Although Bose has long been one of the most well-known brands for noise-canceling headphones. Enter the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset, which is essentially the 2017 version of the company’s QuietComfort 35 II headphones packaged with a convenient desktop USB sound card with a volume control and a boom microphone.
The QC 35 II headset from Bose is outdated, and the company is charging $329 for it, which may sound excessive, but the headphones still have some of the greatest active noise cancellation (ANC) technology available. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset is an Editors’ Choice winner because it is a great gaming headset and a still fantastic pair of wireless noise-canceling headphones.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II With Gaming Accessories
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset has the same same design and parts as the non-gaming model we evaluated four years ago. By no means does this suggest that the current model looks or feels antiquated; Bose headphones are known for their durability. The QC 35 IIs maintain their excellent craftsmanship and modest aesthetic from when they first debuted.
Except for the rose gold Bose insignia on the earcups’ backs and the inside fabric strips in a complementary hue, the headphones are entirely black. The faux-leather-wrapped memory foam over-ear earpads are warm and cosy around the ears. The top of the headband is likewise covered in imitation leather, while the bottom is lined with cushioned fabric. To store in the hard-shell zip-up carrying bag that is supplied, the earcups fold inward on hinges.
All of the QC 35 II’s controls and connections are located along the sides and bottom edges of each earcup, with the exception of a button for turning on and pairing the headset on the rear panel of the right earcup. Along with a 2.5mm connector for the gaming headset wire or the independent audio cable, the left earcup has a multipurpose action button that can be configured to activate your phone’s voice assistant or switch between noise cancelling settings (without the boom mic).
There are three buttons on the right earcup: a volume up button, a volume down button, and a playback control button (press once to play or pause, press twice to skip forward, or press three times to skip back). On the right earcup are also Bluetooth and battery indication LEDs, as well as a micro-USB connection for charging. Again, they are the same same wireless headphones as the QuietComfort 35 II, so a USB-C connector for charging would have been preferable (it’s becoming more prevalent in wireless headphones and is easier to plug in than micro-USB).
The attachments make the QuietComfort 35 II game headset a gaming headset. The boom microphone’s audio wire comes first. The 2.5mm aux port is connected to the 40-inch wire, which is firmly clipped onto the bottom edge of the left earcup and used to hold the boom mic in place.
The microphone is a tiny, black plastic capsule with a rose-gold-colored rear panel positioned on a flexible black arm, and it faces forward like a conventional gaming headset mic. Further down the cable, which ends with a 3.5mm socket, is a remote module with a sizable, sliding mute switch.
The QuietComfort 35 II gaming headset also includes a PC control module, which functions as a USB sound card and DAC with a large volume wheel that sits on your desk in addition to the cord with the boom mic.
This enormous, black puck-shaped gadget has a noticeable dial on top, a rubber foot on the bottom, a 3.5mm connector that can be used with any headphones or headset, and a mic monitoring button on the sides that may be used to control how much mic audio is transmitted over the headphones. The puck has an eight-foot cord that finishes in a USB-A socket.
The headset comes with the same accessories as the QuietComfort 35 II headphones, excluding the two gaming-specific components. These include the aforementioned carrying case, a 47-inch aux 2.5mm-to-3.5mm cable (without a boom mic), and a foot-long micro-USB cable.
The carrying case is practical for transporting the headphones as well as the aux and charging cables, however it is obvious that it was made exclusively for the QuietComfort 35 II’s non-gaming model. The boom mic’s rigid clip can be forced into the container, but it fits tightly. Of course, the PC controller won’t fit.
You may adjust between high and low noise cancellation modes (or turn the noise cancellation off) and set the action button on the left earcup’s function using the Bose Connect app. For shared listening, it can also connect two QuietComfort 35 II headphones.
Even if you configure the action button to choose between the ANC types, the app is largely useless other from the firmware update feature. The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 offer adjustable noise cancellation, however the app lacks an EQ and only has two noise cancellation levels.
Wireless for Music, Wired for Gaming
Both wired and Bluetooth headphones may be used with the QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset. Any phone, tablet, or computer that supports wireless technology can connect through Bluetooth, however using the headphones wirelessly restricts your voice communication to the inferior built-in microphones rather than the superior boom mic, making your voice seem further away and less clear.
For this mode, you’ll also need to rely on the headset’s built-in battery, which Bose claims may last up to 20 hours before needing to be recharged (though activating ANC will shorten that time). This is a decent amount of time for Bluetooth headphones. AAC and SBC codecs are supported by the Bluetooth connection.
The wired connection connects to any phone, tablet, computer, or gaming console with a 3.5mm headphone or headset port and uses the boom mic (unless you use the ordinary aux cable, which lacks a mic). In this setting, the headset operates entirely passively, so you don’t need to worry about keeping it charged.
Additionally, noise cancellation won’t work if the headset is off. You may take use of the wired audio connection and noise reduction by turning on the headset while connected through the boom mic cable. According to Bose, the headset’s battery can operate in this wired mode for up to 40 hours.
The New Microphone Impresses
The boom mic is great and consistent with the other high-quality parts of the headphones. The microphone picked up my speech clearly and cleanly during test recordings; there was no fuzziness or background noise from my laptop fan. This is a fantastic headset for voice chat, video calls, and even streaming and recording (though if you’re serious about creating content, we still advise having a separate USB microphone).
ANC and Audio: Same Great Quality
The performance of the QuietComfort 35 II headphones belies their age, which is many years old. The majority of outside noise, including the roar of trains and planes, may be readily muffled by Bose’s ANC technology, which is still among the finest. You will receive the same audio profile whether the noise cancelling technology is on or off because it has no effect on the headphones’ sound characteristic.
Both the Sony WH-1000XM4 and the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are somewhat more effective at blocking out noise, but they are also more costly and don’t include a boom mic for usage when gaming. However, the QuietComfort 35 IIs outperform most other noise-cancelling headphones on the market thanks to Bose’s five-year-old ANC technology.
The QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset has a great sound quality. With a substantial amount of low frequency response, it faithfully reproduces the kick drum impacts and bass synth notes of our test track for bass, The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” creating audible force and remaining distortion-free even at maximum (and dangerous) volume.
When the song truly begins, the bassline, percussion, guitar strums, and vocals all maintain clarity and presence in the mix. The initial acoustic guitar plucks in Yes’ “Roundabout” receive lots of resonance and string texture.
With the QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset, don’t anticipate any significant tricks right out of the box. Remember that the headset is only a pair of QuietComfort 35 II headphones that have been converted to a gaming headset by adding a clip-on boom mic cord and a PC controller.
If you wish to imitate surround sound in any way, you’ll need to use software-based processing on your PC or preferred gaming system, such as Windows Sonic on Windows 10 and Xbox or Sony’s powerful spatial audio processing on the PlayStation 5. On Xbox or Windows 10, Dolby Atmos or DTS Headphone:X, as well as THX Spatial Audio, are additional possibilities if you don’t mind paying extra (for Windows 10 only). Bose need to include a licence for one of those top-notch gaming surround processing systems in the purchase of the headset.
Unsurprisingly, the QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset has superb sound quality as a stereo headset. Amid Fortnite, the sounds of footfall and gunfire are loud and clear, allowing me to distinguish between different guns in the din of combat.
Obviously, a stereo setup only offers average directionality, but the blast clarity is still outstanding and enjoyable to listen to. When I used the headset during a game with DTS Headphone: X enabled, the audio processing did help me to better understand the approximate direction that bullets were coming from. Again, the headset does not come with this software.
Using the QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset, the recently released Quake remaster also sounds rich and detailed, or at least as full and detailed as sound effects from decades ago can. On the headset, shotguns, railgun sprays, and monster growls can all be clearly heard.
On the headset, the game’s iconic Trent Reznor soundtrack sounds fantastic and perfectly captures the gritty, industrial atmosphere of the mid-1990s.
Accessories Make Great Headphones Better for Gamers
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset’s exceptional sound quality wouldn’t be enough to justify its $330 price tag if it were merely a wired headset. The headset is one of the better options available because it also doubles as a great pair of noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones and adds really high-quality accessories.
In fact, the QC 35 II stands up so well in non-gaming applications that it still has a $300 suggested retail price. This is still a fantastic bundle that takes an excellent pair of headphones and adds practical gaming capabilities for a small premium. It would have been lovely to have a spatial audio licence with the headset or a slightly modified casing that better accommodates the boom microphone cord. The overall value of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset qualifies it as an Editors’ Choice.
One of our favourite wired headsets is the $99.99 Razer Blackshark V2 if all you’re looking for is a top-notch gaming headset and you don’t care much about noise cancellation or Bluetooth compatibility. With the exception of Xbox consoles (you can still use a cable with those) and iPhones, the fantastic $99.99 Razer Barracuda X supports USB-C-based wireless communication.
On the other hand, if you solely want noise-cancelling headphones, our favourites are the $349 Sony WH-1000XM4 and the $379 Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 because they have even greater ANC technology than the QuietComfort 35 II. Both the $269 Marshall Mid ANC and the $199 Sennheiser HD 450BT, another Editors’ Choice selection, provide effective noise cancelling at a lesser cost, though neither is as excellent as Bose or Sony.
A QC 35 II transformed into a gaming headset, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset is exactly what it sounds like. This top-notch set of noise-canceling headphones now comes with a convenient boom mic and a desktop volume control.