One of the most popular requests here at Audio 46 is for a pair of Bluetooth headphones with active noise cancellation (ANC). More and more companies are coming out with great products, and today I’d like to take a close look at the Bose QuietComfort 35 and Sennheiser HD1 headphones. These two headphones are some of the most popular, but vary in price quite a bit with the HD1 being $170 more expensive. So how do the two compare, and is the HD1 worth the increase in cash? Today I’ll find out with this Bose QuietComfort 35 vs Sennheiser HD1 comparison review.
|Bose QuietComfort 35||Sennheiser HD1|
|Type||over-ear, bluetooth, noise cancelling||over-ear, bluetooth, noise cancelling|
|Battery Life||20 hours||22 hours|
|Charge Time||2.25 hours||??|
In the Box
|Bose QuietComfort 35||Sennheiser HD1|
|QuietComfort 35 headset||HD1 headset|
|Detachable audio cable||Detachable audio cable|
|USB charging cable||USB charging cable|
|Carrying case||In-flight adapter|
Both the Bose QuietComfort 35 and the Sennheiser HD1 have similar sized earcups. The QuietComfort 35’s are made of plastic and the HD1’s are made of metal, giving it a more durable feel. Both earcups are designed to fit over the ear. They both also have buttons and switches for controlling playback including play/pause, track, and volume.
It is no wonder the Sennheiser HD1 is more expensive than the Bose QuietComfort 35. The HD1 is much more comfortable because not only are the earpads thicker and more pillowy than the QC35, but they are coated with genuine leather which is soft. By contrast, the QuietComfort 35’s earpads are about half the thickness. They also are coated with pleather. They are still nice and comfortable, but just have a less expensive look and feel overall.
Again, the Sennheiser HD1 wins the with its exquisite leather on metal headband. It seems much more durable and for my taste it is more comfortable. Although the headband doesn’t have much padding, the way it fits over the head makes it have a sweeter hug around my head. On the other hand, the Bose QuietComfort 35 has a plastic headband with padding coated in suede. It squeezes the head tighter, making it less comfortable. However, it does a great job of noise isolating, even before noise cancellation is turned on. The HD1 doesn’t do this as well.
There is a flagrant difference between the noise cancellation of the Bose QuietComfort 35 and Sennheiser HD1. When I place the QuietComfort 35 on my head, I can immediately feel the sound suck out of the headphones. Via the Bose Connect App, you can toggle the noise cancelling between high, low, and off. The intensity of its noise cancelling tends to make me feel a bit nauseous, but for those who like noise cancelling, you’ll love the QC35.
On the other hand, the HD1 has milder noise cancellation. While it is still noticeable when you put the headphones on, the HD1 lets in ambient noise. I like this kind of noise cancellation better because I don’t experience the dizzying feeling like I do with the QC35.
The Bluetooth connectivity for both headphones was about the same. Both stay connected a little over 30 feet but work best when they have line of site to the paired device.
The headphones have impressive battery lifes. The Bose QuietComfort 35 has a battery life of 20 hours. It takes about 2.25 hours for the headphones to fully charge. As a result, 15 minutes of charging yields 2.5 hours of playback. The Sennheiser HD1 has a battery life of 22 hours. Sennheiser did not provide the charging time, and although i didn’t test it, I imagine it would be quite similar to the QC35 because it is typical these days to have these kinds of charge times.
Bose QuietComfort 35
The Bose QuietComfort 35 have sort of an anti-dynamic, compressed sound to them. And while the mid-range is a bit crowded, both the highs and lows are accentuated, allowing them to regain a little bit of life. The left to right imaging is decent, but unfortunately there isn’t much depth or height to the sound of these headphones.
The Sennheiser HD1 has quite an impressive sound for a pair of Bluetooth, noise cancelling headphones. It has a nice, thick low end with a boost around 80Hz. The mid-range feels mostly flat, but has a small bump around 2kHz, give vocals an extra little boost. The high frequencies are articulate and provide a sense of depth that is virtually unheard of in the noise cancelling category. Very impressive! As a result, the HD1 has a greater sense of airiness than the QC35. Its left to right imaging is well done, and it has a decent sense of height, although this is the part of its soundstage that is the weakest overall. I’m most impressed with the HD1’s depth, especially for a noise cancelling headphone.
So, are the Sennheiser HD1 headphones worth the extra cash? Yes! Yes they are. Not only do they feel comfortable and look beautiful. They also sound great– not to mention their noise cancellation is more palatable (at least to my ears) than the Bose QuietComfort 35. But if you are looking for a pair of headphones specifically to knock out as much outside noise as possible, then the Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones will be a better choice.
Both headphones are available right here at Audio 46. You can find them here: