Best Equalizer Settings for Bose QC35 & QC45 Headphones

Do you find the sound coming from your Bose QC45 or Bose QC35 too muddy, uninspiring, or just plain flat?

The good news is that Bose launched a firmware update that allows Q45 and QC35 users to customize their equalizer settings. The adjustable EQ can make everything sound nicer, regardless of whether you’re listening to music, a podcast, or watching streaming videos.

A well-adjusted equalizer can make a whole world of difference, especially for the Bose Q45. To help you get there, we’ll discuss several equalizer settings that are considered the “best.”

Best Equalizer Settings for Bose QC45

Before we begin, let’s lay down a universal truth in the world of headphones – there is not one equalizer setting that’s perfect for everyone. Our ears and how we perceive trebles, mids, and bass are different, as are our preferences and sensitivity to these acoustic factors.

That said, there exists a few EQ settings that bring out the best in the QC45 and compensate for its shortcomings, namely the dominating presence of the treble and underpowered bass. The default settings mainly work well for audiobooks and podcasts, but you’ll want to make some adjustments for your other content.

How Can I Make My Bose QC45 Sound Better?

The easiest way to make your Bose QC45 headphones sound better is to change the equalizer settings.

Bose released a firmware update in February last year, finally adding the ability to adjust EQ in its Bose app. Users can download both the firmware update and the Bose app, then head over to the app’s Settings to change it to their liking.

Upon opening the EQ settings, there are only three slider bars you can change – Bass, Mid, and Treble. At the bottom are pre-set equalizer options with helpful labels. You can eliminate the guesswork and press ‘Bass Boost’, for example, to get an instant improvement on the bass side.

Here’s a Pro Tip – Turn Off Your Device or App’s Internal EQ

Two different equalizers enabled simultaneously can cause havoc on your audio. As you might know, streaming music apps and devices have their own EQ settings.

To make your Bose QC45 sound better, it’s best to set the music app and device’s equalizers to ‘off’ or flat, and disable any sound enhancements or playback features in the process. You’ll usually find them in the device’s audio settings or the app’s settings.

After disabling EQ on the app and device, you can now concentrate on adjusting your QC45’s equalizers and have the content sound a lot better than before. As always, you can fiddle with the settings and change them when you’re listening to bass-heavy music or when you want to hear a conversation clearly.

Bose QC45 Equalizer Settings You Should Try

All-Around Listening: +6, +7, +4

Going for +6 bass, +7 mid, and +4 treble may sound a bit too much, but you’ll be surprised at how much lift you’ll be getting with this setting.

Having all of them above the zero mark doesn’t affect clarity, but rather enriches the sound. If you find the treble too sharp and pronounced, you can lower it to just +3 or +2. However, you might find yourself missing necessary notes and find the music mixed too much together.

Neutral and Pronounced Treble: -1, 0, -2 or +3, +2, 0

If you’re more into the ‘everything sounds nice’ group then you can change your QC45’s EQ to either -1, 0, -2, or +3, +2, 0. This is for Bose headphone users who don’t want to change their EQ settings too often but still get decent-quality sound regardless of content.

Again, feel free to experiment with a plus or minus one to see which setting fits you best. The good news is that it’s easy to adjust and there are only three sliders to worry about.

Voice-Centric and Podcast Users: +3, +8, +2

With a podcast or audiobook you’ll want to hear nothing but pure voice, and the +3, +8, +2 works really well to this end. Bass is minimized, and the treble is tamed down. The mid is up front and center, and you just have to adjust the volume to hear more clearly.

This EQ setting also works for audiobooks with sound effects or background music. 

Rock and Metal Music: +3, 0, -2

You probably won’t need too much bass when it comes to appreciating rock or heavy metal music. The more important equalizers are the mid and treble.

The QC45 already has a high treble frequency, which means you can turn it down a notch or two to balance out the mids. It’s worth noting that when listening to punk rock and genres where there’s a lot of instruments you’d be tempted to give the mid EQ a boost, but that will only serve to muddy things further.

That, or you can assume a neutral EQ or perhaps even the pre-set Treble Reducer.

Classical Music +2, 0, -2

Classical music is where the QC45 Bose headphones truly shine. The headphone delivers an excellent experience in representing all the song’s nuances even with the EQ in neutral.

There’s only a few adjustments to be had, notably the boost in bass and the reduction in treble. This way, the cymbals and high notes won’t overpower the ones at lower frequencies. You can use the same EQ settings for orchestral music, as well as pop and acoustic tracks.

Hip Hop and Rap: +5, -1, +4

Hip-hop, rap, and EDM are heavy on the bass, which means you’ll want to push the weak bass drivers of the QC45 several notches to get to that sweet spot.

A +5 or +6 should make thumps more pronounced, while keeping the mid as close to neutral as possible. As far as treble is concerned you won’t hear much of them, so keeping the knob at +4 or +3 should be enough to make its fleeting presence felt.

Watching Videos and Streaming Content: +6, +7, +4

We chose the same EQ adjustments as the ‘all around’ category since every show or movie will have a different audio feel. Action movies will be full of fast-rhythm rock and roll, while horror films have that deep bass and treble for jump-scares, slow rumbles, and heartbeats.

By going above the neutral knobs you can have a richer audio experience. 

Best Equalizer Settings for Bose QC35

The Bose QuietComfort 35 is the predecessor to the QC45, with both having nearly the same style and build. The QC35 version 2 was released in October 2017, while the QC45 launched in September 2021.

Another thing worth noting is that the app has changed for the QC45. The Bose Music app is the default app for the QuietComfort 45, while the QC35 is stuck with the Bose Connect app. Also, the QC35 does not support a native equalizer adjustment option, which is something that the QC45 had via firmware update.

Simply put, if you want to tinker with the QC35 headphone’s equalizer settings you will have to download a third-party app, through your device, or in the streaming music or playback software.

The good news is that the default equalizer and frequencies is good enough for most music genres, including pop, rock, classical, and more. Granted, you may want to bump the knob a touch higher for EDM and hip-hop tracks. But for other purposes, such as listening to podcasts or watching content on YouTube or Netflix, the neutral setting should be just fine.

Fixing Muddy Music or Audio on the QuietComfort 35 II

There are several culprits to muddy mixes and blurred mids and trebles. These include having both a device and app equalizer turned on simultaneously, or else sound enhancements playing havoc with your tunes.

Device and App Equalizer Turned On

The device you’re using with the QC35, e.g., a computer or smartphone will have its own sound settings, which may include an equalizer. On the same note, you could be playing music from Spotify or Apple Music, which has its own settings.

Most sound issues stem from clashing audio settings, so the best you can do is disable at least one of them. This can either mean diving into the app or software’s settings or your smartphone’s Bluetooth or sound settings.

Sound Enhancements on Device On

Modern devices will have built-in equalizers and sound enhancements that are similar to smart TVs. If you find yourself wondering where the audio distortion is coming from, then we’d suggest you take a closer look at the sound options and you’ll probably find the culprit there.

Dolby Atmos, volume booster, and amplify are just some of the audio enhancements you might find in your device. To turn them off, just toggle the button beside them or switch to ‘off’.

Reset to Default (Both Streaming App and Device)

A quicker fix is to just set everything to default or press the reset button. This can be found on both the streaming app and the device you’re using the QC35 headphones with.

We recommend you try to listen to the music again to hear the difference. If it’s all good but you still want to boost the treble or bass, for instance, then you can make small equalizer adjustments on the app or device.

Bose QC35 Equalizer Settings You Should Try

All-Around Listening – Default

The Bose QC35’s default sound settings are good enough on its own. It’s well-balanced and covers a wide spectrum of genres, from rock to ballads, classical and others.

Classical, Pop, and Podcasts – Higher Mid

Bose had made the QuietComfort 35 II sound loud and clear on voice-heavy content, so you can just slip the headphones on your ears and listen away to audiobooks and podcasts.

Classical and orchestral music are faithfully reproduced, as are pop music. However, you can still make fine adjustments depending on the song or your particular niche, notably the bass side of things.

EDM, Rap, and Hip-Hop – Adjust the Bass

Though it doesn’t have native EQ setting support you can still look at your device’s sound settings or within the streaming app to amplify the bass.

Simply switching ‘bass enhancement’ on (if there’s any) should do the trick. Otherwise, you can fiddle around and move the bass knob a point or two.

Watching Video and Streaming Content – Higher Mid

Films and TV shows are heavy on the conversation, and you’ll want to make sure that you’re kept in the loop from start to finish.

So, using a third-party equalizer from your device should achieve this end quite nicely.

Best Equalizer Settings for QC45 and QC35 – Final Thoughts

The EQ adjustment for the Bose QuietComfort 45 and QuietComfort 35 II are recommendations you can follow if you find the music too dull for your taste.

Because no two pairs of ears prefer the same sound settings, you’re always welcome to make fine adjustments to the bass, mid, and treble to suit your audio preferences.