Died ... and ... gone ... to ... heaven....
OK, so I scoffed at noise cancelling headphones for years. I dragged my heels. I ignored advice. I was close-minded, stubborn, hard-headed and fool-hardy. My wife bought some (mid-tier) headphones for my boys, and I wouldn't even try 'em. I didn't want to pay the money. I didn't want to carry them. I've been traveling without them for my entire life, why could I possibly need them? Most of the people on the planes don't have them. Etc., etc., etc. I was a skeptic, but I WAS WRONG.
I recently flew to London and back with a (highly educated) friend/colleague (who I find to be a knowledgeable, sophisticated consumer). He raved about his Bose headphones. I tried them briefly on the plane. Impressive. So, when I returned, I did a lot of Internet research. I read a lot of reviews. I tried a number of the competitors in the store.
I finally broke down and bought myself a pair of the Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones. I LOVE THEM. I WISH I'D BOUGHT THEM YEARS AGO. If you can bite the ($300) bullet, I cannot recommend them enough. On my recent trip to Bangkok,
Note: the toughest decision is size, I opted for the larger over-the-ear model, and I do not regret it. In terms of comfort, they never bothered me (at all) during my long trip.
UPDATE: After years of satisfaction with the Bose over-the-ear QC15, I just took the plunge and bought a pair of QuietComfort® [QC] 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones - that's the Bose in-ear (or ear bud) model. It's a LOT less to carry (including batteries)!
More information here: Bose® QuietComfort® 20 Headphones | Bose
Basic information on the Bose product here:
Message was edited by: ssindc
I have had my Bose for about 7 years. I have gone through 3 sets due to breakage. Each time one broke, Bose would replace them for a nominal fee, depending on how long I had them. I have enjoyed them to the hilt, but would suggest that anyone in the market for headphones do their due diligence as there are MANY new brands out there and many of them are now rated above Bose. The ones I see most often in 1st class these days (including Bose) are a brand developed by Dr Dre'.
I looked at the Dr. Dre competitors - very nice - and, if nothing else, they earned more style points than the Bose. (Alas, I didn't have any word-of-mouth recommendation/advice supporting them at the time, so I went with the Bose.)
What's the moral of this story? Ask the experts on Marriott Insiders!!!!
Shame it took u so long to try. I use them on all my long haul flights and they are truly amazing. In fact u get to the point where u don't want to take them off during the flight at all. But REMEMBER to charge the battery up before you go. There is nothing worse than starting a long haul and u have forgotten to charge them up. Here's to peaceful flights and quality audio watching the movies
I've had my Bose noise cancelling over the ear for about 5 years. They're wonderful and well worth the added weight to my carry on bag.
A trick I haven't tried yet, but I hope to remember for the flight it's needed.... someone recommended when there noise on a flight is especially bad (i.e. crying baby) you can wear your ear buds under your Bose to increase the noise cancelling level. Connect your music thru the ear buds, and then turn on the noise cancelling feature of your Bose. Has anyone tried this trick?
I have to agree that Bose is good -- even great compared to most - but after using Bose (and a few others) I found what I think is a better alternative -- Plane Quiet Headphones from Solitude Designs. I'm not a technophile but I know what sounds good and these headphones are both noise cancelling and the speakers are wonderful. I travel with an Ipod and these headphones and it's like being in the orchestra section of a fine auditorium. And, best of all, they come at a much better price than Bose. I've used them for about 8 years and can endorse them without qualification. As I said, Bose is very good but these are equal to Bose and at a much better price (and their customer service -- if you ever need it- is outstanding.) Just my 2 cents.
Tonyl - thanks for the information. Is this the product? Solitude Design, LLC :: Plane Quiet Platinum Featuring New Solitude Technology
If so, that's a ridiculously reasonable price (by comparison). I was thinking about buying a set of Bose headphones for my spouse. Maybe I'll buy these instead, and then I can compare... That is, if I can find 'em... Currently, the website says: Sorry but this item is currently unavailable. Please check back at a later stage.
I'm guessing this is the newer (better? definitely more expensive) model: Solitude Design, LLC :: Solitude X Noise Canceling Headphone
We had the Bose on flights to and from Europe from SoCal and they were great! No question about it. But the price . . . no so cool. We bought a pair of Noise Cancelling headphones from Circuit City (on line) for $100 each. Frankly, they are just about as good as the Bose for one third the price! If the flight is over an hour we take them.
Curious to know what folks are currently buying these days... I've got to assume the technology improves each year (if not sooner).
Bose is still the gold standard in audio and noise cancelling. As you may know they make a much more expensive pilot rated set with a headphone attached. I wore one of those on a helicopter ride in Kauai, and it was if there mas no vibration, no rotor noise and just blissful silence. And when chatting with the pilot there was no can to can sound.
Message was edited by: Anadyr
I must say, a survey of what I see on the plane suggests that the Dr Dre headphones are taking over. Seems like the over the ear Bose have fallen behind the on the ear model from them, but the greater # of folks are wearing the Dr Dre's. In my estimation, Bose does not have the best sound quality, but does have the best noise reduction. If those two qualities cancel each other out, I would give the Dre's a chance due to their foldabilty. The carrier for the Bose is sooooooo large and cumbersome.
I like my compact Shure 110 earphones. Not the best noise cancelling, since they just have foam ear-buds that expand in your ear canal to block some/most of the noise, but have very good audio quality and also pack very well. I find Bose to have very pronounced bass (thump) and does not work the best for me, i usually listen to soft rock/classical/country music.
Bose are great headphones. But -- not the most comfortable in the world on the top of your head and your ears. Noise cancelling is excellent. Durability is a problem, though -- easily broken. Good sound reproduction.
However, the Sennheiser PXC 450 are superior in every way (except price). Larger ear cups, that don't even touch your ears. More padding on the top. Better sound, in my opinion, and superior noise cancelling. They also have a 'talk-through' feature -- large button in the middle of the ear that lets you communicate with others and quickly return to your listening mode. Sennheisers go for about $400 -- but I expect them to last me forever, which is much longer than the four years I got out of the Bose.
More info - and not that much of a price difference (particularly if the quality is better):
Two minor updates on this:
I just picked up a pair of the Bose QC20 earbuds at the Bose discount store in Phoenix, $80 of the list price for a reconditioned pair that somebody had returned, full factory warranty. What a strange feeling when you first turn on the noise canceling function and all the background noise just disappears. For my job I drive all over Arizona and spend many hours on the road. While it may not be "legal" I decided to try them in my truck. WOW! I was not aware how much road noise was affecting me during a long day of driving. I have one job on the Navajo reservation that is 10 hours round trip in 1 day. I had done this trip twice before and was just beat by the time I got home. I did it yesterday and was amazed at how much better I felt at the end of the trip. The noise cancelling is predominantly for steady consistent noises, like jet engine noise (or road noise) and does not block out radio noise. It does muffle the radio, but it does not block it. If my wife was driving with me the radio would probably be too loud for her comfort, but when I am alone, it works for me. (Note - I am not an audiophile, so I will not comment on music quality.) Ultimately, I think I will see if I can get an audio out jack added to the car radio so I can plug that into the QC20 unit.
I love the noise cancelling headphone technology.
I like to listen to audiobooks in the plane, but long duration flights made me worry that my hearing would be damaged.
Even with the best quality in-ear plugs, the minimum required volume was 8/10;
With noise cancelling headphones (Bose QC), I can listen with a volume of 2/10.
...I should have bought these years ago
ramoneur - you're singing my song.... As I indicated in my original post, I'm a rather compulsive AUDIBLE consumer, and most years I work my way through two dozen audio books. Until I bought the noise cancelling headphones, I had given up listening to books in flight. Now I (really) enjoy listening to books, particularly during meals, etc.
Also, if you do watch movies on the flights, it's a much more pleasant (and less audibly violent) experience!
p.s. Lots of folks complain about Bose reliability, but I've had really good luck. My Bose headphones served me well en route to the Philippines in April, and I have high hopes for them this week as I head off to Tanzania...
p.p.s. my boys were both amused (and disgusted) by the Dr. Dre Beats product placement in the new Avengers movie - Bruce Banner enjoys classical music aboard their air transport (after a rather violent outburst) - classical music to soothe the savage soul, and all that... Cute, but a little blatant....
mine are two years old now;
I am sure they will have improved versions for the extra 10% to 20% noise cancelling;
but I am pleasantly surprised with the build quality of my heavily used Bose headphone
I even started using them on my infrequent, but long, gaming sessions at home
jonsummers recently asked: "are bose still the best ones to get?" Opinions may differ, but my short answer is an emphatic "yes" ... but it's complicated .... and the WSJ agrees: Mute Your Commute: The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones - WSJ
Two key findings:
Bose QuietComfort 35
Likes: Top noise-canceling; decent audio quality brings out detail; 20-hour battery; auto power-off.
Dislikes: Stodgy style, limited app capabilities.
The best sound—with noise-canceling turned on and turned off—came from Sennheiser’s Momentum Wireless, currently selling for $400. It had balance and rich detail across all genres. It might have been my overall recommendation, if not for its mediocre noise-canceling.
"Best" is going to be subjective to each person and the trade-offs between sound quality, price, and style will lead to one person not liking them and another loving them. Personally, I have been quite happy with the 3 different pairs of over-the-ear QC models I have owned (original, QC-2, and QC-15). The trade-in/upgrade deal is/was useful when an older pair started shedding around the ear cups. At some point, I need to take a look at the latest models to see if another upgrade might be useful.
For my use case, they get used both while traveling by plane and while at work. I work in IT and spend quite a bit of time in very noisy datacenters. I have not found any Bluetooth headsets yet that can been be turned up loud enough for me to hear over the environment noise so corded over-the-ear or in-ear headphones have been my choice even if the cord can be a pain.
Battery life of the QC-15s have been very good in my experience.
Sound quality is acceptable for audio podcasts and phone use; music and tv/movie listening is acceptable for me. Noise does get picked up by the microphone when in a noisy environment so I'd like a better noise cancelling mic for phone calls.
Never really been a fan of noise cancelling headphones myself. I get the draw of them, especially if you're listening to audio books where noise can mean the difference between hearing and not hearing a word that can change the whole meaning of a page.
I use a pair of audio technica ATH-M40Xs when I'm recording or listening to music and I find they do a decent enough job of keeping me in the zone, but I don't mind some noise coming in. They're not the best headphones in the world, by any means, but for the price I think they're definitely up there.
As someone who works in audio, I just applaud anyone who doesn't buy beats by dre. Your ears thank you for not succumbing to the hype.
Just a friendly reminder, many cell phones and tablets have enough power in them to drive your headphones to dangerously high levels. Once you get in 90+ dB area, you should limit how long you use them for.
The Wife has the Bose over the ear noise cancelling things and I just don't like that as it ruins my hair!!! Seriously, I have no problems with the buds nor irritation from them. But being the AV Geek that I am they also allow me to hear changes in the engines and wind noise somewhat from the plane if any are made. I know, I need therapy.
Would these work well too? These are the 20 and not the 15.... I am not sure what the diff is.
EDIT: Oh I just read the UPDATE on the original post. Maybe I should consider these...
SeaTexan - if they're in the $250-300 range, they're probably the right ones.... I think they now come in white (with a thin blue stripe on the cords) too....
As I understand it, there are three options:
Being a sound technician I can only say that in cars or in any application that is not direction on/in your ears, it won't work as well. In cars, I suppose, they focus on cancelling the noise of the engine (which is a noise that's always coming from the same direction) more than anything else. Possibly sound coming from under the car as well. Any other sounds are near-impossible to filter out perfectly and even potentially dangerous (car horns, bicycle bells).
Here's all I would add, razorbackfan;
I bought a pair of Bose QC15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones yesterday. My highest priority is QUIET on the plane, so I think this version will suit me just fine. If I flew more often, I might have considered the earbuds because they are so convenient.
When we got home, bikinchris got them ready for me to wear, then he kept them on most of the night. I guess he didn't want to listen to me. He has a pair (another brand) that had quit working, so he got them out planning to send them in for repair. He discovered that all they needed was a new battery. He did order new earpads for them. We'll compare them with mine when we fly, then decide if he needs a new pair.
ssindc Thank you so much for all the information.
Great points ssindc, I absolutely love my Bose earbuds although they have some crazy number of miles (about 350,000 miles) on them. Maybe I need to get into the 21st century and look into a new set!
I received the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 headphones last month as a gift, and have flown four or five times with them now. I will never fly without them again! They have helped me tune out engine noise, crying babies, potato chips bags and a hundred other noises that can prove distracting if not annoying. To note, I suffer from misophonia (selective sound sensitivity syndrome), and these are a Godsend! The sounds of people eating, crackling plastic packaging etc drive me crazy, and these headphones have made a huge quality of life difference. ssindc, I have this thread to thank for turning me on to the quality of these noise cancelling headphones. Previously, I used the earbud type, and the improvement is remarkable.