Most helpful positive review
570 of 598 people found the following review helpful
Clarity, Comfort, Construction
on November 20, 2010
These are the sixth or seventh set of earbuds I've had for a succession of iPods and iPhones. I'm slightly hard of hearing, and I've gone for the 'phones that get best reviews for sound. Before these, the best I've had were the Klipsch s4i; those produce great sound, and good noise isolation, but I had to jam them so far into the ear canal that they got uncomfortable after a short while, or if I were sweating.
The Bose 'phones don't get quite so far into the bass as the Klipsch, but nothing I've ever tried beats them for clarity of overall sound. Nothing else even comes close. I find myself hearing lyrics clearly for the first time; the overall crispness and balance is absolutely amazing. I don't miss the pounding bass at all.
And I've decided, after wearing these for a couple of days, that noise isolation is over-rated. Sure, I can hear what's going on around me, but the same holds true when I hear music live, or listen over a speaker system. With the clarity of sound that Bose delivers, my attention is focussed on the music, even in a coffee shop where there are people talking at neighboring tables. I've even found that I can listen comfortably at significantly lower volumes and still distinguish the words and hear every riff and arpeggio distinctly.
And speaking of comfort. Wow! When I first put these on, I was sure that they were going to fall out, because I wasn't able to jam them into my ear canal. Didn't happen. These ear pieces sit most lightly, and they never budge! (I did find that the large tips fit my ears better and feel more secure than the medium tips that are on the ear pieces coming out of the box.) I can wear these for hours, and I feel no discomfort whatever. And because I'm listening at lower volumes, and the 'phones are not isolating me from my environment, I don't even have to take them out when I'm dealing with a cashier at a store or getting a grocery list from my wife.
Construction quality seems superb; the cables are thick and fairly stiff, so they don't tend to tangle. The "Stay Hear" tips clip into place, so that I can be virtually certain that I won't have the problem I've had with other earbuds (especially the Apple In-Ear units) that the tip stays in my ear when I pull the bud out.
The MIE2i handles the iPhone functions just fine, although, like with most iPhone headsets, it takes some practice to feel the inline controls with precision, so that you don't stop the music accidentally when you just meant to change the volume; double-clicking is just as sensitive and tricky as it is on other iPhone sets. Clarity at both ends is excellent, and the stiffness of the cables keeps the mike from rubbing on my clothes and generating noise.
The only negative thing I have to say about the Bose is that they are glaringly ugly. The cables are a bizarre black-and-white swirl; combine that unfortunate design decision with the fact that the shape of the buds and the stiffness of the cable causes the cables to stick out from your ear further than most earbuds, and the whole thing calls attention to itself and looks more than a little ridiculous. [Update: The cables relax over time, and though I still think that a uniform black (or white) would be more attractive, the buds don't seem nearly as ugly as they did when I first wrote the review. BTW, they are really, really durable; I use them all the time, and they are still sound and work just as well as they did when I bought them nearly three years ago.]
Still, if you're looking for great sound and awesome comfort in a pair of earbuds that you're likely to be using for a long time, look no further than the Bose MIE2i. Worth every penny.