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Why not the Bose Quiet Comfort 15

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone, I am currently considering in purchasing a pair of Bose QC15 within the next 6 months and I am a noob at the audio area. I know people say that Bose is overprice for sub par quality, so I am asking if anyone can suggest a good pair of headphones with pretty good noise cancellation and don't stand out too much (subtle design). My price range could go up to $300 but I can't justify spending 300 for the Bose but if there is something out there for cheaper with the same specs, that would be great. Thanks everyone.
post #2 of 19
I like Grado but they are not noise canceling. You could go to http://www.head-fi.org/forum/ and ask your question there. Lots of headphone info over there.
post #3 of 19
The general concensus is that Bose speakers are overpriced. Headphones also carry a premium but I have used the QC15s and I can give them nothing but praise. Back when I was looking, I couldn't swallow the price of the QC15 so I ended up buying the Sennheisser PX250 which are great. After a couple of years I ended up switching to a pair of Shure noise isolating earphones that I would personally recommend. The small size of the Shures were the main reason for the switch since they ended up costing just as much as the QC15.

One thing to think about if you are using the headphones for travelling is that the case for the QC15 is pretty big as the headphones don't fold down as much as the Sennheisers. The design of the QC15 is a little nicer though.
post #4 of 19
If you want noise cancelling portable headphones, the Bose is actually very decent.

If you don't need noise cancelling, there are lots of alternatives that sound better for less money.

Personally I use in-ear-monitors that also block a similar amount of noise whenever I travel or need to be on-the-go.
post #5 of 19
When I think of Bose noice cancelling headphones, all I can think of is a certain totally failed military contract regarding such product, and them then selling said useless product to civilians...

I'd simply steer clear of anything to do with Bose. I'd also second the Head-Fi.org link suggestion - lots of headphone info to be found there.
post #6 of 19
If you're willing to spend around $300 for headphones, think about in ear canal phones. There are a number of these that have much much better sound than the Bose QC15 and.....
  1. They are tiny and easy to transport in a pocket or backpack or briefcase.
  2. They are almost unnoticeable when you're wearing them so you don't look like a dork in public.
  3. They don't require a battery so you're never in danger of losing either the music or the noise cancellation and you don't have carry spare batteries or remember to charge anything.
  4. The noise cancellation can actually be better than an active system like Bose in both attenuation and frequency spectrum.
  5. They are a very easy load to drive even with a portable device like an iPod.

I use the older Shure E4C. The current Shure equivalent SE425 can be bought for around $300. You can purchase custom fitted earpieces if you want.

Etymotic makes the ER4PT for even less money and it's another great canal phone. Ultimate ears is another excellent brand.

If you haven't tried canal phones or don't think you can live with sticking something in your ear canal, don't give up on em until you've tried em. They can be very very good. I never travel without my Shures. The one caveat with this class of headphones is that you shouldn't wear them while walking around in public. The hearing attenuation can be dangerous (traffic) and even a little disorienting at times.
post #7 of 19
Not to open a can of worms here, but honestly I would ignore any advice that outright trashes a specific "thing" out of turn due to a name. Go to Bose's website, and locate a retailer near you that sells the headphones you'd like; go try them out. For the money we're talking about here, this isn't an unrealistic expectation. If you live out in the sticks (and believe me, I've been there too) - Bose does let you return stuff without any hassle up to 30 days (it might be 90, I don't remember) as long as you pay shipping one way - they'll refund everything you spent (including original shipping) so that may be an option as well.

Regarding other noise canceling solutions, I like my canal-phones for live work, but they only give me around -15 dB (I also like to hear the system I'm running, instead of just a monitor mix; call me crazy) - with a little EQ adjustment they're very isolating on my daily train ride (specifically, I boost the midrange and cut the top-end; it lets me not have to listen to XYZ talk to ABC on their phone for the entire hour without running the headset so loud that I have a headache when I get to my destination). I've tried the Sennheiser on/over-ears (excepting the very expensive 350/450 models) and they work as well - honestly any differences you're likely to encounter are trivial until you get online, and it suddenly becomes the last crusade - find something that you find to be comfortable, that you can reasonably afford, that suits your needs, etc and then buy it; simple as pie.

If you must know what canal-phones I've got, they're made by Denon and you can read all about them here:
http://usa.denon.com/US/Product/Page...c-91cf77c034e3
post #8 of 19
If you require active noise cancellation, it actually doesn't get better than the Bose.

Sennheiser, Audio-Technica, Denon, and Creative have some active noise canceling headphones with better audio quality, but don't cancel sound out as well.
post #9 of 19
I vote canal phones all the way. smaller, cheaper and sound just as good and probably better than what you are going to get for $300 in a NC
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12danny21 View Post

Hello everyone, I am currently considering in purchasing a pair of Bose QC15 within the next 6 months and I am a noob at the audio area. I know people say that Bose is overprice for sub par quality, so I am asking if anyone can suggest a good pair of headphones with pretty good noise cancellation and don't stand out too much (subtle design). My price range could go up to $300 but I can't justify spending 300 for the Bose but if there is something out there for cheaper with the same specs, that would be great. Thanks everyone.

Why not Bose? Because they present artificial brightness at the expense of clarity. With the Bose QC15, there is audible distortion that is more than just 'nit-picking' - it's distracting on a number of CDs I listen to.

The killer test track for me is a lossless rip of John Coltrane's Blue Train (Hoffman/Gray SACD). The title track contains an opening sequence of horns and winds that is very challenging to reproduce without noticeable distortion.

I own sets of all of the phones discussed in this thread:

- Sennheiser PCX-250 - forget these; they don't sound good, the on-ear cups hurt on long flights and the noise cancelling is all but worthless for air travel.

- Bose Quiet Comfort 15 - by far the best comfort on long flights, with the best noise canceling. Despite the downgrade in SQ, I went to these to save my sanity. See below; I was flying upwards of 200,000 miles at my last job.

- Shure SE420 - accurate, clear sound reproduction with warm mid-range, crisp highs and credible bass. And the Blue Train track? I'm listening to it now and after all that time on the QC 15s, I am in heaven. However, for comfort, they fall down; the ritual of putting them in, as well as cleaning off the ear wax, gets really tiring. Plus, on overseas flights, the in-ear-canal buds start to actually hurt.

So, if you don't travel too much, get the Shure SE420s. If you really need the noise canceling and are flying, like, 100K+ miles a year, get the Bose.
post #11 of 19
Probalby not what anyone would want to do...but I use hearing protection when I'm on my backhoe/loader or tractor... or weedeating/chainsawing. (I guess I'm a real Paul Bunyan type! lol)

Years ago I bought some expensive "Pro Ear II's" if I remeber. Expensive and I could also plug my Ipod into them. Over the years, they wore out.

I was going to replace them. By happenstance, in the meantime, I had acquired some Klipsch Custom 3 in ear monitors. Then my lightbulb went off.

Today, I put the IEM's in while doing any of the work above. I also went out and bought some Peltor brand hearing protection muffs. I bought the most quiet they had. I don't know the rating on them but these are the same ones that the guys on the tarmac at airports might use.

So, I have my IEM's in my ears. These alone quiet a lot of ambient noise. I then put the Peltors over them and have a double layer of protection AND what ever I want to listen to is playing nicely inside my head.

The Peltors were something like $25 and the IEM's were something like $200 (I forget)

It's not the fancy carrying case situation that the bose might give you but I'll put the sonics of it and the protection against external noise of it up to about anything than an anechoic chamber.
post #12 of 19
i really enjoy the QC-15's i use them on flights and for quiet listening at home. They were expensive but i'd say the comfort and isolation they provided on one transatlantic flight was worth the entire cost. I tried on a friends sennheisers awhile back but they were pretty invasive w/ the noise cancellation.

I don't own any other bose speakers besides a couple of alarm clock/radios which i either won in a raffle or was gifted to me, i wouldn't have bought them $$...

I would not and do not use them for my hi-fi system.
post #13 of 19
I don't mean to open up a stale thread but I was just given a gift card for the Apple store and I didn't need another iPad/iPhone/iWhatever but I did need some new headphones. I had never tried noise cancelling headphones before so I tried a few different brands (not just the ones in the Apple store I might add). I found that the QC15 from Bose was noticeably better at noise cancelling than any other set that I tried. I have to agree that if you don't need/want noise cancelling then you can get better sound for less money, but these QC15s still sound great. If you go into an Apple store near you ask to try some on and you might just walk out with a pair ;-)
post #14 of 19
I listened to a few sets and the ones I went with are the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9
post #15 of 19
People always say that Bose are over priced. While I agree that there are better sounding headphones for the price, that is not the only factor to consider. One factor continuously overlooked is the customer service that you get through Bose. I used to own the older QC2, and when one of the cups broke (I pulled on the cable too hard and rather then popping out it broke something internal) they replaced the unit no questions asked. However they didnt just replace the unit, they upgraded them to the QC3 for no extra charge and shipped them for free. My only cost was to ship them my broken unit.

The noise cancelling technology in the QC15 is remarkable and for blocking out external sound they are great. However this comes with distortion and causes the sound quality to drop. I don't think anybody will disagree with this.

Can get better sound quality, such as through Grado, Seinheizer etc., but you lose that sound isolation.

The question becomes whether the noise cancelling is worth it to you or not.
post #16 of 19
A coworker of mine got some QC15s for Christmas, and he let me test them out. The noise cancelling worked well (I have noisy coworkers and it pretty much drowned them out), but the sound quality was just okay (especially considering the price). I also didn't like that you couldn't use the headphones without enabling the noise cancellation (other noise canceling headphones I've used allowed you to toggle this).

Bottom line is that if these were $150 they're not a bad product at all, but I don't see any way to justify the $299 price tag.
post #17 of 19
go buy three pairs of jvc fxd80's instead. Noise cancelling is completely worthless, get any good IEM's and some foam tips and tell me if you can hear anything with them on I know I can't
post #18 of 19
Here is a useful link. http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/comparative-review-high-end-noise-canceling-headphones
Tyll has far more experience with headphones than any of us. Nothing beats the QC15s in terms of Noise Cancelling ability.
There are certainly headphones with just as good or better sound quality at half the price...

But as far as being "overpriced"...I don't think they are.... not when you consider the comfort and how good they are at noise cancelling.

In-Ear Monitors do better at both sound quality and isolation... but you have to sacrifice comfort.. and in IMO... there is no headphone more comfortable than the QC15s

No matter what you pick... there is going to be a trade-off.

And if you want even more objective evidence... take a look at the Frequency Response charts for the QC15s over on headroom. You'll see that while being somewhat bass heavy... they have a pretty nice flat curve compared to a lot of other headphones...
And there bass performance is actually very good...
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceh383 View Post

I listened to a few sets and the ones I went with are the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9

I was at work when I posted the above, no time for a proper post.

The sound quality of the Audio-Technicas, in my opinion, is superior than the Bose and not quite as good as some others....So why did I bought them? They have 3 different noise cancelling modes, each of which works well, AND they will work in a passive mode....IE, the batteries go dead, the music still plays. This is not the case with most noise cancelling headphones. If you travel a lot this may be somewhat important...Who cares how good or bad they sound if you can't use them?
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