Bose headphones

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Bose Corporation produces headphones for consumer, aviation and military use.[1] The models range includes in-ear headphones, mobile headsets, supra-aural headphones, Circumaural headphones and military/aviation headsets. The company was the first to release active noise cancelling headphones as a consumer product.[2]

Active noise-cancelling headphones[edit]

Bose's consumer range of active noise-cancelling headphones are called "QuietComfort". For industrial noise-cancelling applications, Bose produces the A20 Aviation Headset, Space Shuttle Headset and Combat Vehicle Crewman Headset.

Noise-cancelling headphones development[edit]

According to Bose, the company started noise-cancellation involvement after Dr. Amar Bose went on a 1978 flight to Europe, and "was trying out new set of airline-supplied headphones and found that he couldn't really enjoy the sound with the roar of engines in the background".[3]

In 1986, Bose applied their noise-cancellation technology to develop headphones to protect the hearing of pilots participating in the first un-refueled non-stop around-the-world flight in the Rutan Voyager.[4]

One source notes that "nearly simultaneously, the US company Bose and Sennheiser in Germany presented active headsets for aircraft pilots"[5] as citing a 1986 paper of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, about the Bose product, and a 1988 Funkschau (see de:Funkschau) paper about the Sennheiser.

Bose QuietComfort 3 Headphones[edit]

Bose released the QuietComfort 3 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones ("QC3") on June 15, 2006, the company's first pair of on-ear headphones. Bose states that, although headphones which envelop the ear provide greater passive noise isolation, the QC3s have the same amount of total noise reduction as the QC2s due to improved active noise cancellation. Memory foam is used to improve the passive noise isolation.

The QC3's EarCups are powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery; Bose claims a battery life of 25 hours.[6]

The headphones were favorably reviewed in Sound & Vision[7] and were the first headphones to receive that magazine's Editor's Choice award, in 2006.[8] That year, the QC3s also received a Potentials Magazine Gold Star Award "Bronze" for Premium Incentives.[9] In 2007 they received a Red Dot Award for product design.[10]

Bose QC3 headphones are provided by American Airlines for use by passengers in premium flight classes on some long-haul flights.[11]

Bose QuietComfort 15 Headphones[edit]

The QuietComfort 15 was released on 20 August 2009. A model to supersede QuietComfort 2 Revision 2, both the model 2 and the QuietComfort 15 share the same cosmetic design;[12] however the QuietComfort 15 uses a microphone on the inside and outside of each EarCup. The QuietComfort 15 offers redesigned EarCup padding and materials to provide additional passive noise reduction. Both QuietComfort 2 and QuietComfort 15 are powered by a single AAA-sized battery and have a "High / Lo" switch to adjust for sources with high and low output levels.[13]

American Airlines provides QuietComfort 15 headphones to first-class and business-class passengers on some long-haul flights.[11] Bose has made American Airlines several special edition versions of the QuietComforts, starting with the original QC1 that had blue ear cups and an American Airlines logo on them. American Airlines became the first airline to offer the QuietComforts. On 1 July 2006[14] JAL started to offer QuietComfort 2 headphones to First class customers on some flights[15] Air India also offers QuietComfort 3 headphones to its Premium Class customers on some long haul flights. Cathay Pacific provides their First and Business Class passengers a pair of customized Quiet Comfort headphones.

Bose QuietComfort 15 won the What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision annual award for "Best Noise Cancelling Headphones" in 2010.

Custom Bose QuietComfort 15 Headphones[edit]

Bose also offers QC15 in custom color through 3rd party vendor ColorWare who specialized in customizing appearance for consumer electronics. It costs $100 more than the standard QC15, customers can customize almost every part of the headphone through a web-based design tool. The 30-day return policy on custom headphone incurs 25% re-stocking fee.

Bose QuietComfort 20 In-Ear Headphones[edit]

In August 2013, Bose announced their first in-ear active noise-cancelling headphones. It uses a small control module which is located near the jack to provide the technology similar to that of the QuietComfort 15. This control module also contains a rechargeable battery which powers the active noise-cancelling. The QuietComfort 20 headphones feature upgraded, passive noise-sealing EarTips named the StayHear+, similar to the ones found on the IE2 (StayHear). A new feature which Bose has also introduced in these headphones is "Aware Mode". This mode allows you to press a single button on the in-line remote to let in some background noise for convenience whilst music is playing; dramatically reducing noise-cancellation to let in ambient noise. The headphones can be purchased in two versions; the QC20 is for Android, Windows and Blackberry and the QC20i is designed for Apple compatibility. The in-line remote for the QC20i also has direct music control access unlike the QC20.[16]

Bose QuietComfort 25 Headphones[edit]

On September 3, 2014, Bose announced the QuietComfort 25 headphones, the successor to the QuietComfort 15. QuietComfort 25 features a new cosmetic design, as well as new improved audio and enhanced noise-canceling performance. The folding design of the headphones has also been improved for a new, smaller carrying case. The ear cushions of the headphones are manufactured with protein leather, a synthetic material, and the EarCups feature a soft-touch TPE bumper and cast zinc pivot. A major change is the ability to continue to use the headphones after the battery has expired, without the noise-cancelling feature. Bose chose to eliminate the Hi/Low switch present on the previous model which allowed users to adjust for low-output devices like MP3 players.

Customers can also customize their Bose QC25 headphones by selecting one of 52 (glossy or matte) colors on each of the nine customizable headphones elements on Bose's website for an additional $100, through 3rd party vendor ColorWare, similar to the custom Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones.

Bose QuietComfort 25 won the What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision annual award for "Best Noise Cancelling Headphones" in 2014, replacing their predecessor (the Bose QuietComfort 15).

Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones[edit]

In June 2016, Bose released their QuietComfort 35 headphones, adding bluetooth functionality to the QuietComfort line alongside the QuietComfort 25. They have a slightly refined version of the design of the QuietComfort 25 headphones; the color has been changed to a matte black with a silver option as well. Stainless Steel is used for the pivots of the ear cups, with glass filled nylon for the headband and ear cups as opposed to plastic, to ensure durability while remaining particularly lightweight for bluetooth headphones.

They feature a noise-cancelling microphone that works over bluetooth to reduce ambient noise over phone calls. Much like the QuietComfort 25, an included audio cable allows wired use of the headphones either with or without use of the noise cancelling feature. Similar to Bose's SoundLink models, the right ear cup features a pair of volume buttons flanking a pause/play button. The user can double or triple press the play button to skip forward or backward a track. The right ear cup also has the power switch, which you flick to a third position to put the headphones into pairing mode, if you need it, which you do for a smartphone. The headphones are also NFC compatible, and tapping an NFC enabled device such as certain Android smartphones on the NFC spot located on the headphones pairs them via Bluetooth.

The headphones have generally received overwhelmingly positive reviews, although one review cites bass distortion above certain volume levels as a major drawback.[17] However, the headphones have received five star reviews from both the Guardian and International Business times.

Publication Score
Cnet 4.5/5[18]
Techradar 4.5/5[19]
Stuff 5/5[20]
Guardian 5/5[21]
The Verge 8.8/10[22]

Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones II[edit]

In September 2017, Bose released an updated version of the QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones which includes a dedicated Google Assistant button. Pressing this button allows the user to give instructions to Google Assistant using their voice on either iOS or Android.[23]

Publication Score
Cnet 8.8/10[24]
Wired 8/10[25]
Techradar 4/5[26]
iFans 8.4/10[27]

Space Shuttle Headset[edit]

Bose makes noise-canceling aviation headsets which have been used in the Space Shuttle, where the noise cancellation feature helps prevent astronaut hearing damage.[28]

A20 Aviation Headset[edit]

Released on July 26, 2010[29] as an upgrade to the previous "Aviation Headset X" (aka A10), they are noise reducing headphones for pilots. It either runs on two AA batteries for 45 hours or is powered by the airplane's electrical system. It has an Aux in for a separate audio device, and better noise reduction and less clamping force than its predecessor. There are two models, one that includes a Bluetooth kit for cellphones or one that excludes this feature.[30]

From 2000 to 2005 Aviation Headset X was voted #1 by Professional Pilot magazine's headset preference survey five years in a row.[31]

Combat Vehicle Crewman Headset[edit]

In 1993 Bose introduced an active noise reduction system for use by crews in United States Army combat vehicles. At noise levels of 115dBA SPL, Bose noise cancelling headsets improves speech intelligibility scores to 95%, compared to 80% for conventional headsets.[32]

Triport Tactical Headset[edit]

The Triport Tactical Headset (TTH) introduced in 2004,[33] also called the Improved Tactical Headset (ITH), is an improved version of the Combat Vehicle Crewman Headset, is in widespread use today. This system is for use in wheeled vehicles that while quieter can produce 95dBA SPL or higher. It fits under infantry ballistic helmet.[34][35]

Circumaural headphones[edit]


On October 15, 2010, Bose released the AE2 circumaural (termed "around-ear" by Bose). Connection is through a detachable cord that connects to the left side of the headphones. The foam on the original headband from the original AE1 Triport has been replaced with a synthetic leather and the earpieces rotate flat for improved storage, similar to the QuietComfort models.

Supra-aural headphones[edit]

The "triport" earcup structure has three miniature air ducts that claim to allow the drivers to make larger excursions before distorting.[citation needed]

On-Ear headphones[edit]

The Bose On-Ear headphones are Bose's first supra aural headphones and were introduced on October 12, 2006. The Bose On-Ear is similar to the Bose QuietComfort 3 Headphones, but without active noise cancellation. The cord is detachable; both 43 and 16-inch cords are available.[36]

Shortly after the release of the iPhone in 2007 Bose redesigned the OE's headphone plug on the detachable cords to make it iPhone compatible.

In 2008, the Red Dot Award for product design was awarded to Bose On-Ear Headphones[37] (note, this design award does not include audio quality in the evaluation criteria).[38]


In October 2011, Bose replaced the On-Ear Headphones with the OE2 and OE2i,[39] which are smaller and lighter than their predecessors.[citation needed] The only difference between the OE2 and OE2i is that the i includes an Apple-specific inline three-button iPod/iPhone remote control with inbuilt microphone. This remote has play/pause, volume control, previous track and next track buttons.[citation needed]

Earlier models of the Bose OE2 used a male to female extending cable, this allows the user to change shorted-out cables without having to send the whole headset back. Later models of the OE2 now use male-to-male cables as they are more commercially available in shorter headphone lengths, and the introduction of a female port on the headset further reduces the possibility of the cord to break even with extensive wear and tear.

In-ear headphones[edit]


On August 16, 2005 Bose announced the IE2's shallow insertion in-ear headphones.[40] Unlike many other in-ear headphones, they are not inserted deep into the ear canal, rather the fit is similar to an earbud.[41] Therefore, noise isolation is less effective than Canalphones[42] The tips which are required to hold this design in place are called "StayHear" tips by Bose.[43] The audio quality of the IE2 was judged to be outperformed by other models in its price class.[44]

Mobile headsets[edit]


The MIE2 headset is the same as the IE2 headphones, but with a microphone added so that it operates as a cellphone headset.[45]

Some complaints about the early production In-Ears have been that the "silicone ear tips become detached under certain conditions" and that the "stability of the headphones during certain activities, such as exercise, could be improved". Bose set up a website[46] to send redesigned ear tips and a new clip and the lanyard for free.[47]


The MIE2i headset is a version of the MIE2 design for Apple devices (including the iPhone, iPod, iMac, iPad).[45] It incorporates an in-line remote control for volume, track up/down and access to select Apple voice applications.

Bluetooth headset[edit]

On November 1, 2010, Bose released its first wireless Bluetooth headset.[48] Ambient noise sensing automatically adjusts the volume level based on background noise so that, in theory, the user should not have to adjust the volume when walking between quiet and noisy environments. Signal processing attempts to amplify the caller's voice and reject background noise, allowing the caller to be heard more clearly; however, in practice call quality is poor for models without A2DP.[49] The headset design is similar to Bose's IE2 headphones.[50][51] [52][53]

The first release of the Bose Bluetooth headset was criticized for having poor call quality, a lack of features and a high price tag.[49]

Bluetooth Headset Series 2[edit]

On October 2011, Bose released its second-generation Bluetooth headset.[54] It comes in both a left and a right ear version, supports A2DP, and the automatic volume control based on background noise level (termed "Adaptive Audio Adjustment technology" by Bose) has been revised.

The headset also has a volume control, a command button for answering calls and a sliding on/off switch. The Series 2 model was judged a "solid performer" and praised for improved call quality (presumably due to the inclusion of A2DP), however the criticisms of lack of features and high price remained.[55]

The headset was discontinued on 3/31/2015 [56]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Best Headphone Brands". GetAHeadphone.
  2. ^ "Noise-canceling Headphones - HowStuffWorks". HowStuffWorks.
  3. ^ "BOSE® Learning Centre - Noise Reduction". Archived from the original on 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2016-11-06.
  4. ^ "BOSE® Learning Centre - Escape the Noise". Archived from the original on 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2016-11-06.
  5. ^ Tokhi, Osman; Sandor Veres (2002). Active Sound and Vibration Control. Institution of Electrical Engineers. ISBN 0-85296-038-7. p. 13
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-05. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
  7. ^ "Bose QuietComfort 3 Noise-Canceling Headphones". Sound & Vision, October 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-04-03.
  8. ^ "Sound & Vision 2006 Editors' Choice Awards". Sound & Vision Magazine. p. 13 of 21. February 4, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-03-21.
  9. ^ "Potentials Magazine 2006 Gold Star Award Winners". Potentials Magazine, via September 26, 2006. Archived from the original on 2008-05-09.
  10. ^ "QuietComfort 3 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones Headphones - red dot award: product design 2007". Red Dot. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27.
  11. ^ a b "Premium Comfort With Bose Quality". American Airlines website. Archived from the original on 2004-05-07. Retrieved 2014-01-12.
  12. ^ "Bose Quietly Updates Its QuietComfort Noise-Canceling Headphones (With Ears-On)". gizmodo. 2015.
  13. ^ Bose Improves, Replaces QuietComfort 2 Headphones - pcmag
  14. ^ "JAL News". Japan Airlines website. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
  15. ^ "JAL International Flights - In-flight Entertainment(First Class)". Japan Airlines website. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
  16. ^ Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones Archived January 19, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. - Bose
  17. ^ Webster, Andrew (2016-06-21). "The Bose QC 35 headphones are fatally flawed, and no one believes me". The Verge. Retrieved 2016-11-06.
  18. ^ Carnoy, David (2016-06-19). "Bose QuietComfort 35 review". CNET. Retrieved 2016-11-06.
  19. ^ Porter, Jon. "Bose QuietComfort 35 review". TechRadar. Retrieved 2016-11-06.
  20. ^ "Bose QuietComfort 35 review | Stuff". 2016-06-09. Retrieved 2016-11-06.
  21. ^ Samuel Gibbs. "Bose QC35 wireless headphones: simply unrivalled noise cancelling | Technology". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-11-06.
  22. ^ Welch, Chris (2016-06-22). "Bose QuietComfort 35 review: the best noise-canceling headphones are now wireless". The Verge. Retrieved 2016-11-06.
  23. ^ "QuietComfort 35 Wireless Smart Headphones | Bose". Retrieved 2017-12-26.
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  25. ^ "Review: Bose's QC35 Headphones Get Injected With Google's AI". WIRED. Retrieved 2017-12-26.
  26. ^ "Bose QuietComfort 35 II review". TechRadar. Retrieved 2017-12-26.
  27. ^ "Bose QuietComfort 35 II review". iFans. Retrieved 2017-12-26.
  28. ^ "MIT "Inventor of the Week Archive"". Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  29. ^ "AVweb, New Bose A20 Headset". Youtube. 2010-07-26. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  30. ^ Marsh, Alton K. "Bose upgrades to A20 headset". AOPA. Archived from the original on 2012-03-19. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  31. ^ "Headset Preference Survey". Professional Pilot: 82. December 2005.
  32. ^ Source: USAF AL data
  33. ^ "Bose Corporation". Amigura. 1975-06-17. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  34. ^ "Army Technology • Bose Corporation". 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2012-02-14.[unreliable source?]
  35. ^ "Bose - TriPort tactical headset". Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  36. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-02-25. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
  37. ^ "online-exhibition | Red Dot Award: Product Design". Retrieved 2016-11-06.
  38. ^ "Red Dot Design Award: Red Dot Award: Product Design 2013". Retrieved 2016-11-06.
  39. ^ "Bose Finally De-Uglied Its On-Ear Headphones". gizmodo. 2011-10-12. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  40. ^ "Bose Announces Three Mobile In-Ear Headphones". gearlog. 2005-08-17. Retrieved 2012-02-14.[permanent dead link]
  41. ^ "cnet - Bose IE2 Headphones". Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  42. ^ "Bose® IE2 audio headphones Reviews".
  43. ^ Carnoy, David (2010-08-16). "cnet - Bose debuts new in-ear headphones". Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  44. ^ "Bose IE2 review - Page 2 - Page 2 - CNET". CNET. CBS Interactive. 20 October 2010.
  45. ^ a b Darren Murph. "Bose intros IE2, MIE2 and MIE2i in-ear headphones, only charges an arm for 'em". Engadget. AOL.
  46. ^ " - Complimentary Silicone Tips and Stability Enhancement Kit for Bose In-Ear Headphones". Bose website. Archived from the original on 2008-03-04. Retrieved 2009-09-23.
  47. ^ Berger, Ivan (2007-03-22). "Hang on to the Beat With Earbuds That Stay Put". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
  48. ^ Bose Worldwide - Contacts (archived from the original on 2012-03-14)
  49. ^ a b "Bose Bluetooth Headset review - CNET". CNET. CBS Interactive. 9 December 2010.
  50. ^ "Bose Bluetooth Headset Automatically Adapts to Both Quiet and Noisy Environments". Chip Chick.
  51. ^ "Bose Bluetooth Headset Coming Out Next Month". BerryReview. Retrieved 2016-11-06.
  52. ^ "Bose unveils Bluetooth headset". CNET. CBS Interactive.
  53. ^ Ross Miller. "Bose enters single-ear Bluetooth headset market with expected swagger and price tag". Engadget. AOL.
  54. ^ "Bose releases Bluetooth headset Series 2". 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  55. ^ Colon, Alex. "Bose Bluetooth Headset Series 2". PC Magazine.
  56. ^ "Bose Bluetooth Headset Series 2 - Bose Product Support". 2015-03-31. Retrieved 2016-11-06.