Bose Quiet Comfort 2 Headphone Reviews

Manufacturer Bose Model Quiet Comfort 2
Headphone Type Noise cancelling Headband Type Single
Weight (g) 196 Driver Type Dynamic
Enclosure Material Plastic Isolation (dB) 10
Impedance (ohms) 0 Cable Length (cm) 152
Frequency Response (Hz) 0 - 0  
Connector 3.5mm with 6.5mm adaptor Street Price US$300
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Average reviewer scores
Bass Extension 5.0 Bass Impact 6.5
Bass Quality 3.0 Mids Quality 6.5
Highs Quality 4.0 Soundstage 4.0
Detail 4.5 Portability 6.0
Isolation 7.0 Comfort 6.5
Durability 3.0 Improvement With Amplification 3.0
Value for Money 3.5    
Overall Score 4.9 Total Reviews 2

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Reviews by our members

Review by Senior Member timonyc on 07 Feb 05  06:56
Individual review
Bass Extension4
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality3
Mids Quality6
Highs Quality4

I compared these headphones with two other closed circumaural choices: the HFI-700s and AKG271Ss, testing with a variety of rock and pop selections. Files from a G5 are fed via toslink to a Bel Canto DAC2 and onto a Meier Corda Prehead.

The Bose QuietComfort 2s are a funny beast -- they have a large, slamming-bass sonic singnature that, from what I can figure, does not much care about accuracy. Bass is upfront, ever-present and quite boomy, but that said, it isn't unpleasant. It's just not accurate.

Mids are present and in my opinion better handled than HFI-700s or AKG271Ss (flame suit ON). But the rest of the spectrum is somewhat sacrificed to the mid/lower register, and detail is often swept away. The result is a "pushed" sound without subtleness. This signature works well on, say, an airplane, where the noise cancellation does a good job with low, consistent noise of jets. Otherwise, these do not really isolate as well as the HFI-700s or the AKG271Ss. This is not necessarily a defect: at my office, I can hear the phone ring with the Bose, but will miss the call with, e.g., HFI-700s.

These headphones are comfortable, though not as comfortable as AKG271s which are much less portable. I cannot recommend their build quality, however -- I had my QCs snap in two places on the headphone stem. Finally, they do not work at all without a battery in place, and are terribly annoying when the battery's nearly out of juice, cycling on and off with a loud "click."

The Bose QC2s hardly deserve the round panning they get from audiophiles, but they do have serious defects. Still, I'm keeping mine -- held together with tape -- as they're great on planes, and an iPod fits well in the case with them.

Review by Member BradPDX on 05 Oct 05  08:14
Individual review
Bass Extension6
Bass Impact6
Bass Quality3
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality4

No one here needs to be told what these are - opinions of Bose are rather skewed one way or the other. Suffice to say that these are extremely popular headphones squarely aimed at the frequent airline traveler.

Why do I have these 'phones? I travel to Europe frequently for business and wanted something to ease the pain. I tried in-canal headphones, but those gave me a royal headache. I then had some non-descript Aiwa noise cancellers that wound up in a Swiss garbage can on one trip. The next experiment was the Sennheiser PCX-250 - not a bad 'phone, but not to up to the task of combating real airplane noise. On a trip in January 2005 a fellow traveler had a set of the Bose with his iPod, and we traded headphones for a few moments. The difference was dramatic - the Bose cancelled far more noise than the Sennheiser and sounded much more convincing in that noisy environment. I bought a set of QC2s within days.

Sound -
The other reviewer mentioned the ubiquitous bass response of the QC2, and I won't disagree. The first impression of the QC2 is invariably surprise at the sheer amount and presence of the low end, especially on material blessed in this part of the spectrum. Fans of big-bass electronica will not be disappointed.

The bass, while up front and reasonably well extended, is a bit shapeless and ill-defined, and feels "slow". Given that the primary application for these headphones is an environment soaked in low-frequency noise, this is oddly not a bad choice. The Sennheiser PCX-250s are much more "neutral", but over the roar of jet engines sound positively thin. Bose overcomes this issue with a bit of brute force, but I think they are essentially right.

Highs are somewhat distant and always inoffensive with the QC2 - "shrill" is never an adjective I would apply here. Even aggressive material is tamed and made to play nice at high volumes. Again, not the best idea for regular 'phones, but this scheme works well under noisy conditions. One can listen at high levels without ever cringing as a cymbal blast cuts through.

The mids are oddly good - almost excellent. I am often surprised at how "right" vocals are presented. Spatial cues are very good, better than my old standby Grados. The bass has the good sense to stay out of the way of this perception.

Comfort -
While a bit tight for long periods, the QC2 are the most comfortable closed unit I have tried for quite a while. They are lightweight, with very soft cushions that seal very well. Some report eardrum discomfort with electronic noise cancellers, but this has not been an issue for me.

Quality -
Plastic, but I have had no troubles at all. Bose is generally excellent about service, warranty and return, so I won't worry just yet.

Amplifiers -
The QC2s have an interal amplifier that is always ON when you use them. The impedence is high (300 ohm) but so is the sensitivity. Due to this architecture, I find it difficult to imagine how an external amplifier would possibly help - there is no reactance to drive, and the internal amp cannot be bypassed. 'Nuff said.

Overall -
Don't buy the QC2 only to use at home, unless your house is as noisy as mine (I have 2 small children;-)). Compared with many more common options, they lack the openness and neutrality one would want. But for travel and noisy conditions, they really can't be beat. You will find yourself listening at much lower levels due to the very high isolation and response tailoring, which is a very nice side benefit. I find myself using them in some unexpected ways:
- while using the vacuum cleaner
- while mowing the lawn
- when riding the train
- when wishing to concentrate in my office and block out background conversations
- when monitoring live recordings in noisy clubs
- when playing in recording studios (they block out the drums very well!)

Yes, they are not cheap at $300 - but there is nothing else that compares for the intended application. The QC2s come with a carrying case and full set of adapters, making them good citizens on every airline. The case also holds your iPod, so get me in my seat with that and a book and I am ready to travel.

My travel-‘phone experiments have cost me over $600, but I feel very good about my current choice. Bose has made compromises that make sense for the purpose, and it beats the heck out of going deaf.

Bose Quiet Comfort 2