Customer Reviews: Bose AE2 Around-Ear Audio Headphones, Black
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on November 15, 2010
They are similar to the over-the-ear headphones that Bose previously produced. They are basically a newer, better version. As always, the sound quality is excellent, crisp, and the bass is more than sufficient. Comfort is one of the best features as always. They are lightweight, flexible, with the memory-foam like cushioning. Absolutely incredible. Would highly recommend. Bose never fails to impress.
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on February 19, 2011
The Bose AE2 is supposedly the next generation of Bose's famous Triport line, which was later renamed simply Around Ear, now retroactively referred to as AE1 in light of this new model, the AE2, i.e., Around Ear 2.

The AE2s are not merely a cosmetic redesign of the Triports/AE1s, and they are certainly not an improvement. They have much worse sound. This past week I've tried direct comparisons with my current pair of Triports on three different pair in three different shops through my very own iPod (a 5.5 generation model, but that's a whole 'nuther story), and it isn't even close. It's not a subtle difference (like the difference between the 5.5 gen iPod and the Classic, but still, a whole 'nuther story). The AE2s first of all produce much less sound volume (even pushing them closer to my ears to compensate for the collapsed foam on my old pair). They are not sufficient to the task of being satisfying on an iPod. Second, even adjusting for the lower volume, the bass response is much worse. Basically, they finally do sound like the $10 pieces of crap the audiophiles have long accused them of being (see below), but they still cost $150. These deeply unsatisfying headphones are a massive fail for Bose and a poke in the eye to their customers, so I'm going to use the annoying tactic of writing in all caps, to make sure I save as many people as possible from a terrible fate:

If you loved the Bose Triports and want to replicate the experience, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES PURCHASE A PAIR OF BOSE AE2s.

You can stop reading now if that bit of advice is satisfying, but I do have more to say on this topic.

Bose has always taken a lot of flack from the audiophile community for being overpriced and for sounding bad, but I have done a lot of research and think it's mostly undeserved, and the glib dismissals uninformative. They may be overpriced, but they are definitely in the top echelon of performance for portable audio players such as the iPod or Walkman (I was porting my audio around town, and doing all this research, before the iPod even existed). Let me explain.

It's a simple thing to find great sounding pair of headphones. There are dozens of models in the higher- and highest-end range that satisfy that need, ranging from $100 to $1000 and beyond. But if you want a pair of headphones for an iPod, there is a great limitation placed on what you can get. You have to get a pair that are highly efficient, meaning they can produce a loud sound with only a little power. Really cheap headphones (in the $20-40 range) do this just fine, and can sound passably decent as well. But if you want to do better than that, move up to a higher price point to get better quality, you find yourself at a bottleneck, where the higher the price and quality, the less efficient the speakers, so the more power that is needed to drive them. There are only a few models that hit the sweet spot between efficiency and sound quality, and the Bose Triports were always my favorites.

People often bring up AKG and Sennheiser as being better for portable audio and cheaper than Bose. There is definitely something to this. The AKG K519DJ actually do sound a bit better than Bose Triports (though not so drastically better as to justify the abuse heaped on the Triports), but they have one fatal flaw: they don't cup over your ear, they sit right on it, and crush your lobes against your head. I had a $150 pair like this from Audio-Technica that did this, and after about 40 minutes of listening my ears hurt (the flesh, not the drums). But if this type of design sits too lightly on your ears, it won't block out outside noise. I walk around Tokyo with my headphones on day in and day out, so isolation from the sounds of passing trucks and incoming subways is essential, not to mention isolating my music from the people sitting next to me on subway so as not to bother them. Any on-ear pair is going to either crush your ears, or sit so lightly on them as to not block out outside noise. The Sennheisers I've seen in this price range have this same problem. (Except the HD 202s, which just sit awkwardly on my head anyway and leave gaps in their closure). Grados have no sound isolation at all, and harsh treble on loud rock to boot. (I use them for films though).

So the Bose Triports are the only pair of headphones I have yet found that satisfy, for the following reasons:

-Highly efficient, so sufficiently loud with iPod
-Very good sound quality, big bass with non-harsh treble, even on loud rock like Nirvana
-Comfortable to wear for hours on end
-Sound is isolated

All this to head off any critics from the pious audiophile gallery who might wish to dismiss me as uninformed and dismiss what I have to say about the Bose AE2s as having been the problem all along.

I do wish that AKG or Sennheiser would come out with a pair of headphones as good as the Triports. I know they are respectable companies that care about their products and customers, and would not try to trick me into buying their newer, much-worse model by claiming it was an improvement over their previous model. I don't respect Bose, I don't like them, they just happened to make the only headphones I liked. Here's hoping the five pair of Triports I've stockpiled (plus the two pair I have that are on their last leg) will last until someone makes a satisfactory pair again, or I figure out how to repair them. (The wiring in Bose Triports tends to disconnect every 6-12 months, at the point of connection with either the cans or the plug, and I always returned them to Bose to get a new pair for $40).

I'm open to suggestions for other headphones to try out so I can break my reliance on Bose, or of how to fix the Triports. I'm not sold on noise-canceling, as the ones I've tried seem to sound wrong somehow, and seem too complicated. And in-ear are uncomfortable, fall out easily, and kind of gross.
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on November 9, 2014
Just to start off, I'm not here to bash on Bose at all. I love them. I just know that this product isn't as good as other Bose products.

The headphone feels light and one may even consider call it flimsy, but the build construction is solid and earcups fold flat for easier portability. We may all wish that it folded up all the way, but good enough. Inside the earcups, it's hollow and there's a sense of... "hm something's not right." However, those thoughts disappear when you put it on your head. The cushions on the earcups and on top of the band are extremely comfortable and I've found it to be comfortable wearing it for many hours even with my glasses. Out of so many headphones I've tried, this is one of the most comfortable over the ear headphones and I'd definitely recommend for a long hours of work or even to keep your ears warm on a cold day in place of earmuffs!

Sound is decent. I'm no audiophile and won't be doing any scientific tests, but I could tell you that the sound I hear is not bad, while not amazing. Because of my expectation that comes with the amazing sound I hear on Bose IE2, it doesn't quite meet it at all. That doesn't mean it's bad either however, just not as good as Bose's other products.

Aside from that, it's a good set of headphones. The lightweight construction and soft paddings allow comfortable and long lasting usage, and wire only dangles from one side of the headphones so that it won't get in your way when you're eating or something. If you'd like, you can upgrade this set to a Bose AE2i by replacing the cable with a AE2 inline remote and microphone cable as easily as unplugging the original and plugging the new one back in. +1 for having that option even though that wire with remote and mic is a bit pricy. One may also wish it came with a sturdy case to protect the headphones like the ones that come with Bose QuietComfort 15. The drawstring one that comes with AE2 will protect from scratches and blemishes from physical contact, but it won't stop a heavy object possibly crushing it in a bag.

In overall, if you're looking for a comfortable set of headphones that will last you a long time, go for it. But if you're more of a bass person or an audiophile, maybe not. Its comfortable paddings, long and thin cable all add up to a very lightweight and portable headphones that will be pleasant to wear. I wish they had made it a bit more premium like the Bose logo that could've been something better than printed label that may fade over time, and inside of the earcups that don't look like a high-end set. It does some noise reduction simply because it covers up both ears, but it's no QC15 or Harman Kardon's NC. I'd personally go for Bose IE2 instead since a cheaper product is able to produce better sound in my opinion, but AE2 is surely so comfortable that you need to try it on yourself to believe it.

Check out the full review on Normal Consumer. Thanks for reading!
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on November 2, 2010
These are the first headphones that I have bought that have broken the $100 barrier. I have always had quality stereo equipment and speakers so quality sound reproduction if very important for me. These headphones are very balanced and I like balance. I don't like headphones that are too heavy on bass even though these produce very tight accurate bass when pushed. These earphones sound great with all kinds of music. I have played metal, jazz, classical, blues, classic rock and contemporary rock through them and they always sounded great. Jazz sounds particularly good. They're crystal clear and you'll notice things you've never heard come through on these
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on May 25, 2014
I bought these to replace my Bose Triport-1. Just as everyone else has experienced, [old ones] the headband broke in several pieces. I really loved them . I thought these would be equally as good ,but I was wrong. I find these to be very uncomfortable and hot on the ears, after awhile, also I think they sound a little flat , {maybe neutral base and treble, wise} Just not the same listening and comfort of the old ones.

Updated review: I felt compelled to update my last review of my AE2 headphones. When I first received these, I was so disappointed with the sound Quality, as compared with my last Triport Tp-1's. these sounded really muffled and life-less. I wanted to like these, but no matter how long I tried listening to them, they disappointed. After awhile I just put them back in the bag and threw them back on the shelve. I chalked it up as a lesson learned and forgot them.

Fast forward two months ago ,I said what the hell, and tried them again. I MEAN, I COULDN'T BELIEVE WHAT I WAS LISTENING TO> THESE THINGS, JUST POPPED! I MEAN POPPED! Talk about a long burn-in ,yes {it does exist}. Sounds great now, and very comfortable as well, very lite on the ears. Moral of the story. IF you find yours don't sound right, give them a good burn-in period and see what happens. Unbelievable ,but true. A HAPPY PENNYPACKER
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on February 10, 2013
First I have to say these are some of the most comfortable headphones I have ever put on. Just for that I was considering keeping them. The highs these headphones can reproduce are perfect, no choppiness, crisp and clear. I just don't understand how people can say the bass is better than other headphones. I am no way a "bass head" I listen to a lot of music where bass is diminished but these headphones would struggle with the really deep notes. I don't know what kind of driver they have but it sounded to me like if the music was trying to push sound through a much too small driver. I was able to get better response out of Sony headphones at half the price. True the Sony headphones suffered slightly with the highs but not to the point that these suffered with bass.

I know music and headphones are a very personal decision. What to me is perfect will be far from it to others. I just warn that bass, even when you are equalizing it will not be up to par with other even cheaper headphones. If, however, you use these mainly for music that doesn't require that strong bass presence these are great.
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on November 9, 2010
At the end of the day you would probably care about the sound that your headphones produce. I just bought these and I can guarantee that if you like quality sound instead of loudness-this is your best bet. Bose focuses on quality rather than loudness. Unlike other headphones these are safer and make you feel the music. Totally worth every penny!
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on January 13, 2014
I have been a Bose customer for 13 years now. I first had a bose sound system in my Audi 200Turbo S, before then I had never heard of them. My grandparents always had Bose speakers in the house, never noticed it but when I began to get into music I started paying attention to who had what speakers and the different sound qualitys produced.

For years I had used budget headphones. But when I joined the Navy and saw the acoustic environment on the ship I would be dealing with to listen to my movies, games, and music I went to buy my first high end pair of headphones. Because my budget ones were not getting it done. I tried out the Bose AE1 Triports. They were amazing. fantastic sound and comfort. Canceled out the noises of the ships acoustics from pipes and other sounds with ease. The sound was rich and deep but not overpoweringly loud. And they didnt leak sound when my rack mates were sleeping. I have had those for close to 8 years now. When my wife started traveling for her job I passed them on to her. Still going strong.

I got out of the Navy 4 years ago and took a new job that still required travel with long flights and lots of hotel stays. So I needed another pair of headphones for my travel needs. I wanted to get another pair of the AE1 Triports, but they had been discontinued. So before picking up on these AE2's I went to the closest Best Buy and the Navy Exchange with my iPOD and a playlist of various music from which to test out all the new options available. I hooked up my iPod to the test jack inputs for the Beat's, Sennheiser's, Sony, Klipsch, and a few others. Nothing really jumped out at me like my Bose AE's had done when I first purchased them. So I went over to the Navy Exchange. I went to the Bose display and hooked up to the different models. And that was it. There was the sound I was looking for. I settled on the AE2's because of price, form and sound. It was the right sound for my needs, didnt require any power or batteries, the case for them was as nice as the AE1's and as usual it had the extension adapter. I also liked that unlike the AE1's these were collapsable. Comes in handy for airline travel when everything is competing for space and space is limited.

I have had my AE2's for 4 years now almost and have gotten plenty of use out of them. They still look new to me and sound as good as the day I got them. If the price tag doesnt bother you these will be worth the purchase. I recommend doing like I did though, take your media player and go hook into the various options at your local best buy, radio shack or other supplier. See what you like, after all everyones music tastes are different. What you look for in sound may not be what me or someone else is looking for. If you are into heavy Bass I have found that is where Beat's shine. That was my takeaway from all that testing. The rest of the company's seem to be pretty even in sound, then it comes down to comfort and cost.

I have spent 10 years in the military. On ships with loud pipes, aircraft taking off and landing.
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on November 10, 2010
The sound on these headphones is excellent. The vocals are crisp, as well as the instrumental. I would recommend this if you enjoy rock, jazz, classical, reggae. The bass however is not a focal point of the sound, as they are very balanced headphones, so rap music/ dance hall isn't what these are intended for.

The headphones are lite and the ear covers fit easily over my ears. I have no complaints about the comfort, they move very flexibly.

Build Quality:
because they are so light it is hard to judge build quality of these headphones. But I feel very comfortable with them and they don't seem like they are going to break at all. They do a very good job of stopping noise, even without noise cancellation technology.

Overall I am very happy with this purchase. I wish the price was more like $125, but they are good
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on October 1, 2012
I love these headphones, they're easy to fold and pack into my computer case, the sound quality is fantastic, and I'm very impressed with their warranty service. After almost one year of owning the product I began to have some sound quality issues, I didn't see anything actively wrong with them but I've run the cord over with my chair, dropped them, and not been overly careful in the past. I looked up my purchase on Amazon and noted that I'd purchased them on the 24 and it was the 18th, just within the 1 year warranty window, so I call the company.

I had never registered the headphones, but the representative I spoke to was quickly able to insert the information into their system and told me to send the headphones in but keep the cord (it's detachable). I wasn't sure if the problem actually was in the cord or the headset so I asked if I should send in both but he said not to worry about it. I did have to pay for shipping (they offer prepaid shipping if you'd like), but I sent the headset in. It took just over a week to get a return package in the mail that contained a brand new set of the headphones (in non retail packaging, but appeared brand new), with no cosmetic blemishes of any sort and a brand new cord. They worked great and I decided to check the old cord to see if it worked in case I ever experienced cord difficulties, it didn't and I had the same problem with the new headset as I did the old before sending it into Bose.

In other words, I sent what I can only assume to be a fully functional set of headphones where the problem was only with the cord that had not been included in the package to Bose. They sent me back an entirely new set of earphones with the new cord. Thumbs up Bose customer service.
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