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Audio = Ground Zero: Bose QuietComfort

In 2012 I started traveling internationally every month for work and given the amount of time I was spending on the road, I started to consider making some investments regarding gear that would not only make the journey more pleasant but also aid in terms of comfort and saving time, with one concern pertaining to the fact that due to tight deadlines, more often than not, it was essential to get some shuteye while in transit.

Apart from the acquisition of a sturdy yet light suitcase and carry-on luggage to accommodate essentials, one of the more worthwhile acquisitions was a set of noise cancelling headphones.

After conducting quite a bit of research, I weighed up my options and eventually settled for a pair that I was first exposed to when I was upgraded to a business class seat on a long-haul flight with American Airlines: Bose’s battery powered QuietComfort 15 over-ear headphones were not exactly on the cheaper end of the spectrum, yet they seemed to tick all the boxes in terms of sound quality, noise cancelling abilities and overall comfort.

As it turns out nine years later, it proved to be a great choice as I still have them and while the road took its toll on their exterior in terms of wear and tear, they continue to work like a charm.

Given my previous experience with Bose, I was intrigued when I learned about the release of the QuietComfort Earbuds, especially since I have used and discarded other underwhelming earbud brands over the years. which severely lacked in both the sound and noise cancelling departments.

With a minimalist, subtly curvy design and a size a tad bulkier than the competition, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds come in an LEDs lined charging case, which on the exterior indicates its remaining battery levels and on the inside houses each bud separated by a button which enables pairing mode.

Once paired with the custom made Bose Music app, you are in charge of switching between devices, an EQ actively balancing high and lows of what you are listening to and determining your favourite set-ups to calibrate the levels of their active noise cancelling capabilities.

Supporting both SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs, the QuietComfort Earbuds let you easily connect to your mobile device, no matter if you are an Apple aficionado or an Android user and the fact that they are compatible with Bluetooth 5.1, your phone can easily and readily detect them within a nine metre radius.

The fact that you can tap and swipe the earbuds themselves to control volume, summon virtual assistance and finetune other settings, makes it seamless, highly tactile and intuitive experience.

Needless to say, with earbuds a good fit is essential, especially when it comes to noise cancelling ones, which is an area where most one-size-fit-most models fail for me as I like wearing them while running.

Bose tackles the problem by providing a wide range of ear tips in a variety of sizes along with a flexible silicone wing for added “slide in and twist”-style stability, which aids in finding your perfect snug fit. The fact that they are water and thus sweat resistant adds to the appeal as they can be worn for strenuous exercising as well.

Now, how well does the noise cancelling work with the QuietComfort earbuds?

The answer is: Extremely well.

A sliding scale allows for meticulous adjustments in the cancelling of predictable noise versus ambient sounds. What I like about the QuietComfort is that at all levels of noise cancelling, they facilitate anorganic and transparent sound when shutting out the humdrum of your surroundings.

Another area where I found most earbuds to underperform is the microphone and speech intelligibility / recognition, which is not an issue in the slightest with the QuietComfort model as even hushed whispers are picked up clearly.

Summa summarum:

After nine ears of using the battery powered QuietComfort 15 I feel confident about having invested in a quality upgrade, i.e. a pair of terrific sounding, versatile earbuds, which tick all boxes in terms of comfort, near flawless connection stability and performance (up to six hours of excellent listening time once fully charged), no matter if I am exercising, conducting Zoom meeting or travel and trying to get some shuteye on noisy flights.

Sure, Bose QuietComfort is certainly not the cheapest option out there, but the durability and longevity of their products make it worth the investment for audiophiles looking for a set of earbuds that will not run danger of needing an upgrade for the next decade.


image from company website

October 26, 2021

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