1,658 of 1,672 people found the following review helpful
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I have used the Bose QuietComfort QC-2 headphones for about a year, and have traveled to Asia over 5 times with them, and domestic travel as well. About 120 hours of air time. Never took them off. Vastly reduces my jetlag. A pleasure to own and use.
On an impulse buy, I bought the QC-3's after a demo at the local Bose store. 30-day return policy. Compared them side-by-side... both on the airplane, home, with and without sound.
My impressions (your mileage may vary :-)
The QC-3 has impressive noise cancellation, I think it's incrementally better than the QC-2. Perhaps it's a little too 'aggressive'. Let me explain. I feel a little uncomfortable from a (perceived) pressure on my ear. Note: this is not physical pressure from the ear-pieces, nor is it air-pressure, but rather a physco-acoustic result of noise cancellation. I felt this only slightly with the QC-2's. Bose did an amazing job of noise cancellation given the challenges of an "on-the-ear" design which offers less physical noise isolation due to lack of cups. Everyone has a different tolerance to this pressure, the only way to tell is to try them out. Vote: QC-3 for noise cancellation, QC-2 for comfort (again, will vary from person to person).
Using MP3's encoded at 192 kbps, and CD audio, the difference in the two headphones is clear (excuse the pun). The QC-2's are brighter sounding with adequate bass. The QC-3's are a little heavy on the low-end, to the point of sounding muddy. Vote: QC-2.
Some have complained about the QC-2's breaking at the stem that attaches each earpiece. I never had this problem, but I am also very careful, especially given their cost. I did notice a person break a QC-2 on the plane trying to turn the earpieces to hard. The build quality of the QC-3 is about the same, the stem may be somewhat narrower, so they could be more prone to breaking, however I do not think it's an issue if you treat them with respect. Vote: equal.
The QC-3's are lighter, but I still prefer the "over-the-ear" type of headphone. They feel like they stay in place better. I would be upset if the QC-3's fell off my head while loading luggage in the overhead bin, only to have someone step on them. I never felt that could happen with the QC-2's. I also would rather have a little physical pressure around my ear, instead of on my ear. Vote: QC-2.
The QC-3 has a less complicated jack that attaches to the headphone (it's detachable, just like the QC-2's). The QC-2 has a hi/low volume control on the jack stem, while the QC-3 has no adjustment and is adjusted somewhere in between (which is why they are not quite as loud as the QC-2's, given the same volume setting from your MP3, DVD, computer, or stereo). The airplance adapter does serve to attenuate the audio further, if needed. The QC-3 carrying case is a little smaller than the QC-2, but not a significant difference. The covering on the QC-3 case is smooth, which I prefer over the QC-2 case. I do not like the way the QC-3's fit in the case, the ear-pieces do not sit firmly where they are supposed to go. With the QC-2, you know exactly how they fit in the case, it just seems like a better fit. Vote: averages to equal.
I hope this quick review is helpful. I elected to stay with the QC-2. Rgds,
679 of 689 people found the following review helpful
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I was preparing for a long trip to Ukraine. This involved both a very long initial flight, then a flight from Kiev to Lviv, plus many 3+ hr long van rides to various destinations and an overnight train trip between the main cities. I knew I would really need a noise cancelling headphone. With the Bose QuietComfort 3 just coming on the market, I was willing to pay the top dollar in order to maintain my sanity.
When I first received my headphone set - only days after it was released - I was thrilled. It was small, easy to carry in its slim case, and it had a rechargeable battery. This seemed like the perfect headphone for travel. I already had my 60 gig iPod ready with "sleep music". Now all I had to do was plug it in, and encounter pure bliss.
The headphones were really comfortable to "put on" - they fit on top of the ears rather than "around the ears" like the previous model. They were very light and non-intrusive. Lying sideways on a pillow didn't pose much of a problem. I waited the proper time to charge up the battery, and then I put them on and turned them on.
WHOMP. It wasn't a *physical* sensation. It's not that the foamy earcups pressed against my ears strongly. It was an INTERNAL sensation - the pressure of the waves of the speaker against my eardrums. It actually hurt. I turned it off. The sensation went away. I turned them on again and WHOMP, there was that pressure again.
This intrigued me so much that I did research and made a specific playlist of songs on my iPod that involved left-right sounds, i.e. songs like We Love You, Lightning Crashes etc. where songs only play out of one speaker or the other (left or right). The pain would definitely come more strongly out of the speaker that was not playing music. Whenever there was "silence" or soft levels of sound, the pressure of the "anti noise generators" would hurt my ears.
My boyfriend thought I was insane :) He did sense it when I played the left-right song set. We went into a local outlet where they had the demos set up of the QuietComfort 3 and the QuietComfort 2 (the older over-ear model). Both are rather good at blocking sound, to pretty much an equivalent degree. However even with their store models I could feel that same pain when the QuietComfort 3 headphone was turned in without a strong sound signal coming through. Of course their sample sounds are all loud, throbbing music, perhaps for this very reason. It's easier to mask an "airplane engine simulation" if you're listening to Santana blasting away on Smooth. I mentioned my ear pressure issue to the clerk, and he said he found the exact same thing.
Finally after about 30 days of testing, I called up Bose and asked to exchange this in for the QuietComfort 2. I would much rather have the around-ear headphone (which really, the case is about exactly the same size and the headphone itself is just as comfortable for me) and have far less pain. My thought is that with the around-ear shape they didn't need to blast directly towards your ear as much with the noise cancelling waves in order to counterbalance the ambient noise.
If you're looking at these, I would really compare the two side by side in a store. I tried my very, very best to stick with the QuietComfort 3 since I already had them in my house and they were smaller. I just couldn't do it - they bothered me too much to imagine using them for 2 weeks straight.
637 of 655 people found the following review helpful
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I did a fairly comprehensive A/B test this evening at our local Bose store (their first stock arrived today).
I had given my QC-2s to my wife and bought ER 6i's because of the bulk of the QC-2 case when travelling, but have never been wholly comfortable with the ER 6i's stuffed in my ear canals.
I saw the QC-3 ads and since I am travelling to Europe next week I hoped to secure a pair before leaving.
What I found physically: QC-3s are for me less comfortable with the required pressure on the ear. The QC-2s feel 'lighter' to wear, though they are actually around 20% heavier. The QC-3 case is slightly smaller and thinner, but not significantly, and with the battery charger, if anything slightly heavier.
A small, but potentially critical design flaw: the QC-3 'on' light is incorporated into the switch, rather dull and much easier to miss, certainly under store lighting. But if you leave them on from your last use, since they use a rechargeable battery requiring a mains charger, you will be out of luck on that long flight! With the QC-2, the risk is far less and the remedy a single spare AA battery (30 hours of use with the QC-2s v 20 hours per charge with the QC-3 rechargeable battery).
What I found aurally: to my ears, and those of a Bose staff member who joined me in the test, the QC-2's are slightly more detailed, with slightly more depth. This is in a quiet store, not an airplane, mind you, and listening to a CD not (a compressed) iPod source. I would guess that any aural difference would be much harder to hear on a plane.
Fact is, in a store one has no way of knowing just what the acoustic differences will be on a plane. Evidently the QC-3s have stronger noice cancellation to compensate for their open design. What is the net effect of this?
I was tempted to purchase the QC-3's to allow an on flight comparison with my wife's QC-2's (and of course to be the 'first kid on the block'!)
But just on a comfort level alone, for me, the QC-2's win out and I purchased another pair (albeit the recently updated version).
So why didn't I buy them on Amazon? If it hadn't been for the 4-5 day initial shipment delay and my imminent departure for Europe, I would have One-Clicked my way to the QC-3's but in this case I'm glad I didn't!
78 of 79 people found the following review helpful
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I've been looking for a pair of noise cancelling headphones for working out at the gym. As much as I love my $20 Koss KSC75 portable stereo headphones, I find it hard to hear my own music over the gym's music. (And since the gym basically plays the worst songs of every genre over an ancient loudspeaker system, I had no intention of giving up and just listening to their music.) Also, the sound of treadmills, clanking weight equipment, and people talking compete with my MP3 player for the attention of my ears. I have wanted to solve the problem for a while, but the reviews saying the 'hissing' sounds of most noise cancelling headphones were more distracting that the actual sounds they block made me very hesistant to invest in a pair. And unfortunately, most in the ear headphones don't actually fit in my ear (I have very small ears, I guess) and the ones that do are extremely uncomfortable (one pair made my ear canals bleed they were so tight). So, as much as people have been raving over the Shure's and the Etymotic's in the ear headphones, I have to have over the ear headphones.
So, I visited a Bose store recently and they told me I could try out a pair of their noise cancelling headphones for a month, and then return them, no questions asked. Of course, I jumped at the chance. I've been using them for two weeks so far and here's what I think:
Noise cancelling: I've never used any other brand of noise cancelling headphones before, so I have nothing esle to compare it to, but I must say that my expectations were more than exceeded. Actually, I was totally blown away by how much noise they blocked out. I could hear no hissing sound at all, for one. I also expected that just the low, droning noises would be blocked--that I would still be able to hear about fifty percent of the noises around me. It is actually more like ninety percent of the noises were blocked out. At my very noisy gym, their very loud music sounded like a distant hum with just the noise cancelling on. With my own music on, I couldn't hear it at all. The air conditioning system, the drone of the exercise machines were completely blocked with just the noise cancelling on. I could only hear the chattering of the people closest to me, and I couldn't understand a word they were saying. The only thing I could still hear was the occasional clinking of the weight machines. With just the noise cancelling on, it felt like the gym had only two other people in it instead of twenty. With the music on, I felt like I was virtually by myself. It works well at home too; my very noisy fridge was silenced and for the first time I could listen to music while vaccuuming (which was impossible with my other ear phones.) I can still hear the vacuum, of course, but it's only a humming sound in the background instead of roar right next to me. Actually, I find the noise cancelling feature so handy that I find myself using it for other things too--like reading and gardening. I am EXTREMELY impressed with noise cancelling feature. I don't know if all noise cancelling headphones work this well, but they definitely should.
Comfort: I was expecting them to be heavy and uncomfortable, since my only experience with headphones close to this size were my Dad's full size Aiwa headphones from 1972 (they still work and sound terrific, but they weigh about fifteen pounds and they're very uncomfortable.) Actually, despite their size, they are very lightweight and comfortable. They are maybe a little heavier than my Koss headphones, but not by much. The fake leather earcups didn't make my ears sweaty, nor did they press very tightly on my ears. The only thing that was maybe the slightest bit uncomfortable was the 'pressure' in my ears when I turned the noise cancelling on. After a while though, I became used to it.
Sound quality: Since I've never bought headphones for more that thirty dollars, I expected the sound to be at least ten times better than my Koss headphones. Actually, the salesperson at the store said I would 'throw my old headphones away after listening to these'. Uhh...not exactly. The sound quality is good, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't a good as I expected. It was definitely not $350 good, that's for sure. A lot of the other reviews describe the sound as muddy or like listening to music underwater. I definitely agree. The bass was a lot better than on my other headphones, but it was so strong, it drowned the other sounds out. It was sort of like listening to one those stereo systems in one of those 'pimped out' cars--except it's right next to your ears. I like bass, but not that much. So, on this count, I was pretty disappointed. So I'm definitely not going to be throwing my old headphones out, which overall, sound much better.
Price: Well, what can I say, they're definitely overpriced. Most of the noise cancelling headphones are in the 100-200 dollar range. I doubt they're THAT superior to the Sennheisers or the Sony's. Actually, this is my main turnoff to them. If they were 150 dollars instead of 350, I'd probably keep them. But 350 is WAY too much to spend on headphones.
Other features: Another thing I don't like is that if the battery dies, the headphones die--you can still use the other noise cancelling headphones even if they battery wears out. You also can't use the headphones without the noise cancelling on--whereas other headphones you can. I like the case it comes with though--nice--and how streamlined the battery is.
Overall, I'd recommend these headphones if you prefer the noise cancelling over the sound quality, and are willing to drop 350 dollars on a pair of headphones. If not, I'd try other noise cancelling headphones first, before deciding on these.
87 of 91 people found the following review helpful
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Let me tell you why I am a devoted fan of Bose and will be well into the near future. I have a pair of both the QC3s as well as the QC2s. While the QC2s are great from a sound perspective, I did find them bulky for frequent travel. In fact, my travels had put wear and tear on the QC2s to the point where they cracked at the screws, meaning they no longer tightly fit, a prerequisite for noise cancellation. So I decided to spring for the QC3s with the intention of getting the QC2s repaired. The Bose salesperson who sold me the QC3s dutifully gave me a card and a 800 number to see about attending to the QC2s.
I called several weeks ago about having the QC2s repaired; I'd had my QC3s for a few months and loved them but thought it would be nice to have the QC2s as the "at-home" pair and the QC3s for travel. I explained the damage to the young man who took my call, and he said, "Well, unfortunately, we don't repair the units, sir." I'm sitting there thinking, "Great. Just great. Nice bait and switch."
He continues, "I see your warranty has expired as well."
Yep. That guy that sold me the QC3s totally did a number on me.
The young man continues unabated. "Here's what I'd like you to do. Send the QC2s to this address, and we'll send you a replacement pair, seeing as we don't offer repairs."
You could have knocked me over with a feather, at that very moment as well as the moment I unboxed a shiny new pair of QC2s a week or so later - but it gets better.
I often use the QC3s purely for noise cancellation on airplanes. In fact, I put in earplugs, then the QC3s, and it's like I'm floating in space - almost no sound at all (and until you have a pair of these, you have NO IDEA how much airplane noise contributes to general travel fatigue). Because the headphone jack is then loose, I sometimes just take it out and put it in my pocket or wherever, just so it's not just dangling. Well, sure enough, I put it "wherever" and effectively lost it.
I went into the Bose store here in Century City, CA this afternoon after being unable to find a replacement cord on the Bose website. I figured I might be able to order one. I explain my situation to a salesperson, and he says, "Well, we usually have a few around here..." Within 2 minutes, he's found one and hands it over to me. "Here you go."
For free. Not for $19.95. Not for some service charge. Free.
It's obvious to me Bose stands behind their products, and they can afford to -- you pay top dollar for them. But when you combine an excellent product (I haven't even written much about the sound, but that's a given -- you'll hear things in your favorite songs you've never even known were there) and top-notch customer service like I experienced on these two separate occasions, then I'm a lifelong customer.
Are there better headphones out there? Maybe. Cheaper? Definitely. But to my mind, the "Bose Experience" is unmatched, and I'm willing to fork over my hard-earned cash to be a part of it. People sometimes look at me cross-eyed when they realize how much I've invested in Bose products, but if the perfect blend of quality, service, and performance is important to you, don't hesitate -- start enjoying your music (or just more peace and quiet) by ordering your Bose headphones today.
(And, no, I'm not being paid or a Bose employee -- I'm just seriously stunned by how well I've been treated by Bose and think service like this should be praised from the rooftops. It's incredibly rare at any price point.)