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Bose Focuses On Innovative Tech With The Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

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Bose NCH700

Bose NCH700

Summary

  • Product Name: Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
  • Manufacturer: Bose
  • Review Date: August 13, 2019 01:00
  • MSRP: $400
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Buy Now

  • Bluetooth version: Bluetooth 5.0
  • Battery life: Up to 20 hours
  • USB-C connection
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 8” x 6.5” x 2”
  • Weight: 8.96 ounces

Executive Overview

It’s fair to say that Bose created a whole new product category when the company released its original QuietComfort noise-cancelling headphones nearly two decades ago. For several years thereafter, if you wanted a premium set of noise-cancellers and you were willing to shell out a few hundred bucks, there really wasn’t much competition. But much has changed in the headphone landscape since the advent of Beats. An explosion of new products from seasoned headphone makers (such as Sennheiser, AKG, and Beyerdynamic), global electronics giants (such as Sony), and audiophile loudspeaker manufacturers (such as Focal, PSB, Bowers & Wilkins, Klipsch, and KEF) over the last 10 years. In 2019, choices are plentiful for the would-be headphone aficionado looking to acquire a set of luxury noise-cancellers, all of which are wireless these days. Bose’s most recent QuietComfort model, the QuietComfort 35 II, remains a popular choice at $350. But if you’re an audiophile, you might prefer the sound signature of the PSB M4U 8 ($399), which was designed to sound less like a headphone and more like a pair of good speakers in a well-treated room. If you value high build quality and classy good looks, you might instead go for the Bowers & Wilkins PX ($300). And if you want an overall great performer with the latest tech, Sony’s WH-1000XM3 ($350) may be the best of the bunch. With so much competition nipping at the QuietComfort’s heels, it’s no wonder that Bose went back to the drawing board and designed an entirely new model for 2019; the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 ($400). Dropping the QuietComfort name for the first time, Bose is making it clear that these new headphones represent “much more than a product refresh.

In fact, the company calls the NCH700:

"A defining moment in headphone evolution. Smarter and more capable than anything we've ever done before… (the) Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 will become an indispensable tool for surviving our ever-increasingly hypermobile world."

In addition to a new physical design, the NCH700 features a new acoustic design, with new drivers and improved noise cancelling capabilities compared to its predecessor. It also allows the user to choose how much noise to block out or let in, depending on the requirements of the listening environment. Other key improvements include a new touch interface with intuitive gesture-based controls, and an adaptive microphone system that isolates your voice from surrounding noise.

 Bose noise cancelling heapdhones 700 2.jpg

The sleek new design of the NCH700 makes the old QuietComfort 35 II — and many of its rivals — look like outdated relics from another era. While both the QuietComfort and the Sony WH-1000XM3 have chunky plastic headbands, the NCH700’s headband is constructed from a single, seamless piece of curved stainless steel. The lack of a hinge means that the NCH700 doesn’t fold into a compact shape, but having fewer moving parts allows for a more robust design. Of course, for headphones, design isn’t just about looks; comfort is equally important. Bose claims that the NCH700 is “an indispensable accessory you can comfortably wear all throughout the day,” like a pair of eyeglasses. Available in either silver or black, the NCH700 is the first headphone from Bose to be equipped with touch controls, accessed by gesturing on the touch pad built into the side of the right ear cup. Alternatively, the user can deliver voice commands to Google Assistant, Siri, or Alexa. The headphone incorporates a total of 8 microphones, which are used in different combinations for different tasks. When the user is speaking to a voice assistant or making a phone call, a 4-microphone array is in use. Two dedicated beam-forming mics pick up only your voice, largely ignoring background noise. Meanwhile another pair of mics is employed by the noise-cancelling circuit to examine background noise in real time, in order to eliminate it on the fly. Bose says that this system adapts better to windy and noisy environments than that of any competitor.

"You could take a business call from a crowded food court and your voice would be isolated so well from the background chaos that the person you’re talking to might think you were in your office. Your voice sounds clear to your voice assistant, too, so your commands are captured with unprecedented accuracy. If you were to dictate a text message from a crowded train, the microphone won’t be confused by other conversations — even when they happen right next to you."

- Bose

Since Bose created the first consumer headphone product with noise cancellation, the company name has been synonymous with that technology, and the ability to enjoy audio content in noisy environments like airplanes and subways. With the new Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, Bose is raising the bar by adding a customizable noise-cancelling system with 11 different adjustment levels, enabling the user to fine-tune the level of outside noise that is allowed to pass through. Six microphones are used in conjunction with a next-gen noise-cancelling circuit to create this personalized listening environment, which the user can adjust via a companion app for mobile devices. Here’s how Bose explains this new technology: 

"If you’re trying to focus in a busy café, you can maximize the noise cancelling to eliminate distractions. For times when you’d feel more comfortable hearing the world around you, like if you were walking down a congested city street, you can minimize the noise cancelling so you can hear everything that’s going on around you. And for all the times where you’d prefer something between these two extremes, there are nine other levels to choose from. For quick interruptions, press a button for Conversation Mode to pause the music and let surrounding noise in — perfect to quickly place a coffee order or chat with a coworker.”

The last big selling point for the NCH700 is support for Bose AR, a “first-of-its-kind audio augmented reality platform” that Bose hopes will inspire a whole ecosystem of apps — from games, to navigation systems, to educational tools. The goal is to keep you connected to your smartphone and its digital world of information without having your eyes glued to a screen. In order to accomplish this, Bose AR augments reality with audio content instead of video content, so you can “stay engaged in the physical world.” This unique system uses motion sensors embedded inside the headphones, which can detect head orientation and body movement. Bose AR apps can then use the data from these sensors, along with location information from your mobile device, to provide “audio content tailored to where you are and what you’re doing.” Bose believes that this new platform has the potential to change the way we interact with our mobile devices during all kinds of activities, including travel, exercise, gaming, and education.

Gotta Have It Audioholics Recommendation?

You betcha! With all of this technology under the hood, it would seem that Bose has unleashed an all-out attack on the state of the noisNCH700 Bose.jpge-cancelling headphone industry with its new NCH700. But even though the product is now available for purchase, it’s still a work in progress. Much like a mobile device with a constantly evolving operating system, the NCH700 will receive over-the-air updates that will enable new features and capabilities for the headphones moving forward. Bose has already announced 3 such features, which are expected to arrive before the end of 2019. The first of these is called Dynamic Awareness, a feature that adjusts noise cancelling levels automatically, in order to compensate for sudden loud noises, such as a passing bus. The second is Bose’s Noise Masking system, a technology which first appeared on the company’s tiny Sleepbuds. Noise masking adds a layer of soothing sound — specially designed white noise sounds such as rainfall or ocean waves — to help mask the audio frequencies of human conversation, which are difficult to eliminate completely via noise cancellation. Finally, the NCH700 will be receiving Bose Selectable EQ, which will allow the user to fine-tune the headphone’s frequency response to suit personal taste.

Will this focus on technological innovation with the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 make Bose the undisputed champion of noise-cancelling headphones once again? Share your thoughts in the related forum thread below. 

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About the author:

Jacob is a music-lover and audiophile who enjoys convincing his friends to buy audio gear that they can't afford. He's also a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles.

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Recent Forum Posts:

killdozzer posts on August 14, 2019 10:13
highfigh, post: 1332577, member: 36433
I used to think that audio systems should be tailored to the owner's hearing, but then came to the conclusion that everyone else would hate the sound. I think we all have read or heard someone say that a particular speaker was the best thing they have ever heard and we wondered if that person actually had ears. The signature of one speaker isn't going to make everyone happy, which is the reason we have so many speakers.
My point being that I don,'t see a company that goes for the sound signature and is open about it as dishonest. They could have my money if I like what they're selling. As long as everything is fair and to the power of 2.
highfigh posts on August 14, 2019 08:01
killdozzer, post: 1332353, member: 68331
True! I wanted to say that I would find false claims more of a deterrent than just saying one should go for a certain sound signature.

I used to think that audio systems should be tailored to the owner's hearing, but then came to the conclusion that everyone else would hate the sound. I think we all have read or heard someone say that a particular speaker was the best thing they have ever heard and we wondered if that person actually had ears. The signature of one speaker isn't going to make everyone happy, which is the reason we have so many speakers.
Alex2507 posts on August 13, 2019 19:34
KEW, post: 1332463, member: 41838
I have a pair of the Bose QC25's.
They are a good sounding set of headphones!
I do like my Sennheisers much better for SQ, but when you factor in the Noise cancelling technology, I haven't heard a better all-around solution for long flights (the steady drone of the engines can fatigue me or give me a headache on transcontinental flights). I expect eventually Bose will lose their lead in NC tech, but I'm not sure it has happened yet!
It is something we take for granted now, but for those of us who remember travelling many hours in a car with the windows rolled down in the summer, it is significant how much more refreshed we arrive at our destination now that auto AC is a given! Some of that is having a truly cooled car, but a lot of it is the fatigue from wind noise/buffeting (although the old vent windows did wonders to reduce buffeting)!
So if this new headphone betters the performance of their current models, I expect it is a very good product!

I'm gonna report this as a hijacked account.

Let Kurt go unharmed and we won't call the police.
KEW posts on August 13, 2019 16:45
I have a pair of the Bose QC25's.
They are a good sounding set of headphones!
I do like my Sennheisers much better for SQ, but when you factor in the Noise cancelling technology, I haven't heard a better all-around solution for long flights (the steady drone of the engines can fatigue me or give me a headache on transcontinental flights; jet-lag is worse). I expect eventually Bose will lose their lead in NC tech, but I'm not sure it has happened yet!
It is something we take for granted now, but for those of us who remember travelling many hours in a car with the windows rolled down in the summer, it is significant how much more refreshed we arrive at our destination now that auto AC is a given! Some of that is having a truly cooled car, but a lot of it is the fatigue from wind noise/buffeting (although the old vent windows did wonders to reduce buffeting)!
So if this new headphone betters the performance of their current models, I expect it is a very good product!
lovinthehd posts on August 13, 2019 15:59
Check out # 15 https://www.bose.com/en_us/legal/terms_of_sale.html

If anything Bose does seem to make a nice noise cancelling headphone. If I were flying commercially it might be something I'd consider, but I don't and don't need headphones otherwise, especially any I'm going to talk to
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