Bose is known as a leading sound brand, usually near the top of the list near companies like Sennheiser, Sony, AKG and Audio Technica. Their approach to products is clear; the best user experience they can give is their goal, the best audio quality is what they expect and (from their own website) “good enough is merely a starting point”.
Having been fortunate enough to own some seriously good headphone hardware for a number of years now, I’m not particularly easy to impress with headphones but these headphones impressed me.
There’s only so far any headphone manufacturer can take their individuality before it gets silly. Headphone are designed to sit on your head, with the cans (earpieces) sitting on, over or in your ears producing sound. Where the high end manufacturers excel over their rivals is the aesthetic pleasure that their headphones give users and the comfort that the user experiences while using them.
The pleasing aesthetics of the Bose Quiet Comfort 25 are immediately evident when you open the carry case for the first time, they’re neatly laid out fitting perfectly. Easily removed from the box and hooked up to your phone, tablet, MP3 device or PC by the cables and the airline adaptor is in the box next to the battery (required for noise cancelling function). Even the carry case designed to protect your investment is well designed with an image of how to stow your headphones embossed into the inlay.
It’s when you start using these headphones that you realise where a portion of the extra cost goes when you spend the extra. The hardware, while maintaining a lightweight and functional feeling to it still manages to feel solid and well built. That’s a very fine line to walk, I’ve had very expensive headsets in the past that were too “well built” making them heavy and quite uncomfortable after a while. I’ve also had quite expensive headphones that broke in quite a short period of time which was not only disappointing but quite upsetting too when warranty was refused, causing me to lose a lot of time chasing that through various channels for a refund…
This particular is are lightweight, without feeling flimsy. Despite wearing glasses all day, they’re still extremely comfortable which was a really pleasant surprise (some headphones put pressure at the back of glasses arms, making them quite uncomfortable after a while) and the around ear padding is soft, durable without causing you to feel hot as some materials do.
As mentioned in my first impressions post, I was a little surprised at the lacking depth of sound when I first put the headphones on. Then I turned up the sound to a normal listening volume (perhaps a touch on the loud side) and WOW!
The initial sparkle that this experience left on me hasn’t faded, in fact I’ve become quite excited about listening to different music each day at work on these. Particularly when the noise cancelling is turned on, the elimination of the outside world’s static noise allows you to hear components of music you may have never actually picked up before.
Clearly the design of these headphones is around having the noise cancelling engaged, the sound is crisper, the bass is deeper and the midrange sound has a clarity to it that fades when you turn off this function.
That’s not to say that the headphones are poor quality or offer a bad sound when the Noise Cancelling is turned off, far from it in fact. The EQ settings required are different, if you know what you’re doing (not something easily explained here (HeadFi have a good write up on how to setup EQ for your headphones) you can balance out the different dynamic of the sound you get quite easily and still have a really pleasurable music experience.
The question a number of my friends have asked me is: “Are they worth $400?”
For users like myself, listening to hundreds of hours of music, podcasts, watching videos etc. every month; Yes! They’re worth every cent of the $399.00 RRP, Bose have nailed a design that works – Lightweight, Durable design, comfort, great sound without the noise cancelling and outstanding with. If you have the money, there’s no reason not to buy them. If the price tag is a touch out of your range, keep your eyes on the retailers such as Harvey Norman, JB Hifi and even online retailers who run specials on equipment like this leading into Christmas and you’ll probably land yourself a bargain.
If you’re looking for a new set of headphones, what features do you look for before parting with your hard earned cash?