Table of Contents
  1. Intro
  2. Design
    1. Style
    2. Comfort
    3. Controls
    4. Stability
    5. Portability
    6. Case
    7. Build Quality
    8. Breathability
    9. Cable
    10. Front
    11. Angled
    12. Side
    13. Rear
    14. Top
  3. Sound
    1. Bass
    2. Mid
    3. Treble
    4. Frequency Response Consistency
    5. Soundstage
    6. Imaging
    7. Total Harmonic Distortion
  4. Isolation
    1. Noise Isolation
    2. Leakage
  5. Active Features
    1. Wireless
    2. Battery
    3. App Support
  6. In the box
  7. Conclusion
  8. Q&A
Reviewed on Feb 26, 2016 , Marc Henney

Bose QuietComfort 25
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings
7.0Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.4Critical Listening
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What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
7.3Commute/Travel
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What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
6.5Sports/Fitness
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What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
6.9Office
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What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Bose QuietComfort 25 are above-average headphones with excellent noise cancelling. They are lightweight, comfortable and offer a decent audio reproduction. Unfortunately, they're a little leaky and are audible to the people around you, even at moderate volumes.

Test Results
Design 7.3
Sound 7.3
Isolation 7.6
Active Features 4.1
Pros
  • Comfortable design.
  • Above-average audio reproduction.
  • Amazing noise isolation.
Cons
  • Average build quality.
  • Moderate sound leakage.

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7.3

Design

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Score components:
Bose QuietComfort 25 Design Picture

The QuietComfort 25 are stylish and very comfortable headphones. The light, softly, padded ear cups and the flexible headband provide a good seal that does not feel too tight on the head. They have an efficient control scheme and a sturdy case. However, they have a mostly plastic build, that doesn't feel as durable as some other over-ear models and they're not stable enough to be used at the gym.

Style
Bose QuietComfort 25 Design Picture 2

Sleek, simple design makes the Bose QuietComfort 25 look modern. The thin, padded headband is covered in fabric that matches the overall color scheme of black, dark grey and blue accents. The ear cups are large, well-padded and have the silver Bose Logo branded on both sides. A nice esthetic, and not overstated.

8.5 Comfort
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What it is: Adjustability and degrees of freedom, pressure, stiffness and weight.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used for long durations.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Bose QuietComfort 25 Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.47 lbs
Clamping Force
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What it is: The force that the headphones exert on your head, once you have them on. This is purely a measurement of the force applied, which does not take into account the earpad's surface area and the resulting pressure you will feel, on or around your ears.
When it matters: The tighter the headphones, the more force they put on your head. This can get uncomfortable or cause pain and soreness during long listening sessions.
:
0.68 lbs

These headphones are very lightweight and comfortable. However, when noise-cancelling is activated, you may feel an uncomfortable pressure in your ears. The effect is less noticeable when music is playing through the headphones (as opposed to silence).

7.5 Controls
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What it is: The control scheme of the headphones; the number of functions provided, button layout and ergonomics as well as the quality of tactile feedback.
When it matters: If you want to control volume, pause your music or make phone calls without directly interacting with, your audio device.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Bose QuietComfort 25 Controls Picture
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Additional Buttons : Noise-Cancelling

Clear and foolproof design with only one button on the headphones and clear demarking of the L/R cups. The in-line buttons each have a distinct feel to them, so they can be used without having to look at them.

6.5 Stability
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What it is: How the headphones are designed to prevent them from slipping off your ears or falling off your head.
When it matters: If you plan on using the headphones while doing sports or other physical activities that requires a lot of movement.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Bose QuietComfort 25 Stability Picture

The Bose QuietComfort 25 are decently stable headphones. They stay in place during casual listening sessions and have a detachable audio cable that won't pull the headphones off your head if it gets hooked on something. However, these headphones do not apply enough pressure around the ears and will slip off while running or doing high-intensity physical exercises. Shaking your head from side to side will make the ear cups sway because of the lack of tension, which is slightly disappointing.

6.2 Portability
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What it is: The volume of space occupied by the headphones when folded into their most compact format.
When it matters: If you're often on the move and need to carry your headphones in a bag, purse , or pocket.
Score components:
Bose QuietComfort 25 Portability Picture
L : 4.92 "
W : 5.51 "
H : 2.95 "
Volume : 80.14 Cu. Inches

The QC 25 are mid-sized Over-ear headphones. They're are decently portable and fold up into a more compact format to take less space in a bag. Sadly they will still be too big to carry around on your person and will not comfortably fit into any pockets.

8.0 Case
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What it is: The provided carrying options to protect your headphones when transporting them.
When it matters: To prevent damaging your headphones, if you often carry them in your bag or pocket.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Bose QuietComfort 25 Case Picture
Type : Hard case
L : 8.27 "
W : 5.71 "
H : 1.7 "
Volume : 83.54 Cu. Inches

Comes with a sturdy, hard case that will protect the headphones from scratches, falls, and mild water damage. It also doesn't add much bulk and easily stores all the provided headphone accessories.

7.0 Build Quality
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What it is: Durability; material quality; cheap/expensive feel.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used by multiple users (classes/studios), by children, in tough conditions, on a daily basis, or for exercise.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Bose QuietComfort 25 Build Quality Picture

The build quality of these headphones is fairly good. They feel a little cheap and plasticky, and prone to wear in certain areas, but this is nothing to be concerned about. Unfortunately, the notches on the headband don't offer much feedback when adjusting.

6.6 Breathability
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What it is: How hot the headphones get when you wear them for an extended period of time.
When it matters: If you often have long listening sessions or use your headphones while doing physical activities like running or working out.
Score components:
  • 100% Avg.Temp.Difference
Bose QuietComfort 25 Breathability Before Picture Bose QuietComfort 25 Breathability After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 5.2 C

Cable
Bose QuietComfort 25 Cable Picture
Detachable : Yes
Length : 5 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS

Comes with one 1/8"TRRS-1/16"TRRS cable with in-line mic, call/music control and volume up/down.

Front
Angled
Side
Rear
Top
7.3

Sound

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What it is: How accurately the audio is reproduced. The tests are performed with the headphones' most commonly used features enabled (noise-cancelling, wireless, etc.)
Score components:
Bose QuietComfort 25 Frequency Response

The Bose QuietComfort 25 are a pleasure to listen to. They provide an above-average audio reproduction with low harmonic distortion. They're slightly hyped at the low end but offer a good representation of instruments and vocals. This makes them well-suited for most genres of music. Unfortunately like the QuietComfort 35, their closed-back design limits the openness of their soundstage and slightly decreases their sound quality.

9.6 Bass
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What it is: Frequency Response from 20Hz-250Hz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on bass frequencies, such as those of kick drums and bass guitar.
Score components:
Bose QuietComfort 25 Bass
Std. Err.
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What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in bass frequency response (20Hz-250Hz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) bass performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.84 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
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What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: <40Hz
Noticeable difference: 5Hz
:
10.75 Hz
Low-Bass
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 20Hz-60Hz.
When it matters: Kick drums and low frequency effects get their 'thump' from this range. Mostly felt than heard.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.26 dB
Bass
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 60Hz-120Hz.
When it matters: Melodic bass instruments have most of their fundamental frequencies in this range. This is where the 'body' and 'punch' of the bass sits.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.56 dB
High-Bass
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 120Hz-250Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments get their warmth and full-ness from this range. When over-emphasized, mixes tend to get muddy and boomy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.46 dB

Excellent Bass Range performance. The low-end cutoff is at an excellent 10Hz, and the rest of the response is virtually flat. However, the entire Bass Range is overemphasized by about 2dB, which makes these headphones ever-so-slightly bass heavy.

8.6 Mid
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What it is: Frequency Response from 250Hz-2KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on mid-range frequencies. This is the case for the majority of audio content.
Score components:
Bose QuietComfort 25 Mid
Std. Err.
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What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in mid frequency response (250Hz-2.5KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) mid performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.88 dB
Low-Mid
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 250Hz-500Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments have their fundamentals or low harmonics in this range. Over-emphasis in this range sounds boxy. Under-emphasis, thins out the vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.45 dB
Mid
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 500Hz-1KHz.
When it matters: This range is occupied mostly by upper harmonics. Over-emphasis sounds forward and honky. Under-emphasis pushes instruments to the back of the mix.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.23 dB
High-Mid
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 1KHz-2.5KHz.
When it matters: Most instruments, especially vocals, get their intensity and clarity from this range. Over-emphasis sounds harsh, under-emphasis sounds weak and distant.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.56 dB

Excellent Mid Range performance. The response is virtually flat and unremarkable.

7.7 Treble
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What it is: Frequency Response from 2KHz-20KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on high-range frequencies, such as voice, cymbals, and any other material where brightness, brilliance and airiness is desired.
Score components:
Bose QuietComfort 25 Treble
Std. Err.
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What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in treble frequency response (2.5KHz-20KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) treble performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.79 dB
Low-Treble
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 2.5KHz-5KHz.
When it matters: Almost all instruments rely on this range for their presence, detail, and articulation. Over-emphasis can sound harsh and painful. Under-emphasis hurts the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.25 dB
Treble
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What it is: The average amount of over/under emphasis in frequency response from 5KHz-10KHz.
When it matters: This is the sibilance range. Cymbals, vocals, and lead instruments rely on this range for brightness and presence. Over-emphasis sounds piercing and painful, under-emphasis sounds dull and lispy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-3.05 dB
High-Treble
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 10KHz-20KHz.
When it matters: This range gives brilliance and airiness to the sound. Over-emphasis sounds hissy, under-emphasis sounds closed-up and lifeless.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.55 dB

Decent but fairly inconsistent performance. The dip around 5KHz negatively affects the presence and clarity of most instruments, especially vocals.

7.9 Frequency Response Consistency
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What it is: The amount of deviation of each frequency response pass, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Score components:
  • 100% Avg. Std. Deviation
Bose QuietComfort 25 Consistency L Bose QuietComfort 25 Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
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What it is: The average amount of deviation in frequency response of 5 re-seats, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.41 dB

3.7 Soundstage
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What it is: Soundstage qualities are not inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'create' them rather than 'reproduce' them. They determine whether the sound is perceived to be coming from inside or in front of the head, how open and spacious the soundstage is, how much the headphones acoustically interact with the environment, and how strong the phantom center is.
When it matters: When an accurately produced, large and spacious soundstage, similar to that of a stereo loudspeaker setup is desired.
PRTF Error
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What it is: The average amount of deviation in Pinna-Related Transfer Function of the headphones, compared to that of a loudspeaker. Whether the soundstage is perceived to be unnatural, located inside or in front of the head, is dependent on this quality. The more the headphones activate the HRTF resonances of the ear (similar to what loudspeakers do), the more the soundstage will be pulled out from inside the listener's head. This quality affects both stereo and mono content.
When it matters: When a natural, in-the-front soundstage is desired, similar to that of a loudspeaker.
Good value: <5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
6.99 dB
Openness
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What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality affects both stereo and mono content. This test differentiates between acoustically and electronically produced crosstalk and only takes the acoustically generated crosstalk into account. This value is the inverse of the Noise Isolation test score.
When it matters: When an open, wide and roomy sound is desired. A value of 10 indicates a fully open headphone, and a value of 0 indicates a fully closed headphone.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
1.6
Acoustic Space Excitation
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What it is: How loud the headphones are, and how much they excite their environment acoustically. If the headphones are loud and open enough, the sound leaking from the headphones takes some of the characteristic of its environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality affects both stereo and mono content. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: When an open, wide and roomy sound is desired.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
4.1
Correlated Crosstalk
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What it is: How strong and solid the phantom center is. This is mostly a stereo quality and its effects on mono content are minimal. This test is sensitive to the phase of the crosstalk and whether it is produced acoustically or electronically.
When it matters: When a true reproduction of the stereo image is desired. A value of 0 indicates no crosstalk, or that the existing crosstalk is not correlated enough to affect the phantom center. A negative score means the crosstalk is out of phase with the original signal, resulting in a slightly wider stereo image at the expense of creating a 'hole' at the center of the stereo field. A positive score means the crosstalk is in phase and positively affecting the phantom center.
Good value: >1dB
Noticeable difference: 0.3dB
:
0.0 dB

Poor soundstage. Although the drivers of these headphones seem to be angled, they don't activate the resonances of the outer ear the way speakers do. Therefore, the soundstage may be perceived to be located inside the head, as opposed to in front. Also, due to the excellent active-noise cancelling of these headphones, the Openness score is quite low, as these headphones sound very closed and don't interact with their environment acoustically.

7.5 Imaging
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What it is: Imaging qualities are inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'reproduce' them rather than 'create' them. They determine how accurately the objects are positioned in the stereo image, and how transparent the imaging is.
When it matters: When accurate positioning of the objects in the stereo image, and clear and transparent imaging is desired.
Bose QuietComfort 25 Phase Response
Phase Error
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What it is: The average amount of deviation in the phase, from the ideal flat response.
When it matters: When an accurate and transparent imaging is desired.
Good value: <60°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
36.24 °
Driver Mismatch (Amplitude)
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What it is: The Left/Right balance of our test unit, that is, the amount of amplitude difference between the left and right drivers. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When a properly balanced stereo image and low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates a noticeable difference in level between the left and right drivers.
Good value: <0.3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.06 dB
Driver Mismatch (Frequency)
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What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the frequency response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be 'holes' in the stereo image at certain frequencies.
Good value: <2dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.58 dB
Driver Mismatch (Phase)
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What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the phase response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be inaccuracies in the stereo image reproduction at certain frequencies.
Good value: <90°
Noticeable difference: 30°
:
19.01 °

Very good imaging. The phase response is very good and quite flat, which results in accurate and transparent imaging. Additionally, the drivers of our test unit were relatively well-matched, the most noticeable mismatch being 1.4dB in amplitude.

6.5 Total Harmonic Distortion
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What it is: The subtle, unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Score components:
Bose QuietComfort 25 Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
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What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 90dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: <0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
3.628
Weighted THD @ 100
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What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 100dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at loud listening levels.
Good value: <0.300
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
32.222

Very good distortion restuls. At 90dB SPL these headphones perform well throughout the spectrum, although the amount of harmonic distortion in the Treble Range is slightly elevated. At 100dB SPL, the profile of the harmonic distortion doesn't change, and although there is a general rise in the overall amount, it remains within good values.

7.6

Isolation

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Score components:

The QuietComfort 25 do not disappoint when it comes to noise isolation. When you turn on the ANC, you can feel the pressure change in the ear cups, which is a true testament to how efficient the noise cancelation in these headphones is. The same can not be said for sound leakage. Unfortunately, some of your music will escape at high volumes which may not be suitable for office use.

8.4 Noise Isolation
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What it is: How much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on.
When it matters: If the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
Score components:
Bose QuietComfort 25 Noise Isolation
Overall Attenuation
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What it is: The overall amount of environmental noise reduction in dB.
When it matters: In loud envinronments like planes, trains, offices, etc.
Good value: <-20dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-25.26 dB
Bass
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What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the bass range (20Hz-250Hz).
When it matters: When the outside noise is bass-heavy, like in airplanes.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-17.49 dB
Mid
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What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the mid-range (250Hz-2.5KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is mid-heavy, like in an office.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-26.05 dB
Treble
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What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the treble range (2.5KHz-20KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is treble-heavy. Although uncommon, areas with sharp sounds fall under this category.
Good value: <-30dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-33.1 dB
Self-Noise
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What it is: The amount of noise created by the active electronics of the headphones (if applicable), measured from 200Hz-20KHz. Applies mostly to wireless and noise-cancelling headphones.
When it matters: If too loud, it could become distracting when listening to quiet material like podcasts and audiobooks.
Good value: <18dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
15.75 dB

One of our best-performing Over-Ear headphones. With ANC (Active Noise Cancelling) set to On, these headphones provide even isolation, from -20dB at 100Hz down to -30dB at 2.5KHz. With ANC Off, the low-end isolation goes away for the most part, but the performance from 3KHz and up will remain virtually the same.

5.9 Leakage
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What it is: The amount of sound bleeding out of the headphones.
When it matters: When the listener doesn't want people around them (in office, recording studio, etc.) to hear what is being listened to.
Score components:
Bose QuietComfort 25 Leakage
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
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What it is: The amount of sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
Good value: <35dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
45.44 dB

These headphones leak sound a lot which makes them less than ideal for office use. The leakage on the headphones becomes significant starting at around 400Hz and will continue up to 4KHz. The overall level of the leakage is also relatively loud.

4.1

Active Features

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What it is: Headphones with active components that require a battery. This includes noise cancelling and wireless headphones that actively reduce noise or transmit audio via a wireless connection.
When it matters: How suitable the power and wireless specifications of an active headphone will be, depending on your listening habits. The range and/or discharge time of the active headphone you select will be important if you're often on the move or have long uninterrupted listening sessions.
Score components:

The QC25 only have noise canceling as an active feature. This makes them less versatile for other use cases except as noise canceling headphones, as they lack both wireless or an app, to enhance and customize their sound. On the upside, the AAA cell delivers a good battery life that lasts up to 32 hours of continuous playback, which should easily cover a weekend's worth of use without needing to change batteries.

0 Wireless
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What it is: Headphones that offer a cable-free listening experience over a wireless network, typically via Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: If you don't want to be limited by the length of an audio cable. This means having the freedom to move around in your home or office with a much greater range than an audio cable could provide, especially, if the Bluetooth source is heavy or difficult to carry.
Type
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What it is: The type and version of the wireless network, the headphones use to connect to the audio source. This could either be Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: The Bluetooth version will determine how compatible the headphones are with your Bluetooth enabled devices. Typically, newer Bluetooth versions are backward compatible with older ones but may lack the additional features that more recent Bluetooth protocols provide.
:
N/A
Obstructed Range
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What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in an indoor environment. Although, the obstructed wireless range will slightly depend on your home or office layout.
Good value: >35ft
Noticeable difference: 5ft
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
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What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when in direct line of sight of the Bluetooth device.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in a large and open environment.
Good value: 170ft or more
Noticeable difference: 10ft
:
N/A
NFC
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What it is: Near Field Communication technology that allows you to quickly, pair your headphones with your Bluetooth and NFC-enabled device.
When it matters: This makes pairing with an NFC-enabled device a lot easier than the typical and often tedious hold-to-pair procedure that most wireless headphones have.
:
No

7.8 Battery
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What it is: The power source of your headphones. All headphones with active features have a battery that will deplete over time.
When it matters: To continue using the active features of your headphones. Some models lose features or switch off completely when the battery is drained, which limits what you can do with them until the next charge.
Score components:
Battery Type
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What it is: The type of battery that the headphones use. Usually AAA or embedded, Li-ion rechargeable batteries.
When it matters: When your headphones run out of power. Rechargeable batteries usually charge via the headphones Micro-USB port whereas AAA batteries have to be replaced or charged with an external device.
:
AAA
Battery Life
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What it is: The amount of time it takes for a headphones' battery to be completely drained. Battery life will vary depending on the active features used and volume level.
When it matters: For active headphones that connect wirelessly, have noise cancellation or other audio-enhancing features, that cease to work once the battery is dead.
Good value: >10hrs
Noticeable difference: 0.5hrs
:
32.8 hrs
Charge Time
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What it is: The amount of time your active headphones have to be connected to a power source to charge from 0 to a 100%. However, charging time will vary depending on your power source.
When it matters: To be able to use the active features of your headphones. Especially, wireless ones that completely switch off and need to be recharged when the battery is dead.
Good value: 2h or less
Noticeable difference: 0.25h
:
N/A
Auto-off
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What it is: A feature that turns off the headphones, after a set time, when they're not in use.
When it matters: To prolong battery life when the headphones are not being used, or if you forget to manually turn off your headphones.
:
No
Audio while charging
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What it is: Some active headphones remain usable while charging. They continue to stream audio and do not disable other active features.
When it matters: This makes sure that your headphones's battery are not being drained when your relatively close to a power source. However, this means wireless headphones will need a wired connection to the power source during the charging process.
:
N/A
Passive Playback
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What it is: Active headphones that still work when all their active features are turned off or out of power.
When it matters: If you run out of power and do not have spare AA/AAA batteries or access to a power source to recharge your headphones.
:
Yes

The QC25 use two AAA batteries to deliver 32.8 hours of continuous play time. This makes them good headphones to use on long flights or road trips as you won't need to change the batteries as throughout the day. Luckily, they can be used without the battery, but lose a bit of audio quality when the battery is dead. They also don't have any battery saving features like an auto-off timer.

0 App Support
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What it is: The additional app provided to enhance your listening experience. They typically deliver a set of practical features that give you more control over the sound, noise cancelling and effects that the headphones produce.
When it matters: An app with a lot of features allows you to customize your listening experience to suit your taste and preferences. For example, additions like an equalizer can give you more bass or treble and room effects can simulate a bigger Soundstage in closed back headphones.
Score components: Subjectively assigned

No compatible app.

In the box

Bose QuietComfort 25 In the box Picture

  • Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones
  • Audio cable
  • Airline adapter
  • Carrying case
  • AAA batteries

Conclusion Amazon AVAILABLE Right

7.0Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
Decent all-around performance. The QC 25 are good everyday headphones with the added benefit of great noise cancelling.
7.4Critical Listening
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What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
Decent for critical listening. Comfortable for long listening sessions and good sound but poor soundstage.
7.3Commute/Travel
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What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
The QuietComfort 25 are great for commuting in noisy environments. They have a good control scheme and the active noise cancelling is excellent. They will significantly reduce the ambient noise of train or bus ride. They're also ideal for noisy flights.
6.5Sports/Fitness
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What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
Decent for sports use. Comfortable and good control scheme. They're not too bulky but a little unstable.
6.9Office
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What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
Good for office use. They will isolate you from the chatter of the office, but they leak a bit, which can be distracting.
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Questions & Answers

3 ANSWERED QUESTIONS
5
Nice review and I do have a question about the sound leakage. This is my biggest fear and I really couldn't understand the table on the leakage. In layman's term, are you able to tell me on a commuter train or in an airplane, at what volume could leakage occur, and in a quiet office,what volume could leakage occur. I have no intention of playing the music at 100% volume so it may be around 50-60%. Your answer would definitely help me make a decision.

Short answer: Assuming you are listening at average volumes, the leakage of QC25s should not be a concern on a commuter, train or in an airplane. But in a more quiet environment, like an office it might be audible to people right next to you.

For a longer answer, here is how to read the leakage chart:

Assuming you are listening to something at 100dB SPL (like enjoying very loud music), an individual standing 1 foot away from you, will hear the music leaking at about 40dB SPL (in the case of Bose QC25). Now, this number is quite useful for scoring and ranking different headphones, but it doesn't give an intuitive feel on what it really sounds like (If you are listening at volumes lower than 100dB, just offset that difference in our test results).

To get a feel on how the leakage will affect you in daily life, take a look at the chart. You can see that the leakage is basically concentrated around the 400Hz-4KHz region. This can give you a feel on the sound profile of the leakage. In the case of the Bose QC25, the 400Hz-4KHz range means that the leakage will sound very thin (virtually no bass content) but at the same time quite intelligible, and people around you may even be able to understand the lyrics of what you are listening to. In the case of a more narrow band leakage (for example from 6KHz-8KHz which is more typical of in-ear earphones), the sound profile of the leakage will mostly consist of S and T sounds (sibilances). In this case, the lyrics may not be intelligible even at higher volumes.

After getting a feel for the audio profile of the leakage, we can explore the chart even more to get a feel for how loud the leakage will sound like. In the case of the QC25, we can see that the main part of the leakage (400Hz-4KHz) is as loud as the ambient noise of an average office. Imagine an average office, with the background hum of the AC, people typing on their computers, and maybe having a quiet conversation. Now if you limit the frequency content of the office ambient noise to the 400Hz-4KHz range (that is, take out all the bass and most of the treble content), it should feel and sound like the leakage of the QC25.

One last thing to consider here is the phenomena of auditory masking. It basically says that if we are listening to 2 sounds that have similar frequency content, the louder sound will drown out the quieter one (we won't notice the quiet sound as much as we would if it was playing by itself). So for example, if you are in a loud office/bus/metro where a lot people are talking and phones are going off all the time, people won't be able to hear the leakage coming out of your QC25 as much. Because there is already a lot of mid-rangy noises (400Hz-4KHz) going on around you, masking those coming out of your headphones. Conversely, on an airplane where the bulk of the noise is in the bass and low-mid regions (the engine rumble and airflow noise), the audio profile of the ambient noise is not similar to that of QC25's leakage, so it may not mask it as much.

0
Can you compare the Bose SoundLink® around-ear wireless headphones II? I am very curious how well the noise isolation are for those!
Thanks for you suggestion, we will add it to the list! It'll be interesting to see how they compare with the QuietComfort 25 (with ANC set to Off).
0
Have you considered testing the definitive Technology Symphony 1 headphones? They are in the same price range as the Denon AHGC20, but appear (based on other reviews) to have much better mid-range and treble response, better noise isolation, and better leakage.
Thanks for your suggestion. We were not familiar with the brand, we'll look into it.
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