I just bought the successor to these headphones. Fantastic sound, and even better than the predecessor in that the headphone cord is completely detachable from the headphones, which can then function as a stand alone noise reduction unit. The headphones now only have a single cord connecting the headphones vs the previous 2 cord setup. The battery is now a single AAA, and the noise cancelling circuitry is integrated within the headphones, eliminating the previous box. The only drawback is that I now notice the flaws in my MP3's. I guess they'll all have to be re-ripped at 192kbs!

Posted by Animal on May 23, 2003 at 1:37 AM (PDT) Comment 1

does the noise cancelling feature have any effect on the actual music? what I mean is, is it like dolby noise reduction? where it reduces noise in the music you hear?

or is it reduce external noise only? (which is what I want)

So I could use these not for music, but sort of like ear plugs to block out external noise?

Posted by spirit on July 20, 2003 at 11:02 AM (PDT) Comment 2

Other than their noise cancelling abilities, these headphones represent an EXTREMELY poor value. There are many headphones that cost much less than these that actually sound much better. For examples of better headphones and discussion about these particular ones visit This is an online forum that is dedicated entirely to high-end headphone listening. You will find that these headphones are not well liked by those that have heard the many better offerings out there.

Posted by Hiker on October 21, 2003 at 6:02 PM (PDT) Comment 3

Oh please........ Hiker......... yes there are better head phones.......Have I heard better noise cancelling head phones? Yes. Have I heard better sounding head phones? Yes. Have heard better sounding and noise cancelling head sets. No!

Posted by NBStwo on January 8, 2004 at 6:38 PM (PDT) Comment 4

As a pilot and a amateur audiophile, my first experience with the Bose system was the aviation X. The best noise cancelling headset I have ever owned. So i bought the audio phones for commercial plane use when I am sitting. I read Hiker's review, and did test with my home set, a sennheiser HD 600. I switched back an forth between one of my favorite Miles Davis tracks, and a few arias from Mozart's Magic Flute. Although the price is similar between the two sets, I think the Bose set was as good, or better, than the sennheiser at reproducing the vocals, and slightly less "wide" with the strings and trumpet. I think that the Bose sets are a superior value, with very nice ergonomics, finishes, and most important sound reporduction. The only down side is the realy poor location of the battery compartment, and the length of cord provided. These two issues have been fixed with the new version.

Posted by FerrariBreaker on January 26, 2004 at 10:18 PM (PDT) Comment 5

Anyone considering these Bose owes it to themselves to also look at the Etymotic 4S earphones (see review elsewhere on this site). I did a comparison and came away shocked at the discrepencies. The etymotics block external sound (though passively) as well as the Bose, and sound a world better. They're also better for portability (they're tiny). The only downside to the Etymotic vs. the Bose is that the Etymotics stick inside your ear canal and can be uncomfortable for some. They're not real easy to take off and on all the time. Nevertheless, when I'm sitting on an airplane with my iPod, my etymotics are my bestest friend.

Posted by Rodrigo on February 11, 2004 at 9:35 AM (PDT) Comment 6

When we turn off the noise cancelling feature of the headphone, does it still sound better? I mean I can use it like ordinary head phone w/o battery? Because I am not often traveling.

Posted by Jerry Justianto on February 21, 2004 at 8:40 AM (PDT) Comment 7

No sound comes through when you turn the headphones off... you either get noise cancelling or nothing at all. There is also a slight hiss from the noise cancellation.

I use these at work and on planes. At work, they're a bit overkill, but they do help to make things quieter (I'm in an open environment and need to concentrate on the code). For the plane, there's nothing better. I can hear a lot more of the detail (including the extreme highs) than any other passive or active noise reducing headset I've tried. What these headphones do in an extremely noisy environment is amazing... but not many people have the need.

Posted by Brent Plump on March 30, 2004 at 1:29 PM (PDT) Comment 8

How well would these work if used while mowing a lawn or driving a tractor for extended periods? They need to function as noise reduction and play my music. Worth the investment? (I can write them off my taxes...)

Posted by Stephanie on April 23, 2004 at 9:24 AM (PDT) Comment 9


I bought the Bose QuietComfort II's about a month ago. I am very happy with them. I tried listening to music while mowing my lawn and with the volume turned up full blast I could not make out a single word. It was all distortion due to how loud the motor is on my tractor.

With the QC2's on, I only have to turn the volume up about half way and I can hear the music perfect. It makes a huge difference! The noise cancelling isn't going to eliminate the sound just reduces it about 25-50% and makes the motor not sound as harsh or loud.

The sound quality on the QC2's are great. I hear things in songs I have never heard before. I tried out a pair of the Sennheiser's at $150 and they simply cannot compare. The Bose are definitely worth twice the cost of those.

So go buy a set and try them out. You typically have at least 30 days to return them if you decide that they are not right for you.

Posted by Jason on April 28, 2004 at 4:39 AM (PDT) Comment 10

Its seems the majority of noise reduction "technology" comes from the simple form of the design. Either the headphone completly around the entire ear, or a version where it plugs directly into your ear canal.

What % of noise reduction actually comes from the electronics or whatever?

just curious.

Posted by rposey on May 13, 2004 at 11:23 AM (PDT) Comment 11

Check out the Sennheiser PXC250. I got them for 65 from Empire Direct (UK). Apart from the clunky battery case, it does the trick. All low level ambient sound really knocked into touch. But like all noise cancelling 'phones it does let through people talking!!!


p.s. I recommend against Panasonics, noise cancelling ear buds. Yes they are cheap, but you have to push the buds right into your ears to get any effect - otherwise rather disappointing. Luckily I got the money back from the Panasonic shop!!

Posted by Chris Ko on July 17, 2004 at 11:03 AM (PDT) Comment 12

Check out the Sennheiser PXC250. I got them for 65 from Empire Direct (UK). Apart from the clunky battery case, it does the trick. All low level ambient sound really knocked into touch. But like all noise cancelling 'phones it does let through people talking!!!


p.s. I recommend against Panasonics, noise cancelling ear buds. Yes they are cheap, but you have to push the buds right into your ears to get any effect - otherwise rather disappointing. Luckily I got the money back from the Panasonic shop!!

Posted by Chris Ko on July 17, 2004 at 11:03 AM (PDT) Comment 13

Does anyone have experience with the Directsound EX-29 noise isolation headphones? With a passive reduction of 29db, I'm wondering how they compare to active electronic noise canceling headphones?

Posted by Len on September 29, 2004 at 1:04 PM (PDT) Comment 14

I have a pair of QuietComfort I's and they're extremely impressive. My only complaint is that the treble can be a bit high - if you like your music loud, it could be a problem. But the noise cancelling is fantastic - it's perfect for plane rides, buses, car rides, you name it.

Posted by VousDew on March 4, 2005 at 11:03 AM (PDT) Comment 15

After trying many earbuds with and without noise cancelling technology, I have finally settled on the Bose QuietComfort II headphones. Mostly because it was too uncomfortable shoving earbuds (Etymotic, Shure, Sony) into the ear canal. I couldn't concentrate on the music without constantly noticing the pressure and "blockage" feeling of the earbuds. Also, i found most earbuds to be lacking in bass response. The Bose really delivers the bass.

However, the reason for my posting is to remind people that your iPod has an EQ setting with various presets that do a fair job in getting closer to the sound you are looking for...bass boost, treble reduction, etc. I have found that using the EQ is critical to getting any headphones to be more compatible to my tastes. I prefer the fairly dynamic "Rock" preset for most of my music.

Posted by chris.dg on July 9, 2005 at 8:07 AM (PDT) Comment 16

i had some similar design headphones made by Sony, and they were excellent!

The hard outsides and curved plastic design channels the sound perfect!

They stopped external noises and internal noises (from the speakers) getting out and still they packed a good punch...A little dorky looking- but good qaulity...

lasted me 6 years- I am going to buy new headphones which are a little more compact and cooler in size and style...but Im finding it hard to let go of this style design.

Posted by Levi- The perfectionist on November 6, 2005 at 10:49 PM (PDT) Comment 17

I just brought a pair of QuietComfort2 that I will be returning.

I already have a pair of Sennheiser PXC250 so I'm used to active noise cancelling.

QC2 is a great pair of headphones with superior noise cancellation.

Putting them on is like going into a silent room and their S/N ratio is impressive.

It's a great design. The cable cord is only going to one cup and can be detached from the headphones. This way the QC2 can be used solely for noise cancelling.

They have a very comfortable fit. I use glasses and after five hours with the PXC250 my ears grow a bit sore. This will not be the case with the QC2.

They are somewhat bigger than the PXC250, so when traveling it requires more space in your hand luggage.

As for sound quality, they sound very different from the PXC250. When listening to the QC2 you have the feeling of being in a room. Echo and quiet parts are QC2's strong side. Mids are good and highs less harsh than the PXC250. Bas however is boomy and too dominating in the sound picture.
Although I'm very fond of the QC2, they lack the tight bass response of the PXC250.
If I where exclusively listening to Classic, Jazz, Acustic I would prefer listening to the QC2. However I do enjoy rock and occasinally hip/hop and the soundpicture is simply distorted by the overly boomy and dominating bass. I actually end up getting a headache when listening to rock on the QC2.

So... I will be returning them, hoping for Bose to make QC3 solving the bass problem.

But thanks to Bose for excellent customer service and for their 30 day return policy.

Posted by sehested on November 17, 2005 at 8:48 AM (PDT) Comment 18

I have owned the QC2s for some time now, and I am just wondering if anybody has experienced this type of sound in an IEM headphone? I have come to enjoy the sort of bass response and warmth I get with the QC2s but have grown a bit tired of carrying these suckers around. Just wondering if anyone might have any suggestions for a QC2 IEM equivalent.

Posted by BlindGuy500 on August 26, 2007 at 1:00 AM (PDT) Comment 19
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