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Bose updates QC45 ANC headphones with adjustable EQ

The Bose QuietComfort 45 (QC45) are among the best noise-canceling wireless headphones you can buy. But unlike most of the competition, Bose did not equip the QC45 with the ability to control their equalization. That was a surprise, given that the older (but pricier) Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 have adjustable EQ. Thankfully, that omission has now been addressed via a new firmware update that adds a three-band EQ to the Bose Music app.

In typical Bose fashion, the new EQ setting is a simple and clean affair. You get three sliders (bass, mid, and treble) and four presets (bass boost/bass reducer and treble boost/treble reducer). You likely won’t be surprised to learn that each of these presets does exactly what it says it will do. There’s also the ability to manually move each slider to your desired positions by using one of the presets as a starting point, or by hitting the reset button and then manipulating the sound from a neutral baseline.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to save a manual setting so that you can quickly return to it later. That seems like a big oversight given that those who actually enjoy dialing in their sound signatures don’t want to have to do it again and again. Moreover, some folks may find that a setting that works admirably for one genre of music may not suit other genres. Here’s hoping that Bose gives this some thought and provides this functionality with a future firmware update.

Still, this one critique aside, it’s great to have EQ flexibility on the QC45. There’s no denying that their default tuning is really well-balanced, but sometimes, balanced just isn’t what you want. For fans of bass, being able to pump the low end is a welcome addition, while those who listen to podcasts might just want to avail themselves of the treble boost mode to sharpen up the sound of voices.

I also like the fact that these EQ changes don’t rely on the Bose Music app to work. Once you set your preferred sound, that’s what you’ll hear from your mobile phone, a connected computer, or any other wired or wireless device if you keep the headphones powered on. Sadly, there’s no way to hold onto the customized settings when you turn them off and simply use them as a passive set of wired headphones — they need to be able to engage the onboard digital circuitry to process the EQ parameters.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like…
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