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Beats Studio Pro vs Bose QuietComfort 45

It comes down to the three Cs: comfort, USB-C, and charge.
By
February 20, 2024
Beats Studio Pro
MSRP: $349.99
7.4
Check price
Positives
Sound quality
ANC
Battery life
USB DAC
Weight
Negatives
Fit
Comfort
Construction
Confusing indicators
Bose QuietComfort 45
MSRP: $329.00
7.9
Check price
Positives
Outstanding noise-cancelling
USB-C port
Comfortable over long periods of time
Wired and wireless playback
In-app EQ
Negatives
Sound quality
SBC and AAC only, no aptX
Only way to turn off ANC is to turn on Aware mode; no true off listening mode

It would be fair to assume that Beats and Bose are quite different at a glance. One company is known for releasing products in eye-catching colors to appeal to the “youth” market and collaborates with celebrities and influencers. The other produces utilitarian-looking black or white headphones aimed squarely at corporate business travelers.

However, the two have more in common than you might think: both tend to take their time between releases and stick to the formula once they have a winning design. So unsurprisingly, the Beats Studio Pro looks very much like the basic Beats headphones that have endured since 2006. Similarly, you can argue that the Bose QuietComfort 45 outwardly appears nearly identical to its predecessors.

But perhaps the lesson here is that it’s what they have on the inside that counts. Let’s see how these two sets of active noise canceling (ANC) headphones compare.

Editor’s note: this article was published on February 20, 2024, to add new charts and ensure the timeliness of the information within.

What’s it like to use the Beats Studio Pro compared to the Bose QuietComfort 45?

The shallow and relatively small ear cups of the Beats Studio Pro.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
There’s ample padding on the ear cups but little on the headband, and the Studio Pro clamp tightly.

The short version of the design and comfort analysis is that the QuietComfort 45 feels way better to wear than the Studio Pro. Unless your noggin and ears are smaller than average, the Studio Pro sport measly 59 x 40mm ear cups, which are shallow and aren’t going to fit many ears. That said, the Studio Pro folds down, weighs only 270g, and includes a decent soft storage case. Long-haired listeners, be careful that the Studio Pro headphones don’t snag your hair. Lest this come across as totally negative, the Studio Pro still feels like Beats headphones if you really love that feel.

You get a USB-C cable, headphone cable, and bag. Unusually, the Beats Studio Pro can play music using a USB-C connection. This USB-C listening capability means you can listen to uncompressed music over a digital connection. In addition, with compatible devices and media, you can enjoy head-tracked Spatial Audio on the Studio Pro.

A man uses the control cluster on the back of the Bose QuietComfort 45.
Pressing a button on the Bose doesn’t create a thud in your ears.

As for the QuietComfort 45, they feel better than the Beats because Bose took the time to iron out the design with previous iterations in the QuietComfort line. It’s in the name, so clearly, comfort is a priority with these headphones. While the Studio Pro weighs 270g, the QuietComfort 45 shaves that down at 240g. The clamping force is more tolerable, and the QuietComfort 45 fits a greater range of ear sizes and shapes than the Studio Pro. In the package, you get a travel case, a USB-A to USB-C cable (for charging only), and a 3.5mm-to-2.5mm TRS cable.

How do you control the Beats Studio Pro and Bose QuietComfort 45?

The LED indicator and USB-C port of the Beats Studio Pro.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
LED indicators let you know the status, but you’ll need to remove the headphones to see them.

Both the Beats Studio Pro and Bose QuietComfort 45 use buttons for controls. The Beats implementation of tactile buttons is not well executed because you can hear the buttons loudly in your ear every time you use them. Also, the force required to activate the buttons can break the seal around your ear.

If you listen to the Studio Pro with the USB-C DAC, you can directly access EQ presets via the button. That’s handy, but you need to take off the headphones to see which setting you’re on and have audio playing to get the EQ to change.

Beats Studio Pro controls:

ButtonSingle tapDouble TapTriple TapLong press
Button
Top area
Single tapDouble TapTriple TapLong press
Volume up
Button
Left logo
Single tap
Play / Pause
Double Tap
Next track
Triple Tap
Previous track
Long press
Voice assistant
Button
Bottom area
Single tapDouble TapTriple TapLong press
Volume down
Button
System button
Single tap
N/A
Double Tap
ANC/Transparency toggle
Triple Tap
N/A
Long press
Power

The QuietComfort 45, which also uses buttons, better places them so you don’t hear (or really feel) the click. The Studio Pro buttons sit smack in the middle of the housing, so you essentially press the button against your ear. With the QuietComfort 45, the buttons reside along the sides, so you will likely hear or feel the actuation.

Bose QuietComfort 45 controls:

ACTIONTOP BUTTON (right)MIDDLE BUTTON (right)BOTTOM BUTTON (right)ACTION BUTTON (left)
ACTION
One press
TOP BUTTON (right)
Volume up
MIDDLE BUTTON (right)
Play/pause, answer/end call
BOTTOM BUTTON (right)
Volume down
ACTION BUTTON (left)
Toggle ANC mode
ACTION
Two presses
TOP BUTTON (right)

MIDDLE BUTTON (right)
Next track
BOTTOM BUTTON (right)

ACTION BUTTON (left)
Mute call
ACTION
Three presses
TOP BUTTON (right)

MIDDLE BUTTON (right)
Previous track
BOTTOM BUTTON (right)

ACTION BUTTON (left)
N/A
ACTION
Press and hold
TOP BUTTON (right)

MIDDLE BUTTON (right)
Decline call
BOTTOM BUTTON (right)

ACTION BUTTON (left)
Voice assistant

Only the Studio Pro allows users to directly control EQ via the headphones, but that’s still limited to when the headphones are connected to a USB-C cable for playback. You still have the apps to access many of the features on both headphones.

Should you use the apps of either Beats Studio Pro or Bose QuietComfort 45?

A man holds up a smartphone with the Bose Music app open, showing the controls for the Bose QuietComfort 45.
Bose Music streamlines control if you own other Bose products under one app.

The Beats Studio Pro works directly in your iOS device’s system settings, like Apple headphones, or you can download the Beats app for Android. Some folks will prefer controlling the Studio Pro via their device rather than endure the loud noises of buttons in front of their ears. Functionally, the app is pretty minimal: listening modes, updates, battery life, Find My, and some command remapping is there, but that’s most of it. The app is basically a set-and-forget situation for most users. However, you can access Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio with head tracking on the Studio Pro, whereas the Bose QC 45 doesn’t have head tracking capabilities. Regardless of your device, your source and the media must be spatial audio-compatible.

Accompanying the Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones is the Bose Music app (iOS/Android). If you already have Bose products, they conveniently all use the same app. Similar to the Beats app, the features consist mainly of listening modes (weirdly, you can only choose between noise canceling and transparency), updates, and a simple equalizer. Rather irritatingly, the app requires permissions that include things like location history and call and message history. Without it, you won’t get to assign a voice assistant or gain updates. Bose tends to update its products with significant firmware improvements, which can take a while (like 20 minutes or longer).

How do the Beats Studio Pro and Bose QuietComfort 45 connect?

The contents of the Beats Studio Pro packaging.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
Beats omit the H1 and H2 Chips found in most Apple headphones and earbuds, as well as a couple of other Beats products.

One of the standout features of the Beats Studio Pro is that you can listen to music over USB-C. The headphones boast a USB DAC, so you can bypass unnecessary conversions between digital and analog or Bluetooth compression. The onboard EQ presets only work when using the USB-C input. This also makes them readily compatible with products that ditched the headphone jack but kept the USB-C port. More pedestrian are the AAC and SBC codecs transmitting over Bluetooth 5.3.

The Bose QuietComfort 45 uses a headphone jack and the same Bluetooth codec suite as the Studio Pro. You don’t get USB-C listening, and the QuietComfort 45 uses Bluetooth 5.1. The Beats Studio Pro wins out here.

Placing the Studio Pro near your unlocked, Bluetooth-enabled Apple device while holding down the Beats button for three seconds initiates pairing. The process is similar to Android phones, with the added step of selecting the headphones from the list of devices. It connects quickly.

Use these directions to pair the Bose QuietComfort 45.

  1. Slide the power/Bluetooth switch to the right. Hold it in that position for three seconds.
  2. The headset will announce, “Ready to connect,” and the status light near the volume controls will blink blue.
  3. Open your device’s Bluetooth menu; Settings > Bluetooth.
  4. Enable Bluetooth on your device.
  5. Select “QuietComfort 45” from the list of available devices.

You can also use the Bose Music app (iOS and Android) to pair your QC 45 to your phone or tablet.

Is battery life better on the Beats Studio Pro or Bose QuietComfort 45?

A photo of the USB-C port of the Bose QuietComfort 45.
On the QuietComfort 45, the USB-C port only charges the battery.

According to our standardized testing, the Beats Studio Pro lasts 31 hours, and 25 minutes to a full charge. While still no slouch, the Bose QuietComfort 45 reaches 24 hours and 49 minutes under the same conditions. You might stretch out the Studio Pro’s battery life by turning noise canceling off, but there’s no standard listening mode available on the QuietComfort 45.

Having a greater battery life tends to extend the overall lifespan of Bluetooth headphones, so besides reducing irritations like how frequently you need to recharge your headphones, the tangible outcome of a longer-lasting battery is it means fewer charging cycles, so they end up don’t end up impacting the environment as dramatically. Over time recharging a battery depletes the battery’s performance.

Does the Beats Studio Pro or Bose QuietComfort 45 block noise better?

A chart compares the overall isolation and noise canceling properties of the Beats Studio Pro versus the Bose QuietComfort 45.
These both get somewhat similar combined isolation and noise canceling results except with low-frequency noises.

The latest Beats Studio Pro certainly improves upon older Beats headphones’ isolation and ANC performance, but it’s a closer match against the QuietComfort 45. Isolation is quite good on the Studio Pro, blocking up to 50dB at 6kHz. The noise canceling works pretty consistently on low-pitched to midrange environmental noises, filtering 30dB at roughly 275Hz.

Similarly, the Bose QuietComfort 45 block is just shy of 50dB at 5500Hz. At 500Hz, the QuietComfort 45 ANC removes 35dB of noise, and the ANC removes more of the lowest-pitched noises than the Studio Pro. In any case, both do a great job of keeping you separated from the world compared to the aged Beats Studio3 Wireless, for instance. However, neither of these headphones can compete with the Apple AirPods Max noise cancelation even if the isolation of high-pitched sounds is better on both.

The Beats Studio Pro lay flat on a wooden surface.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
The biggest hurdle for getting good isolation on the Beats Studio Pro is that your ears might be too big.

If you listen to the Beats Studio Pro via the USB-C connection, you can’t use the ANC or transparency mode while playing music. This is a strange quirk.

Does the Beats Studio Pro sound better than the Bose QuietComfort 45?

A chart shows the Beats Studio Pro and Bose QuietComfort 45 frequency responses compared to our headphone preference curve.
Without EQ help, both of these headphones have too much treble output.

Set against our headphone preference curve, both the Studio Pro and QuietComfort 45 frequency responses show they supply a good amount of low-end and scoop the mids a touch more than we’d like. The distinction is in the treble region, where both exaggerate — the Beats to a lesser degree than the Bose headphones. On the Studio Pro, the treble ramps up most significantly above 5kHz. The QuietComfort 45, on the other hand, boosts treble around 6300Hz and significantly in the uppermost frequencies.

It looks like the Studio Pro sounds better, so let’s also consider the included equalizers on these headphones. Somewhat disappointingly, the Studio Pro only has EQ for when you listen using the USB-C connection. You get three presets. None of them get much closer to our preferred frequency response.

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For the best sound, the Bose QuietComfort 45 wins with the caveat that you use the Bose Music equalizer. You can drop the Bass to -5 and Treble to -10 to get very close to our headphone preference curve. In sum, the Beats Studio Pro sounds better by default, but the Bose QuietComfort 45 sounds the best if you use the app’s equalizer with our settings.

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Of the EQ settings available on the Beats Studio Pro, the Signature EQ sounds a lot like the default tuning, with only a tad more bass and less mid-volume. The Entertainment EQ is even more exaggerated on the lows and highs than the default and Signature EQ. For your podcasts and calls, the Conversation EQ significantly rolls off the lows.

Do the Beats Studio Pro or Bose QuietComfort 45 have a better microphone?

Most noticeable from the get-go is that the Beats Studio Pro mic has a very low sensitivity. Besides rolling off some highs, the mic sounds okay in ideal conditions. With the introduction of environmental noise, the Studio Pro mics tend to capture most of it. Likely the biggest issue is still the overall low output.

The Bose QuietComfort 45 mics sound mostly fine, if a little muffled at times. They do an okay job of filtering noisy streets, but as always, neither of these headphones gives you the same results as gaming headsets with boom mics.

Beats Studio Pro microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Bose QuietComfort 45 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Beats Studio Pro microphone demo (Street conditions):

Bose QuietComfort 45 microphone demo (Street conditions):

Which microphone sounds best to you?

764 votes

Beats Studio Pro vs Bose QuietComfort 45: Price and availability

The Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones on a statue head.
The QuietComfort 45 is more likely to go on sale because it’s not as new.

Beats Studio Pro sells for $349.99 at Amazon. For $279 at Amazon, you can also pick up the Bose QuietComfort 45, but usually, you can find these for less money.

Should you get the Beats Studio Pro or Bose QuietComfort 45?

The Beats Studio Pro hanging from a dart, thrown aside of the dartboard.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
The Beats Studio Pro works well with iOS and Android.

Due to overall comfort surpassing the Studio Pro, the Bose QuietComfort 45 is the better pick for most people. This isn’t to suggest the Beats Studio Pro are bad headphones (they aren’t), but besides USB-C listening and an extra six or so hours of battery life, most of the features are similar enough that we’d rather you stay comfy. Unless your head and ears are smaller than average, attaining the proper seal around your ears and avoiding the tight clamp of the Studio Pro is tricky.

Neither of these products is perfect. It’s a shame that the USB-C listening mode on the Beats Studio Pro doesn’t allow ANC to be active. On the flip side, it’s strange that you can’t access a standard listening mode (without ANC) on the Bose QuietComfort 45.

Otherwise, both headphones use buttons for controls, but the QuietComfort 45 has these placed in a better spot. Both use the same Bluetooth codecs, and their frequency responses sound similar by default. Take five minutes to set up the equalizer on the Bose; they will sound great.

See price at Amazon
Beats Studio Pro
Beats Studio Pro
Enhanced smartphone integration
Lossless and Spatial Audio
Big battery life
See price at Amazon
Bose QuietComfort 45
15%off
Bose QuietComfort 45
Excellent ANC
EQ adjustable
Comfortable ear pads

Frequently asked questions

Beats make the Studio Pro primarily out of plastic with some metal reinforcements. Whereas the Bose QuietComfort 45 is made with glass-filled nylon, “impact resistant” materials in the headband and metal rivets. Neither pair have an IP rating or MIL-STD rating for durability. For the glass-filled nylon, “impact resistant” materials, and a couple of years of proven performance under their belt, the QuietComfort 45 might have a slight edge. However, there’s not much reason to believe these would be significantly better built than the Beats Studio Pro.

The Bose QuietComfort 45 is the better choice for most people due to its superior comfort, especially for those with larger heads or ears. Both headphones have similar features, such as ANC, USB-C connectivity, and similar battery life. However, the Bose QuietComfort 45 has better noise canceling capabilities, especially for low-frequency noises. The Beats Studio Pro, on the other hand, has a USB-C DAC for uncompressed music playback and head-tracked Spatial Audio. The Beats Studio Pro has a tighter clamping force and smaller ear cups, which may not fit well for everyone. The Bose QuietComfort 45 has a more comfortable fit and better button placement. Both headphones have similar sound quality, but the Bose QuietComfort 45 has a better equalizer implementation than the Bose Music app.