back to article Bose customers beg for firmware ceasefire after headphones fall victim to another crap update

Owners of Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones are still trying to get the company to either fix or roll back a firmware update that removed noise-cancelling functions from their over-ear gear. The problems date back to July and some owners seem to have managed to get Bose to exchange their cans for the company's shiny new 700 …

  1. RichardBarrell

    I believe the acronym is purported to stand for "Buy Other Sound Equipment".

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Well it is now.

    2. Problem Adult

      "No highs? No lows? Must be Bose!"

      1. BillG
        Stop

        Forced Updates Suck

        This is why I am so against forced software or firmware updates.

        1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

          Re: Forced Updates Suck

          I've heard The Ancients speak of a time in the distant past when headphones didn't even have firmware.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      BOSE = Broken Otological Sound Experience

    4. GrahamRJ

      In the gigging world, it's "Bring Other Sound Equipment", just by the way. (Because gear for larger gigs is hired.)

    5. julian_n

      Yes. I do too after a known flaw in the QC25 turned them into a paperweight and BOSE declined to fix them.

  2. 0laf Silver badge
    Holmes

    Does anyone know the legal standpoint of a corporation offering ongoing support in the form of firmware upgrades which then damages or degrades the performance of a purchased product?

    I don't own these headphones btw it's the principle I'm curious about.

    Could you take the company (i.e. Bose) to the small claims court for damages?

    1. Bonzo_red

      Criminal Damage

      How about the Criminal Damage Act of 1971:

      "A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another intending to destroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged shall be guilty of an offence."

      1. JacobZ
        Joke

        Re: Criminal Damage

        It's only a matter of time before the small print nobody reads says that you don't really own your headphones, you merely have a license to use them and the manufacturer retains the right to update the firmware at any time at its sole discretion...

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Criminal Damage

          small print nobody reads says that you don't really own your headphones

          I think that would be unenforable under the Sale of Goods Act. (You can put whatever you like in an EULA but if it's not legal it has no force..)

          However, IANAL..

          1. Insert sadsack pun here

            Re: Criminal Damage

            "However, IANAL.."

            What you do in your own time is your business, and I don't see why you're bringing it up here.

        2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

          Re: Criminal Damage

          I would like to point out how strange it is to even be thinking of headphones that get firmware updates.

          I wonder if in the future I will be complaining about my bathroom taps only offering water up at half pressure after the latest firmware update. It is just as ridiculous as that.

          I'm perfectly happy with my Sennheiser HD 205's. If I want noise cancellation I'll get one that has it built in and not updatable.

          1. Drew Scriver Bronze badge

            Re: Criminal Damage

            No need to wonder - it will happen.

            Kohler just released a 'smart' faucet. Fork over $875 and you too can be the dumb owner of a smart faucet.

            1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
              Thumb Down

              Re: Criminal Damage

              The only way any of this kit can be described as "smart", is relative to the people who purchase it.

              Sure it might be a solid lump of processed iron, bashed into shape with a hammer... but its smarter than most users..

            2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

              Re: Criminal Damage

              > Kohler just released a 'smart' faucet.

              Right, that does it. I was just about able to handle the chinese needing you to scan a QR code to get toilet paper off the dispenser but this, this is just insane.

              I'm going to wander off into the woods and live as a hermit.

              1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
                Coat

                Re: Criminal Damage

                "I was just about able to handle the chinese needing you to scan a QR code to get toilet paper off the dispenser"

                Don't be silly. You won't need to use QR codes.

                Just use the app for the toilet paper dispenser...Wait...Servers are down...Shit! Better get in the shower to clean your arse then!

                Jacket icon because i need something to wipe my arse on now the app is down.

                1. vtcodger Silver badge

                  Re: Criminal Damage

                  Better get in the shower

                  Well, OK. But you'll only get cold water unless you can remember the answers to three security questions.

                  (I don't recall Science Fiction predicting the future we seem to be blundering into. Demonstrates the inadequacy of the human imagination I guess)

                  1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
                    Black Helicopters

                    Re: Criminal Damage

                    "I don't recall Science Fiction predicting the future we seem to be blundering into"

                    How about 1984, with more advanced technology? So Minority report basically?

                2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

                  Re: Criminal Damage

                  > Don't be silly. You won't need to use QR codes.

                  You missed this one: https://boingboing.net/2019/11/11/beggars-and-toilet-paper.html

                  Photographic evidence: http://www.china.org.cn/photos/2014-07/18/content_32989903_2.htm

          2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

            Re: Criminal Damage

            Bro: you need to be able to update the firmware because the nature of sound is changing constantly. Or something.

        3. Toby Poynder

          Renting headphones

          Nuraphone are already onto that one:

          https://www.nuraphone.com/products/nuranow

        4. Tomato42 Silver badge

          Re: Criminal Damage

          I don't know about situation across the pond, but in EU no EULA can override local laws, especially one that's so one-sided.

      2. NXM

        Re: Criminal Damage

        I think that would fail on the grounds that you'd have trouble proving Bose intended to destroy or damage the cans. You'd have a better chance with the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which requires an item to be fit for purpose for about 5 years after you bought it. Which it clearly isn't if it stops working.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Criminal Damage

          They'd also have the possible defence that what the update was intended to do would be a reasonable excuse. I say possible because an intended trivial change might not be enough.

        2. Roger Lipscombe

          Re: Criminal Damage

          "... or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged ..."

          If you could prove that their testing regime was half-assed, I think you could argue "reckless" here.

          1. Oengus Silver badge

            Re: Criminal Damage

            Also, they had an immediate (very low cost) resolution of rolling back the firmware while they resolved the issues. That adds to the recklessness.

        3. gnasher729 Silver badge

          Re: Criminal Damage

          The time span isn't five years - five years are when your rights absolutely run out (statute of limitations). Items have to last for a reasonable time, and "reasonable time" depends on the item. But also this is your rights against the seller, in case they sold you something that was defective (possibly with an invisible defect) at the time of purchase. These headphones were absolutely fine when they were purchased. So legally this is a difficult question which _might_ need to be addressed by a law change.

          1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

            Re: Criminal Damage

            It could be argued that the firmware update is a new separate product.

            So, for example, could you sue the maker of a PCI card if the PCI card trashes your motherboard?

            1. PC Paul

              Re: Criminal Damage

              That would be a 'not fit for purpose' thing I suppose, as PCI cards should by definition be compatible with a PCI motherboard.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Criminal Damage

              It could also be argued that they didn't damage the product, you did when you applied the update. Since the update was free, I'm sure they'd give a refund.

              1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                Re: Criminal Damage

                My point is that if the free PCI card damaged the expensive motherboard due to a defect in the PCI card, should the manufacturer not be liable?

        4. paulll Bronze badge

          Re: Criminal Damage

          I dunno. If a firmware update made it so that people can't wear those things around their neck you might have a point, but I think Bose would have a pretty strong defence in that nobody's buying them for the sound anyway.

      3. veti Silver badge

        Re: Criminal Damage

        "without lawful excuse" being about as big a loophole as it's possible to imagine.

      4. Dave314159ggggdffsdds

        Re: Criminal Damage

        Damage isn't necessarily criminal damage. If it wasn't deliberate or reckless, then even without a lawful excuse it's not a crime - accidentally making a problem worse when you're trying to fix it is a good example.

        The interesting question is whether this constitutes damage, within the meaning of the law. I haven'ta clue about that one.

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that any product or service, physical or digital, bought online or in store must meet the following standards: 'Satisfactory quality' – Your goods should not be faulty or damaged, or at least of satisfactory quality, 'Fit for purpose' – you should be able to use it for the purpose they were supplied for and 'As described' – your goods or service must match the description, model or sample shown at time of purchase.

      Up to 30 days you can get a full refund but after that you can ask the retailer (e.g. Amazon as opposed to Bose) to replace or repair the goods, which do not meet the three criteria.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You missed "sufficiently durable" (last a reasonable length of time).

        1. macjules Silver badge

          No, there are just those 3 criteria. I hazard it would be a legal minefield to get a company like Apple or Bose to agree what "sufficiently durable" meant.

          1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

            "

            I hazard it would be a legal minefield to get a company like Apple or Bose to agree what "sufficiently durable" meant.

            "

            It's not for them to define. It would be the court that decides whether any particular product has or has not lasted for a reasonable time, considering its purpose, operating environment and pricetag. 1 year or less would probably considered reasonable for a £5 pair of headphones, but a £200+ price tag would demand considerably better durability.

            1. zaax

              Don't forget its the retailer that you take umbrage with, not the manufacture

            2. AndyD 8-)₹

              " 1 year or less would probably considered reasonable for a £5 pair of headphones"

              not very long ago I bought a crystal set at an antiques auction. It came with a pair of headphones, they can't be less than 90 years old and they work just fine - why wouldn't they?

            3. kmedcalf

              Durability

              As far as the manufacturer is concerned, if the failure occurs after the "manufacturers warranty" expires is sufficiently durable. If the manufacturer is only willing to guarantee that the thing is going to last one year, then why would you expect it to last longer?

          2. TeraTelnet

            'Durability' is included in the legislation as one of the aspects of 'sufficient quality'.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > Consumer Rights Act 2015

        ... as introduced by Jo Swinson, and shortly to be scrapped by Al Johnson if the muppets vote him in!

        1. VulcanV5

          dear Anonymous Coward

          Astonishing to learn that the Jo Swinson person had even been born by 2015, let alone was responsible in that year for a major piece of UK legislation.Somewhat less astonishing to discover the LibDems becoming so desperate that they have to come on here in an attempt to score points. BOSE isn't the only entity out there with delusions of adequacy.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: dear Anonymous Coward

            As the anonymous coward, whilst I'm defintely not a Tory, I'm no Lib Dem either. Just pointing out a fact. It says a lot about you the way you jumped on it though.. - are you so biased that you can't accept that the woman you hate has done some good in the past?

    3. dnicholas Bronze badge

      That'd be Microsoft (and Apple) fudged then

    4. d3vy Silver badge

      Mine don't auto install updates.

      And all updates come with a disclaimer before the user opts to install... So id guess that Bose are quite safe from litigation on this. At least as long as they rectify the issue, if they brick a bunch of devices and just leave them then I'd expect that's another matter.

      Then again I'm not a lawyer so am probably very wrong.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Google trashed the early Nexus 7 tablets (2011 ? 2012?) with a software update that ruined performance and battery life.

        As far as I'm aware they never apologised or fixed it. They just completley ignored it and supported only the later version until everyone got fed up complaining.

        A big problem with using consumer protection law is that it will usually have expired for the hardware purchase and isn't relevant for the 'free' software update. So it's probably better to tackle it as theft of service or wanton damage.

        1. d3vy Silver badge

          Yeah - my nexus 7 is still at home waiting for me to get round to downgrading it - one of the things that taught me not to be in the first round of people installing updates :)

    5. Richocet

      There is a parallel to the Firmware update Sony introduced for their top of the range digital cameras.

      It added filtering that deleted a bunch of stars from night photos, and changed the colour of other stars. This was not mentioned in the release notes.

      The system is designed so that you can't go back to previous firmware versions. No one has found a workaround.

      3 years have passed and Sony has not rectified the issue.

      I bought one of these cameras just to take photos of stars, and had only owned it for a few months before the update came along.

    6. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      RE: 0laf

      What about the famous Sony Playstation 3 case?

      Sony advertises OtherOS function allowing users to install Linux on the console, then removes the feature with an update. Since an important (for some people) advertised feature was removed it took years in court for Sony to finally pay up a measly amount of cash.

      In all honesty, the best thing you can do is return the headphones for a refund, if still under warranty. If not, then try a class action suit.

  3. David Hall 1

    One poor punter ?

    If he lives in Brazil and he's buying Bose; then at least by local standards, he's definitely not poor !

    1. Symon Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: One poor punter ?

      https://www.dictionary.com/browse/poor

      Definition 14.

      unfortunate; hapless: The poor dog was limping.

      1. John Doe 12

        Re: One poor punter ?

        https://www.dictionary.com/browse/stupid

        Definition 1.

        lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; dull.

        Or someone who doesn't get the most basic of wordplay?!! Aka @Symon :-)

    2. macjules Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: One poor punter ?

      Perhaps he is one poor Punta?

    3. password1234567890

      Re: One poor punter ?

      What he mostly is is Brazilian and not Mexican, and speaks Portuguese not Spanish.

  4. Anon Y Mouse
    Windows

    Possible salvation for burned owners

    Just so you're aware, a crafty soul on GitHub has been backing up the older firmwares and has produced a modified executable of the installer that maintains the firmware downgrade functionality. You can find them here > https://github.com/bosefirmware

    I'd recommend making a clone of it sooner rather than later, i've got a funny feeling Bose won't be too thrilled if they know about this repo.

    Also really bloody glad i didn't install the update, only just bought a set of QC35 II's in the last few days

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "The company kept very quiet"

    And got 180 forum pages of complaints for its trouble.

    It's 2019 and there are still companies that can't handle customer issues other than by using Soviet-style behavior.

    Shame on Bose. Borking a driver is a mistake I can get, the only people who never make mistakes are the ones who never do anything. But putting a lid on a problem is not a viable solution, especially in an age where the Internet makes it so easy to vent and bring attention to the problem to the wider world.

    Covering the issue is only ever going to make more pressure, not less. Get your PR department in order, Bose.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "The company kept very quiet"

      "Get your PR department in order, Bose."

      PR is no substitute for customer service. The best the PR department can do is to tell QA not to let this stuff out of the door.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: "The company kept very quiet"

        PR is no substitute for customer service

        As my wife is discovering with British Gas. It's all very well having a shiny website and spiffy app but IF THE CUSTOMER CAN'T ACTALLY SPEAK TO SOMEONE WHEN THEY NEED TO THEN PEOPLE GET VERY VERY ANGRY.

        And their spouse gets to live with a stressed out and angry wife for several weeks. It took a formal complaint, followed by by the threat of going to the energy regulator to get BG to *actually* talk to her rather than just sending her a confusing set of mutually-contradictory emails and a demand for money based on their *estimated* readings when they had the real reading all the time.

        Trying to speak to the 'customer service' desk[1] is, at best, a waste of time and, at worst, tear-inducing.

        [1] Dunno where it is - southern Africa going by the accents of the people who answer the phones - once you've managed to get past the idiotic voice-response system that silently fails and loops infinitely if the information that you give it doesn't match the (incorrect) information typed in by the moron we first dealt with.

        1. Andy Non Silver badge

          Re: "The company kept very quiet"

          British Gas are a bunch of cowboys. We just had a new boiler quote from them and after I'd done laughing I bought a better boiler from a local gas-safe plumber fully installed for £1300 cheaper than British Gas.

          Then there is their website. A couple of years ago we had them as our gas provider and I noticed that every time I paid their bill online, I got someone else's name and receipt of payment number and the amount they had just paid. I'm guessing that it was losing track of which online customer to report the information to (perhaps a cookie related issue). Tried reporting it, but they make it virtually impossible, then didn't fix the problem anyway which lasted at least a couple of years until we finally left them. So they are probably still giving away people's payment information to random strangers.

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: "The company kept very quiet"

            A couple of years ago we had them as our gas provider and I noticed that every time I paid their bill online, I got someone else's name and receipt of payment number and the amount they had just paid. I'm guessing that it was losing track of which online customer to report the information to (perhaps a cookie related issue). Tried reporting it, but they make it virtually impossible, then didn't fix the problem anyway which lasted at least a couple of years until we finally left them. So they are probably still giving away people's payment information to random strangers.

            That is a clear GDPR violation, if it is still happening, somebody should report it to the relevant authority. I'd bet BG is willing to listen to a lesson coming with a tuition fee of a couple of million.

        2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Re: "The company kept very quiet"

          Oh god, British Gas are *awful* at everything.

          We moved into a new place, and the renting agent "helpfully" phoned British Gas to give them readings.

          Except, he read the wrong dial, and so gave them a 5 figure number, where the previous reading had been 6 figures. To compound things further, their previous reading had been estimated anyway.

          Did they flag it and say "errr, that's not right?" Did they bollocks, they allowed the number to wrap around, increment back up to aforementioned 6 digit number and then sent *me* a stonking bill. Didn't really trust the letting agent not to screw it up a second time, so I gave them a heads up and said I'd sort it and then pass on the revised bill.

          Fairly easy thing to explain away, except you can't actually speak to the buggers because they've seem to have paid a consultant who's told them that speaking to customers is bad, all you need is a website, an email bot and a very minimal and well hidden phone team.

          The fact *I* also took a reading when we moved in, and had the reading of *both* dials did me no good

          What eventually solved it was me telling them what my calculation of our usage was, saying I'd pay them that but we're changing provider and they can take me to court and defend their position if they want to try and claim we'd used thousands of £ of leccy juice in the space of a couple of weeks.

        3. VulcanV5

          Re: "The company kept very quiet"

          But you should NEVER 'talk' to what may pass for a Customer Service department of ANY energy company operating in the UK. 'Talk' (unless you've gone to the trouble of recording, transcribing, and having it all independently verified) is not in any way an archival procedure that safeguards the record. 'Talk' is deniable by the energy company -- and very often is.

          Over-billing as a result of seemingly deliberately untruthful 'final readings' has long been a nice little earner for unscrupulous energy companies (of whom there are many). The only way to deal with them is initially via email and then Royal Mail Next Day surface post, the cost of which can be claimed for at the end of the complaints process.

          So. . . don't ring anyone, and don't talk about 'I'll tell the enargy regulator' because that's ridiculous: no ordinary domestic user can "talk to the regulator", never has done, never been able to, never will. That's why the happy clappy and largely useless friend-to-all Energy Ombudsman 'service' was set up: to get between you and the regulator.

      2. Drew Scriver Bronze badge

        Re: "The company kept very quiet"

        Customer Service is part of Public Relations. At least, that's the way it was taught to us back in the '90s...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: there are still companies that can't handle customer issues

      I think you're holding the lunette the wrong way wrong, this is a growing trend (if not mainstream) trend to handle customer issues: if complain, ignore. If keep complaining, ignore. If still keep complaining, ban them on your forums, otherwise, ignore. Only if it becomes massive and widespread, do they companies take notice, and come up with the 2nd line of defence: "performance of our products and customer satisfaction is our top priority" (in plain English: ignore, and see what happens. If the "valued customers" have shifted to other daily dramas, as they would after a day or two - WIN). Only if they KEEP complaining and this starts making rounds, THEN - spend money to fix it, to remove the risk of "damage to reputation".

      And, frankly speaking, this works for Bose, I have heard people complaining about Bose products since, well, at least late 1990s, when I started having enough spare money to value good sound. It's 2019 - people keep complaining, Bose keep going...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "The company kept very quiet"

      "It's 2019 and there are still companies that can't handle customer issues other than by using Soviet-style behavior."

      To be somewhat fair to Bose, at least they didn't (or haven't yet) delete all 180 pages of complaints and pretended the issue never existed, then put a ban on opening new threads about the issue. Other tech companies have done just that, to wonderful effect...

      I've no dog in this fight, just enjoying my popcorn.

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: "The company kept very quiet"

        at least they didn't (or haven't yet) delete all 180 pages of complaints

        If I'm wrong, I apologise to Bose (hang on, no I don't! They're a PR company selling overpriced nasty shit to the gullible!), but isn't that because they got called out for such behaviour after a previous similarly borked update for their soundbars?

        Seriously, I'm trying to think of the magnitude of a borkage that could actually make Bose kit sound worse

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: "The company kept very quiet"

          Seriously, I'm trying to think of the magnitude of a borkage that could actually make Bose kit sound worse

          Deafening silence doesn't sound at all, so it can't sound worse, but I'd hardly call it an improvement.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Got the receipt?

    Get a refund. They don't work, the company has taken too long to issue a fix, declare them unfit for purpose &/or defective & demand a refund. If you can't get a refund then visit your small claims court & sue them to get your money back.

    If everyone whom bought a set & had them bricked demanded a refund it would hit BOSE right where it'll hurt most: their bottom line. Take them to court & they'll either defend themselves or get a default judgement against them. You can then report them to the tax blokes to get your money torn from BOSE's clutching claws. Enough of _those_ will surely get enough media attention to bitch slap those bastards into never fucking over their customers again, no?

    1. KroSha

      Re: Got the receipt?

      Technically, your beef is with the retailer. The sales contract is with them, not BOSE. Of course, if they get enough returns then they'll start to harass BOSE to get their money back for faulty stock.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: Got the receipt?

        I think any sensible retailer would return every faulty unit to the manufacturer and expect a refund for each one. So, well worth doing.

        From Bose's point of view, no plausible level of returns will seriously damage them. The important risk is reputation. If the damage begins to outweigh the marketing department's ability to lure new suckers, then they're in trouble - but not until then.

        Which is why it's tactically smart for them to host all the hostile rantings on their own servers, where they can quietly de-index it when the fuss has died down.

        If you really want to hurt them, register "bosesux.com" and optimise for searches involving "bose support" or "bose troubleshooting", and just let people post their troubles there.

    2. The Mole

      Re: Got the receipt?

      Don't forget the option of making a claim from your credit card company as they are jointly liable (if you brought it on credit card) and if Visa start getting enough of these I imagine they would be having quiet words with BOSE (nice shopfront you've got here, shame if anything happened to your car processing fees)

  7. martin 62

    thank god.....

    I traded my Bose earphones in a few months ago after i realised the sound quality was poor. And i am sure glad i did at least sony hasn't messed up their earphones (yet)....

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Re: thank god.....

      I've never understood why people pay so much for BOSE stuff as all they seem to be doing these days is trading higher value on a phantom quality which went out of the window years ago.

      Agree with you re Sony, I've got three different pairs and they are all fabulous. I'd like to point out that I also have two pairs of Sennheisers, and they are still doing it right also.

      How on earth did I end up with 5 pairs of headphones though, that's a question :-$

      1. Snake

        Re: thank god.....

        Bose was NEVER, EVER good quality sound. Never. It has always been hype and marketing; when I was a dealer (we) would lock the customer into the demo room alone whilst playing a Bose product and then walk out, as all of us couldn't stand being in the same room with that shiate sound playing. Yes, for us anyway, dealers of B&W, ProAc, Celestion and several others, we thought that little of the product. But people bought the propaganda so we carried them....but, desperately, tried to educate the uneducated on what Bose truly represented: overpriced plastic junk.

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: thank god.....

          Many (certainly most) people with money - the over 40s really don't have the ears to distinguish unless the sound is distorted enough to make it obvious. Eyes however are better at distinguishing and brand with perceived value/cost makes more of a difference. Having said that I do love my turntable :-)

          1. chronicdashedgehog

            Re: thank god.....

            True. My ears were damaged by playing my minidisc walkman way too loud while commuting years ago. Now I have to listen to everything very very loud

            1. DiViDeD Silver badge

              Re: thank god.....

              Now I have to listen to everything very very loud

              ... and yet you say that as though it's a bad thing!

          2. Wilseus

            Re: thank god.....

            "the over 40s really don't have the ears to distinguish unless the sound is distorted enough to make it obvious"

            I don't buy that. If it were true, the over 40s wouldn't be able to tell the difference between sitting in front of their hifi system and sitting in front of a real live band, choir, orcheshtra etc.

            1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

              Re: thank god.....

              Well all of the evidence on gearing loss does support my contention. You might have noties that live concerts have a different vibe from sitting ion in front of your speakers or listening through headphones, including faults and distortion, not to mention an audience and neighbours. You are not comparing like with like - two recordings on different playback equipment and participation - which explains my love for my (old and when new, expensive turntable). I enjoy the turntable, but I am not fooling myself - at least conciously.

              1. mikecoppicegreen

                Re: thank god.....

                I’m well into my 50s and my gearing is fine. The general problem with such stereotomy is that It requires a little concentration to appreciate.

                1. David 132 Silver badge
                  Happy

                  Re: thank god.....

                  I’m well into my 50s and my gearing is fine

                  Good to see you've still got your cog-nitive faculties.

            2. all ears

              Re: thank god.....

              Definitely not true. We lose some sensitivity to upper frequencies as we age, but since what we "hear" is a matter of our brain interpreting signals from our ears, there's a huge amount of estimation and interpolation going on. I may not be able to hear ultrasonic security systems in stores like I used to, but I have no problem telling clean, balanced, undistorted, wide-ranging audio from the likes of Bose.

          3. Aussie Doc
            Coat

            Re: thank god.....

            "the over 40s really don't have the ears to distinguish..."

            Pardon?

            They're in my coat ---->

        2. chronicdashedgehog

          Re: thank god.....

          My Celestion DL6s are still going strong thanks ;-)

      2. riffrafff

        Re: thank god.....

        Only five pairs? Meh. Lightweight. lol.

      3. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: thank god.....

        I've never understood why people pay so much for BOSE stuff as all they seem to be doing these days is trading higher value on a phantom quality which went out of the window years ago.

        A colleague of mine was waxing lyrical about his Bose BT speaker he used with his tablet. Then I went to demonstrate that his expensive stuff not only looked the same[0] as the Blaupunkt speaker I had, it also sounded the same. The only significant difference was the price, which at nearly four times was indeed significant.

        [0] modulo colour and some 'chrome' trim.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: thank god.....

        I've never understood why people pay so much for BOSE stuff...

        Disclaimer, not a bose fan but

        Reasons people still buy them

        -Brand Recognition

        -iPhone Jack Removed

        -Active Noise Cancelling with good sound quality

        -Similar price point with Sony's ANC headphone (not to mention, Sony only recently started their ANC headphone series)

        How on earth did I end up with 5 pairs of headphones though, that's a question

        One for each work day. It's important to mute the boss when working.

  8. Benson's Cycle

    Noise cancelling

    After that "musician" got into trouble on an Australian plane for ignoring the cabin attendant due to wearing noise cancelling headphones, I wonder if these are another of those things that people should have to take a test before using.

    I am sure there are people out there using them while riding bicycles.

    1. Natalie Gritpants Jr

      Re: Noise cancelling

      I use my Sennheisers while using power tools. They don't block out everything but good for reducing the noise of a chainsaw.

      1. Symon Silver badge
        Megaphone

        Re: Noise cancelling

        This is how I catch up on the Archers while chainsawing on Sunday mornings...

        https://www.clasohlson.com/uk/Bluetooth-FM-DAB+-Radio-Ear-Defenders/p/41-1465

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Noise cancelling

          This is how I catch up on the chainsawing when someone puts the Archers on on Sunday mornings...

          https://www.amazon.co.uk/BU-KO-26-Lightweight-3-5kg-Chainsaw/dp/B07JNGMLPY/

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Noise cancelling

        but good for reducing the noise of a chainsaw

        So are proper ear-defenders - as used by proper tree-surgeons.

        (It makes my skin crawl when I see people using potentially-lethal cutting devices without using proper PPE - I've heard enough horror stories from OldestBrother about that happens if you don't. Much like it makes my skin crawl when I see people riding motorbikes without wearing proper bike gear. Sure - it's their skin that'll get taken off by gravel rash[1] but I have just about enough empathy to feel it..)

        [1] Mother was a nurse and, when we started riding motorbikes, gave us a fairly graphic description about how they get the gravel out of road-rash..

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Re: Noise cancelling

          > Much like it makes my skin crawl when I see people riding motorbikes without wearing proper bike gear. Sure - it's their skin that'll get taken off by gravel rash[1] but I have just about enough empathy to feel it..)

          I remember being told, back when I was a teenager, that at 30MPH for every second you're sliding on tarmac (not rougher concrete) it'll take an inch off the depth of your skin

          Now obviously because of friction you don't slide for very long, but sanding even 1/10" off your skin?

          I always wore my leathers after that, and with the benefit of hindsight, it's just as well, I've fucked myself up enough without shaving bits off too

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Noise cancelling

          > people using potentially-lethal cutting devices without using proper PPE - I've heard enough horror stories from OldestBrother about that happens if you don't.

          A tree surgeon friend swears by his kelvar reinforced trousers and boots - mainly because he knows it works - he still has full use of his feet and legs.

          1. Symon Silver badge
            Alert

            Re: Noise cancelling

            Chainsaw trousers are full of wadding which gums up the chain and stops it, hopefully before reaching your femoral artery.

            https://youtu.be/Ah-FmYnaIWw

            BTW, if you want to see proper failures, search online for :- chainsaw ladder

      3. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Noise cancelling

        For that I have the choice of a pair of plain Peltor 25dB hearing protectors, and a very similar pair with speakers built in.

        As my Sennheiser is the venerable HD424 it won't do much[0] regarding blocking out unwanted sounds, the AKG K161 does quite a bit better there.

        [0] balancing the headphone sound level with the speaker sound level you can get an amazing spacious soundscape. Especially nice with music like Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and such.

      4. Mike 137 Bronze badge

        Re: Noise cancelling

        Listening to music on phones while using a chain saw is a short cut (no pun intended) to Darwinian natural selection.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Noise cancelling

      Interesting choice of scare-quotes here.

  9. Natalie Gritpants Jr

    Why would you update the firmware on headphone?

    If they work when you buy them keep them. It's not like they have a webserver in them that needs security fixes. Or is it???

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why would you update the firmware on headphone?

      I'm quite glad I stuck to the non-bluetooth, non-USB, non-upgradable, just-plug-the-jack-and-use-it QC25. And when it did fail under warranty, they promptly replaced it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why would you update the firmware on headphone?

      "because it is there". It's this culture of selling half-baked products for high prices, and then making hapless customers believe they're actually being cared for, because they get "GET FREE UPDATE WITH NEW, EXCITING FEATURES, DOWNLOAD NOW!!!", isn't it a regular business model these days? Like W10, perpetual work in progress...

      1. Nick

        Re: Why would you update the firmware on headphone?

        That's definitely *one* reason, but there are also those who are so fed up with the product being half-broken on the current version that they're prepared to take the risk in the (vain) hope that it might get better.

        (I'm thinking Windows here in case it's not clear)

    3. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Why would you update the firmware on headphone?

      A lot of unwanted updates in A/V kit are due to the need to update DRM software. The technology of encoding sound has been around for decades and while compression mechanisms might improve so does bandwidth to the point where lossless compression at decent fidelity could become the baseline. DRM and its psycho-acoustic offshoots such as Atmos are software intensive and likely to require changes to proprietary algorithms so they'll need constant updating.

      1. joshimitsu

        Re: Why would you update the firmware on headphone?

        Atmos isn't an offshoot of DRM, it's a sound processing system that relies on DRM.

  10. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    With Microsoft's W10 update disasters, you could roll back or at worst, just re-install from scratch. I take it Bose don't offer this with whatever system they use to upload firmware?

    1. Tom Chiverton 1

      What possible bug could ear phones have that even need a firmware update ?!?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ALL YOUR LICE ARE BELONG TO US

        1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
          Coat

          Bugger, I was going to start a lice farm,

          Well, scratch that idea..

      2. d3vy Silver badge

        Active noise cancellation needs code to execute to work.

        Bluetooth needs code to execute and work.

        Battery/power management needs code to execute.

        There are a number of reasons any of the above might need an uodate.

        Could be that a more efficient algorithm is available for noise cancellation, might be that they found a way to.prolong battery life 20 mins longer than Sony's competing unit.. could be any number of things

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Could well be - but if you insist on improving them, then get it right!

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Devil

            Bah

            Getting it right is overrated. Getting it out the door is what matters.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Bah

              If it complies, ship it!

        2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

          > Active noise cancellation needs code to execute to work.

          No it doesnt. Just in these ones it does.

          Active noise cancellation has been a feature way before headphones needed firmware updates.

          > Could be that a more efficient algorithm is available for noise cancellation,

          I doubt it. This technology, as I stated, has been in headphones for years before they even let you update firmware. Cancelling noise is dead simple anyway, you just invert the waveform. All you need to do is adjust things like timing so you overlay your inversion correctly.

          The most likely reason for this update was to fix a bug in something, not to improve an algorithm that has been done for years. Unless they didn't put the decent algo in in the first place due to lazyness.

          Either way the testing of the update was rushed or some tester simply did not bother to regression test everything, thus leaving the customer to detect the borked functions.

          1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

            >> Active noise cancellation needs code to execute to work.

            >

            > No it doesnt. Just in these ones it does.

            >

            > Active noise cancellation has been a feature way before headphones needed firmware updates.

            I'm not saying you're wrong about it being possible to do noise cancellation purely in hardware, but not needing firmware updates isn't the same thing as not running software (having code execution).

            It's not been at all uncommon in the past for something to run software but for updates not to be provided, or at the very least not be provided (or referred to) in any kind of a self-serve manner.

            Much the same way as _most_ people didn't talk about updating software on their cars 10 years ago. Software updates were available and generally installed by dealers though. The fact you can self-install the updates (on some models) now doesn't change that older cars also had software running

            /pedantic

            1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

              Not pedantic at all, it really depends on the specific implementation. I was specifically thinking of "noise cancellation chips" that are basically a black box, with no firmware to update. They may be entirely hardware or be running code internally but it not really important as you cant get at it. Essentially if you cant update this black box, its like its just a lump of hardware.

              These headphones however are very different. They have essentially a computer exposed to the world via bluetooth, capable of accepting firmware updates.

              Just thought, it may be that these headphones DO use a black box noise cancellation chip, just the firmware that was updated ended up not turning the chip on correctly. As some users seem to suggest they have no issue with the update, perhaps there is more than one chip out there and the update was found to not include support for one?

              Still, proper testing can detect this. Regression testing should cover everything known about the product, even differences in hardware. The issues that should be found by the users are the strange ones where they have a phone that does something weird with the bluetooth connection that causes the BT chip/code to fail or act strangely. You cant test every phone. Or perhaps a few headphones have a hardware issue that was introduced when they changed manufacturers which again is hard to test for.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            But the noise cancelling isn't just a simple wave inversion, you also need to take into account the structure of the headphone and what sound the enclosure will cancel out and attenuate itself. But ignoring that there are multiple modes available. One being cancel noise but allow speech to pass through / amplify.

            1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

              > But the noise cancelling isn't just a simple wave inversion, you also need to take into account the structure of the headphone and what sound the enclosure will cancel out and attenuate itself. But ignoring that there are multiple modes available. One being cancel noise but allow speech to pass through / amplify.

              Yes that is true however I decided to leave that out of my reply.

              The firmware update may have also updated the algorithms understanding of how the headphone structure changes the outside sound. The issue I see is, the structure can not be guaranteed the same between all headphones as nothing is made the same way twice. Perhaps one batch used plastic pellets not heated correctly due to a trainee worker getting the settings wrong thus the plastic is thinner etc.

              Either way the general understanding of the structure should have been implemented before the headphones went on sale, so I doubt that a firmware update would be needed just for this, ulness it was for specific batches they could identify when applying the patch.

              1. d3vy Silver badge

                Forgetting about noise cancellation because it really was just one of many examples used to illustrate my point - and even though it could be implemented in hardware it isn't so its a moot point anyway.

                The original question (if I remember rightly) was along the lines of "why do headphones need firmware" the answer is because they run and execute code which is written by humans and we are not as yet infallible.

                As another example to move us away from the noise cancellation debate... The Bluetooth stack used.. I doubt BOSE wrote their own - suppose that there was some vulnerability discovered by the supplier which needed to be patched? Thats going to require an update.

                Or they discover some quirk in the latest iphone means that some feature doesn't work as expected.. do they wait for apple to maybe fix it or put a workaround into the headset?

                Its all well and good saying "Get it right before it goes out of the door" but really how many products in the history of all products have ever been perfect from day one? Back before the internet was ubiquitous and updates easier to do, if a product shipped with a flaw you were stuck with it.

                1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

                  > The original question (if I remember rightly) was along the lines of "why do headphones need firmware" the answer is because they run and execute code which is written by humans and we are not as yet infallible.

                  True, which is why I still say "use headphones that dont need firmware".

                  > Its all well and good saying "Get it right before it goes out of the door" but really how many products in the history of all products have ever been perfect from day one?

                  I started my IT career as a software tester. I know how the testing process works and how it fails. In this case they can be seen to have failed to even do basic regression testing. When a whole feature gets disabled due to an update, it can only be intentional or missed due to inadequate testing methods.

                  The only exceptions would be:

                  - a variable that they have not documented correctly, such as a change of hardware at some point for a certain number of devices. Considering they order these products to be built by the factory any such change can only be made with someone signing it off. Not having this documented correctly will affect the test cases the testers create.

                  - A bug in a few of the parts / chips that handle the noise cancellation (assuming they are using a hardware solution and not just crunching numbers in the CPU) that creeped in and affects certain batches of these headphones (that would explain why not all of them are affected).

                  - A bug that has always existed and has been triggered by strange things.

                  Either way I'm confident this was poor testing and thus avoidable. It reminds me of the revelation from Apple that they too totally failed to preform proper, yet basic, regression testing for years. They left users of iOS totally exposed to SSL man in the middle attacks because of a stray bit of testing code left in by a developer that bypassed all SSL certificate validation. Thus every certificate was valid by default. This went on for years till some user discovered the flaw.

                  If Apple had done basic, standard regression tests, one of the tests would be to provide an invalid SSL certificate to Safari and observe the expected behavior of getting an SSL error.

                  It shows just how lazy and incompetent testing has become. That basic SSL error should have never left the building and wouldn't if I was testing it. I dont know if anyone got fired for the embarrassment Apple suffered when they had to admit that anyone using iOS for several years to log in to their bank had no protection.

                  Obviously thats more serious than these headphones losing functionality but it serves to illustrate that even when you pay hundreds for updatable wireless headphones, you can think of yourself as a fool to expect a product that has even has basic testing done on it.

                  This is why I run Debian Stable.

        3. Dave K Silver badge

          I've had two updates for my Sony headphones.

          First update allowed the voice commands to support multiple languages, the second one was based on user feedback and allows you to turn off the voice prompts, and also to turn off the very sensitive touch-sensors on phones (I've done this as I don't use them and was sick of catching them and skipping a track I was enjoying).

          Ultimately though, I do feel that companies should be transparent with what a firmware update changes, and allow the customer to make an informed decision whether to install it or not.

          It's the same as BIOS updates on your PC. If the PC is working fine and there aren't any security issues, don't bother installing an update if all it does is add support for a CPU you don't even have...

  11. Tromos

    All these customers making so much noise...

    ...good job we've got an answer to that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All these customers making so much noise...

      Introducing the new QC35 II Active Noise Cancelli... oh wait

      /Irony

  12. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
    Coat

    The irony that Bose can't hear the noise being created by the users of their now borked Noise Cancelling Headphones

    1. Anon Y Mouse
      Trollface

      Even Bose are staying clear of the latest firmware

  13. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Windows

    What a time to be alive...

    When headphones can have features borked by updates....

    I mean since when did headphones even need firmware updates?

    (for reference I've got some Sony Bluetooth cans and they've never had a firmware update, the phone apps have but not the cans. They've always just worked)

    1. Crisp Silver badge

      Re: I mean since when did headphones even need firmware updates?

      Ever since they decimalised the octave.

      1. Chloe Cresswell

        Re: I mean since when did headphones even need firmware updates?

        Someone's been listening to HolRock?

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: What a time to be alive...

      Sony Bluetooth cans and they've never had a firmware update

      Likewise - but (to be fair) they are not noise-cancelling.

    3. katrinab Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: What a time to be alive...

      My Marshalls headphones don't have firmware. But they do have a 3.5mm headphone jack which is now apparently considered obsolete.

      1. the Jim bloke Silver badge

        Re: What a time to be alive...

        only by Tim Cook,

        and the mindless hordes who have outsourced their thinking to him

    4. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: What a time to be alive...

      I can imagine that there is a toaster that needs firmware updates somewhere.

      Heck we live in a crazy world where lightbulbs need wifi connections, and end up being a security issue, and landlords can lock you out of your flat because the door lock operates via bluetooth only and your phone is dead.

      Oh wait, even better. Go to china and scan a QR code to get toilet paper from the dispencer in the cubicle, which works fine if you are living in china and have a chinese bank account but if you are visiting you must ask the chiniese to scan for you so you can wipe your ass.

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
        Terminator

        Re: What a time to be alive...

        I can imagine that there is a toaster that needs firmware updates somewhere.

        No, just no... I refuse to accept the inevitable creation of the 'talkie toastertm'.

        The cheaping out by not including a belief chip just ruins the whole concept.

        "you wanna muffin?" *shudders*

        1. David 132 Silver badge

          Re: What a time to be alive...

          Ah, you're a waffle man?

        2. Chloe Cresswell

          Re: What a time to be alive...

          Why, that was no accident, that was 1st degree toastercide!

  14. IT's getting kinda boring

    I just bought a pair of gaming headphones for the PS4. They stopped working (no audio) after about 2 weeks, and was about to send them back when I happened to find a post on a forum somewhere from several years ago detailing a firmware bug and, luckily, how to fix it.

    So a firmware bug can be left for YEARS and not be addressed, and you still have new headsets being sold that have the same problem. Makes you wonder how many headsets get returned for issues such as this, and how many end up in landfill.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    this is going to be a problem

    I've been wanting to get 2nd hand bose QCII for some time, but now the market will become contaminated with cheap offers with fucked firmware. Yes, you can return items on ebay - sometimes - but it's hassle nevertheless.

    btw, why bother with bose? Well, I don't give a flying monkey (...) whether they're pricks, I tried them on a few times, they felt very comfy, the sound was noticeably better than my (other) wireless cans (not hard, given they were 40 quid), so this is good enough for me. But not for full price, and not with fucked firmware :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: this is going to be a problem

      > I've been wanting to get 2nd hand bose QCII for some time, but now the market will become contaminated with cheap offers with fucked firmware. Yes, you can return items on ebay - sometimes - but it's hassle nevertheless.

      eBay is wall-to-wall fake Bose. It's so blatant there are people openly selling Bluetooth enabled QC-25s -- a model that never had Bluetooth.

      1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: this is going to be a problem

        "

        eBay is wall-to-wall fake Bose. It's so blatant there are people openly selling Bluetooth enabled QC-25s -- a model that never had Bluetooth.

        "

        It's easy to tell whether you have a fake copy of a Bose headset. Simply use it. If it works, its a fake.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Nothing on UK/US eBay that matches that QC25 with bluetooth

        Not wanting to put a spanner in your reply, but I thought I'd have a quick look for some QC25's that have Bluetooth and can't find a single one of the QC25's with Bluetooth.

        There are loads of adverts for after-market bluetooth adaptors for the QC25 but I can't see a single Bluetooth enabled QC25 on either the UK or the US fleabay sites.

  16. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
    Trollface

    Decisions, decisions...

    £260 for Bose QC35 II that don't work?

    Or

    £50 for Soundcore Q20 Life (by Anker) that do?

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Decisions, decisions...

      I got some cheap bluetooth headphones off Amazon - £20 for Soundpeats Q12's. They're really really good.

      I'm sure it's possible to do better with a bigger budget, but I'm really happy with them. I'm surprised how good they are.

  17. Gob Smacked
    WTF?

    Just bought a set of QC 35 II's ...

    and received this morning. Followed the instructions on my phone and installed latest firmware.

    I can't see anything wrong with noise cancelling. It definitely works. What should be the issue?

    1. Colin Miller

      Re: Just bought a set of QC 35 II's ...

      Same here. I bought mine two months ago, which came with the old firmware, and upgraded it to the then latest firmware. Apart from the noise cancellation going into 'low' I haven't noticed anything wrong.

      I've changed the action button (big button on the back of the left headphone) to change the cancellation level, and it's easy to knock by mistake when donning/doffing them. By default the button triggers Siri/GoogleAssiast, and the cancellation level is set by the app.

      I can't be sure if this the firmware changed the level, or I accidentally changed it at the same time

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just bought a set of QC 35 II's ...

        Apart from the noise cancellation going into 'low' I haven't noticed anything wrong.

        It IS the thing that went wrong.

    2. imanidiot Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Just bought a set of QC 35 II's ...

      You willingly and knowingly installed an app that demands access to services it has no logical need to require? And demands location services be turned on for it to even run? I can only say one thing about the Bose app. Don't even think about it.

      --> imho, the only proper solution to the shit that is the Bose app, the thermonuclear variety, from orbit.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Just bought a set of QC 35 II's ...

        You can't have a bluetooth connection without agreeing to location services.

        Because google.

        1. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

          Re: Just bought a set of QC 35 II's ...

          "You can't have a bluetooth connection without agreeing to location services."

          Well, maybe you can't but I can. Bluetooth and location services are two independent permissions on my phone, and I absolutely do have bluetooth in use without location. If an app you use requires both that's on them.

          1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

            Re: Just bought a set of QC 35 II's ...

            That's what I was told by a developer. I would love to get a definitive answer.

            As I understand it, the argument goes like this :

            If you want to search for and connect to your bluetooth device, you can search for arbitrary bluetooth devices.

            If you can search for arbitrary bluetooth devices then you can see beacons.

            Beacons provide location information.

            Therefore if you want to search for bluetooth devices you must have been given permission to obtain location.

            It may be that if you only use generic bluetooth services negotiated by the OS (such as bluetooth audio connections) or use a connection that has been paired through the OS's settings, there is no need for the location permission.

            So it may be that the problem occurs because developers like to connect in-app rather than push users to the pairing setting. That's a reasonable requirement given the knowledge of the typical user, and google could support it in a useful way, which is why I blame google rather than the developers.

            Actual explanation from a knowledgable developer welcome.

        2. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Just bought a set of QC 35 II's ...

          I seem to recall it's not required for other apps. And lets just say that the T&C you have to agree to doesn't exactly make it feel like Bose minds or cares if it's mandated by Google. (You pretty much might as well allow Bose to come take your first-born child into eternal serfdome for all the things you give them permission for)

  18. ForthIsNotDead
    Trollface

    Well...

    <smugTwat>

    My headphones have wires.

    </smugTwat>

    Seriously, when our headphones need firmware, we've kind of jumped the shark, don't you think?

    1. $till$kint
      Pirate

      Re: Well...

      New SHARK2.0 with added laser, coming soon!

      Fed up with folk jumping your shark while listening to their favourite music? Pre-order our new, improved SHARK2.0 and we guarantee* any attempts at jumping will end in sizzly death. First 50 to order get a free pirate!**

      (*not actually guaranteed).

      (** delivery charges of 6 doubloons payable, plus weekly maintenance fee)

    2. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Well...

      But my iPhone only has Bluetooth and no headphone jack (not that I miss them, unessecary headphone are a pain, even if I appreciate many want a wired connection - but my Sony's work perfectly well)

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Well...

        That can be fixed, in true Apple style, with a £9 adapter.

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: Well...

          Not really - I just don't like the wires.

        2. MiguelC Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Well...

          Degraded standards at Apple, it seems. True Apple style would be 99£

    3. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Well...

      Wired headphones are fine and all, but have you ever tried running on a treadmill with wired headphones and a phone bouncing around in your pocket?

      Much better to put the phone on the side and just have wireless headphones.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well...

        Wired headphones are fine and all, but have you ever tried running on a treadmill with wired headphones and a phone bouncing around in your pocket?

        It's your preference but I've seen people running on the street with wired earphone as well as with wireless earphone. I have yet seen anyone running with the airpod though.

  19. michaelvirks

    Reason for not rolling back

    Cannot help noticing that the change log for the problematic update includes "added Amazon Alexa capabilities".

    It's pretty likely Bose do not want to roll back because they have an arrangement with Amazon that is either lucrative for Bose, or conversely that Bose have significant upfront financial commitment for.

    1. Colin Miller

      Re: Reason for not rolling back

      They already support Siri or GoogleAssist. Adding Alexa is a sensible move

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. royprime

    Noise cancelling?

    Only thing I'll be doing is cancelling my order.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WHY

    don't Bose just provide both versions of the firmware for download? And allow any firmware version to be flashed? WHY is there this ludicrous policy of manufacturers to implement a firmware version escalation lockout policy? WHY? what imagined security problem could POSSIBLY require a lockout that prevents previous versions being flashed back on a pair of fucking headphones?

    1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: WHY

      These headphones are basically mini computers running an operating system, likely Linux.

      Flashing them with new firmware may be done to simply add new features like Alexa capability as mentioned in another post or to update things like the kernel or bluetooth libraries to patch security issues.

      Without such patches these headphones could be attacked, perhaps eve via bluetooth, and end up running any code desired. They could end up mining bitcoin (would only work if they had an internet connection) or more likely be used to spy on you, transmitting the audio from your room to whoever wants to listen. Maybe to glean some details you speak aloud, to see if you are out, or maybe just to have fun when they play death metal down them to you.

      We live in a world where CCTV cameras and door security keypads get hacked to mine bitcoin.

      Preventing firmware from being rolled back prevents an attacker from doing just that.

      The question is why are these headphones allowed to be so vulnerable?

  23. BGatez Bronze badge

    really?

    could the real problem be headphones that require firmware?

  24. Gonzo wizard
    FAIL

    If only I had the time...

    ...but I'm too busy trying to update the firmware on my toothbrush right now.

    Headphones are at the end of a long queue of other 'smart' devices that are so smart they need babying through software updates on a far too frequent basis. It's almost as if companies are shipping this crap before the software is anywhere near finished. They then ship buggy update after buggy update because they're trying to minimise the ongoing cost of supporting something they're going to get no more money from. That's a downhill spiral if ever I saw one.

    I even have a 3D printer which is WiFi capable as well as using a physical network cable. Except the firmware never showed up in any of the numerous updates that I've installed in the five years I've owned it - but I have recently been forced to buy an 'upgraded' print head for it even though the current one works perfectly, because the latest software no longer supports the older one (I'm looking at you, Makerbot).

    All these companies need more lazy developers: do it once, do it properly, and you won't have to go back and apply band-aid fixes over and over again.

    1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: If only I had the time...

      > It's almost as if companies are shipping this crap before the software is anywhere near finished

      Strange, I cant help but think of Windows 10 and Mac OS Catalina...

  25. Dwarf Silver badge

    Perhaps they are not listening

    The people working in marketing and customer service must be wearing BOSE headsets with the noise cancelling features turned on.

    Perhaps it would help them to hear the complaints if they did the firmware upgrades themselves.

    Come on manufacturers - TEST your updates before you release them on your customers. Your job is to make your products reliable, its not our job to be your test department.

    Also, if you want to be Agile and 2019, then the term "Move fast and break things" means that you still need to be moving fast on fixing things too.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps they are not listening

      The users are mostly posing.

  26. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Make a copy

    Someone should make a copy and sell for $10's. If they are sued for copyright infringement, it will be trivial to show a court that while the alleged infringing 'phones work perfectly, the Bose headphones are non-functional. This is such a substatial difference that the allegation that it is a copy will fail.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Make a copy

      actually, there are being faked, a couple of years ago, a site (rting?) ran a comparison on several fakes v. real deals. In most cases, you got what you paid for, but there was at least one example where the fake was almost as good as (in terms of sound quality), as the original. That said, like with clothing and footwear, "fakes" are made in the same factories, just 2nds, etc.

  27. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    My house has been in darkness ever since the latest firmware update to my lightswitches ...

    1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Have you tried turning them off and on again?

  28. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Downgrade rights

    What they REALLY need to do (I'd like this for any product I get) is simply:

    1) Downgrade* rights. That is, simply being able to find out what firmware version you have, the vendor having the latest plus older firmwares online to download, and be able to put it on the device (some devices allow this, some block putting older firmware versions on.)

    2) Being able to block upgrades. SInce obviously, putting older firmware on is useless if it's just going to autoupdate itself in a few minutes.

    *In this case, the "downgrade" would be more accurately an upgrade I suppose.

  29. I Am Spartacus

    Avoiding a firmware upgrade

    I have a Bose Soundbar 500. The app on my phone keeps telling me to upgrade. I keep ignoring it!

  30. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    Russian roulette firmware upgrades

    Do You feel lucky?' Well, do you, punk?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was wondering...

    Soon after reading the previous article about the dodgy updates breaking Bose soundbars I saw an ad for Bose headphones in the paper and I wondered if they too would require some update that could cause problems.

    My questions have been answered!

    Thanks El Reg!

  32. Herby

    On ony guy's VBlog...

    He mentioned that Bose items "Were built to a price". Then there is the advertising budget.

    Enough said.

  33. Tom 7 Silver badge

    A level frequency response at last.

    And much lower distortion in the bass region too.

  34. Welsh Skeptic

    I would have thought that the small claims court was the way to go. I have never used it but I understand it is very cheap and it has forced companies in many instances to do the right thing.

    Remember if the defence does not tun up you automatically win. So if all these customers filed separate complaints, BOSE would be completely over whelmed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Small Claims Court can be great but ...

      I have used the Small Claims Court about 4-5 times and have won every case, most of the time was over stuff not working and companies refusing to refund. If you show the email trail asking for a fix and the receipts, it's normally game over.

      Your best bet would normally be that the goods aren't of merchantable quality and under the Sales of Goods Act XXXX amended YYYY can I have my money back.

      However I would suspect that the firmware upgrade is covered by a different license and is probably not a contract (offer, consideration. acceptance, intention to create legal relationship), As the headphones worked until you applied the firmware upgrade, then your contract is probably null and void the moment you applied the upgrade. I know that people applied a Bose upgrade to a Bose set of headphones, but I'd suspect that the license agreement you clicked to download the firmware states clearly that Bose have no responsibility for whatever happens.

      I'm not saying this is fair or morally right, merely what the law might say on the subject. If somebody can post the license agreement that might help.

      I am 100% not a lawyer, and this advice is worth precisely what you have paid for it, but have been around the block a bit.

      Rob

  35. Andy3

    BOSE long ago stopped being a manufacturer of good-quality audio gear and has become little more than an over-hyped fashion brand. Their speakers and headphones are designed to appeal to the artificially-boosted bass & treble 'boom & tizz' brigade, a sound which bears little resemblance to reality. AND they have the gall to charge the Earth for it.

  36. password1234567890

    How much you wanna bet they don't know which software version represented the working noise/cancelling version, and don't have the binary firmware to restore the functionality. The fools and their money need to be reminded of caveat emptor.

  37. OscarMike56

    Good products but worrying glitches

    I have a Bose Mini-Soundlink 2 speaker and I had to send that back. They did fix and return it fully working. The problem was some firmware designed to lock down the device to protect the battery in the event of very low power; but once in this mode there was no way of getting the speaker functional again. It’d a great product and I also have Quiet Comfort 35 1 headphones but at these prices I wouldn’t expect to be sending stuff back

  38. Zero-Hour
    FAIL

    Different company, same garbage updates.

    I have exactly the same issues with SONOS equipment. Constant updates that add nothing to my equipment and cannot be refused when using their own controller application.

    I would fancy a quick listen and after 40 minutes of trying to get the update to apply have to give up. I eventually found a third party controller software and a hack to switch off the built in hidden WiFi mesh that would cause network loops and bring my network to a complete standstill.

    SONOS official position on this always seems to be “we don’t care, and have no intention of listening”

  39. Xenobyte

    Firmware update?

    I've had a set of QC35's for a couple of years and I've never heard about any firmware updates? I use them for wireless music when travelling to and from work.

    I guess it happens if you connect them to the USB port of a computer?

    I've always charged mine using a regular wall socket charger and never had any issues with them. Still better sound and better build quality than the Sennheisers I had before.

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