6 sound settings you shouldn’t ignore on the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II out of their case
(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

If you are in the market for a premium pair of noise-cancelling wireless earbuds, your search should probably start with the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II (although the excellent AirPods Pro 2 might have something to say about that).

Having spent a lot of time testing and living with Bose’s brilliant headphones, we know they are a cut above the competition as regards sound quality and noise-cancelling. They are also great to use. But did you know there are a few audio settings that can make your user experience even more satisfying?

They are contained with the Bose Music companion app and they're easy to miss. So, we have tested them and highlight them below with a brief explanation of their benefit and directions. You should be able to find them without any fuss.

1. Eartip fit test

Bose QC Earbuds II Eartip Fit Test menu

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  • Settings > Eartip fit test

The nice thing about the Bose is that you can mix and match the different sizes of eartips with stability bands so you get the best seal and most comfortable fit possible. To make sure there is no leakage of sound, Bose provides you with an ‘eartip fit test’. A test tone is played through the earbuds – it takes a split second to do and the headphones indicate whether or not you have got a satisfactory seal.

2. Modes

Bose QC Earbuds II modes menu

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  • Main menu > Modes > Create Mode

You can have up to four different Modes active at any one time, including the standard Quiet and Aware. Want to keep ANC to a minimum while you’re running? Or maybe you want enough noise-cancelling to cut out the rumble of your commute but still hear announcements? This is where you can customise to your heart’s content.

3. Remember My Mode

Bose QC Earbuds II Remember My Mode menu

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  • Settings > Modes > Remember My Mode

Listening on one of your preset audio modes, or in the ‘Aware mode’, when you turn them back on they automatically default to the quiet mode where the active noise-cancelling is in full effect. If you tend to start and end your day in anything other than quiet mode, then it’s worth switching this on.

4. Battery Level on Startup

Bose QC Earbuds II Battery Level on Startup menu

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  • Settings > Voice Prompts > Battery Level on Startup

This feature does what it says on the tin. A voice prompt tells you the percentage left in the earbuds so you know if it’s time to put some more juice in the charging case. You can see the percentages in each earbud in the Bose Music app, but this saves you the job of booting up the app every time you use them.

5. Auto Transparency

Bose QC Earbuds II Auto Transparency menu

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  • Settings > In-Ear Detection > Auto Transparency

It sometimes feels weird when you remove one earbud to hear an announcement but the one still in your ear is in full-on noise-cancelling mode. Enable Auto Transparency and that bud will drop to the lowest ANC level possible so you can hear more of what’s happening around you. In the same menu you will also find 'Auto Play/Pause', which automatically pauses playback when you remove an earbud and resumes when you put it back. This can definitely come in handy.

6. ActiveSense

Bose QC Earbuds II ActiveSense menu

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  • Main menu > Modes > Aware > ActiveSense

When you are listening in Aware mode you are getting complete transparency so you can hear external sounds better. ActiveSense automatically allows noise-cancelling to jump in if the noise around you gets too loud. We have found it can be a bit hit or miss, but we would definitely suggest you experiment to see whether you prefer it on or off.


Read our Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II review

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II finally have the upgrade I’ve been dreaming of

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II vs Apple AirPods Pro 2: which noise-cancelling earbuds are better?

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Andy Madden

Andy is Deputy Editor of What Hi-Fi? and a consumer electronics journalist with nearly 20 years of experience writing news, reviews and features. Over the years he's also contributed to a number of other outlets, including The Sunday Times, the BBC, Stuff, and BA High Life Magazine. Premium wireless earbuds are his passion but he's also keen on car tech and in-car audio systems and can often be found cruising the countryside testing the latest set-ups. In his spare time Andy is a keen golfer and gamer.