Sony MDR 1000X vs Bose QC35

Getting a nice pair of headphones is really hard – regardless why you need them for. I’ve been searching for the proper pair for a couple of months now, and my biggest internal debate was over Sony MDR 1000X vs Bose QC35. Although at first sight it seemed like an easy win for the Sony MDR, I was amazed by what the Bose QC35 can offer too. So, in this article I’ll make it easy for you, knowing how hard it was for me. If you are like me and want to get the absolute best and obsess over the smallest details, here is everything you need to know.

In this post, I’ll review the overall quality of each of these headphones, including their sound, build, construction, style and most important features. So, sit back and relax, here is how to make the proper choice.

Sony MDR-1000XSony MDR 1000X and Bose QC35 Overview

Sony’s MDR-1000X is not the most inexpensive pair of headphones, but it still has a very nice value for the price. Especially if we consider that it packs some really nice features. You cannot possibly find these hi-tech features in other headphones within this price range that is for sure. You don’t even need to add a special mobile app or even drivers for that matter. Although this pair I not the most budget friendly, it is still a nice addition to have around for the times when you need to listen to some good music.

On the other hand, Bose as a brand is very well-known between all audiophiles as some of the best noise-canceling units. They’ve been on the market for a long time, and they never ceased to amaze sound lovers. The Bose QC35 is in fact, a wireless unit that offers great noise canceling features too. It is about the same price as the Sony MDR 1000X, but it is quite different in the design.

Sound Quality

High-quality sound is very hard to achieve on active noise-cancelling pairs of headphones. Of course, this is because of their overall build technologies. So, if you are looking for a headphone that will completely eliminate all external noise, you should know that this won’t result in the best quality of sound within your ears either. Here is what the situation is like with the two headphones we are reviewing.

First of all, I have to admit, I’m very impressed with the natural sound of the ANC Sony MDR-1000x headphones. I found that the sound is very warm and rich, and has just the right amount of punch and bite. The sound is also very detailed, which is a great plus. However, they aren’t very analytical or neutral as we’d all like them to be.

On the other hand, the Bose QC35 offers a great active mode sound. Compared to the Sony headphones, the bass is a bit punchier and more aggressive. Also, I noticed that the sound isn’t quite as weighty as the sound of the 1000X, and doesn’t feel so natural. I noticed that the Active EQ is also used here, and it adjusts the different frequency levels at different volume levels. Still, what I didn’t like about the Bose is that the sound is significantly hollow when they are unpowered and on a wire.

Ease of Use and Comfort

I think that there is a unified opinion regarding comfort and ease of use between these two units of headphones. Sony MDR 1000X is probably the absolutely best and most comfortable pair of headphones that ever existed. They are very lightweight and they rest easily on the ears.

In fact, the Bose QC35 is a bit lighter and less clampy. However, the biggest downside to the Bose headphones is their stiff headband. It can be quite uncomfortable to have these headphones on for a longer period of time with this headband. It simply hurts. 

Bose QC35

The MDR-1000X’s headband is a very comfortable one for comparison. There is a memory foam padding on the ear pads too. Also the weight is well-balanced and they are great for using for longer walks or trips. Lastly, they have somewhat shallow cups, but they are filled with really soft foam.

Build Quality & Design

Bose as a brand is known for using high-quality materials, and the QC35 is nothing less than this. It has a stainless steel headband reinforcement and a glass-filled nylon plastic. Also, this one is stronger than other plastics. It even has a soft automotive fabric on the headband pad. You notice their quality from the first moment you hold them in your hands. Even after a longer use, they tend to keep the good quality and they simply don’t get damaged easily.

The Sony headphones on the other hand, look more luxuriously too. You can see the metal as it is highly exposed. Also, it has a glossy coating too. The only plastic that I was able to notice was the one on the edge of the ear-cup and on the adjusting arms. This pair has a nice texture, and with the leather-like cups, they felt like a very expensive pair. Still, inside the headband, the Sony MDR 1000X has plastic which isn’t of the highest quality making them prone to damage.

Durability wise, both of these headphones have replaceable ear pads which adds to their overall longevity. However, the pads on the Bose are much easier to replace than the ones on the 1000X. All in all, the category of the best durability and build quality wins the Bose QC35.


Bose has a significant amount features in their headphones that Sony doesn’t have, this is what you need to know. The QC35 has built-in active EQ for instance. It  adjusts sound levels so that you get the same signature regardless of the volume. I personally loved this feature. This feature also offers some decent detailing in the sound and the dynamics are simply amazing. Additionally, I loved that you can connect these headphones to two different devices simultaneously. Last but not least, the Bose has another unique feature – the smartphone app which allows you to switch between the paired devices.

On the other hand, the QC35 features basic buttons that allow you to control the volume and the playback. They are incredibly responsive and feel nice too. Also, the 1000X has cool touchpad controls. There are different motions for playing and pausing, as well as for track skipping.

Then again, if you are looking for something lighter but still not compromising on audio quality, perhaps an in-ear monitor is your option. You can find a number of suitable options by reading our article on the best IEM under 200 by following this link.

Sony MDR 1000X vs Bose QC35

Sony MDR 1000X vs Bose QC35 – Verdict

If you are looking for a high-quality pair of headphones, you won’t be wrong for choosing either the Sony MDR 1000X or the Bose QC35. Sony MDR 1000X vs Bose QC35, Here is the biggest difference that you should use as a guide:

If you want a high-end pair of headphones offering a great variety of different features, the Bose QC35 is probably the right choice for you. These are high-tech, incredibly versatile and great for multiple purposes.

However, if you are in need for a regular pair of headphones that will produce amazing sound and will offer only the basic, but high-quality features, the Sony MDR 1000X is the choice you should make.

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