back to article Bose shouts down claims that it borked noise cancellation firmware to sell more headphones

Bose has hit back at critics who say that the firm's latest headphone firmware intentionally broke its active noise cancellation feature. The issues began when Bose released version 4.5.2 of the firmware for the Quiet Comfort 35 (QC35) headphone range last June. Users began reporting that headphone's active noise cancelling ( …

  1. low_resolution_foxxes Bronze badge

    Hm, they bought £250 noise cancelling headphones, then replaced the ear cushions? This sounds like a very "marketing exec" thing to do.

    I assume the ear cushions are integral to this feature?

    Is there a hint that Bose may have updated its software to only be compatible with Bose accessories?

    The Bose reaction would suggest not, leaving it in the "unexpected cockup" territory, above the conspiracy level.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Hm, they bought £250 noise cancelling headphones, then replaced the ear cushions? This sounds like a very "marketing exec" thing to do."

      It could depend on the age of the headphones/the life they've had, I guess - on all of my (non-Bose, and not-as-expensive) headphones, the cushions are a consumable part, so if they got used a lot, or befell an accident, then they might have actually needed to be replaced.

      1. EVP Bronze badge

        True, ear cushions and other sound-dampening material wear out. Replacing them regularly is especially important with hearing-protection gear.

        In this case, Bose clearly tries to bullshit their customers and to setup a smokescreen. It is complete BS that worn out cushions would be magically incompatible with the new and assumedly _better_ ANC SW. Even if they were incompatible, that would indicate a failure at their engineering department for not considering worn cushions before rolling out an update.

        Logical conclusion is that they are either liars or incompetent, possibly both. In any case, Bose is now on my do-not-even-consider-bying list for good.

        (I really hope they’ll fix the problem for their existing customers.)

        1. foo_bar_baz

          @EVP

          I don't see where they said the cushions were incompatible with the software.

          The article says they found new cushions were not snapped on properly, or were 3rd party replacements that weren't as good as the originals.

          1. EVP Bronze badge
            Coat

            Re: @EVP

            OK. I got the wrong impression then. What I don’t get is that the problems emerged only when the new software rolled out, or did the users start complaining already before that? The Bose users’ forum would probably provide some answers, but the problem is not really my concern. EOT

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: @EVP

              "OK. I got the wrong impression then. What I don’t get is that the problems emerged only when the new software rolled out, or did the users start complaining already before that?"

              I've heard of audiophiles who can "hear" a change where no change is evident to even the most discerning of listeners. The FW changed, therefore the quality "must" have changed and therefore some audiophiles noticed it all of a sudden.

              This may not apply to all the users, but I'd be prepared to bet real money that this is exactly what happened with some of the complainants.

            2. 9Rune5 Silver badge

              Re: @EVP

              My experience is that it isn't uncommon for users to lodge complaints shortly after an upgrade. Even for issues that are entirely user errors.

              I believe users are more sensitive following an upgrade. Of course, in upgrades past there may have been real issues, so I guess we have done our part in training the users to expect problems.

              1. Cereberus

                Re: @EVP

                All I can say is follow the link:

                https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/07/07/bofh_2017_episode_9/

          2. Wzrd1

            Re: @EVP

            The article says they found new cushions were not snapped on properly, or were 3rd party replacements that weren't as good as the originals.

            The reactions tell me those who have never worked with high noise safety equipment. I'd gladly explain the differences with them in person, but having worked for their peers in the past, the conversation will have to be at a rather high volume level.

            At least 50 db louder, to compensate for my hearing loss, due to such shitheads who think that they know noise suppression and protection better than professionals that work in the field day in and day out.

    2. Mark192 Bronze badge

      The sound deadening is significant even without active noise cancellation on. This is probably due to the ear cushion things conforming closely to the contours of ones head, with no gaps, thanks to the use of a particularly supple covering over the gel-or-memory-foam-like padding (which also likely absorbs a lot of external sound... denser than regular padding).

    3. LosD

      Anyone that has experience with in-ears, also expensive ones, would not blink before buying quality third party foam tips. They are a gazillion times better than anything that comes with the earphones (except many are now shipping Comply tips with their earphones). So buying third party cushions and expecting an improvement is not that far fetched.

      Of course, tips are different since they can fit a large variety of earphones, while cushions has to be made specifically for the earphones, so it's hard to get anything quality from anyone but the original manufacturer.

  2. redpawn Silver badge

    Audiophiles

    can hear the difference between wires of different colour so naturally they will hear the intentional degradation leading up to product replacement. Best let customers downgrade and hype some new feature like LED resonant sound enhancement.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Audiophiles

      LED resonant sound enhancement - where can I get it and will it be compatible with my gold plated digitals connectors - pleeease?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Audiophiles

        "will it be compatible with my gold plated digitals connectors"

        No. You'll need to upgrade all your connectors to graphene plated ones. It's got massively better bass response.

        1. Rol Silver badge

          Re: Audiophiles

          I have 24ct solid gold wiring in mine, and the the improvement in sound quality, every time I've checked the price of gold, has been remarkable.

          1. Eclectic Man

            Re: Audiophiles

            Solid gold cables? Silly boy, you need pure silver* - a better conductor of electricity than gold. Gold is used on contacts as it does not tarnish. When the Manhattan project was designing the centrifuges to separate U235 from U233, they calculated that there was not enough copper in the USA for the electromagnets, so they borrowed silver from the US Treasury (they told them they could have it back after the end of the war).

            (Or, of course you could go for a nice cooled superconductor like those nice people at the LHC have for their magnets.)

            *Yes, you really can buy pure silver Hi-Fi cables, a mere £480 per half metre from http://www.custom-hifi-cables.co.uk/home/mainscables/solid-silver-range/large-solid-silver-cable (No, I don't get commission).

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Audiophiles

      Apparently it's because they are not using magnetically aligned directional silver core charging cables. This creates a misalignment of the electrons within the headphone batteries, therefore reducing the Audiophile Listening Experience.

      The charger is available to buy for £99,999 + £100 delivery.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Audiophiles

        £100 delivery

        You'd be lucky. It requires a team of four delivery men just to ensure that the cable loop is always carried horizontally to avoid inductive interaction with the earth's magnetic field, and the suspension of the delivery vehicle MUST have its dampers tuned to avoid frequencies that will cause a resonance cascade in the cable conductor.

        Not the sort of resonance cascade as encountered in Half Life, obviously. That would be silly...

    3. Smartnic

      Re: Audiophiles

      can hear the difference between wires of different colour“

      Surely you jest. Audiophiles are especially vulnerable to the claims of quacks

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Audiophiles

        "Audiophiles are especially vulnerable to the claims of quacks"

        Is that because they live in echo chambers?

        (sorry if that's a bit obtuse)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Audiophiles

      "the difference between wires of different colour"

      You say this as if it is a joke. However red cables contain a greater amount of iron in the colouring (colour predominately from iron oxide) than black cables. Iron is magnetic so does interfere with the electromagnetically induced resonance generating distortion as the sound travels along the cable. Don't you know anything???

      DISCLAIMER - everything written above is made up.

      1. Mr Sceptical
        Windows

        Re: Audiophiles

        You've totally missed the step of running a rare earth magnet along your optical leads to get the right spin on the quantum* photons or they get stuck in the cable cause they don't know the way out.

        * If it's good enough for Samsung...

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Audiophiles

          I've only got common earth magnets. Will they work too?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Audiophiles

      Do not conflate imagination woth reality. Fairies are fake but duck billed platypus are real.

      While wire colour and other non vital differences are played by scammers and snake oil sales people, software and firmware can be buggy and broken!

    6. all ears

      Re: Audiophiles

      What's with all the scorn for "audiophiles?" My hearing is particularly keen, I spend a lot of money on quality gear because I can hear the difference. I also know the difference between a dB and a doorknob, and don't go for any woo-woo stuff. If you think all audio gear sounds the same, I feel sorry for you.

      1. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: Audiophiles

        Why the scorn?

        I'll leave this here...an updated version.

        https://www.soundguys.com/cable-myths-reviving-the-coathanger-test-23553/

        I agree you can tell the difference between a £50 system and a £500 system. But I bet you can't tell the difference between a £100 CD player and a £1000 one.

        1. Philip Lewis

          Re: Audiophiles

          It was once quipped, that ultimately, a turntable is merely a device for testing wow and flutter. Thus, having tested the available options I went for a Linn Sondek - https://www.linn.co.uk/sources/turntables - and yes, mine is over 40 years old. Amazingly, it still works and sounds great when I play some of my old vinyl. For the interested, it's the legendary Grace 707 coupled with a Dynavector MC cartridge.

          The rest of the kit is getting a little aged now, but then so is my hearing. It's still worth the expense and effort I expended all those years ago.

          I realise techies like to pooh pooh the audiophile world, and there is some cause to be sure. Two generations have grown up thinking MP3-128kb is what music should sound like and who have no idea what it is supposed to (or could) sound like. That is sad ...

      2. C 7

        Re: Audiophiles

        Monster Cables. 'Nuff said.

        In the long-ago times, I worked for a musical instrument retail store, and I repaired a lot of cables for customers, because guitar players are hard on their cables. I once had a Monster instrument cable cross my path; it had fairly poor shielding, and at the cable end it was all bunched together and the signal wire and shield were both very poorly soldered to their respective connectors. It was one of the worst constructed cables I had ever seen. We also sold a couple brands of low-cost instrument cables, for about $10/ea. Those were built more like a user-serviceable F-type connector, with a nice tightly-woven shield folded back over the cable jacket, and the signal wire stripped and inserted into the 1/4" plug. The whole thing was tightened down (and could be tightened by hand), and attached to the cable by compression. They made a nice solid connection, and had no solder joints to break (and a lifetime warranty to boot). I kept the Monster cable under the counter and would show my customers the difference when they came in asking for "better-sounding" cables.

        The problem I saw most frequently was people using a speaker cable (unshielded) in place of an instrument cable; the buzz one can pick up that way is pretty incredible.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Audiophiles

          " I kept the Monster cable under the counter and would show my customers the difference when they came in asking for "better-sounding" cables."

          Back in the day MOST OTC premade instrument cables were rotten. Monster weren't any different.

          Ironically it was "made in Taiwan" cables that showed just how awful the "Quality UK/USA" ones were (am I showing my age?)

          1. C 7

            Re: Audiophiles

            Monster were only different in that they were at least 8-10x the price.

    7. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: Audiophiles

      can hear the difference between wires of different colour so naturally they will hear the intentional degradation leading up to product replacement

      It's an obvious take but surely no self-respecting(!) audiophool would be seen dead slumming it in headphones that cost as little as USD350, nor that come from as mainstream a brand as Bose. That is the territory of the kind of chap with oxygen contaminating his metals.

  3. mj.jam

    Home visits

    I'm impressed they went to the effort of going to people's houses to work out what was wrong. Clearly they still believe in customer service.

    (Not a Bose customer, currently on Sony Headphones)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Home visits

      And ultimately discovered it was all due to PEBKAC.

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Home visits

      Bose sell very expensive things, and have to have good customer service or people wouldn't stick around and keep buying expensive things.

      A while ago we bought some Bose sleep pods for a lot of money (~£250). When they worked, they were exceptional - alas, they rarely worked. We contacted Bose after about a month, and they provided a free return, and refunded us for them. A couple of months after that, they emailed to say that they just couldn't get the tech working on these sleep pods, and anyone who bought them at any point was free to return them for a full refund.

      So - a little annoying that the tech didn't live up to expectations, but pretty amazed at that level of customer support. I bet we've all had tech that has disappointed, but I've rarely encountered a manufacturer that would care (after statutory periods have expired).

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Home visits

        "Bose sell very expensive things, and have to have good customer service or people wouldn't stick around and keep buying expensive things."

        Bose sell mediocre quality equipment for a high price. It's the R&D in psychoacoustics that got them the reputation and the ability to have apparently impossible sound levels or bass quality from tiny enclosures and they've been trading on that ever since.

        Alas - as Boeing found out recently - riding a sales wave of past engineering brilliance can only get you so far.....

        1. AlbertH

          Re: Home visits

          In fact Bose only ever had one slightly good product - the 401 speaker. The rest of their stuff was wildly over-priced garbage, sold to gullible idiots. I'm related to a couple of these gullible fools and got quite sick of being told how wonderful their Bose rubbish was.

          When I moved into my present house, I installed a couple of LS3/5A on brackets on the wall in the Living Room. The gullible Bose buyers were astonished by how good "those little speakers" could sound, and one of them has sought "proper" replacements for their Bose gear.

          In the sound engineering world, Bose always stood for:

          Buy Other Sound Equipment.

  4. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge
    WTF?

    Er ...

    "... Bose said that downgrading firmware can "create unexpected behavior in a product and negatively impact or reduce functionality" ..."

    I would have thought that, unless the update blew firmware fuses or the like, restoring a product's original firmware would return the product to what the customer originally bought.

    The concept that returning the original firmware would reduce the original functionality is puzzling to say the least.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Er ...

      It doesn't say reduce 'original functionality'. This statement is probably true from Bose (hear me out I'm not defending them) as any manufacture would expect newer firmware to fix bugs and/or create new or better functionality. That is usually the point of a software upgrade.

      So the fact that 'downgrading firmware' (doesn't necessarily mean this particular firmware) 'can' (not will) create unexpected .... etc is true of any software/firmware upgrade.

      It's just a marketing statement designed to make it sound like they are saying one thing while actually saying something else and being technically correct but not actually addressing the point.

      1. EVP Bronze badge

        Re: Er ...

        “It's just a marketing statement designed to make it sound like they are saying one thing while actually saying something else and being technically correct but not actually addressing the point.“

        That used to be called ‘lying’.

      2. Annihilator Silver badge

        Re: Er ...

        Also indicates - "we haven't tested the rollback feature as much as we'd like to"

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Er ...

        Upgrading software can create unexpected degradation too. Only we call those "regressions".

    2. Philip Storry

      Re: Er ...

      Let's assume that there's some battery-backed RAM or non-volatile SRAM in the device, and it's used to store settings.

      Now let's assume that the later version of the software has additional functionality that either:

      a) changes the data structure.

      -or-

      b) stores values that are valid for new or improved features, but would be invalid for old firmware.

      When you roll back to a previous firmware, this could cause problems. Well written software will hopefully ignore invalid values and revert to defaults. If data structures are invalid, that may be more serious - it could cause very odd problems.

      This is not an insurmountable problem, and good engineering can help mitigate it. But there's always going to be one smartarse who decides to revert from the very latest firmware for a device to the very first - and if the time period for that covers a couple of years, and several versions, is it really so simple to know that it'll work? Especially if a lot of new features have been added and that storage area now looks quite different...

      Should Bose (or anyone else) really be testing such extreme downgrades? Testing a rollback by one version makes sense, but multiple versions seems harder to justify...

      I doubt they've even bothered doing much testing for reverting firmware. Why should they? It's not a commonly expected user procedure, and the preferred way to fix any issues with a firmware upgrade should be to issue a new version with the fix.

      So this statement seems perfectly reasonable to me, despite its somewhat "blanket legal boilerplate" nature.

      1. Dave K Silver badge

        Re: Er ...

        I agree, but the fact that this new firmware is supposedly being rolled out silently and without choice isn't good. I have a pair of Sony's finest and although the app on my phone nags when new firmware is available, it is entirely up to me whether I install it. Generally I don't bother unless it adds some new functionality that I think may be useful, plus only when the new firmware has been out for a bit without any stories of problems/issues.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Er ...

          If it's rolled out silently and you are using ANC then you wouldn't know (regardless of how bad the cushions were!).

          Now if I could only get these noise cancelling facemasks to work.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Er ...

            "Now if I could only get these noise cancelling facemasks to work."

            They were invented for deaf people.

            1. Martin an gof Silver badge

              Re: Er ...

              They were invented for deaf people.

              You say that in jest, but the hospital where my wife works has mandated face masks for all interactions with the public. Good idea, except where that member of the public relies on lip-reading, or uses lip and face movements to inform poor hearing. Not every deaf person can use BSL...

              M.

        2. Sandtitz Silver badge

          Re: Er ...

          "I agree, but the fact that this new firmware is supposedly being rolled out silently and without choice isn't good."

          I don't know how that's happening since my Bose QC35 can only be updated if you have

          1) installed the update software

          2) have the headphones connected via USB to computer

          3) visit the Bose update page

          The phone app can only change settings, it can't update the firmware.

          FWIW, my Bose QC35 headphones have been updated a couple of times in their life and I have perceived no change in the sound quality or noice cancellation effectiveness.

          1. AlbertH

            Re: Er ...

            Why the hell does something that should be as analogue as "Noise Cancelling Headphones" require firmware anyway? That sounds like ridiculous over-engineering.

  5. Wellyboot Silver badge

    Tust vanishes

    Since they burned most of their customer 'benefit of doubt' last year they've been on the naughty step, now they have to prove they didn't bork it deliberately.

    Bose will just have to get used to this, it's their 'new normal' with 'upgrades'

  6. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    Arseholes! But at least Sony appears to have learnt their lesson (guess which set of pretty comparable headphones I use). I am sure some new manager will drag them back down.......

  7. darkknight

    Well, they've certainly encouraged me to replace my little over 2 year old pair of QC35 II. Not with something made by BOSE of course. €349 for two years of listening?

    It's a pity as the noise cancellation was excellent, but now they disconnect and reconnect every 15 minutes or so. Tech support is literally "Have you tried turning it off and on again" - IE, reset the headphones to factory. Battery life is terrible now, yes, I know batteries degrade over time, but why make it so hard to replace them?

    I also never liked the Android applications insistence that location is on and enabled for it to work.

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      To be fair, that's not Bose's problem.

      Android doesn't allow an app to search for wireless devices without location being on. That's because one commonly used technique involves looking to see the MAC addresses of nearby devices and consulting a database to see where they are. Yes Google, looking at you there - not that you're alone in abusing that, b'stards.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Android doesn't allow an app to search for wireless devices without location being on

        well, my android device (4.2) and another (6, I think) DO allow that, and I'm using my bt headphones with both, without any problems. Is it an "improvement" introduced in later Android builds?

        1. Cuddles Silver badge

          Re: Android doesn't allow an app to search for wireless devices without location being on

          I think it was Android 8 that introduced it.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Android doesn't allow an app to search for wireless devices without location being on

            Ah, so that's why the WiFi analyser app needs location switched on to work now when it never did in the past. My work phone was recently replaced due to certain "required" apps not working on my ancient Galaxy phone.

            1. Martin an gof Silver badge

              Re: Android doesn't allow an app to search for wireless devices without location being on

              Explained here.

              M.

      2. darkknight

        Well, my wifes Plantronics v8200 don't need location on my phone, nor do my kids JVC headphones.

        (Edit) I just checked with my Plantronics v5200 also. The Plantronics Hub doesn't need location services either.

        Maybe Google are leading this location thing, but vendors do seem to be free to not mandate it if they wish.

        1. Immenseness

          It was originally as described further up - you had to allow location permission to look for wifi APs, which seems reasonable to me.

          However, it has been "improved" further in later Android versions by now also requiring that you have to turn on the GPS location services and keep them on in order to do so as well as allowing that permission. Land grab by Google in order to stop users turning off gps so they can't be located as precisely imho, and totally unreasonable, also imho. One explanation here https://www.davx5.com/faq/wifi-ssid-restriction-location-permission

          1. Sven Coenye

            Required for Bluetooth as well

            e.g. a Fitbit or Garmin wristband can no longer sync without location services enabled.

            Android 6 removed access to the real hardware ID unless the ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION or ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION permissions are granted. Anything using the Wifi or BT APIs is hosed.

      3. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Android location sevices

        "Android doesn't allow an app to search for wireless devices without location being on."

        My cheap Android 9 phone quite happily finds wireless devices without location being on.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not with something made by BOSE of course

      well, my trouble is that I dislike bose, and I would like to buy something else, but I did try sony x-whatevers, and bose were, unfortunately, much more comfortable. On top of which, sony put me off with the over-relying settings on the phone app. I expect to be able to adjust the settings of my headphones, on my headphones.

      that said, I still can't justify buying either bose or sonys, I'm pretty happy with my 40quid cheapo tt headphones for air travel (practically vital in this day and age - not ;)

      1. tekHedd

        Any old headphones

        A pair of good earplugs designed for music listening combined with a nice loud set of closed-back headphones works well for occasional air travel. Better, a set of custom mold earplugs is a handy tool for all kinds of loud environments, and doesn't require a battery. Also, great for live concerts (and sometimes movies; look I like it loud but OMGWTF).

        1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

          Re: Any old headphones

          Better, a set of custom mold earplugs ...

          Do you have any suggestions how to find somewhere that can make them ?

          I have a pair of Sure e2c in-ear phones and while really good, the available tips (either the soft rubber ones, or the squishy foam ones) aren't as good as they could be - in terms of comfort and performance over a period of time. I've tried asking around but got no-where. The last time I asked was when having a hearing check - but they only make ear moulds and send them off to the hearing aid manufacturer to make the tips so no help for anything else.

    3. RobThBay

      I bought a pair QC25's years ago when they were clearing them out to make room for the "new & improved" QC35. I'm glad I did, no firmware updates, it uses a normal AAA battery, etc.

      1. ThomH

        Similar experience here; my QC15s are still going strong, though the fake leather on the original pads is starting to flake a little.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      €349 for two years of listening?

      That was my experience, more or less. I was an early adopter with one of their first versions a million years ago. They worked great, for a little less than two years, then basically fell apart. They were not cheap. I'm not saying this was intentional, I'm just saying that their gear is simply not intended to be used any length of time in any case. And I seriously doubt they would intentionally sabotage their own firmware, but why would they put more than the absolute minimum of testing into updating a product released more than 6 months ago. Hey, it's just good business.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I will never buy Bose headphones again

    This is the most hilarious, and oft-repeated mis-claim I hear / see everywhere (applied to ANY product and ANY service). Including on the register forums. Sadly - SADLY - this 1-second outrage is almost never followed by real action. How do I know? Well, because if it were, the "consumer economy" would have been wrecked by now, and it's going strong (never mind the current hiccup about the virus). I really wish people followed those claims though, this is possibly the only way for manufacturers and service providers to take notice and actually DO something.

    1. Graham Cobb

      Re: I will never buy Bose headphones again

      I have not bought a single HP product since 2002 due to them kickstarting the abuse of the DMCA in the SnoSoft case. Bruce Perens may have forgiven them but I did not. I swore I would never buy another HP product and have never done so. I even wrote to Carly Fiorina asking her to put the full weight of HP behind a campaign to repeal the DMCA but she chose not to answer or to act.

      I have not bought any Sony product, of any type, since 2005 due to the Sony rootkit. I took the view that working in the computer business I could not do business with any company which deliberately tried to breach computer security on such a massive scale.

      Yes, in both cases, there have been many products which I would have liked to use but companies must remember that actions have consequences. Of course, they do not owe me anything but neither do I owe them anything. I will not be doing business with either of them. Ever.

    2. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: I will never buy Bose headphones again

      Following through - some people do. For example, we still will not buy Nestlé products after the boycott campaign by Baby Milk Action in the 1990s (at least the 1990s is when we heard about it).

      We avoid most Cadbury products after the takeover by Kraft because of their lies regarding the Keynsham factory, the subsequent move by Mondelez (new name for Kraft food) to manufacture some products in Poland rather than Bournville and their revelations that many products (e.g. Creme Eggs) were being produced with cheaper chocolate, not their iconic Dairy Milk.

      It's a shame, as I quite like Dairy Milk (I prefer others, but DM isn't half bad) and it's horrid seeing the principles on which the company (and similar such as Rowntree) was founded being flouted in the name of profit.

      We even mostly avoid Tesco after my wife (felt she) was laughed at for complaining about poor shelf labelling of a multi-buy promotion which meant she was through the till before realising she'd bought the wrong combination of products - this was on holiday in 2010 IIRC.

      We very nearly found ourselves boycotting Waitrose this week too. Not that we do an awful lot of shopping there anyway, but there's one at a convenient distance from my children's ballet class. Again, the move seemed to go against the firm's founding principles.

      You see - some people can do it. Some campaigns actually make a difference too - the Baby Milk campaign took some time, but has at least raised awareness (and introduced my dad to Fairtrade coffee from several brands, which he actually prefers these days having been an exclusive Nescafé or Gold Blend drinker throughout my childhood). The apartheid boycotts in the 1970s probably had a bearing on the political situation in South Africa.

      But I would never buy a pair of headphones costing that much, from any manufacturer, least of all Bose, having had to work with some of their "professional" kit over the years <shudder>.

      M.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where’s the Epson coverage?

    Meanwhile, Epson has refused to update its software for scanners used with Macs runnIng Catalina, making them essentially useless. No media coverage about that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where’s the Epson coverage?

      Yes, I have two of them lying idle and useless ... I guess there's an old driver that might work, but I haven't got that far yet.

      Pox on them!

  10. mr_souter_Working

    user perception

    I'm sure we have all seen this before - someone touched something, so suddenly they are to blame for all the issues that people think they have, or that they have had for months and not bothered to complain about.

    In this case Bose pushed a firmware update (and that alone would make me not use their headphones, if I could even afford them) - so people took the opportunity to blame that update for problems they've had for a while.

  11. Ciren_Jules

    Never, Ever Buying Bose Again...

    Never, Ever Buying Bose Again...

    Bose customer communication on their Forum around this Issue was simply unacceptable. 100's of Pages in the Thread and all Customers got were platitudes and Corporate BS. People asked great Q's like 'why haven't you pulled 4.5.2 whilst this is resolved?' 'why aren't you allowing folks to downgrade the Firmware 'cos they're claiming 4.5.2 has binned them?'. Bose said nothing, or even worse, removed peoples' Posts (unfairly imo) and blocked people from logging-on to the Forum (to Comment further). People have choice, there's never been better options on where to spend our hard-earned cash. Bose are never going to get another purchase from me.

    1. Spacedinvader
      Joke

      BOSE

      Buy Other Sound Equipment

    2. Is It Me

      Re: Never, Ever Buying Bose Again...

      Is the answer not in the article, that they didn't actually change anything to do with the ANC.

      I have seen this in desktop support, you tell users that you are going to do something and don't do it for some reason. Suddenly they are all logging tickets saying "since the change such and such hasn't worked", even though there was no change.

      What ever it was either is working fine, or had been broken for ages but the idea that we had changed something prompt them to notice it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Never, Ever Buying Bose Again...

      Böse is actually the German for "angry" or "evil", what did you expect?

      As Martin Luther wrote in his review,

      "Der alte böse Feind, /Mit Ernst er's jetzt meint, /Groß Macht und viel List /Sein grausam Rüstung ist"

      (The old, evil enemy is now seriously active, great strength and many wiles are his dreadful weapons."

      I think that's a bit over the top, though, perhaps he was working for Sony at the time.

  12. Circa1962

    Sadly, I think you are all giving Bose far too much credit. The software for the new headphones doesn't work at all. If you look at their user forums, users have been complaining for 7 months + that they can't log in to the application. That renders the app useless. Fortunately, you can do most of the functions from the headphones themselves. My experience with Bose is they make tremendous hardware but have no clue how to deal with software bugs and completely lack any sense of urgency in fixing horribly buggy software.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      I have the QC35 (home) and the newer 700 (work) in use. I haven't had any problems with either connecting them to computers or my iPhone. The iPhone apps also work just fine. They're pretty useless though and Bose has in their infinite wisdom decided that the different headphones require separate apps to manage.

  13. Torchy

    Give Bose a miss.

    Upon reading this I have now struck Bose from my list of preferred suppliers.

    When will they learn that this is actually classed as criminal damage in the UK?

  14. riffrafff

    Internal investigation? Well, there ya go, then. Nothing to see here. Move along.

  15. VulcanV5

    I've an advert to sell you. Sign here. . .

    Years ago, Bose came to realise that a certain type of buyer is convinced that the more they pay for something, the better that something will be. Even more so: the more they pay, the more they'll justify their choice to themselves by recommending the item to others. Bose went onto rewrite the then existing rules (which weren't really rules, just SOP where the construction of marketing budgets was concerned) by comprehending that consumer marketing, not product manufacturing, brings in the money. So . . . the company quadrupled its then advertising spend worldwide, buying up massively expensive prime spots in the print media of the day, usually entire pages (frequently, the back page) of Sunday supplements (certainly, in the UK)

    The cost of this was high, but then, so was the revised product pricing as Bose realised it could factor in all of that extra cost into the product's retail price. Customers weren't forking out comparatively large sums of money for a product; they were actually forking out for an advert. Bose, when compared by size and sales to similar companies in the marketplace, out-spent 'em all by charging over-the-top prices for products that, £ for £ and $ for $, were simply not worth it compared to rival offerings. (Our own considerably cheaper Cambridge Soundworks radio/CD player is now 11 years old. It was purchased for its sonic capabilities and the reasonableness of its price after we'd had a Bose radio/CD player on a 'home trial' and found it to be nothing like as good as its advertising hype claimed.)

    Bose's psychology worked well for years though: (i) buy Bose to show the world you can afford it because you're that rich and that successful. (ii) buy Bose not because you're any kind of audiophile but because it costs a fortune and it must be good. (iii) Alternatively: buy Bose because you're tone deaf and don't have a clue about the way you're paying for an advert rather than a product. Only some time down the line are you going to discover that you're not as bright as you once thought you were.

    1. all ears

      Re: I've an advert to sell you. Sign here. . .

      Lost my faith in Bose many years ago with their 901 PA speakers.

      They sounded pretty good, but they were ridiculously overpriced. Especially when teardowns showed cheap components. A knowledgeable sound person could easily put together a rig at least as good for a fraction of the price, or much better for the same.

      But they advertized like crazy, created a buzz, and sold a ton of them. They may not know a lot about audio, but they definitely understand marketing -- or at least they used to. Sounds like the new bean-counters aren't as smart as the old bean-counters...

  16. razorfishsl Silver badge

    Someone Shouted they saw a witch & the whole village joined in the burning......

    1. all ears

      Fanboi or Bose exec?

      Enjoy your pricey underpeforming gear.

  17. Conundrum1885 Bronze badge

    Audiophools

    Actually if the firmware subtly adjusted the timing then it might make a difference.

    Changing a signal delay by 10ms is certainly enough to mess up the cancellation and

    its been well documented that such a small change can have a large effect.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bose = Yuch

    https://www.nuraphone.com

    Never looked back!

  19. Gustavo Fring

    Couldnt Bose

    Have incorporated an ear pad wear level monitoring system? and then have an in box auto replcement feature? admiitetedly this would add 100's to the cost , but its all profit .. and no home visits required .

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