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article imageOp-Ed: Why the Bose QuietComfort 2 Headphones Don't Deserve Your Dollars Special

By David Silverberg     Nov 17, 2009 in Technology
Audiophiles are often hot for Bose products, but their noise-cancelling QuietComfort 2 Headphones are only slightly better than their predecessor, and they definitely don't live up to the $300 price tag.
With the holiday season approaching, some travellers look for a way to drown out the noise from a plane, train or automobile. Often the premier choice is a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, and one brand that usually wins street cred is Bose. They recently released their QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones and tested out a pair for several weeks.
First, you can't help but love how the headphones look. They're sleek in a silver coating, and are quite light. The Q15 is big, so they might not fit in your jacket pocket, but this accessory isn't for a quick stowaway. After all, the around-the-ear cushions are quite large, and Bose says it uses a proprietary technology "to establish a critical acoustical seal."
So now it comes to the sound test. We tried out several types of music, from classical (Bach) to old rock (Led Zeppelin) to rap (k-os) to funk (Parliament Funkadelic). For each track, the bass was juicy and the noise reduction built into the headphones was impressive...but only when some of the louder music played. When I rocked out with some Bach, outside drilling could still infiltrate my eardrums.
We have one main qualm about the Q15 headphones, and it's difficult to explain: the music almost felt distant at times, as if it weren't truly surround sound. It didn't feel as booming and powerful compared to other headphones we enjoy, such as Sony's MDR-V600. We believe the Q15 headphones are only a marginal successor to the QuietComfort 3 headphones.
The Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones
The Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones
Courtesy Bose
Rest assured, Bose will be promoting the Q15 as a top-line model. Just look at the price -- $300 US, $350 CAN. Not exactly a bargain product for the recessionary holidays. Then again, audiophiles don't put a price on their obsession, and Bose has staked their position in that high-end camp.
Another note: Battery life is pegged at 35 hours, but our tests found it conked out way below that, closer to 27 hours of running time. It runs on a AAA battery, so at least the Q15 allows listeners to to easily swap batteries without any kind of proprietary technology.
Overall, the Bose Q15 headphones work well to shut off the outside world when you're playing some heavy tunes, but the sound isn't as high-end as the company claims. If you want to save $300 on a holiday present, don't bother shelling out for the Q15. It's a lot of money for little return.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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