61 Replies Latest reply: Jan 19, 2017 9:08 PM by razorbackfan RSS

Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones

ssindc Platinum 42 Reviews
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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 HeadphonesI 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,

  • I wore them the entire length of both flights (well in excess of 30+ hours of airtime);
  • I wore them while I slept;
    • I was fortunate to be in Biz class the entire way (and I enjoyed United's rear-facing lie-flat seat).  I normally sleep on my stomach (and turn my head sideways), but the headphones were so pleasant that, instead, I slept on my back, wearing the headphones, and enjoyed some of my best in-flight sleep, ever.
  • I listened to (a fair amount of) classical music.  I often don't bother on the flight, because I don't want to turn it up loud enough so that I can really hear it.  The sound quality was terrific.
  • I  listened to (a fair amount of) one of my audio books.  (I use AUDIBLE - another service that I love!!!)  I often don't bother on the flight, because I don't want to turn it up loud enough so that I can really hear it.  The sound quality was terrific, and I did not have to make it loud to hear.
  • I wore them with (over) and without my favorite travelling baseball hat.
  • OK, I even wore the headphones when I went to the rest room.  I basically never took them off.

 

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:

http://www.bose.com/controller?url=/shop_online/headphones/noise_cancelling_headphones/quietcomfort_15/index.jsp

 

Message was edited by: ssindc

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    jasper100 Alumni Steward Platinum 10 Reviews
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    I got a pair for Christmas so will be using them for the first time in my upcoming Australia/New Zealand Trip!!!!

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    painedplatinum Platinum 2 Reviews
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    What did your research say about negative side effects, Ssin? Any long term hearing loss concerns?

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    • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
      shoeman1000 Platinum 4 Reviews
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      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'. 

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      • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
        painedplatinum Platinum 2 Reviews
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        Word

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      • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
        ssindc Platinum 42 Reviews
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        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!!!!

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
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    ssindc,

     

    Great post!

     

    I have felt the same way you have prior to the post.  Never had Bose, but now feel it is in order.  The "Peace" on these long trips seems to make sense.

     

    Thanks!

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    tef6178 Platinum 8 Reviews
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    Nice comments by all. Very informative on the Bose h-phones, ssindc. I'll have to check these out....along with the Dr Dre's. Sounds like they are a great addition to the travel bag!

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    fizzbang Platinum 2 Reviews
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    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

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    • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
      shoeman1000 Platinum 4 Reviews
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      Fizzbang

       

      great tip!  I too, hate to take them off.  Don't quite understand, but these fall into the electronic equipment column and need to come off for takeoff and landing.  Also, batteries are key!  Always have a backup as these are worthless without a working battery.

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    Segments Platinum 4 Reviews
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    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?

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    • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
      Alumni Steward Platinum 8 Reviews
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      No but it sounds like a great idea. Thanks

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    • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
      jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
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      allyson,

       

      Thanks!

       

      Do not have them, but am planning on getting some for flights later this year.  This is good advice, and will be taken up.

       

      Again, your idea is appreciated.

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    • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
      ramoneur Platinum
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      no, but I was just thinking about trying this;

      and since I always bring both my Bose over-ear (noise cancelling) and Sennheiser in-ear (non-noise cancelling) head phones I can try it on my next flight :-)

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    tonyl Platinum
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    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.

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    captainsmitty Silver
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    Checked-out all of the NC headphones and went with the Denon's. NC not as good as the Bose but comfort and music quality are better, which is more important to me. Best price is at Headroom - $299. Happy Trails!

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    stricks Platinum
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    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.

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    ssindc Platinum 42 Reviews
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    Curious to know what folks are currently buying these days... I've got to assume the technology improves each year (if not sooner).

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    rktdoc Platinum
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    You can snag a pair of Bose headphones for around $100 at most Costcos, I've found that to be the best for the money.

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    • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
      shoeman1000 Platinum 4 Reviews
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      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. 

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
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    ssindc,

     

    You make some great points!

     

    I too have been a real "Skeptic", but others and your comments, really make sense!

     

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

     

    Am going to look for them on my next trip to the stores!

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    landscapelover Platinum 1 Reviews
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    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.

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    keglerbill Platinum 1 Reviews
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    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.

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    ssindc Platinum 42 Reviews
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    Two minor updates on this:

    • some folks complain about the durability and longevity of the Bose head sets - well, I'm still using mine, and they've been great; but
    • everyone else in my family ended up buying Dr. Dre Beats - they're basically the same price - but I have to admit:
      • they all have colored headsets - they're cool (but probably too cool for me); and
      • the newer Beats fold and, as a result, come in a much smaller and, therefore, more travel friendly box.

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    • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
      iahflyr Platinum 26 Reviews
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      I swear buy my Bose earbuds, been my headset selection for almost 9 years I guess while the wife loves her over the ear Bose.  I just enjoy the comfort of the bud more and they are cool enough for me!

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    curiousone Platinum
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    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.

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    • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
      iahflyr Platinum 26 Reviews
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      I have Bose earbuds and my wife has the over ear Bose noise cancelling.  Both are wonderful and have been very reliable for a few years now.  Only complaint my wife has come up with is "why don't you have to change out a battery". LOL

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    ramoneur Platinum
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    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

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    • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
      ssindc Platinum 42 Reviews
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      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....

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      • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
        ramoneur Platinum
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        (you will see that they will break this instant now, but....)

        me too have had no problems whatsoever with the Bose Reliability

         

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    ericwynn Platinum
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    Thanks for the feedback!

    I will add them to my list of must haves!

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    • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
      jonsummers Gold
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      Are the bose still the best ones to get?

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      • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
        iahflyr Platinum 26 Reviews
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        I can't hear you, have my Bose earbuds in!!!

         

        My buds are about six years old so I'm sure there have been nice improvements so you might want to check some models and brands.

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      • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
        ramoneur Platinum
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        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

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      • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
        ssindc Platinum 42 Reviews
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        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

        Best overall.

        Likes: Top noise-canceling; decent audio quality brings out detail; 20-hour battery; auto power-off.

        Dislikes: Stodgy style, limited app capabilities.

         

        but .....

         

        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.

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      • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
        joelambic Gold
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        "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.

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    Jsucool76 Gold
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    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.

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    702rugbyref Platinum
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    I just love them on the plane.

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    • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
      Jsucool76 Gold
      Currently Being Moderated

      It's really an amazing technology that despite its simplicity, is so functional.

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      • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
        702rugbyref Platinum
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        I slept for over half of my return flight from Shanghai with AA Bose headphones in first class...ahhh..if only it was like that every time I flew!

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    jonsummers Gold
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    I love the noise cancelling headphones but now I am also in search of earbud types so that I can sleep while wearing them

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    • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
      iahflyr Platinum 26 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      I've had Bose earbuds for about seven years and LOVE them.

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      • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
        seatexan Platinum
        Currently Being Moderated

        Earbuds tend to hurt my ears after sometime.  Are the Bose ones different? Maybe they just fit better with better cushion?

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        • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
          painedplatinum Platinum 2 Reviews
          Currently Being Moderated

          I'm with you SeaTexan, the earbud that goes into the ear tends to irritate my ears. I prefer the over the ear headphones. My Bose have served me well.

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        • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
          iahflyr Platinum 26 Reviews
          Currently Being Moderated

          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.

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          • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
            seatexan Platinum
            Currently Being Moderated

            Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones - Apple

             

            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...

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            • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
              iahflyr Platinum 26 Reviews
              Currently Being Moderated

              I think with the buds it is all about getting the correct earpiece that fits your ear.

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            • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
              ssindc Platinum 42 Reviews
              Currently Being Moderated

              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:

              • over ear - I used these for years - I recommend them without hesitation - downsides: (1) hard to sleep on your side if you're in biz class with a lie-flat seat/bed; and (2) relatively large to carry.
              • on ear (no big ear cup) - smaller, but doesn't block as much sound - I've tried them, but didn't buy 'em - I (personally) did not find them comfortable with glasses - too much pressure on the ear; and
              • in ear - or ear buds - the newest - least to carry (pouch fits in pocket), excellent noise cancellation (although I think the over ear/cup head set actually blocks a little more sound)...
                • the ear buds come with choices of attachments so they fit differently sized ears.....

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              • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
                seatexan Platinum
                Currently Being Moderated

                Yes that is them! Hmmm I wonder though, the new iPhone doesn't have a headphone jack.  Maybe I should wait...

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    curiousone Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    The 2017 GMC trucks are offering Bose noise cancellation for the truck cab. This may deserve a test drive. I am looking forward to this technology trickling down to other brands/models. I could save my Bose QC20s for the airplane.

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    • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
      jonsummers Gold
      Currently Being Moderated

      My honda has that as well but I am not sure I am complete fan yet.  I have Bose too and those work much much better.

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    • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
      YogiB Platinum
      Currently Being Moderated

      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).

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  • Re: Epiphany: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
    razorbackfan Alumni Steward Platinum 23 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    We are getting ready to invest in some noise cancelling headphones and/or earbuds.  Has anyone tried a brand/model since these reviews were posted that you would recommend?  I think the original post was in 2012, but has been updated in 2016.

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