Customer Reviews: Bose AE2 Around-Ear Audio Headphones, Black
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on September 4, 2012
This is the first review I have written for a product on Amazon... The reason I am doing so is because I feel like I was lead astray a little from the biased reviews of others.

I know this is a bit wordy, but there are plenty of quick reviews you can read about this product without spending much time on mine. If you want a 100% truthful review, then please take a minute to read this, especially if you are new to the higher end headphone scene.

About 6 months ago I listened to a Bose display at a local Target store. This got my gears turning about the idea of having better quality headphones than I had previously been using. I had never really thought about putting the kind of attention you would put into car or home audio into headphones. Since I listen to headphones about 20+ hours a week at work, it seemed like a worthy investment.

Here is where things got dicey... I knew Bose was considered a top notch company by most average music listeners. Despite this I started reading reviews (as I normally do before buying anything over $ To my surprise I read review after review from people bashing Bose products, including the AE2 headphones. I was pretty surprised to say the least since I had never heard anything but favorable talk about Bose. I mean car companies go out of their way to highlight the fact that their car comes with a "Bose sound system". So I was now very confused. The more headphone forums I read, the more determined I was to stay far away from anything Bose. So after an obsessive amount of research I just through caution to the wind and bought some V-moda Crossfade LPs. Of all the products on Amazon I think the V-moda brand gets by far the most positive reviews. So I made the purchase, and when I received the headphones I was blown away by the intense sound and style! They are borderline indestructible, and come well equipped with a solid case.

Here is where reality started to sink in. After letting the headphones burn in for several days, I began using them at work. The bass was insane, just like I wanted. But after a few minutes of wearing them I realized that my head felt like it was stuck in a bear trap. After a week of wearing them off and on (I found myself listening to music less due to the extreme discomfort they caused my average sized head), I realized that the extreme bass was now becoming an annoyance. Everything I listened to was dripping with bass. Now this is great for dubstep, but try and listen to some country music, or even acoustic rock and you will immediately start trying to EQ the bass away. And the bass doesn't go away even at the lowest "bass reducer" setting on iPad. By the way I use both an iPad and a Sansa Clip+ (read the has incredibly good sound) at work for music. So all opinions will be based on these two audio sources.

So the V-modas were sent back after a week. They were useless for anything other than bass heavy music. Next I read more reviews on the Sennheiser HD line. I ended up purchasing the Sennheiser HD 518. I took them out of the box, marveled at the comfort/sound quality, then unmarveled when I realized that even at low volume these things leak a ridiculous amount of sound. Unacceptable in an office setting, so they went back to the store.

Finally, after getting burned twice, I spent hour after hour after hour reading and sifting through all of the audio charts on a very popular website dedicated to headphones. This research led me to the Sony MDR-V6 headphones. These have been my go to headphones for the last several months. They have good neutral sound quality and they leak very little sound. But the drawback is that they seem to weigh a ton, and the cord is extremely thick and heavy. The cord is so obnoxious that I don't even like using them sometimes, because my little clip is outweighed by the cord, and god forbid if you clip the mp3 player onto your shirt. The weight of the cord just tugs right down.

So after all of the above ups and downs, I ended up walking into a Bose store in Orlando Fl this past weekend. I tried the AE2 headphones on again, and I found what I have been looking for all along! The sound was right on (not full of unnatural bass like the v-modas) just good clean sound. The comfort level was through the roof. They are so light they are almost unnoticeable. The lightness is what I assume the Bose bashers are talking about when they talk about Bose making cheap feeling products. I disagree however. Bose makes a solid product that isn't uncomfortable or silly looking on your head. It's kind of like the difference between a big barge of a car from the 70s verses a 2013 sleek Ferrari. Is the barge more solid feeling? Of course! But which one do you really want in your garage?? And if you are so reckless with your gadgets that you need military grade features (like V-moda) then you deserve to have your head stuck in a bear trap all day! And as far as sound leakage (Sennheiser HD), these things can be set to an almost uncomfortable volume, and yet my wife can barely hear them right next to me! The sound is crisp and clean, with nice tight bass. And they block more outside sound than the Sony MDR-V6. Now they are double the price of the V6, but again, if they aren't comfortable enough to wear, what's the point in having them??

BOTTOMLINE: After months of making purchases based on other people's reviews, I 100% stand behind the Bose AE2s! I'm glad I went through the hassle of buying all of those other headphones (in addition to hours of hands on testing at various stores). Because of this I now know just what a gem the Bose brand is! Are there tougher headphones? Yes! Are there better sounding ones? Probably. Are there excellent sounding headphones that are comfortable, look great and don't leak sound? Yes!...and they are called the Bose AE2! From my experience they are pretty much the holy grail of headphones!

I'm sure there are going to be fellow headphone nerds (I concider myself one too, so I can say it) that will roll their eyes at this review, and swear up and down that Bose sucks and the other "professional" headphone brands are far more superior, but according to my ears you would be mistaken! Bose isn't the only quality headphone manufacturer out there. But when it comes to finding a pair of headphones with top notch sound, comfort, looks, and that don't leak sound, and that are sub $150, then Bose reigns supreme!

****UPDATE 10/30/13****

Thank you to everyone that has commented on this review. I wanted to follow-up on how things are going with these headphones now that it's been about a year.

I am happy to report that the AE2s are still running strong! I have been through a number of other headphones, but these are still my favorites! I work in a cubicle environment, and the comfort and sound suppression (not complete canceling, but VERY reduced) is unbeatable.

To everyone that has bought a pair of these to use with mobile type devices (I use these with an iPod classic the most) here is a tip: spend $80 and purchase the FIIO E07k amp, along with a FIIO lineout cable. This setup will cost you about $90, but the amount of sound quality, impact and soundstage that this adds to your AE2s is well worth it! The FIIO amp doubles as a DAC to listen to higher quality FLAC sound files from a USB connection (Windows, OSX and Linux - tested on OSX and Linux and it works perfectly!).

You will be able to better adjust your treble and bass settings as well, giving you a much better handle over your music. Trust me, you will be surprised at the difference!

I hope my original review, as well as this update has helped!
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on February 5, 2011
My background: Let me start by saying I am not a professional sound engineer, but what I am is a person who owns several sets of over-the-ear headphones that I've accumulated over the years - seeking the best sound I can find without dropping tons of cash (which, for me, means I've been shopping in the $100 to $200 range).

Facts: If you're looking for response over frequency graphs for the AE2s, PCMag has them there[...]

Facts note: I am bewildered by the negative reviews and comments after listening to, and seeing the data. I don't understand the reviewers that say these headphones don't have high and low frequency response, because the data shows quite the opposite (actually the bass is slightly exaggerated - which might turn some people off).

Opinion summary: Compared to my Sony MD-6s and my Numarks (which I had handy), the AE2s are crisper and have stronger bass (this makes a lot of since when you see the plotted response over frequency graphs). Put simply, the AE2s are not as flat sounding as other headphones. These are much lighter weight, and very comfortable (which is ultimately the reason I bought them). Said, yet another way, I would describe the AE2s are "fun and light" - clearly made for today's digital devices and laptops.

Opinion - Pros:
- Crisp sound and excellent bass.
- Light weight.
- Comfortable ear-cups.

Opinion - Cons:
- The part of the headband that rests on the top of the head is a tad too thin in my opinion - it should be about .125" wider.
- The headband does squeeze a little harder than I would like (I only notice this after hours of continuous wear).

Thanks for reading.
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on December 5, 2010
I previously owned the Bose Triport (Around Ear) headphones for $150 and they lasted me a good five years with heavy use. I needed repairs on one of the ear cushions and Bose Customer Service on the phone offered me the AE2 to upgrade at a very significant discount for the trade-in. (I paid $65.00) I went ahead and bought these hoping the features would be just as good. (I loved my Triport headphones)

For the AE2:

-They are very comfortable and in fact, because of the swiveling earpieces which is a new feature on this model, I think they are much more comfortable than the already-comfortable previous over-ear version.

-These headphones are extremely lightweight. I sometimes forget that I have them on. I am very impressed.

-The cord on this version is only on one side (the left side) instead of leading out of each ear cup. This was a very nice feature and improvement that I appreciate.

-The sound quality is wonderful and was just what I expected out of these headphones.

As for durability, I can see these lasting me another five years with near every-day use, but some people in reviews of the previous model said they had issues. I guess it is subjective to how much care you give to the item, but overall, if you're not rough with them, hopefully they will do well for you as they have for me.

**While these are new on the market, if you have a previous style such as the Around-Ear / Triport like I had, try calling Bose customer service to get the discount on the trade-in upgrade instead of a repair like I did. I was amazed to get such a discount and knew it would be worth it from the start. I love these headphones!
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on May 6, 2013
My name is Ryan and I am an audiophile.

Boy, that felt cathartic.

So I've owned many Bose headphones over the years but a year or so ago I learned from my friends on the World Wide Web that "Bose sucks", "Bose is garbage", and "I wouldn't use the padding on a Bose earphone to wipe my......". Well you get the point.

So I boldly ventured into the world of Audiophile Headphones. I've learned many things--namely: audiophiles are bat#%% crazy., A few traits of audiophile headphones:

1. They often weigh more than your head
2. They often have cords so long you could use them to measure the perimeter of your house
3. They are often "open back" which means everyone can hear everything you're listening to. Always. With the volume on 2.
4. They are ultra-low powered so you will need a portable amp if you expect to pollute your sacred audiophile "cans" with that tool of the devil known as an iPod.

So fun! Basically, there is something about music that makes people more reactionary and nostalgiac than a libertarian at a pig roast at the Palin compound. They cling to headphones better suited for 1975 when your only option was plugging into your hi-fi to listen to your new Linda Ronstadt LP after your parents had gone to bed.

I always assumed it was self evident that headphones are meant for outside use: buses, planes, jogging, the office, etc. CLEARLY I just don't get it.

So I've come crawling back to you, Bose. I bought a pair of these today. I needed a pair of headphones I could use to run with this summer that wouldn't cause me to worry TOO much about beating them up. I have Bowers and Wilkins (B&W if you're nasty) P5's and Sennheiser Momentums too. Okay, those are sort of stuck up audiophile phones--but not entirely as they are actually built to be light, isolate sound, and have low impedance so they don't need an amp. And they are available in The Apple Store. Pure garbage to a true audiophile who listens to Haydn on vinyl through his HD800's while sipping his chardonay!

Make a long story short, these actually sound pretty good. The gap between audiophile grade and mass produced "mainstream" headphones like these is much, much thinner than many claim.

Also Sennheiser 598's sound dull, AKG 550's are harsher than Absolut without a chaser, and Audio Technica M50's are ridiculously heavy with a ridiculously big cord.

In conclusion, Bose Forever!!!!!
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on November 8, 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. I should also say that they are very confortable and can be used for hours at a time. Like any other set of around ear headphones, they will eventually warm up your ears. This is to be expected though.
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on February 2, 2011
First off let me disclose the headphones I've owned;

Beats Solo - Sold due to the ear "cups" being too small.
Marshall Over Ear Headphones - Sold due to them being too tight and hurting my ears after about 20-30 minutes of use.
iBeats Buds - Sold. Buds are not meant for me. Fall out far too easily.
Sennheiser (Forgot the name. They were $80 at Best Buy.) - Returned them the day after I bought them because they crackled when listening to Deadmau5.

Now why did I say that? Well I was where you were. Reading reviews trying to decide which headphones and basing my purchase on good reviews. Let me now explain why I landed on these and I'll go over some pro's and con's. First of all I have always been a fan of Bose. Despite some people completely overlooking them I think Bose has a solid track record for sound production. So after going to my local Best Buy and trying these I was hooked. Why? Comfort. These headphones are VERY comfortable to wear and very flexible. Their flexibility is not something to be worried about. They are very well built and feel solid to wear and hold. The sound is VERY clear. These are not designed to rattle your ears with bass. I do however love the Dr. Dre Beats and tried them out and loved the bass but could not justify $300 when their built as poorly as they are. So if you enjoy a crisp clear range of vocals and want to hear all the instruments I would highly recommend these. At first I tried these on my iPhone4 with the EQ off and they did sound a little flat. So for me I adjusted the EQ to "Loudness" and I feel it added a more noticeable bass. I will use these for when I am on my computer because of their comfort. So if your going for a solid pair of headphones that have crisp vocals and a wide range of clarity with a light level of bass these are for you. Hope my review helped! =D
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on November 18, 2010
Although The Bose AE 2 is priced lower than its more expensive Noise reduction siblings, by no means is it inferior. The Acoustics of these headphones are incredible. The bass are clean and never messy and the highs are crisp but not ear shattering. If you don't do a lot of flying these headphones are the perfect way to go. Not only are they reasonably priced but the sound clarity and quality is what you would expect out of a Bose product. I Enjoyed the padding of the head and ear contact areas. The AE 2 are definitely upgrades from Bose AE 1. The AE2 are about the same weight as the AE1, but more comfortable to wear and a slight degree of sound improvement, in my opinion. Best bang for your buck!
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on December 20, 2010
I owned the original version of these headphones for 5+ years. After 5 years of everyday use the padding wore off the headset so I was forced into a new pair of headphones. So I got the AE2 from Bose. Their sound is crisp, clear, and well balanced. I listen to everything from Charles Mingus and Yo-Yo Ma to the Black Keys and Daft Punk. I am not a snooty audiophile but I am a very discerning listener. I find that these headphones, so far, have the ability to make my eardrums happy. You can listen to bass heavy electronica one second and smooth jazz the next.

BIG PLUS: These headphones are superb when it comes to noise cancellation. Trust me, you will be impressed.

I know there are better headphones out there, but for a pair of $150 "non-studio quality" headphones, these things rock.
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on November 19, 2014
I have owned these for about 3.5 years now, here is a brief overview of my experience:

You can probably get better headphones for the money, Bose pays a lot for marketing and you're paying a little bit for that. But, when I bought these, $150 was a lot to me. I wanted to try the headphones first before I bought them, and there was no way for me to try out other brands at local stores so I ended up going with these.

-Sound is good. I honestly don't have a benchmark, but it was leagues above anything I had heard before.
-Very comfortable. Not just saying that. Thousands of hours of wearing these and I never once though "this is uncomfortable."
-Padding doubles as earmuffs in cold weather (not even kidding, this has been very useful for me...)
-While these are not noise cancelling headphones, the padding dampens out certain background frequencies ver well
-One time I snapped the cable by accident (it is detachable, so you won't wreck the headphones in this situation), and was pleased to learn a new cable is only $7. They don't try and stiff you on the cost of parts.

-About 3 years into ownership, the sound started to get fuzzy unless I adjust the (detachable) cable to just the right position. I imagine it will completely die soon, it's been getting worse.
-All of the padding is very faded and the bose logo rubbed off

Considering how long I've had these, I wouldn't even consider these cons too big of a deal. I've easily listened to thousands of hours of music on these things.

While I am happy with my AE2s, I will never buy bose headphones again. Their new Soundtrue headphones are the same exact thing soundwise (stated by a bose rep), but they are more expensive and the only thing they have changed is the color. That kind of marketing is ridiculous and pathetic. 4 years of the AE2s being out and all they could do was change the color? Either buy the "old" AE2s for less, or take your money elsewhere.
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on November 30, 2010
First off, I would like to commend Bose for its spectacular one-year limited warranty. I received these new AE2's after my old Bose Around Ear's (version 1) headphone jack ripped and stopped producing sound in the right earpiece. The process was easy; I called customer and explained the situation, emailed the receipt and mailed back the old product. I received these one week later.

I will begin with the sound quality of the headphones because it is one of the main reasons why I gave these four stars. Some people complained about not enough bass, and I agree with them. The bass is hollower than what you would expect from $150 headphones. Cranking up the volume helps, but you can tell the bass lacks the "oomph" and will do injustice to certain songs. Despite this, overall, these headphones produce accurate sounds for basically all types of music at all volumes. Casual music listeners should not be disappointed by the sound quality, even though Bose traditionally falls behind Sennheiser in this department for similarly-priced headphones.

For me, the physical aspects of this version 2 around-ear headphones are major pluses after using the first iteration. The best change, though negligible to many people, is that the headphones do not squeeze your head as tightly anymore. I wear glasses, so this was a major gripe. The problem is still there just like for all around-ear headphones, but it is more tolerable. The new fold-flat design is great for stowing and extra flexibility. There is now only one wire attached to the left earpiece, and the wire is detachable and replaceable for a very low price. The headphone jack that ripped on my old pair is now reinforced. Everything feels more durable yet these headphones are very light.

The headphones are NOT marketed as noise-canceling, but they do block out significant amounts of outside noise. The headphones are narrower and do not stick out as much, which in my opinion looks much better because it does not look like you have cans jutting from the sides of your head. HOWEVER, if your ears stick out more than others', you should be aware that they may come into contact with the inside of the headphones and cause unwanted irritation.

To be honest, I would have hesitated to buy these if I had to fork out $150 for another pair of Bose headphones considering the competition in the market. Also, only the headphones, the wire, and a cloth pouch are included. My old Bose around-ears also came with an extension cable and an adapter for other audio equipment (which I never used but I would imagine others might want this).

I am certainly satisfied with these headphones because they are much better than the ones they replaced. From a consumer's perspective, these headphones are great for casual users looking for above average sounding headphones that are comfortable, sleek-looking, and durable. Price is an issue for basically everyone, so I encourage you to shop around and to try out these headphones before purchasing. Once again, Bose's one-year limited warranty is in a class of its own, and people who plan on carrying around and using these headphones frequently should certainly keep this in mind.
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