Bose’s Quiet Comfort 25 might be a bit pricey, but it’s an excellent on-ear noise-cancelling headphone
There are times when many among us, especially after a hard and tiring day at work, like to retreat to the comfort zones of our homes and relax by listening to soothing music. The idea is to shut out the outside world and accompanying cacophony. Even when you’re flying, you’re inside a large, complex machine, so it’s common to hear a lot of sound. There’s a high-pitched whine prior to takeoff—that’s the sound of the engines spooling up for takeoff—and during cruise the sound of the engines becomes a never-ending hum. Believe me, such loud and constant sound can get quite unsettling and unnerve many people.
New noise cancelling headphones from Bose can help one get rid of this sound torture, on the ground as well as when one’s airborne. These are the QuietComfort 25 headphones, which feature an entirely new design and combine better noise reduction and audio performance with a stunning new look and greater portability. Basically, they replace the widely popular QuietComfort 15 (QC stands for Quiet Comfort) headphones and are available at a price of R21,263.
A brief recap on the QuietComfort story. In 2000, Bose first introduced the QuietComfort noise cancelling headphones and dramatically changed the consumer headphone category. In 2003, with advancements in noise reduction, audio quality and electronics, Bose unveiled the QuietComfort 2 acoustic noise cancelling headphones, setting another standard for performance in an around-ear design. Three years later, Bose introduced its first on-ear noise cancelling headphones, the QuietComfort 3 headphones, offering the line’s renowned performance in a smaller design.
The pursuit for a better headphone continued, and in 2009, Bose debuted the QuietComfort 15 headphones. In 2013, came the QuietComfort 20 headphones, featuring more US patents than any Bose headphones ever made, and a level of noise reduction previously unattainable in an in-ear design. The latest QC 25 headphones represent another chapter in the widely popular product line’s history.
According to Bose themselves, the new QC 25 headphones have been re-engineered to both sound better, be more comfortable and provide a better noise-cancellation than its predecessor. This redesign includes improved quality material and finish for improved comfort and lightweight feel.
I own a QC 15 and believe me, it is great for frequent commuters, air travellers etc. I wear them on flights for sleeping purposes as it is pretty efficient in blocking out unwanted noise. So when Bose now claims to have improved that even further, I couldn’t wait to experience it hands on.
Unwrapped from its extensive packaging, the QC 25 headphones certainly have a new look. Its mechanical design, including materials, angles, arc lengths and headband radii, are re-engineered to sit closer to the head. The headband design is proprietary, and its pad uses an engineered fabric found in high-end automotive applications, claim Bose officials. The ear cushions are made of protein leather, and the earcups feature a soft-touch TPE bumper and cast zinc pivot. Comfortable and light-yet secure, the QC25 headphones are built to last, and fold and fit in a carrying case that’s small and easy to carry.
Probing the innards, Bose engineers have placed microphones both inside and outside the earcup to better sense and measure unwanted sounds. The measurements are then sent to a digital electronic chip, exclusive to Bose, that calculates a more precise equal and opposite noise cancellation signal—within a fraction of a millisecond. So powerful, the Bose chip reduces the footprint of the headphone’s electronics, while delivering a new level of quiet for around-ear headphones. Distractions instantly fade away, even in the most demanding environments.
When I put the QC 25 on for the first time, quite frankly, the sound experience was not much to talk about. It was comfortable on the head, but its sound quality was truly speaking like any other headphone available in the market. It was when I activated the noise-cancelling feature by putting the accompanying AAA battery that this Bose device came into its true form and began to weave its magic. I played Alia Bhatt’s Main Tenu Samjhawan Ki, Lata Mangeshkar’s Aye Dil E Nadan from Razia Sultan, among others, and I must say I was pretty impressed with its performance. While I did experience pressure on my ears, which may bother some people, every recording is reproduced more naturally, regardless of genre. There is no distortion or exaggeration of instruments or vocals. There is fantastic clarity and accuracy in the music; the TriPort technology in the QC 25 delivers deep, detailed low notes, while a lower noise floor reduces the common “hiss” associated with conventional active noise cancelling headphones. Of course, they completely eliminated the outside sound.
The QC 25 headphones come with a single AAA battery for upto 35 hours of use. And if the battery dies, the music plays on. An inline remote and mic make it easy to take calls with select iPod, iPhone and iPad models, and select smartphones.
Without doubt, the Bose QC 25 headphones are lighter and better-built, and offer the best sound and silencing capabilities.
* Estimated street price: Rs 21,263