Headphones industry is dominated by a few big names and a handful of smaller names. Out of the big ones in this industry, Bose and Sennheiser are right at the top.
Both these companies specialize in making top-class headphones that provide a fantastic listening experience to users. They also tend to come with advanced features and excellent comfort.
These statements are sure to make you wonder if it holds good for every headphone model from these two companies. Well, that’s exactly what we are going to find out. In fact, we will be comparing Sennheiser PXC 550 with Bose QC35 to see which of the two is better and in what aspects.
Table of Contets
- 1 Sennheiser PXC 550 vs Bose QC35: Pros & Cons and Verdict
- 2 7. Sennheiser PXC 550 vs Bose QC35 – Pros and Cons
- 3 Sennheiser PXC 550 vs Bose QC35 – Final Verdict
Sennheiser PXC 550 vs Bose QC35: Pros & Cons and Verdict
We will be comparing these two headphones across different aspects such as design, comfort, sound quality and more to get an in-depth idea about which headphones are more suited for each aspect.
Sennheiser and Bose have put in considerable effort into the design of these headphones, and this is why both of them look sleek, beautiful and elegant.
Sennheiser has a modern look that is not too flashy, but at the same time, its design helps it to stand out in a crowd. The ear cups are oval and the headband is slightly wide. The ear cups have a swivelling mechanism with firm hinges, so they will never fall off, thereby making it ideal for many activities like lying down or jogging.
The overall build quality of Sennheiser is solid. The headband is reinforced by a wide metal frame while the ear cups are made of a dense plastic. Both of these materials are durable and can withstand moderate falls and tumbles.
This pair of headphone comes with a detachable cable that is about four and a half feet long. Other accessories include 1/8″ TRS, 1/16″ TRS, audio cable and a USB charging cable.
Moving on to QC 35, these headphones are all-black in colour and this could have an understated appeal among users. For those who prefer to have a flashy option, there is also a silver grey alternative. The ear cups and headband are similar to its previous model’s ad the look and feel are overall nice. Maybe Bose did not find the need to make significant changes in its design when compared to its previous models, because the users loved them all.
When it comes to accessories, it comes with the same ones as that of Sennheiser.
Both headphones come with a cool carrying case. Bose’s case is smaller and has a better design. Also, you can fold your Bose headphones and fit them easily into this case. The carrying case of Sennheiser doesn’t look as strong and well-built as that of Bose. Also, they have zippers that tend to get pushed on the hinges and is hard to find at times. To top it all, Sennheiser headphones have to be folded in a certain weird way, so we had to check the manual for the first few times till we got familiar with it.
The carrying case of Bose is compact and at the same time, large enough to fit the headphones. They are made of a sturdy material that will give good protection even against hard falls. It doesn’t add much bulk either and overall makes it easily portable.
Overall, the design of both the headphones is great, so it is more of a personal choice as to which design you prefer.
Bose QC 35s are made for those with larger heads while PXC 550 gives a good fit for those with small heads. The latter is also ideal for those who wear their headphones while lying down or lifting weights.
That said, the padding used is top notch. Sennheiser’s padding material on both the headbands and ear cups makes it comfortable to wear. Also, the headband has a low profile, which means, it will not stick out above your head.
The ear cups of Sennheiser are large enough to fit any ears and the padding helps to give a stable fit. The headband is also well-cushioned, so your head does not feel the strain of headband. But when you wear it for a long period of time, it feels a bit tight and this could be a spot of bother for many people.
One drawback is that the headband is not adjustable enough to fit heads of all sizes and this could come as a bummer to someone who has a large head and wants to use these headphones.
When it comes to breathability, Sennheiser headphones score average. They definitely have a breathable design despite being a closed back over-ear headphones. Yet, they obstruct air flow considerably and this doesn’t make them ideal for intense workout sessions. The good part though is that the design keeps the outer ear cooler.
Moving on to the carrying case, it is a decent-sized one. But definitely it cannot protect your headphones from hard falls, so this is something to keep in mind. Also, they are not so convenient to move around because the large ear cups fold well, but don’t fit neatly into the frame. So, carrying them around in your bag is not the best idea. You are better off putting it in the carrying case that comes with it.
Bose QC 35 is one of the most comfortable headphones available in the market today. They do not feel too tight on your head and yet give a good and stable fit. The padding on ear cups and headband make them comfortable to wear for any period of time. Also, they are lightweight and highly portable.
These headphones too are not great when it comes to breathability. They sit tightly over your ears and can make you feel sweaty after an intense workout session. The airflow is highly restricted and in this area, scores lower than Sennheiser as the design of the latter at least keeps the outer ears cool. With Bose, you’re sure to have breathability issues, as your ears will start feeling warm soon.
In terms of operations, there is a world of difference between the two headphones. Bose headphones rely on pressing small buttons to change tracks, adjust volume levels and more while Sennheiser headphones give users the choice to do different types of finger swipes to perform different operations. Personally, the press option works better because there is always a chance to accidentally swipe and make changes, without ever intending to.
When it comes to overall comfort, Bose scores better than Sennheiser, especially because it can fit into any head and the operations are easier.
3. Sound Quality
Sound quality is an important aspect for headphones, so we’ll go really deep into the differences and similarities in terms of their sound output.
To start with, both the headphones are awesome when it comes to sound quality, and this is exactly what you would expect from both Bose and Sennheiser. That said, there are some variations too.
Sennheiser’s sound quality is good, but it seems to falter a bit in the mid-range and upper mid-range tones. This makes vocals and vocals-like instruments not so clear. One track that we found particularly abnormal in Sennheiser is Jaan Arden’s Sleepless. The voice sounded congested and it looked like she was suffering from a cold while singing this track, which is obviously not true! That was just to give you an example of how some vocal tracks could sound on Sennheiser, and this is partly due to the physical shape of their ear cups.
Bose, on the other hand, is heavy in bass, so much that some tracks sound digitally enhanced to sound better. This is definitely a good thing because these headphones are designed to make listening to a fun experience. Of course, if you are looking for a pair of headphones for analyzing and to do a critical review of different tracks, then both these headphones are not meant for you.
When you compare both the headphones while listening to bass-heavy tracks, you’ll notice that they are more or less the same. Sometimes, Bose feels better while at others Sennheiser feels better. Generally speaking, Bose seems to have a stronger and smoother bass sound, though this effect is not very pronounced. This stronger touch also felt artificial at times, but in a few situations, it really enhanced the listening experience.
Sennheiser’s bass is more balanced and doesn’t give out that strong tone at all. This felt like it lacked a little bit of presence. Across many tracks, what we found is that Sennheiser has chosen balance over presence when it comes to its bass output.
We listened to different tracks with these two headphones and found that Bose offered a superior performance across all genres and tracks. Its upper registry tones were clear and crisp and more detailed when compared to Sennheiser. In fact, Sennheiser muddled some of the tones and instruments that it changed the whole effect of the track.
For example, Renato Braz and Paul Winter’s Anabela sounded excellent on Bose. The sax effect was natural and neutral while Renato’s voice came out sounding clear. The soundstage was great too while the bass simply blew us away. With Sennheiser, there were a lot of resonances and also, we could discern a hazy note to the bass.
In many of the other tracks too, Bose seems to score better when it comes to sound output and rendition when compared to Sennheiser.
When it comes to connecting through your Bluetooth, the device to which you connect has a bearing on the performance of your headphones. If you use iPhone, Bose headphones sound better because they are compatible with the AAC sound compression that iPhone offers. On the other hand, if you connect PXC 550 to an iPhone, it may not produce the same level of output because these headphones are compatible with the higher-quality AAC compression. Rather, they use the SBC codec, which is of a slightly lower quality. You may not find a perceptible difference right away when you use either of these headphones with iPhone, but the difference does exist.
Is it the same for Android devices too? No. PXC 550 sounds better with Android devices because they are compatible with the aptX codec system supported by Android smartphones. Bose QC 35 is good too, but PXC 550 definitely sounds better on Android phones.
When it comes to phone calls, both headphones are equally good, especially when you want to talk in a noisy environment. With this feature, Bose and Sennheiser have really elevated the bar when it comes to taking calls with Bluetooth headphones.
Which of the headphones are better in sound quality? The winner is hands down Bose because it definitely has a better sound output and doesn’t muddle parts of the track at any time. It is clear, clean and detailed. Though Bose could have eliminated the additional sound processing it does to make the tracks sound better, but that is nevertheless not an issue for those who listen to music for fun without having to bother about the critical aspects.
Overall, Bose is the better one.
|PXC 550||QuietComfort 35|
4. Noise Cancellation
No discussion of Bose headphones is complete without talking about its noise cancellation feature.
As with all other headphones in the QC series, QC 35 has great noise cancellation technology. When you put on these headphones, you will not hear anything outside, so it is just you and your music until you take them off your ears.
While this aspect is good in some ways, it can also be a scary feature to have sometimes. Imagine you are walking on the road with your Bose headphones on. There is always a possibility for you to get hit by a car because you won’t be able to hear the honking sound. This is why such excellent noise cancelling is not always good, especially if you plan to use it outdoors.
Now, if you put on your headphones in a quiet room, the feeling is different. Sennheiser headphones feel like a pair of echo chambers as you can hear your own breathing. It almost gives the same sound that you get when you put an empty shell to your ears to hear the ocean. But with Bose, there was absolute silence and no outside noise was heard at all.
On the other hand, the PXC 550 is more balanced. It is nowhere as good as Bose but comes with different settings that allow you to adjust the intensity of noise reduction. This way, you can wear it outdoors and can still hear the noise of the car coming near you.
Which of these two do you think is better? We would go with PXC 550 because we like to have a private listening experience, but at the same time, would like to tune ourselves out at times. More so, when outdoors. But if you prefer to have the best noise cancelling headphones, Bose is your choice.
Verdict? Bose is definitely the better headphone when it comes to noise cancellation. But depending on how and where you want to use it, you can decide if you need such high noise cancelling headphones.
The battery life in both headphones is fantastic. They are rechargeable and have a long life.
One distinction between the two is that Bose displays the battery level percentage when you turn it on while Sennheiser doesn’t do, so it is hard to know the battery level. In fact, this could be a little bit of a problem too, especially if you are planning to take your headphones elsewhere, say the gym, and you don’t know how long it will last. This is a simple display that Sennheiser could have included in the headphones.
Another difference is that when the battery levels are low, Sennheiser headphones have a voice prompt that interrupts while listening. This feature is a little annoying at times. While the warning is good, Sennheiser should have stopped with just one single warning instead of sending the warning at frequent intervals.
To save battery, you have the option to turn the switch on or off in Bose whereas, in Sennheiser, it automatically turns on or off when you rotate the ear cups.
So, which of the two wins in battery life? Bose again, not for the length of battery, as this is more or less the same in both the headphones. Bose wins because it displays the battery level so you can always stay on top of it and also because there is no annoying warning that disrupts your listening experience.
Sennheiser PXC 550 costs a little more than Bose QC 35. In terms of cost, there is just a small difference, so is this extra money worth the features offer by PXC 550?
Not at all. Bose scores better in every aspect and does a fantastic job when it comes to sound quality and noise cancellation. PXC 550 doesn’t justify the extra price at all, as there is nothing that it offers better than Bose.
So, the verdict? Bose gives the right bang for your money, so go for it.
7. Sennheiser PXC 550 vs Bose QC35 – Pros and Cons
Here is a quick comparison of the pros and cons of each of the headphones to give you an idea of which one is better suited for you.
Sennheiser PXC 550 Pros
Sennheiser PXC 550 comes with the following pros:
- Good sound quality when compared to many other models.
- Stable fit and this makes it ideal to use in any position.
- Good battery life.
- Swipe controls.
- Balanced sound.
Sennheiser PXC 550 Cons
Sennheiser PXC 550 comes with some shortcomings too, and they are:
- Sound quality could have been better.
- Noise cancellation is mediocre.
- Tends to leak sound at high volumes.
- No display to show the battery levels.
- Vocals in some tracks sound muddled.
Bose QC 35 Pros
The pros of Bose QC 35 are as follows.
- Top-notch sound quality.
- Study and well-built.
- Good fit.
- Feels comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
- Battery life display.
- Good bass output.
- Great battery life.
- Reasonably priced.
- Bluetooth works well.
Bose QC 35 Cons
The drawbacks of Bose QC 35 are:
- High latency.
- Perfect noise isolation is not good always. Should have controls to determine the level of noise cancellation required.
- Unwanted sound processing to enhance the listening experience.
Sennheiser PXC 550 vs Bose QC35 – Final Verdict
We have come to the end of the piece and it is time to decide which of the two is better.
As we have seen in the above discussions, Bose scores better than Sennheiser on many aspects. It feels more comfortable, noise cancellation is better and the sound quality is top notch. Most tracks are clear, detailed and audible and they add to the listening experience of users. The fit is great and feels comfortable, though they could have been a little more breathable. Battery life is superb and we love the display that comes up about the length of available battery life.
When it comes to price too, Bose QC 35 is priced a bit higher than Sennheiser and yet, scores well over the latter. Due to all these reasons, Bose QC 35 is better than Sennheiser PXC 550.
|Headphones||PXC 550||QuietComfort 35|