Bose QC20 headphones: Hear your music like never before

Written by Sudhir Chowdhary | Updated: Sep 5 2013, 14:48pm hrs
Sometimes looks can be deceiving! Take the case of the new Bose QuietComfort 20 headphones, a fantastic piece of audio equipment, distinctly small in its physical form but vastly superior in performance, outsmarting even much larger music systems by a huge margin. The QC20 is impressive in terms of appearance, technology, and price. From a musical point of view, the headphone is a brilliant success; it does all the obvious things superbly. You get big, bold sound in your ears and just like your phone, youll want to take these headphones everywhere, everyday. They fit in your pocket, weigh just 42 grams, and above all, carry an affordable price tag of R22,388.

Virtually every serious audiophile has heard about Bose products, but for the uninitiated a little word on the makers of this audio equipment. From the companys home entertainment systems and Wave music systems, to noise-cancelling and audio headphones, digital music systems, Bluetooth speakers and professional solutions, Bose has changed the way people listen to music. To say that Bose products for the home, in the car, on the go and in public spaces have become iconic would not be an exaggeration.

Back to the new range. The new QC20s are the first in-ear noise cancelling headphones from the Framingham, Massachusetts-based firm. They deliver a stunning breakthrough in noise reduction, audio performance and comfort, and offer two ways to listen one to shut out the world, and one to keep you connected. They are available in two different models: the QC20 headphones work with most Android, Windows and BlackBerry phones; the QC20i headphones are designed specifically for select iPhone, iPad and iPod models. We got the QC20i for a review and when listening to music from a mobile phone or tablet, what is important is that every music instrument that was played could be heard distinctly in crisp, clear and loud audio.

Before you do that, allow upto two hours for a full charge before first use. Use the supplied USB cable to connect the headphones to a powered USB port on your computer or a wall charger (not supplied). When fully charged, headphones will have about 16 hours of battery life. When powering on the device, slide the power switch on the control module to On. The headphones will turn on in noise cancelling, which reduces most sound around you.

Company officials inform that the QC20 headphones benefit from over 30 years of continuous research in noise reduction technology, and integrate more US patents than any Bose headphone ever made. Bose engineers first placed two tiny, microphones in each ear bud; one senses the sound approaching, the other measures the sound inside. The measurements are then sent to a digital electronic chip located in the control module found on the headphone cord. The digital electronic chipexclusive to Bose, and the first of its kindcalculates an equal and opposite noise cancellation signal within a millisecond. The resulting noise reduction is so dramatic, it has to be heard to be believed.

A proprietary Bose technology, called Bose TriPort, uses ports to

increase the effective acoustic space of the ear bud to reproduce deep lows, and lifelike vocals and instruments. Bose active equalisation tunes the frequency response for improved, natural sound. All music genres sound betterfull, rich, and deep, without artificial boosts or distortion.

Another proprietary technology, StayHear+ ear tips sit at the entrance of the ear canal, and feature an improved conical design that ensures an effective seal to passively block noise, and the proper acoustic enclosure to improve active noise reduction. They are stable, secure, and barely felt.

In my usage, I discovered that these headphones can be used in two ways, giving you control over what you hear and when. You can choose to block out the noisy world and enjoy your music. Or, with the push of a button on the cords Y-joint, the headphones switch to new Aware mode, which keeps the music playing, but allows surroundings to be heard clearly: a horn beeping or a friend talking. In addition, these headphones include an integrated inline microphone and Controls that allow you to take calls.

All in all, with the QC 20 headphones, instruments and voice retain all their natural quality, from the softest to the loudest passages and regardless of sudden shifts in musical dynamics. I admit, I am a fan of Bose products and their latest headphones have me hooked.