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About 3 years ago I got a Bose QC35 and an iPhone 7 at same time. Listening to my music was a new experience then, mostly because of Bose I think. Before I used an iPhone 3GS with the earphone that came with it. I also used 2015 MBP and iPad Air 2.

Last year I got the earpods and this year an iPhone 12 mini. With all these I tend to stick to the old iPad Air 2 with Bose headphones which sounds better for me. Is it just me? Is there something on iPad which might make it sound different/better than newer iPhone?

I listen to music on Apple Music only. While using Bose headphone it was always via Bluetooth. I've never used the Lightning adapter.

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  • Please expand more upon your question. Are you connecting over Bluetooth or 3.5mm jack (iPad Air 2) & Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter (iPhone 12)? Which headphones are you asking about—EarPods or Bose headphones? When do you notice a difference?
    – quartzic
    Nov 7, 2021 at 5:43
  • "Which headphones are you asking about—EarPods or Bose headphones?" I'm concerned with iPhone/iPad, independently of ear/headphone. "When do you notice a difference?" This is difficult for me to express in words, most of what I listen sounds better.
    – KcFnMi
    Nov 7, 2021 at 10:39

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The OS on each device manages which playback options and Bluetooth codec are selected. It’s possible you have an older Bluetooth module on one device vs the other, but we’d need to know the exact generation of hardware and nail down the iOS version on both devices.

You should be able to get a quality reading on both by controlling the audio file quality on both - play using files app or Apple Music and use wired connection to test the frequency response of the headphones with controlled source on both devices.

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  • I'm not saying quality is bad on any device, however I might be getting a better experience on one and I'm wondering if there is a reason for that.
    – KcFnMi
    Nov 13, 2021 at 5:39

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