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Bose QC-25 Around-ear Noise Canceling Stereo Headphone review


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Here's the Bose QC-25 - the most famous of the noise cancelers I think. And it's extremely good at canceling noise, with a couple minor caveats. From what I hear with this headphone, they managed to not only be the best at noise cancellation, but they produced a near-perfect audiophile signature at the same time. I can't say that all aspects of the sound quality are audiophile-grade, but listening to many very familiar music tracks, the details were present and the tone qualities seemed correct. The build quality is luxurious, and if the QC-25 proves to be durable, the $300 USD price tag seems like a good value. In the picture links I included, you'll be able to see the major differences between the Active mode and Passive mode signatures.

 

Bose QC-25 Around-ear Noise Canceling Stereo Headphone review

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I've been discovering more as I go along. One big thing I didn't know in the review tests - if you're in a noisy area and benefitting from the Noise Canceling, and it's outdoors and windy, the mics that measure the ambient noise will also pick up the wind, just like a digital camera making a video. And that wind noise will overpower the music even with a 10 mph breeze if you're facing into it. That makes me wonder if there's already a solution for it, or whether a solution is even possible.

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If noise canceling and sound quality are both important priorities, I encourage you to try some in-ear phones, for example Shure SE-435 models.

 

I tried Bose and Sony noise canceling for years averaging 50,000 miles a year on planes. They work okay and they all suffer the wind noise issue noted, they don't stop intermittent noise well, they seem to effect the sound a little, and they all cancel about 20-25db of noise.

 

The in-ear systems using the soft foam provided cut about 40-46db of all noise without any of the failings of the active systems. They are a little uncomfortable, but better than noise. I can wear then about 2 hours continuously then I take a 5-10 minute break.

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If noise canceling and sound quality are both important priorities, I encourage you to try some in-ear phones, for example Shure SE-435 models. I tried Bose and Sony noise canceling for years averaging 50,000 miles a year on planes. They work okay and they all suffer the wind noise issue noted, they don't stop intermittent noise well, they seem to effect the sound a little, and they all cancel about 20-25db of noise. The in-ear systems using the soft foam provided cut about 40-46db of all noise without any of the failings of the active systems. They are a little uncomfortable, but better than noise. I can wear then about 2 hours continuously then I take a 5-10 minute break.

 

I concur on IEMs, for those who can use them.

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If noise canceling and sound quality are both important priorities, I encourage you to try some in-ear phones, for example Shure SE-435 models.

 

I tried Bose and Sony noise canceling for years averaging 50,000 miles a year on planes. They work okay and they all suffer the wind noise issue noted, they don't stop intermittent noise well, they seem to effect the sound a little, and they all cancel about 20-25db of noise.

 

The in-ear systems using the soft foam provided cut about 40-46db of all noise without any of the failings of the active systems. They are a little uncomfortable, but better than noise. I can wear then about 2 hours continuously then I take a 5-10 minute break.

Have you tried the Bose QC20?

While they are not the most high fidelity, they have a reasonably flat frequency response, and I find that they do a good job combining passive isolation with active isolation.

 

Personally, I don't get on with IEMs at all. I find most of them to be uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time, and I dislike the way they "internalize" a lot of external sounds. The cables often transmit a lot of sound into your ears for example. (e.g. rubbing against a zipper or button)

 

The QC20 on the other hand offers similar isolation (I find) to most IEMs but largely avoids that discomfort. There is also the "awareness mode" which still cancels out low frequency noise and turns down environmental noise, but still allows you to hear what's going on around you.

 

They're not ideal - I don't like that they have to be tethered to a battery pack which needs recharging, but I can wear them all day, rather than just for an hour or two as with most IEMs - even the smallest IEMs like my previous UE700's.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another discovery about the QC25: If you listen with your head down somewhat, with chin close to chest, the QC25 produces a fairly strong rumble, which disappears as soon as you lift your head. It may be that the mics are in those small holes at the bottom of the earcups, and they don't like being crowded or blocked.

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Another discovery about the QC25: If you listen with your head down somewhat, with chin close to chest, the QC25 produces a fairly strong rumble, which disappears as soon as you lift your head. It may be that the mics are in those small holes at the bottom of the earcups, and they don't like being crowded or blocked.
Interesting - I have not noticed that happening with my QC20 if I'm listening in bed with one ear against a pillow. (covering the mics)
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