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Reviewed on Mar 13, 2018 , Marc Henney, Jean-Christophe Lamontagne

Bose QuietControl 30
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
7.1
Mixed Usage
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:
7.1
Critical Listening
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:
7.5
Commute/Travel
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:
7.5
Sports/Fitness
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:
7.4
Office
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:
5.6
Home Theater
Score components:
5.2
Gaming
Score components:
Type : Earbuds
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Bose QuietControl 30 are above-average wireless earbuds for most uses cases, that deliver a satisfying sound quality. They're decently portable and offer more control over their noise cancellation than other Bose headphones we've tested so far. However, the noise canceling is not as strong, and although they're stable enough to exercise with the around-the-neck design won't be for everyone.

Pros
  • Comfortable and stable earbud fit.
  • Very low leakage.
  • Above-average noise isolation.
Cons
  • The neckband design won't be for everyone.
  • Laggy when watching videos.

Test Results
Design 7.6
Sound 6.9
Isolation 8.4
Microphone 5.9
Active Features 7.2
Connectivity 3.2
Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
Update 9/28/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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QuietControl 30
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Amazon.com
7.6

Design

Score components:
Bose QuietControl 30 Design Picture

The Bose QuietControl 30 have a wireless, around-the-neck design that's not for everyone but feels comfortable and well-built. The StayHear+ earbud tips and the neckband fit make them quite stable to run with, although they can sometimes get tangled in your clothing, especially if you're wearing a lot of layers. They have an efficient control scheme that also gives you control over the noise cancellation with two buttons on the side of the in-line remote. The power/Bluetooth button is a bit too stiff, which slightly decreases their ease-of-use. On the upside, they're decently portable and come with a sturdy case to carry them in.

Style
Bose QuietControl 30 Design Picture 2

The Bose QuietControl 30 have a relatively simple design that feels high-end, thanks to the materials used in their build quality. They have a more premium appeal than other around-the-neck designs. They also come in an understated all-black color scheme that won't particularly stand out, which is ideal for some but feels a bit bland.

7.5 Comfort
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 QuietControl 30 Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.14 lbs
Clamping Force
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 lbs

The Bose QC30, like the SoundSport Wireless, have the comfortable StayHear+ earbud tips that fit snugly within the ear canal. They're comfortable headphones to wear for extended periods of time without experiencing the fatigue that some other in-ear/earbuds may cause. However, the neckband fit won't be for everyone. They are bulkier than the Sony WI-C400, but also more comfortable.

6.3 Controls
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.
Bose QuietControl 30 Controls Picture
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Above-average
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
What it is: Being able to mix audio channels directly on the headphones.
When it matters: This is most useful when using a separate chat software so that you can mix in-game audio and chat audio depending on your needs.
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : Adjustable
Talk-Through : Adjustable
Additional Buttons : No

The Bose QuietControl 30 have a good control scheme, but the buttons are a bit stiff and difficult to press. They provide the common functionalities like call/music, track-skipping, and volume controls but also two additional buttons on the side of the in-line remote to increase or decrease the level of noise canceling. Unfortunately, although slightly better than that on the SoundSport Wireless, the inline remote is covered by a thick rubber-like material that makes the buttons a bit difficult to press especially the power/Bluetooth sync switch.

8.9 Breathability
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:
Bose QuietControl 30 Breathability After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 1.1 C

The Bose QC30 have a breathable design that won't make your ears sweat more than usual. They trap a bit of heat within the notch of your ear due to their earbud tips and stability fins, but they won't cause a big difference in temperature even during more intense workouts. This makes them a good option for sports and working out.

7.2 Portability
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 QuietControl 30 Portability Picture
L : 5.81 "
W : 6.38 "
H : 0.80 "
Volume : 29.65 Cu. Inches
Stand required : N/A

These headphones do not take too much space, especially when they are not in the case, as the total surface area they occupy is relatively small. However, due to their somewhat odd shape, they won't fit into all pockets but should easily fit into most bags. They're also quite easy to carry on your person if you just let them dangle from your neck.

8.0 Case
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 QuietControl 30 Case Picture
Type : Hard case
L : 6.38 "
W : 6.81 "
H : 1.42 "
Volume : 61.70 Cu. Inches

They come with a good, hard case that will easily shield the headphones against falls, scratches and minor water damage. It adds a bit of bulk to the overall design and won't fit into most pockets but can be carried around in a bag with relative ease.

7.5 Build Quality
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 QuietControl 30 Build Quality Picture

The Bose QuietControl 30 feel well built. The plastic used for the headband and the earbuds feels dense yet sufficiently lightweight that they won't get damaged if they were to fall from about neck height. However, the cables, although thicker than most in-ear headphones we've reviewed, feel like the main weak point of the build quality. They could snap if pulled on a bit too forcefully which could happen if they get caught off an item of clothing.

7.5 Stability
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 QuietControl 30 Stability Picture

These earbuds have stability tips of different sizes to provide a stable fit within the ear. That, combined with the neckband, makes them quite stable to run or exercise with. However, the cables that connect the neckband and the earbuds can sometimes get caught on an item of clothing, but that doesn't happen often enough to be of concern.

Cable
Bose QuietControl 30 Cable Picture
Detachable : N/A
Length : N/A
Connection : N/A

The Bose QuietControl30 come with micro-USB charging cable.

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Headshots 1
Headshots 2
6.9

Sound

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.)
Bose QuietControl 30 Frequency Response

The Bose QuietControl 30 are above-average sounding closed-back in-ear headphones. They have a deep, consistent, well-balanced, and punchy bass. They also have a nearly flawless mid-range and a decent sounding treble. This makes them very versatile and well-suited to a variety of genres, from EDM and Hip-hop, to film scores and podcasts. However, their mid-range is a tad recessed, giving less emphasis to the vocals and lead instruments, and their treble is a bit uneven on producing sibilances (S and T sounds). Also, they have excellent imaging, but like most other headphones, they don't have a large and out-of-head soundstage.

8.9 Bass
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 QuietControl 30 Bass
Std. Err.
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
:
1.6 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
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 Hz
Low-Bass
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
:
2.44 dB
Mid-Bass
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
:
1.26 dB
High-Bass
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
:
1.65 dB

The bass is excellent. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, and accordingly, their low-bass is above our neutral target by more than 2dB. This indicates a bass that is deep and quite thumpy, making the Bose QuietControl 30 well-suited for bass-heavy genres like EDM, Hip-hop and film scores. Additionally, mid-bass and high-bass and virtually flat, but with about 1.5dB of overemphasis which adds to the body of bass guitars and the punch of kick drums.

9.0 Mid
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 QuietControl 30 Mid
Std. Err.
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
:
1.27 dB
Low-Mid
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 muddy and cluttered. Under-emphasis, thins out the vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.73 dB
Mid-Mid
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 boxy. Under-emphasis pushes instruments to the back of the mix.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.54 dB
High-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 1KHz-2KHz.
When it matters: Most instruments, especially vocals, get their intensity and clarity from this range. Over-emphasis sounds honky and harsh, under-emphasis sounds weak and distant.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.64 dB

The mid-range sounds great. The response is very flat and even, but with a wide and shallow dip centered around 700Hz. This will nudge the vocals and lead instruments towards the back of the mix, and gives more emphasis to the bass and treble ranges. However, at less than 5dB, the effect of this dip will be barely perceptible.

6.8 Treble
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 QuietControl 30 Treble
Std. Err.
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
:
4.48 dB
Low-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 2KHz-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
:
0.86 dB
Mid-Treble
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
:
-3.97 dB
High-Treble
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
:
-3.9 dB

The treble range is quite decent. Low-treble is well-balanced and even. Mid-treble, however, shows a 12dB dip around 8KH and a 10dB peak at 10KHz. Both of these deviations are within the sibilance range (where S and T sounds sit). So, the S and T sounds that fall in the 8KHz dip will sound weak and lispy. On the other hand, the sibilances that occupy the 10KHz range will sound sharp and piercing. Overall, their treble is quite well-balanced and decent sounding, but uneven on sibilances.

Raw Frequency Response
What it is: The average uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. For in-ears and earbuds, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the dummy head (HMS). For over/on-ear headphones, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the HMS (Head Measurement System) for the mid and treble ranges, and 5 measurements/re-seats on 5 human subjects for the bass range.
When it matters: This is for those who want to see the raw and uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. Some of the more advanced users, are able to read and evaluate headphone frequency response in its raw form and without compensation. This will be especially useful to them if they have their own headphone compensation/target curve, which may differ from the compensation curve/target response used by RTINGS.com.
Score components:
8.8 Frequency Response Consistency
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:
Bose QuietControl 30 Consistency L Bose QuietControl 30 Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
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
:
0.25 dB

The Bose QC30 has excellent frequency response consistency. Due to their stable and ergonomic design, if you are able to position the QC30s properly, there should be very little variance in bass SNF treble delivery between re-seats. This is assuming that the user has picked the correct sized tips (small, medium, or large) for their ears.

9.2 Imaging
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 QuietControl 30 Group Delay Bose QuietControl 30 Phase Response
Weighted Group Delay
What it is: The average amount of group delay calculated based on a perceptual weighting filter. Group delay indicates how long it takes for each frequency to reach their maximum amplitude. This is a monaural quality and can be perceived even with one ear.
When it matters: Headphones with lower group delay have more transparent imaging and a tighter bass. Headphones with higher group delay in the bass range tend to have a wimpy and loose bass, and headphones with higher group delay in the treble range tend to have a less transparent imaging.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.09
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
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: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.41
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
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: <2
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.23
Weighted Phase Mismatch
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: <16
Noticeable difference: 3
:
1.66

The imaging is excellent. Their weighted group delay is 0.09, which is one of the lowest we have measured. The GD graph also shows that the entire group delay response is under the audibility threshold, ensuring a tight and fast bass reproduction, and a transparent treble. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were exceptionally well-matched, which helps with accurate localization and placement of objects (voice, instruments, footsteps) in the stereo image.

1.0 Soundstage
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 Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
What it is: The standard deviation of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: An accurate pinna activation is mainly responsible for how natural and speaker-like the soundstage is perceived to be. The less error in the shape of the PRTF, the more natrual and speaker-like the perception of the soundstage will be. High amounts of error may indicate a soundstage that is unnatural or odd.
Good value: <2.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
What it is: The average amplitude of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to that of a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is responsible for the perceived size of the soundstage. The higher the value, the larger the perceived size of the soundstage. However, values above the reference (5.0dB) could result in a soundstage that is perceived as unnatural or odd.
Good value: >3.7
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
What it is: The depth of the "10KHz notch" of the headphone's PRTF, which is caused by phase cancellations at the concha. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is mainly responsible for the perceived distance and elevation of the soundstage. A small distance value may result in a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the head. Larger values may help pull the soundstage out from inside of the head and bring it to the front.
Good value: >13
Noticeable difference: 1
:
N/A
Openness
What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. 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, and could be indirectly related the acoustic impedance of the headphones.
When it matters: When a headphone with a sense of an open, and spacious soundstage 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
:
2.0
Acoustic Space Excitation
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 will be affected by the environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: Headphones with higher excitation values, similar to openness, tend to have soundstages that are perceived as more open and spacious.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
0.9
Correlated Crosstalk
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

The soundstage is poor. This is mainly due to their earbud design, since activating the resonances of the pinna (outer ear) is one of the important factors in creating a large and out-of-head soundstage and earbuds don't interact with the pinna. The Bose QuietControl 30 will feel less open and spacious than open-back in-ears, because of the excellent isolation they provide.

7.9 Total Harmonic Distortion
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 QuietControl 30 Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
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
:
0.72
Weighted THD @ 100
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
:
1.958

The Bose QuietControl 30 have a good harmonic distortion performance. The overall amount of THD is slightly elevated, but in the bass range there is very little distortion and there's not a significant rise in THD under heavier loads either. This is very good and suggest that the earbuds may be able to take a good amount of bass EQ boost, before affecting its performance negatively. However, the elevated THD in the treble range, could make the sound of those frequencies slightly harsh and fatiguing.

8.4

Isolation

Score components:

The Bose QuietControl 30, like the QuietComfort 20, barely leak at high volumes. This and the above-average noise cancellation make them a great option if you don't want to distract your colleagues at the office. They also deliver enough isolation to be versatile commuting and traveling headphones, although the isolation is not as good as some of the other models in the Bose line-up.

8.0 Noise Isolation
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 QuietControl 30 Noise Isolation
Overall Attenuation
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
:
-21.24 dB
Bass
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
:
-18.26 dB
Mid
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
:
-17.58 dB
Treble
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
:
-27.64 dB
Self-Noise
What it is: The amount of noise created by the active electronics of the headphones (if applicable), measured from 300Hz-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: <16dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
16.75 dB

The Bose QC30 have a great isolation. In the bass range, where the rumble of airplane and bus engines sit, they achieved 18dB of isolation, which is impressive. In the mid-range, important for cancelling out speech, they also achieved about 18dB of reduction, which is great. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds such as S and Ts, they get 28dB of isolation which is above-average.

9.2 Leakage
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 QuietControl 30 Leakage
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
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
:
26.1 dB

The leakage performance is excellent. The overall level of the leakage of these earbuds is very low, barely reaching significant levels. Additionally, the main portion of the leakage is between 4KHz and 9KHz which is a narrow range. This results in a leakage that mostly consists of sibilances (S and T sounds) and is very quiet and barely audible (below the noise-floor of most regular rooms).

5.9

Microphone

What it is: The microphone section shows the quality of speech capture and transmission by the mic, as well as how well the microphone under test handles noisy environments.
When it matters: For your speech to be transmitted to and understood properly by the listener, the microphone needs to have a good recording quality. If the environment the microphone is being used in is noisy, a microphone with a good noise handling performance would be needed as well.
Score components:
Integrated
What it is: The microphone integrated in the ear cup or ear bud of a wireless headphone.
When it matters: For calls, gaming and voice over IP software or for any other use of the microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
In-line
What it is: The microphone inside the in-line remote of audio cables for wired and wireless headsets.
When it matters: In-line microphone are usually better than integrated mics. If you need better recording quality and noise handling for calls, gaming and voice over IP software then use the audio cable of your wired or wireless headphone if it has an inline microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Boom
What it is: A typically better microphone, that's also adjustable and extends so that the mic is closer to your mouth.
When it matters: Much better recording quality and noise handling than in-line or integrated mics. Primarily used for gaming and voice over IP software.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Detachable Boom
What it is: A boom mic that is detachable from the headset.
When it matters: If you want to use your headphone outdoors without the bulk and hassle of the Boom mic.
:
N/A

The in-line microphone of the Bose QuietControl 30 has a sub-par performance. When used in a quiet environment, speech will sound relatively thin but quite muffled and lacking in detail. This could make understanding the conversation a little bit difficult at times. They don't fare well in noisy situations either and will struggle to separate speech from background noise even in moderately loud environments, such as a busy street.

5.6 Recording Quality
What it is: Microphone recording quality shows how natural, neutral, extended and intelligible speech would be with the device under test, in a quiet environment.
When it matters: A microphone with a good recording quality ensures that the person listening to you would hear a full, clear, and easily understandable speech. Therefore, it is important whenever a good quality of speech transmission and intelligibility is needed.
Score components:
Bose QuietControl 30 Microphone Frequency Response
Recorded Speech
What it is: Actual audio recording of the headphone's microphone, recorded while placed on the dummy head, with speech being played back through the dummy head's mouth simulator.
When it matters: When a clean, full, and intelligible speech transmission is required.
:
LFE
What it is: Low-frequency extension shows how deep the bass response of the microphone is, and therefore, how deep and full your voice would sound to the listener. It is the lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: LFE is not a big factor in speech intelligibility and even speech recorded with a mic that has an LFE of 500Hz could still be easily understood. Therefore, it is mostly important if you are concerned with how deep and full your voice would be heard.
Good value: <150Hz
Noticeable difference: 30Hz
:
276.97 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
What it is: Frequency Response Standard Deviation shows how accurately and balanced sound is captured by the microphone at each frequency. FR Std. Dev. is calculated between LFE and HFE, and the rest of the spectrum is ignored.
When it matters: A good frequency response is desired when a natural and neutral speech quality is desired. As opposed to HFE which is more a metric for speech intelligibility, frequency response could be considered as a metric for a natural and neutral sound.
Good value: >3.5dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5dB
:
3.94 dB
HFE
What it is: High-frequency extension is the highest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response. It shows how extended the treble response of the microphone is.
When it matters: HFE is one the most important factors in speech intelligibility. The higher the HFE, the brighter, more open, and more extended the speech quality will be which makes it a lot easier to understand by the listener.
Good value: >8KHz
Noticeable difference: 1KHz
:
2121.83 Hz
Weighted THD
What it is: The unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies, which cause deformation of an output signal compared to its input.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 1.0
:
11.554
Gain
What it is: Shows how much louder the microphone can go above our reference loudness level. The gain value is reported relative to our reference level, which is 94dB at a distance of 5cm from the mouth.
When it matters: A microphone with a high gain is important when the input signal (speech) is very quiet. For example when whispering, or talking on the phone in a library.
Good value: >18dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
37.24 dB

The in-line mic has a sub-par recording quality. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 277Hz indicates that speech recorded/transmitted with this microphone will sound relatively thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 2.1KHz is poor and means speech will sound muffled and lacking on them.

6.2 Noise Handling
What it is: How well the microphone is able to separate speech from background noise, so that the transmission would include more voice and less noise.
When it matters: When a clean and intelligible speech transmission is desired in a noisy situation like talking on the phone on a busy street or on the bus.
Score components:
Bose QuietControl 30 SpNR
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
What it is: Speech to Noise Ratio is the difference in level between speech and background noise as heard by the listener
When it matters: If the microphone is going to be used in a noisy environment, it is important for it to be able to separate the speech from background noise, so the voice would be easily audible and understandable.
Good value: >24dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
14.72 dB

The noise handling performance of the in-line microphone is mediocre. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of about 15dB, which is below average. This means the Bose QuietControl 30 are best suited for quiet environments and may struggle in noisy places.

7.2

Active Features

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 Bose QC30 have an above-average battery life but a slightly lacking app support. They lasted about 11 hours on a single charge and have an adjustable auto-off timer accessible through the Bose connect app. Unfortunately, although the app gives you a decent amount of control over the noise cancellation, it still feels somewhat lacking in features like an Equalizer or room effects. It's a sleek and well-designed app but pales in comparison to the Sennheiser Captune app or the Sony| Headphones connect app.

7.3 Battery
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.
Battery Type
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.
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
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
:
11.4 hrs
Charge Time
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
:
2.5 hrs
Power Saving Feature
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.
:
Yes
Audio while charging
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.
:
No
Passive Playback
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.
:
No

These earbuds have a fair battery life of 11.4 hours when playing audio continuously at average volumes. They also have an auto-off timer accessible through the Bose Connect app that allows them to conserve a decent amount of power. They take about 2.5 hours to fully charge, which is about average but cannot be used once plugged into a power outlet.

7.0 App Support
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
Bose QuietControl 30 App Picture
App Name : Bose Connect
iOS : Yes
Android : Yes
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
What it is: Parametric, graphic or preset sound profiles that slightly alter the frequency response.
When it matters: If you want to tailor, your listening experience. Depending on what you're listening to you may want more or less bass for some tracks or more mid-range for vocals-heavy audio.
:
No
ANC control
What it is: Control over the Active noise canceling technology. This could be either a simple on/off button, and adjustable slider or even adaptive self-regulating noise cancellation.
When it matters: If you're in an environment where you need to monitor your surroundings or completely isolate yourself from ambient noise.
:
Adjustable
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
What it is: Room effects that enhance the audio quality to make it more immersive.
When it matters: If you want to further tweak your listening experience. Adding room effects, can simulate a more spacious Soundstage or deliver a surround sound-like feel.
:
No
Playback control
What it is: An in-app player that gives you access to play/stop, track skipping or volume controls directly with the app.
When it matters: It's a shortcut that allows you to control your audio without leaving the application.
:
Yes
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

The Bose Connect app is unfortunately not as robust as that of the competition. However, for the Bose QC30, there is an additional noise canceling slider that allows you to control the level of isolation directly from the app which is now available for the more recent releases with firmware 1.4.1. However, due to the toggles on the inline remote to control the level of isolation, you may not even need to use that feature. Other than that, it's the same as the QuietComfort 35 or the SoundLink which means you get a basic media player but a good and flexible auto-off timer.

3.2

Connectivity

What it is: The inputs and outputs of wired and wireless headphones, as well as their latency performance and range.
When it matters: To know how compatible your Bluetooth device, console or PC will be with your wired or wireless headset.
Score components:
  • 10% Bluetooth
  • 33% Wired
  • 10% Base/Dock
  • 22% Wireless Range
  • 25% Latency

The Bose QC30 have a decent wireless connection that's a bit laggy when watching movies but has enough range for most use cases. They support NFC and simultaneous multi-device pairing; they have no other connection option but Bluetooth, which can be a bit limiting depending on your use case.

8.8 Bluetooth
What it is: Bluetooth support for wireless headphones.
When it matters: To connect wirelessly to Bluetooth sources like your phone, tablet, console, PC and TV.
Score components:
  • 80% Multi-Device Pairing
  • 20% NFC
  • <1% PS4 Compatible
  • <1% Xbox One Compatible
Bluetooth Version : 4.2 + W1 chip
Multi-Device Pairing
What it is: A Bluetooth profile that's allows some headphones to be simultaneously connected to multiple Bluetooth sources.
When it matters: To quickly switch between your Bluetooth sources. For example switching from your phone to your home or work PC.
Good value: 2 devices.
:
2 Devices
NFC
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.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your PS4.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
No
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your Xbox one.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
No

These headphones have a Bluetooth connection with multi-device pairing and NFC support. However, pairing with the power button can be a bit tricky at times due to the stiff feedback which makes it difficult for the hold-to-pair procedure.

0 Wired
What it is: The type and compatibility of audio cables for wired and wireless headphones.
When it matters: For all devices with a regular audio jack (line-out) and also compatibility of the in-line remote/boom microphone with consoles and Personal computers.
Score components:
  • 13% Analog
  • 9% USB
  • 26% PS4 Compatible
  • 26% Xbox One Compatible
  • 26% PC Compatible
Cable Tested : N/A
Analog
What it is: A regular 1/8" TRS audio jack or a 1/4 or 1/16 TRS with a 1/8 TRS adapter.
When it matters: For all devices with a line out.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
USB
What it is: A USB or USB adapter to connect to your devices for audio and microphone.
When it matters: A digital USB adapter usually offers a slight advantages over a regular audio jack, like a DAC, and amplifier module or software support and compatibility with PCs. However it may not be as compatible with consoles.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
What it is: PS4 compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PS4
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Xbox One compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your Xbox One
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
PC Compatible
What it is: PC compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PC.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A

The Bose QuietControl 30 have no wired option. If you want a similarly designed in-ear but wired, check out the Bose SoundTrue Ultra In-Ear or the wired Bose SoundSport In-Ear.

0 Base/Dock
What it is: The base station, dock or dongle transmitter of wireless headphones that receive data/audio via a proprietary frequency range.
When it matters: Knowing the inputs and outputs of the base/dock/dongle as well as its compatibility with consoles and Personal Computers. Also whether the base supports dock charging to easily recharge the headphones without any cables.
Score components:
  • 5% Optical Input
  • 22% Line In
  • 5% Line Out
  • 22% USB Input
  • 4% RCA Input
  • 9% PS4 Compatible
  • 9% Xbox One Compatible
  • 9% PC Compatible
  • 2% Power Supply
  • 13% Dock Charging
Wireless Type
What it is: The type of wireless connection used by the base station/dock to communicate with the headphones.
When it matters: For latency and range. For example Radio frequency has low latency but mediocre range when obstructed and proprietary docks have their own 2.x GHz or 5 GHz frequency which varies in performance.
:
N/A
Optical Input
What it is: Optical input for audio.
When it matters: Optical can carry a bit more data at faster speeds than typical wired connection which allows for more high quality, lossless audio.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line In
What it is: The regular wired input via a 1/8" TRS audio jack.
When it matters: For any device that has a line out for audio transmission.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line Out
What it is: A regular 1/8TRS audio jack output.
When it matters: If you need to share the audio source with other devices. A line out lets you connect other headphones or speakers to the dock/base station.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
USB Input
What it is: A digital USB input instead of a typical 1/8 TRS line-in.
When it matters: A USB connection can provide both an audio input and power to the Dock or Base station.
:
N/A
RCA Input
What it is: Audio input using via an RCA connectors.
When it matters: Provides better stereo audio to the dock/base that's then transmitted to the headphones.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
:
N/A
PC Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with your Personal Computer.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Power Supply
What it is: The connector type of the power source.
When it matters: The accessibility of the power source. For example a power supply with USB/USB-C connects to multiple devices, PC , PS4, Xbox One or even with your regular phone charger whereas a A/C adapter is less common.
Good value: USB/USB-C
:
N/A
Dock Charging
What it is: Charging the headphones via the dock/base station instead of a charging cable.
When it matters: It makes charging your headphones easier and gives you a sport to store your headphones when they are not in use.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A

These headphones do not have a dock. If you want a headphone that's versatile and has a dock, try the SteelSeries Arctis 7. However, they won't be as compact or as easy-to-carry around on your person.

7.6 Wireless Range
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.
Score components:
Obstructed Range
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
:
34 ft
Line of Sight Range
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
:
120 ft

The Bose QuietControl 30 have a decent wireless range in direct line-of-sight and when the Bluetooth source was obstructed. They won't be the furthest reaching headphones, but they should be OK to use around your house and in the office

2.5 Latency
What it is: How long it takes for audio to play through your headphones once the audio signal has been sent from a source.
When it matters: When gaming or watching movies. High latency means you will hear the audio much later than the images you see on screen.
Score components:
Default Latency
What it is: The Base RF latency or the default sub-band coding (SBC) of most Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos a high latency can cause sync issues between the images you see and the audio you hear.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
191 ms
aptX Latency
What it is: An audio coding algorithm (Codec) that improves bit rate efficiency. It reduces latency and improves sound quality over Bluetooth.
When it matters: For better sound quality if your often streaming music over Bluetooth. Also it slightly improves latency when watching videos with wireless headphones.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
What it is: Low latency variation of aptX that significantly reduces sync issues between video and sound when using Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos or gaming latency is a lot more noticeable than just listening to music.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 5ms
:
N/A

The Bose QC30 have quite a bit of latency which is not ideal for watching movies and a lot of video content. It's not more than most typical Bluetooth headphones but it won't be suitable for gaming and movies.

In the box

Bose QuietControl 30 In the box Picture

  • Bose QuiControl  Wireless Headphones
  • Earbud tips (x3)
  • USB charging cable
  • Carrying case
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

Bose QuietControl 30 Compare Picture

The Bose QuietControl 30 are good commuting and office headphones that are stable enough for the gym. They barely leak and have and a well-balanced sound quality. They’re versatile for almost every use case except watching videos because of their relatively high latency. Their around-the-neck design also won’t be for everyone and they’re fairly pricey compared to competing headphones.

Bose QuietComfort 20

The Bose QuietControl 30 are a better option for most use cases if you want to go wireless, however, for a wired earbud, the QuietComfort 20 are a good choice. The QC30 benefit from the greater range of a Bluetooth connection. They also have a bit more control over their noise cancelling feature when compared to the QC20. On the upside, the QC20 have no latency since they are wired. They also have a slightly stronger noise isolation performance than the QC30. Also since they have a simple wired design, they are a bit more portable and will easily fit into your pockets unlike the QC 30.

Bose QuietComfort 35

The Bose QuietControl 30 are a better choice if you want a compact earbud design, but if you prefer over-ears, then get the Bose QuietComfort 35 instead. The QC35 are a bit more comfortable for every one thanks to their lightweight and well padded over-ear fit. They're also a bit easier to use overall than the QC 30 and have a better battery life, wireless range, sound quality, and soundstage. The QC30, on the upside, are a lot more compact and travel-friendly and still provide enough isolation for most commutes and long flights. They also barely leak so you can play your music louder without distracting the people around you, which is great for the office.  

Sony WF-1000X

The Bose QuietControl 30 are a much better wireless noise-canceling headset than the Sony WF-1000x. The QC 30 have a more comfortable earbud fit, better noise isolation performance, better sound quality and a longer battery life and wireless range than the Sonys. They also have a better latency performance although both headphones would not be the ideal choices for watching a lot of video content. On the upside, the Sony WF-1000X are a lot more compact than the Bose and will more easily fit into your pocket despite their fairly large charging case. The Sony also have a slightly more premium looking truly wireless design which some will prefer over the bose even if their wireless connection is not as stable.

Jabra Elite 65e

The Bose QuietControl 30 are a better wireless headset than the Jabra Elite 65e. The QC 30 isolate better in noisy environments which make them a bit more suitable for commute and travel. They also have a better-balanced sound quality that will cater better than the Jabra to most music genres. The Jabra, on the other hand, have a customizable sound profile and a more feature-packed app support that gives them a lot of control over their active features. They also have a better in-line mic which makes them more suitable for making calls.

Apple AirPods

The Apple AirPods are truly wireless headphones with a decent sound and good active features. However, they're more optimized for iOS so there are a few missing features on Android. They have a better range and they’re more portable than the QC30s but do not isolate as well so they won’t be ideal for commuting. They also lack a lot bass so the Bose have a much better sound quality overall. If you have an iOS device and prefer the compact and premium feel of the AirPods, then they’re a decent choice, but for most use cases the Bose QC30 perform a bit better.

Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear Wireless

 

The Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear Wireless also have an around-the-neck design but are not noise canceling like the QC30s. They have a decent design and a good app that offers more customization options than the Bose. However, in almost all aspect they perform a bit worse than the QC 30 but they’re cheaper. If you have the budget, go for the Bose instead.

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Conclusion
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7.1Mixed Usage
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:
The Bose QC30 are good headphones for most use cases. They're comfortable, portable and isolate well in loud environments. They're decent commuting headphones and stable enough to take to the gym. Thanks to their low leakage, they're ideal to use at the office or in quieter environments like a library. They also sound good enough to please most listeners but they may not be the ideal headphones for pure critical listening.
7.1Critical Listening
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. They have a good bass, a well-balanced mid and treble range, but due to the small and closed back design of the earbuds, they don't have the best soundstage. They will sound good enough for most listeners but won't deliver the ambiance that some critical listeners are looking for.
7.5Commute/Travel
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:
Good for commuting. The Bose QuietControl 30 are comfortable, easy to carry around and isolate well in loud environments. They also have a decent control scheme that's easy-to-use especially for NFC-enabled mobile devices.
7.5Sports/Fitness
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:
Suitable for sports use. The StayHear+ tips provide a comfortable and stable fit which, combined with the around-the-neck design, means they will rarely fall to the ground even when exercising intensely. However, the neckband can sometimes get caught on items of clothing which may pull the earbuds out of your ears, but it's a rare issue that really depends on what you're wearing.
7.4Office
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:
Above-average for office use. They barely leak even at high volumes and isolate well enough to block the chatter of a lively workplace. They're comfortable, they have a decent control scheme and wireless range and they have a decent battery life that lasts long enough for a typical work day.
5.6Home Theater
Score components:
Below-average for home theater use. You can wear them for hours and they have a good audio reproduction. Unfortunately, their latency performance is too high for watching movies and videos without the noticeable sync issues.
5.2Gaming
Score components:
Below-average for gaming. The Bose QuietControl 30 have a mediocre-at-best microphone, and a bit too much latency to be suitable for gaming. Their companion app is also not as customizable as most gaming-oriented software.

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