A couple of months ago, as I plugged my earbuds, I realized that I had no pair of dedicated headphones for listening to music, or recording it for that matter. Even though I was still very happy with my current at the time, Bose IE2′s, also previously reviewed on OTN, I decided I upon attempting to find a pair of noise canceling cans, for recording a bit of trumpet playing or just simply to have a little peace and quiet in the car or at home. I sifted through online reviews of many sets and even asked the community at Lockergnome.net for help with the decision. But, the memory of listening to a lifelike orchestra while unheard sounds of a roaring jet played in front of me reminded me of the Bose QC15′s, which I had listened to at the store. After seeing them on sale for roughly 20% off, I had made my final decision and without further ado, the full review.
With the purchase of the QC15′s I expected the stellar quality and service provided to me the last time around, and I must say this product lives up to all of it. These headphones offer extremely clean and beautiful sound in a comfortable and light form factor, along with added noise cancellation, allowing you to virtually hear nothing but your music playing. With that said, you will have to deal with replacing those pesky AAA’s and a $300 price tag, but if you are a fan of good sound like I am then you are in for a treat.
Firstly, I’m going to start off with price, since you have to be able to pay for the product before you can buy it! And with that said the price is unfortunately nothing but a turn off for many customers. My partial remedy to this, either buy on eBay or buy factory renewed (basically new) like I did from Bose for about $30 off. When I bought them Bose also had the factory renewed products on sale, putting me in the $240 range, which was better than eBay! The problem that many have with the full price is that it is estimated that it could only cost 10% of the $300 to manufacture the headphones due to outsourcing. Even with that said, when you put them on the price will suddenly become adequate, because you are listening to some serious sound reproduction.
In the box
Inside of the box you’ll see the nice included hard shell carrying case and your various manuals. Simply unzip the case and you’ll see the headphones along with the airline adapter, detachable 3.5mm gold plated audio cable, as well as a few courtesy cards resting inside so you can show off where you got your new headphones to anyone who inquires more about them.
The picture above, show’s everything included except for the now standard iPod/iPhone cable, which allows the device to make phone calls as a headset or move between songs with the small inline, Apple remote-like device. Unfortunately not included are the 1/8 stereo jack adapter and extension, which were included in the previous iterations.
Sound and Comfort
For this pair of headphones I am going to mix the sound and comfort categories for obvious reasons. Firstly, addressing sound, I can assure you, after testing various genres of music, from Pachelbel’s Canon in D to some RHCP and even some Cee Lo Green, these headphones preform excellently in all categories. The mids and highs are quite good and the bass will rattle your eardrums. The bass response surprisingly is superior to my Tritton Ax Pro’s, which have dedicated 40mm subs! The only con I have here is that the drivers beneath the ear cups tend to rattle at high volumes. Putting the cushions back on your head seems to mollify the rattling, however I would suggest keeping the volume to a good listening level. Other than music these headphones have performed well with video games as well. The noise cancelation gives an added effect for playing your favorite Xbox 360, PS3 or PC game. And speaking of noise cancelation, it is fantastic. The noise cancelation is most definitely the selling point and arguably the best thing about the product. Bose’s noise cancelation is by far the best on the market, and combined with wonderful and immersive sound, the headphones simply can’t be beat.
Before I wrap up the topic of sound, I would like to address the critics of headphones. Many critics of the product will argue that the headphones’s sound could be changed in certain areas, such as the mids and highs, but there is a key element to my review that others doing the same thing do not have. What this is, is the ability to play music. In my opinion, being a musician allows one to know respective sounds, and know when they are reproduced correctly. When listening to Yiruma, a famous pianist, for example, you can only hear the piano when he plays because he is a soloist. But now, take Maynard Ferguson for example, a famous trumpet player and lead in his jazz orchestra. When I listen to him on my headphones, each instrument sounds separated, sort of like a soloist, but complied to make an entire arrangement of instruments. It is exactly like what you ears would naturally be able to perceive in a concert, but the headphones allow you to do the same thing. The noise cancelation basically allows you to be the only one at that concert.
Next, when addressing the headphones from a comfort standpoint, they are nothing short of their name. The headphones could be worn for hours without any issue. Some may say the headphones feel cheap, but I say they feel light. The cushions are made of extremely soft leather, on the outside, and foam on the inside. The headband is fully adjustable, and the pivoting and rotating earcups can be fitted to any human head.
[review pros="Really nice design, good sound" cons="Expensive" score=85 title:"The Verdict"]
The Bottom Line
If you like playing or listening to music, and don’t want any distractions while doing it, buy these headphones!