Bose Noise Canceling Headphones - Which Model & a few Qs

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by BJB Productions, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. BJB Productions macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Nov 10, 2008
    Hi all,
    I'm finally going to invest in some noise canceling headphones. I'll be taking a trip overseas within the coming months and I would really like to have them for the long plane trip. Also, just for general current Sony headphones are on their last leg.

    I'm going for Bose, and I want to make sure I do this purchase right, so I've got a few Qs:

    - There's a lot of models; which are the best? I've read Quiet Comfort 15.
    - How's sound quality? While I'm not mastering band tracks, I do some audio work and video work, and I'm an audio guy so I"m a little picky. I want these to sound as good as possible.

    Those are my main two Qs. Look forward to hearing what everyone has to say. Oh, might I also mention I would like ones that cover my entire ear, not just sit on top. Muffs, I guess is the word.

  2. AlanShutko macrumors 6502a

    Jun 2, 2008
    They actually only have two current models: the QC15, which are around the ear muffs, and the QC3 which are on-ear. You might still be able to find the around-the-ear QC2s, but those are no longer in production.

    The sound on the Bose is quite good but not great, and you can easily find better non-noise-cancelling headphones. But in an airplane, your listening is going to be compromised anyway.

    I will offer an other alternative, though. I moved away from my Bose QC2s in favor of an Etymotic hf3. The sound isolation of the in-ear phones is just as good as the Bose, in my experience, and the sound quality is great. More importantly for me, they're much smaller and easier to cart around. Unlike the Bose, I use them when I'm not traveling. The bose were so bulky they only came out for plane flights.
  3. BJB Productions thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Nov 10, 2008
    Thanks. Good to hear about other products as well. I have considered getting some high-end Shure in-ear buds, but still from what I've tried they just don't beat the cancelation that Bose gives, and I'm used to around the ear muffs.

    (I've used the E5s)
  4. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    Don't even consider buying any QC2s - new or used. The plastic used in the swivel part of the headset becomes brittle and shatters extremely easily.

    Bose have been dicks about replacing them, so I've gone from a Bose fan to an enemy over the last few years. Google it, you'll see what I mean.

    I expect that they fixed the issue in the QC3s, but I'll never buy a pair based on how they handled the QC2 mess.

    Having said that, I do like my duct-taped QC2, they've gone with me on dozens upon dozens of flights and they've done what I bought them to do. As the other poster mentioned, they are actually pretty bulky to carry around.

    I'll be looking at the Etymotic in-ear monitors. Note that the isolation should be pretty damn good with these also, once you get a good seal you should be all set, but people have told me that it can become uncomfortable to wear the in-ear sets for more than a few hours.
  5. The Artemis macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2011
    Having owned the Etymotic hf3s for several months now, I can highly recommend them. The noise isolation is superb. It definitely takes a bit of time to get used to how deep they sit within your ear though.
  6. appleguy123 macrumors 604


    Apr 1, 2009
    15 minutes in the future
    I own Bose QC 15 headphones, here are my thoughts:

    -They're a lot bigger than you think, and so is the carrying case. The large carrying case made me just carry them in my bag, which has several times caused one of the speakers to permanently stop working(3rd pair being sent out to my house as we speak).

    -The build quality is only acceptable. I expected more from a $300 pair of headphones. The detachable wire didn't sit flush with the rest of the headphones, and that same wire seems to wear out during normal use.

    -The sound seems pretty great to me. I listen to mainly classical music, and the instrument separation is really awesome!(I often hear parts of my favorite songs that I've never heard before).

    -Noise canceling is great. It's a lot like being underwater when you just switch on the headphones, and when you have some music on(even at a low volume) it's almost complete sound isolation. I can't even really hear people around me yell.

    -The batteries aren't rechargeable. Just keep in mind that the QC3 batteries are.

    (edit)-I also listen to a lot of audiobooks, and for some reason these headphones seem to emphasize breathing a lot in the narration. I can't explain why this happens, but it's a real phenomenon. Otherwise voices sound great.

    (edit 2)- Customer support has been absolutely amazing to me! If you have any problem at all they will issue you a new pair, with accessories and all(you have to return the old headphones), and a new 1 year of warranty.

    I hope that these observations are helpful to you!
  7. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    Ya, I'm going to join in on beating this dead horse and say you should skip the Bose. They are quite overpriced for the sound quality. I own a pair of the Etymotic's and they are as good as you've heard. The noise reduction is tremendous, 45 db of attentuation with no batteries needed. And they will drop into your pocket, thats how small they are. I think you owe it to yourself to give them a shot.

    If not, at least continue your search beyond just the Bose. I know they are all the rage, but there are such better options out there.
  8. sk8mash macrumors 6502a


    Dec 1, 2007
    I think the QC3's for a few reasons. They are very small, yet still provide amazing noise cancellation (many people say the best from any noise cancelling headphone). The sound is a lot tighter and crisper than the QC2's. The rechargeable batteries and charger are good. The battery lasts for a long time and is much more convenient than using AAA's.

    After using the over ear and the on ear I don't know why you would go over ear. They're bigger, bulkier, and don't sound as good. I love how small the QC3's are.
  9. Tonewheel macrumors 6502a

    Sep 28, 2007
    I had a pair of QC2's, bought when they first came out. Three years later, the plastic piece on the headband above the left earcup cracked, rendering them unwearable. It turns out this was a design defect that Bose would not admit to, yet they replaced them free of charge...even paying for the return shipping.

    Four years later, the second pair broke in the exact same place. This time, Bose wouldn't replace them FOC; they wanted $99 as a reduced price for the QC-15's. I complained loudly, and they suggested I go to the local Bose store and plead my case, as the store manager has the ability to make a case-by-case call. The Bose store is close, I went in, the manager was great, and I got the QC-15's no charge.

    - The design of the QC-15's is more robust in the area that kept breaking on the QC2's. More flexible, no problems.
    - Personal preference is for the over-the-ear cups as opposed to on-ear. I've tried both and feel the over-the-ear cups do a better job of noise canceling.
    - The QC2's were pretty good at noise canceling, but on a plane you always heard the low hum frequencies of the engines. The first time I used them on a flight I was AMAZED at the difference from the QC2's. The noise canceling is 200% better, which of course makes the listening experience better as well. This, for me, sold me on the QC-15's. And they are extremely comfortable; you'll fall asleep wearing them.
    - The QC-15 carrying case is much thinner than that of the QC2.

    Good luck with your decision!
  10. mbmobile macrumors member

    Nov 1, 2010
    Why do not you consider The Sennheiser PXC450?

    I own a pair for more than 3 years now, I've made at least 50 intercontinental flights with them and even on the oldest Boing 767 (flying on it, for me, can be compared to an 8h motorcycle drive with no helmet) have always performed exceptionally.

    Give it a try, I owned some Boses before and, to me, the Sennheiser are a way better.

    Just my 2 cents.

  11. BJB Productions thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Nov 10, 2008
    Thanks for all the great reviews/suggestions. I'm definitely not just going to jump the gun and go to Bose... Will look at others and decide which is my favourite.

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