Price (RRP): $599
The Bose QuietComfort 2 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones are not simply about watching movies or listening to music when travelling. Bose technology means that these headphones filter a great deal of the low frequencies from motors, especially in planes. Research has shown that these low frequencies are a significant contributing factor in the condition most travellers identify as jet lag.
The QC2s come in an excellent hard-sided case, roughly the size of a CD carrycase. These protect the headphones when they are not being used. A connector cord to connect the headphones to any music source is provided, along with an extension cord and two adapter plugs – a double pronged plug for airlines and a 6.35 mm (1/4 inch) plug for home stereo systems. As you would expect, all connections are gold plated.
The QC2s are designed to enclose your ears, as opposed to other noise-canceling units that just rest on top of them. In my opinion, the over ear type maximises the noise-canceling effect enormously.
The design also ensures that the padded headband that joins each ear cup can sit just off your head. Once in position I found that the QC2s are very comfortable and I virtually forgot they were there for the bulk of the 20 hours of flying time to Chicago.
I used the headphones plugged into the plane’s in-flight movies, audio (for a short time) several hours connected to a PlayStation Portable, a couple of hours with an iPod and a few connected to my notebook as I edited some video. In each case I was soon whisked away from the monotonous drone of the engines to a world where the cool, crisp melodies of my music, the sound track from the movies or the action sounds of the games I was playing became my world.
I tend to take the cabling out of the unit when I’m sleeping – they continue to cancel the noise around me – and I always wear them when catching some shuteye on a plane, bus or train.
The headphones have all the electronics built into the ear cups, and operate off a single AAA battery, which is housed inside the right ear cup. The only control on the headphones is the on/off switch. There is no volume control. However, there is an input level switch, but it is mysteriously hidden on part of the connector cord that becomes unreachable once plugged into the headphones.
The noise-cancelling offered by these headphones is far and away the best of any headphones of this style that I’ve tested. I should point out that they don’t create a perfectly silent environment inside the ear cups, but they certainly do the best job at reducing the bulk of it.
Audio performance is excellent. The QC2s use a proprietary Bose technology called TriPort acoustic headphone structure. This design features small ports in the ear cups to produce a rich audio performance remarkable for headphones this small.
Simply put, I loved my QC1s and I’ve fallen in love all over again with the new QC2s. They are certainly worth the investment.