've expected a better experience (and less issues) for the money I've paid. And unfortunately, the support center in my country didn't help me either. I would really like to use Bose headphones, had they be defect-free, but I'm running out of options here.
All I've left to do is to ask for a refund (since they haven't even suggested a replacement), which is going to be a lot harder, since the authorized support center in my country refused to acknowledge the defect.