Simplify your product - your overengineered software is ruining the hardware

This is not going to be another 'phantom sound' complaint thread, although there's reason for it - I'm yet another customer who noticed recurring pattern sounds in nearly every sound which I involuntarily fixate my attention on, ruining any chance of rest.


Rather than just describe the problem yet again, I want to comment on where the product missed the mark at a higher level.


I know these kinds of recurring pattern noises must be all but unavoidable with compressed, short, pre-recorded audio loops. Even the new brown/pink/white noise loops exhibit this problem (in fact they are even more noticeable because their loops are shorter). Which is exactly the point - what product decisions forced you into that solution? What assumptions influenced those decisions?


I'd like to think I'm a target user for this product. My partner snores and I'm a very light sleeper. Bose offers one of, if not the only, low-profile battery-powered active noise headphones made with this problem in mind. Let me walk you through my desired usage of your product:


1. I get into bed

2. I remove the buds from their charging case and put them in my ears

3. The buds emit noise which masks low-to-mid-frequency snoring sounds

4. I fall asleep


Here are a list of features entirely irrelevant to that use case:


1. Being able to load around 10 different noise sounds onto the buds

2. Using my phone to switch between sounds instantly

3. An alarm feature which doesn't work unless I use my phone

4. Anything aimed at active usage like 'meditation' or 'focus' - is the product not for sleeping?


I truly don't understand the presence of these features or how they contribute to the solution of my problem. When I'm lying in bed falling asleep, I do not need to switch between 10 or more different soundscapes. I don't desire to sit up, turn on my phone's bright screen, wait 1 minute for the buds to connect, and squint at the interface without my glasses to start the noise (is there any reason I would have removed the buds from their case other than to activate the noise? Why do I need to use your app?). I definitely don't desire to have to turn my phone back on after 30 minutes of restlessness because I start to pick up on a phantom noise in a 3-second loop and now need to switch to a different audio track.


A product designed for my (presumably common) use case does one thing well:


1. When the buds are removed from the charging case, onboard firmware begins generating infinite pseudorandom noise at a particular volume level and frequency range

2. The user may open the app to adjust the volume or the frequency range, which are saved to the buds onboard memory for subsequent uses. Most users will only need to do this once when they set up the product.


No superfluous features, no need to bring my phone in the bedroom, no need to tinker with layers of UIs for 'phone-free mode,' and most importantly: no compressed audio files, no loops, no subtle noise patterns to fixate on. Your mobile app team also is freed up to work on something else, they really aren't needed here.


Recommended reading for your product team. The user journey illustrated in the pictures is practically the same as the one for SleepBuds.


Simply: there's no need to fit multiple noise loops on the buds' onboard memory. There's no need to make the loops less than 5 seconds to accommodate this non-feature. There's no need for a fancy app UI to control this non-feature. You've overcomplicated a simple solution: play random noise in masking frequencies using your already excellent hardware.


If it's too much effort to write a few lines of firmware (here, use this) for the buds which produces generative noise instead of playing pre-recorded sounds - or if your product team simply can't bear to cut the superfluous features and thus remove from the marketing page bullet list - at least give us an option to load a nice, long noise loop which uses up all of the available onboard bud storage. Anything more than a few minutes should avoid pattern-recognition and fixation. Then release the generative noise product as "Sleep Buds Lite" later and collect another $200 from your captive market. You can rebrand the Buds II as "Sleep/Meditation/Focus Buds for Hypothetical Users who Scroll Through Soundscapes on their Phones in Bed"


Sorry for all the snark in this post - wouldn't you know it, I didn't sleep too well last night.


Bose product name

Sleep Buds II





Firmware Version


App Version

3.0.9 (383)


What devices were you using that were affected and what version are they on
The buds themselves, with a Pixel 3a


Detailed description of the issue and steps to reproduce

Play any of the following sounds and listen for the associated unwanted noise pattern:

- Warm Static (pattern of 5 beeps, last higher in pitch, right ear)

- Elements (high-pitched metalic scratching pattern throughout, center)

- Crosswind (similar high-pitched scratching, center-right)

- Rumble (high-pitched chiming scattered throughout, center)

- Sand (two-tone repeating pattern, right ear)

- Mist (ring followed by a chirp, left ear)


What environment do you experience the issue in?

Silent room at night, or a room with snoring partner


When did you start to experience the issue? Did it work correctly previously?

As soon as I noticed any of the repeating patterns, they became impossible not to recognize unless I'm distracted


Any troubleshooting steps you took

- Forgot and re-paired buds

- Used the case reset button

- Placed buds back in case and took them out

- Switched tracks back and forth

- Used phone-free and non-phone-free modes


I’ve been telling them the solution to the repetitive loop problem for around ten months now. They’re simply not interested in working with us to perfect the product and now they’re shutting down these community pages just to prove that point even more than their lack of support and action. 

The buds can only store sounds and not generate any thing as no link to the phone where the audio file you suggest would be generated. My solution over 11 months ago was to provide a sound studio in the app where we could edit the layers of a sleep sound that we could then export to the buds as a compatible file. This would be simple for any tech company with an adequate software and app development team (spoiler: Bose are not such a company and invest almost nothing in app and firmware support compared to the amount of products they sell, at the prices they sell them at. This is supposed to be a premium brand but the software team proves that to not be the case on pretty much every product Bose sell). Failing that, my other simpler solution, and one you have also come up with (it ain’t rocket science Bose) is to allow for different length of sound files to be uploaded to the buds. If someone really wants 10 sounds, they can have ten poor quality sounds. You want just 5, then have the choice of a medium size file, but you want one sound (which most of us will only use the one we like night after night) then we can take up the full capacity of the Sleepbuds with one single, long loop higher quality sound. They would literally not have to change anything on the buds firmware to implement this as the buds don’t know that ten files are loaded, it just knows it’s memory is full up so doesn’t care how you fill that up. All they need to do is add the longer medium and long length files with a disclaimer that the longest file will only allow you to have one sound saved to the buds, and the medium size will allow around 5 sound files at once. 

The solution has been on this forum and with Bose since the product launch, but they continue to arrogantly ignore the customers requests for an improved product and instead have released one update of additional sound files in a year that all had the same issues as before. They could improve this product to near perfection, but they chose not to and to ignore their customer feedback. 

I share your frustration, but have simply given up on Bose ever listening to or caring about their customers needs. 

Sounds like I expected. Unfortunate.


I will say I was probably ambitious about firmware that generates noise - I sorta naively guessed generating noise directly would be about the same amount of power drain as decoding an audio file, but I imagine to push the battery life as far as possible corners are already cut, and generating data would simply draw too much power to last the night. So I'll concede that.


But you're quite right that just pushing longer loops seems completely reasonable.


Still love my QC35s, and I'm grateful to SleepBuds for helping me sleep for over a year. Too bad once I found the quirks in every sound they're now headed for the drawer or resale.

I've already ordered a pair of competing buds which emit "proprietary pink noise" which I am admittedly skeptical of, but I'm looking forward to the fact that they don't have an app at all!