We've had a rocky relationship with noise cancelling headphones. We've found many units that claim to cancel noise, but don't cancel it very well at all and those that do, tend to be rather uncomfortable to wear. The Bose Quiet Comfort 2 delivers crystal clear audio even in loud environments, while blocking out ambient noise to an unbelievable degree. Finally, a set of noise cancelling headphones that actually cancel noise - to say we are impressed would be an understatement.
- Excellent sound, great design, Noise Cancelling works wonderfully.
- A little expensive
If you have the money to spend and audio quality is important to you, The Quiet Comfort 2 are the best noise cancelling headphones we have seen and are well worth their price tag.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
The Quiet Comfort's are exquisitely designed with very simple curves and nothing that draws undue attention to the wearer. These aren't the ultra science fiction headphones that many Hi-Fi sets are and can be worn on a train without getting stared at. They are stylish without being overblown and a nice blend of silver cups and a matt black finish band. The cups themselves are a sensual soft black leather which extends to the top of the band for extra comfort. When worn, all these soft elements combine to create sublime and consistent comfort experience. After hours of use the headphones still retain their comfort levels without ever feeling too tight against the sides of your head.
The sound quality of the Quiet Comfort 2 is exceptional with very clear separation between elements. This is prevalent when you notice that certain instruments seem to be coming from all around you, instead of being a mixed mess in the front. The separation also allows the finer details of the sound, such as natural instrument echoes to come forward beautifully.
We tested the treble and found that the high pitches of the Radiohead track "Idioteque" and Howard Shore's Theremin score from "Mars Attacks" were handled well, both in areas of transition and violent pitch change. Similarly we noticed the crashing drum build and transition of the Rage against the Machine song "Bombtrack" was also handled perfectly without any muting; a problem we've had with other models.
Some R&B tracks and some bass heavy tracks were thrown at the Quiet Comfort 2 and they came away performing magnificently, producing clear bass without getting muddy or truncated. The mid-tones were consistent though not quite as impressive as the either end of the spectrum. They sound was quite as clearly defined but only when compared to the exceptional quality of the highs and lows and still far better than most headphones we have tested.
The Noise cancelling feature is obviously the highest selling point of these headphones and so we thought we'd put it through some harsh tests to see how well they would perform. We started out with some simple speech and found that people speaking to you while wearing them appeared to be mouthing words instead of speaking them. Not satisfied, we moved on to shouting, with the same results. Determined to find fault in the noise cancelling we mounted an expedition and went for a walk outside the office. Cars were silent in the street outside our offices and people chatting at the local food court looked like eerie mime artists. In the ultimate test we stood in the middle of the busy Pacific Highway and finally, we could faintly hear a bus thundering by. These are the best noise cancelling headphones we have reviewed to date, but perhaps dangerous to wear outside.
The Bose Quiet Comfort 2 are powered by one AAA sized battery which is inserted into a nicely hidden compartment. The headphone lead is detachable and can be set to either Hi or Lo depending on the audio source. The package comes with adapters for airplane travel and large stereo jack and a 3.5mm jack extension cable, all of which is housed in a high quality hard case. While these headphones are rather expensive, in this case you won't feel like you are being ripped off as the audio quality, build quality and comfort are worth paying for.
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