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AirPods Max 2 vs. Bose QuietComfort 45: Which headphones are better?

October 27, 2023
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In this comparison, two potent headphones—the Apple AirPods Max and the Bose QuietComfort 45—will face off. They might not seem similar, yet they are more similar than you might think. With a tonne of active noise cancellation (ANC) options available and throngs of supporters around the ring on either side, let’s see if Apple or Bose take home the trophy.

Is the Apple AirPods Max more comfortable than the Bose QuietComfort 45?

Is the Apple AirPods Max more comfortable than the Bose QuietComfort 45?

Apart from putting comfort first, Apple and Bose’s design philosophies may initially appear incompatible. While Bose rests on its laurels with a utilitarian design that essentially improves the popular QuietComfort 35 II, Apple concentrates on a futuristic visual design with sleek aluminum housing and mesh cushions.

While Apple wraps its memory foam ear cushions in a finely knit mesh fabric, Bose employs synthetic leather for its ear pads. The playback and volume are controlled by a digital crown on Apple’s future headset, whereas the QC 45 uses buttons for more fundamental operations. A unique action button on the QC 45 allows you to choose between the ANC and audio passthrough modes. The noise control button on the AirPods Max allows you to switch between ANC, transparency, and off (configurable on iOS devices).

For auto-pause/play capability (Apple hardware only), the AirPods Max includes sensors embedded into the headphones that detect when you remove and replace the headset. The multi-function button on the Bose QC 45 must be pressed once to pause playing and once again to resume it.

The QC 45 weighs only 240g thanks to its largely plastic construction, making it ideal for prolonged sessions. The AirPods Max, on the other hand, weigh 386 g and are primarily constructed of stainless steel and aluminum. The AirPods Max do not fold up for enhanced portability, unlike the QC 45 does with a zippered case. Instead, the AirPods Max case hardly offers any defense. If you decide to go with AirPods Max, consider using one of these cases to safeguard your purchase.

Does the Bose QuietComfort 45 have better noise-canceling than the Apple AirPods Max?

Does the Bose QuietComfort 45 have better noise-canceling than the Apple AirPods Max?

Excellent noise-cancelling technology is present in both headphones. With the QC 45, the combined passive isolation and ANC provide outstanding overall attenuation. It successfully mutes sounds between 2 and 11 kHz. Each pair of headphones has its own advantages, as you can see in the above direct comparison, which demonstrates combination isolation and ANC. But that’s not the complete picture.

The Apple AirPods Max efficiently blocks out low frequencies, whereas the QC 45 is better at muting those high frequencies. The AirPods Max attenuates the low frequencies by about 5 dB better than the QC 45. The Bose QuietComfort 45 and AirPods Max both attenuate sound at about 1 kHz, but the AirPods Max does so about 10 dB better than the QC 45, making 1 kHz noises sound half as loud. The QC 45 secures the victory (and your hearing) in the highs, where there is less of a contest, thanks to its superior noise cancellation and isolation of over 10 dB.

Typically, repeating noises in the midrange and bass below 1 kHz are better for ANC. Accordingly, the Apple AirPods Max outperforms the QC 45 below 1 kHz. Whichever you decide, it’s crucial to obtain the right fit in order to receive the finest performance. It’s also worthwhile to take the time to determine which of the best ANC headphones best meets your needs.

How is the Bose QC 45 experience on the Bose Music app different from the Apple AirPods Max experience?

How is the Bose QC 45 experience on the Bose Music app different from the Apple AirPods Max experience?

Since it recently received an upgrade with equalization, the Bose Music app is definitely worth installing. Aware mode and turning on ANC are further characteristics. There is no default listening mode, which is quite bothersome and may cause a power drain if you’re just at home by yourself. However, Bose has a history of doing upgrades successfully, so it’s feasible that the Bose Music app will gain additional enhancements.

The AirPods Max experience is included in the overall iOS experience by Apple. Updates and other features are handled by the iOS Bluetooth settings. Sadly, there is no custom equalizer like there is with the QC 45. Holding the headphones next to an iPhone allows you to switch between Apple devices, pair them, and listen to two Apple devices at once. You can also get spatial audio with the AirPods Max, which is Apple’s brand of head-tracking spatial audio that supports Dolby Atmos, 5.1, and 7.1 mixed content.

The AirPods Max allows you to switch between ANC, transparency mode, and a regular mode (ANC off, transparency off), unlike the QC 45. You can modify the Bluetooth noise control button in the iOS Settings app so that it only affects two of the three noise settings. You can use a virtual assistant with any headset, but only the AirPods Max provides hands-free access to Siri. The same action can be accomplished by pressing and holding the digital crown as well. Press and hold the multi-function button on the Bose QC 45 headset to accomplish this.

However, both businesses provide updates to make changes, which helps to better justify the costs through support. Apple still has the upper hand thanks to the H1 chip’s capabilities and seamless iOS functionality, but the QC 45 EQ is an important addition.

Does the Bose QuietComfort 45 sound better than the Apple AirPods Max?

Does the Bose QuietComfort 45 sound better than the Apple AirPods Max?

Overall, the audio output from the AirPods Max is more precise. The AirPods Max nearly matches our house curve through the bass and mids, which is also true for the Bose QuietComfort 45. The highs are where you can tell which frequency response is best; neither headset performs flawlessly here, but the AirPods Max is more conservative with its treble dosage.

High frequencies are underemphasized by the AirPods Max but are overemphasized to a disagreeable degree by the QC 45. Because there are no competing frequencies and only one voice is heard at a time, podcasts perform better. With the AirPods Max, on the other hand, the highs are less pronounced and fall below our ideal target curve (shown in pink) until about 6 kHz. With the AirPods Max, you can still hear everything and won’t experience any treble-related ear fatigue, though it might make it harder for you to hear gently mixed treble notes.

Which headset has the better microphone?

Which headset has the better microphone?

The Bose QuietComfort 45, which has a good microphone system, is the winner for the most reliable results. Both phone calls and conference calls can be made using it. Although there may be a few very small sibilant sounds, it’s still rather accurate.

The Apple AirPods Max, on the other hand, gets the prize for the microphone’s variable performance. It’s challenging to provide a clear solution because results seem to be heavily influenced by the device it’s partnered with. In general, the AirPods Max perform adequately during personal calls; however, voice reproduction quality may be better.

Listen to the samples below, then cast your vote to assist other readers!

Does the Bose QuietComfort 45 have better battery life than the Apple AirPods Max?

Does the Bose QuietComfort 45 have better battery life than the Apple AirPods Max?

Compared to the Apple AirPods Max, the Bose QuietComfort 45 boasts a longer battery life. Officially, the QuietComfort 45’s battery life lasts for 24 hours, while the AirPods Max lasts for 20 hours.

Our testing revealed that the Bose QuietComfort 45 lasts 24 hours and 49 minutes with noise cancellation turned on, exceeding Bose’s stated battery life for the headset. Note that Apple does not allow you to turn off the headphones, whereas Bose does. The accompanying case puts the AirPods Max in low-power mode but does not totally turn them off. Your AirPods Max enters low-power mode after 5 minutes of inactivity when removed from the case. Even yet, one can question why Apple didn’t simply add a power button to the headset.

Although in our objective tests, the QC 45 had a longer battery life with ANC on, if you’re like many people and alternate between ANC and normal listening modes, the AirPods Max may last longer. This is such that you can only select ANC on or passthrough audio on the QC 45; there is no normal listening mode, which could extend battery life.

Bose charges its headphones with a conventional USB-C cable, whereas Apple ships its headphones with a Lightning-to-USB-C cable, which is less universal and more expensive to replace; aside from the quick charge figures, the QC 45 outperforms the AirPods Max in this regard.

AirPods Max 2 vs. Bose QuietComfort 45: Which should you get?

AirPods Max 2 vs. Bose QuietComfort 45: Which should you get?

Do you have an extra $200? The headphones you should select could depend on that. The Bose QuietComfort 45 is more expensive than the Apple AirPods Max. It’s a reasonable thing to ask in a contest that is otherwise rather close. It makes sense to get the Bose QuietComfort 45 because it doesn’t need any add-ons to function at its best, whereas the AirPods Max can benefit from several extra dongles that will increase the already crippling price tag.

You’re in luck if you own an Apple iPhone because you can utilize both headphones to their full potential. Due to the AirPods Max’s OS-independent design, the QC 45 may tempt you if you use Android because you won’t be able to take advantage of some of its premium features.

It’s a close contest in the noise cancellation area. Depending on the noises you want to filter out throughout your journey and at your noisy workplace, this may vary. The QC 45’s passive isolation effectively muffles loud noises like dishes clinking, but the AirPods Max performs marginally better with low rumbles like HVAC hum.

Unless you use the EQ in the Bose Music app, where the QC 45 sounds better, the sound quality is fairly comparable. The default exaggeration on the QC 45 sounds more artificial than the AirPods Max’s reduced high-frequency accent.

The Bose QuietComfort 45 is substantially lighter and more portable than the AirPods Max in terms of overall comfort. Having said that, the AirPods Max’s changeable mesh ear cups allow for improved ventilation, and both headsets have good weight distribution.

Your preferred method of use for headphones may be a helpful deciding factor. Headphones that are part of the Apple ecosystem have access to H1 chip features and Apple spatial audio. Which design—a dial (AirPods Max) or specific buttons (QC 45)—do you prefer? Do you like Apple’s all-metal design or the muted Bose aesthetic? Consider if you want to buy the QC 45 and be done with it or whether you don’t mind spending money on dongles and a case for the AirPods Max.

Conclusion

The Apple AirPods Max 2 and the Bose QuietComfort 45 are two heavy-hitter headphones that have more in common than you might think. Both have active noise cancellation (ANC) technology, with the QC 45 offering excellent overall attenuation from passive isolation and ANC. However, the Apple AirPods Max filters out lows more effectively, attenuating around 5 dB more in the lows and 10 dB more at 1 kHz. The QC 45 also has over 10 dB more noise-canceling and isolation.

The Bose QC 45 experience on the Bose Music app is different from the Apple AirPods Max experience, as it now includes an equalizer and other features. Apple integrates the AirPods Max experience into the rest of the iOS experience, but there is no custom equalizer. Both companies offer updates to make improvements, justifying the prices better with the support.

The Bose QuietComfort 45 has a more accurate audio output overall, closely following the house curve through bass and mids. However, the AirPods Max under-emphasizes high frequencies, making podcasts fare better by having no competing frequencies, just one voice at a time. In contrast, the AirPods Max falls below our ideal target curve until around 6 kHz, inhibiting your ability to hear quietly mixed treble notes without suffering any treble-related ear fatigue with the AirPods Max.

The Bose QuietComfort 45 has a better microphone system and a 24-hour battery life, while the Apple AirPods Max yields 20 hours. Both headphones have sensors built into the headphones, which automatically detect when you remove and replace the headset for auto-pause/play functionality. It’s important to find the best ANC headphones for your needs and to try some of these cases instead of the AirPods Max case.

FAQS

Which is better? Apple AirPods or Bose AirPods?

ANC is one of the extra functions and accessories that the Apple AirPods Pro offers above the standard AirPods. If you have the money, it’s a worthwhile upgrade for any iPhone owner! Instead, go for the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, which have Bluetooth 5.1, a unique EQ, and a more secure, workout-oriented fit in your ears.

Is Bose better than Apple?

Compared to Apple’s, the Bose headset gives you more control over your music. Playback, volume, and other functions may all be managed with the touch panels on the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphone 700. It is even possible to create gesture shortcuts, something the AirPods Max does not allow.

Do Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones work with iPhones?

Yes. When linked to any smartphone, the adaptive microphone system in the Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones enables you to use the headphones while on calls.

Are Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones good for the gym?

The Best Over-Ear Noise-Cancelling Headphones for Exercise
The Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless’s incredibly comfortable and lightweight fit sets it apart from other choices on their list. If you use them for a lengthy workout, the soft cushioning on the headband and around the ear cups helps to prevent tiredness.