I hope the ‘leaked’ Bose QuietComfort Ultra launch, but they must remedy one big thing

If one ‘leak’ on the internet is to be believed, it appears that Bose is developing a new flagship noise-cancelling over-ear headphone under its iconic QuietComfort line. The brand eschewed the 23-year-old range in 2019 by launching the annoyingly named Noise Canceling Headphones 700 as a reference over-ear pair, but it looks like the company is poised to get it right with its QC line for its next flagships.

Little is known about this ‘leaked’ Bose QuietComfort Ultra, with the Twitter leaker (opens in new tab)self-admitted that he has “very little information on the product, it appears to be in an early stage of development”. Indeed, this wouldn’t even turn out to be their name (although to give my two penneth, it’s a marked improvement on the 700’s naming format and also a nice alternative to the number one of the QC line). Will they be the successors to the latest QuietComfort 45, or does a discrepancy in numbers and the potency of the noun ‘ultra’ suggest that this could be Bose’s first attempt at producing a more expensive pair, to hit the new market around the £500 / $600 / AU$1000 alongside Apple’s AirPods Max and Bowers & Wilkins’ Px8?

Beat me. But I’ll tell you one thing: whatever their price point or name, Bose’s next flagship over-ears will have to show a serious improvement over their predecessors in terms of sound quality. You might be sitting there thinking “well duh, every pair of headphones should improve performance over the outgoing model”. And usually they do. Look at the Sennheiser Momentums and Sony WH-1000 range – as far as I can remember, generations of those models have notably advanced audio performance, keeping them at the forefront of premium wireless headphones. I know, because I’ve been fortunate enough to listen to (and usually sympathize with) generations over the years. But not Bose’s. At least not for now.

Bose Quiet Comfort Ultra

The supposed first image of Bose’s next pair of noise-cancelling over-ears has appeared in the Twitter wilds, courtesy of user Kuba Wojciechowski @Za_Raczke (opens in new tab) (Image credit: @Za_Raczke)

The Bose QC35 II released in 2017 brought notable sonic changes from the previous QC35, but since then the company has focused more on improving features, making design tweaks and ensuring the noise cancellation is the best on the market. remains – everything it has been very successful at. Audio seems to have taken a backseat, however. Bose admitted that the sound quality of its Noise Canceling Headphones 700 was comparable to that of its QC35 II (which, upon hearing both pairs, me and others in the Which Hi-Fi? reviews the team agreed with), and even the latest QC45 have the same drivers as their predecessors. We’re not saying that sound quality has come to a complete standstill these generations, but hardly any progress has been made in the past six years. And that’s why the last pair of Bose over-ears have gotten four-star rather than five-star reviews; they just haven’t kept up with the sonic progress their peers at Sony and Sennheiser have shown. It was disappointing and frankly quite confusing.

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