302 of 323 people found the following review helpful
Bose is known for two things: noise cancellation headphones, and getting better sound quality than one would expect for the size of the product. These are NOT noise cancelling headphones, so they are more about getting the sound quality one would expect from larger headphones.
This is the second pair of Bose headphones that I have had. The other set is the Quiet Comfort 15. One of the less-than-desirable features of the Quiet Comfort 15 is that they cannot be used with the noise cancellation feature off. That means that the sound from the QC15 is always just slightly muted. Consequently, I actually prefer the OE2 if I don't need noise cancellation. The QC15's can reveal slightly more detail, and if they could be used with the noise cancellation off, then I would never even consider using the OE2's. However, the slight muting effect of the noise cancellation is somewhat annoying when it isn't necessary. It is necessary on planes, trains, etc., but in the quiet of my own home or office, I am more likely to reach for the OE2's than the QC15's.
So, let's talk about the sound quality itself. I find the sound to be roughly on par with my Sennheiser 448's. The Sennheisers allow me to hear a few subtle details that I cannot hear as well with the OE2's, but the OE2's have slightly better clarity in the vocals. Which matters more? That's personal taste. So, a couple of things to keep in mind. First, the Sennheisers are much cheaper. However, they are also much larger and heavier, as over-the-ear headphones generally are. The over-ear vs. on-ear issue is also a matter of taste. However, there is something to be said for how light-weight and comfortable the OE2's are. Remember, Bose is known for getting better sound than one would expect for the size of the speakers. However, the price difference is big. These are currently listed at $150. I paid $85 for my Sennheisers. So, are the Bose OE2's worth it? That depends on whether you are really interested in a pair of small, comfortable, light-weight over-the-ear headphones with surprisingly decent sound for the size. If that is what you want, then it may be worth it to shell out the significant extra money. However, you can get comparable sound quality for much less money if you are willing to accept heavier, bulkier headphones.
A note about the construction, though. Some reviewers are going to say that the OE2's feel like they have a cheap and flimsy construction. That is because they are made of very light-weight plastic. That's the point. If having something heavier makes you feel better just because you like the weight of the headphones on your head, then go for something bigger. You'll save a bundle doing so anyway.
Bose sound is not inherently better than what you get from other good manufacturers. They just get good sound out of smaller products, and that's what these things are: decent sound at a high price because it comes from a small, light-weight product, kind of like the Wave or their little "jewel-cube" speakers. You can get as-good-or-better sound quality for significantly less money, but only from heavier, bulkier products.
139 of 148 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2012
Just to be fair, this is a review and comparison between the current Bose OE2i product and their previous generation OE product. It's the reason why I gave this product only 3 stars. If I was comparing it with many other headsets out there I would probably bump it up to at least 4 stars. I just want to make that clear.
I was an original owner of a set of OE headphones that I bought not long after the initial launch in late 2006. From the moment of opening the package they were without a doubt the most impressive set of headphones I had ever owned. From the twisted cloth cords that originally shipped with them, to their feel while wearing them, to the incredible sound I got through them.
Sadly after almost 5 and half years it was time to replace them. The wires going into the headphone itself were starting to fault. The problem wasn't with the detachable cord (I'd replaced a few of those over the years) but with the short cord coming out of the headphone and which contained the male jack for the detachable cord to be connected to. In other words nothing I could easily fix myself. They were getting trashed anyway, even the foam on the headband (as opposed to the earphones themselves) was starting to come apart.
Looking at the current offerings I decided to stick with what I liked and ordered the next generation OE2i headset.
From the moment I opened the box I started to notice little things about these in relation to the previous generation product.
1. As many have stated, they feel cheap and rather delicate to handle compared with their predecessor. Wanting to understand why I took a close look at them and comparing them to my old set the design overall hasn't changed on the upper headset, what has changed is the design of the swivel that allows the ear pieces themselves to move and be folded up. The new design actually does look sturdy and is certainly functional, but the movement of it doesn't feel as natural and that's why they feel more "delicate" than the previous version. Beyond that they appear to be as solidly constructed, but that swivel concerns me a little. Still looking at them side by side I think they're probably more durable than people give them credit to be, as long as the swivel doesn't break.
2. Fit. Here I have a big issue with them. First the on ear foam is thinner than what was on the previous generation. It's actually thinner on my new OE2is than it is on my worn out and broken OE set. I noticed it visually right off, and I can feel it when wearing them. The next thing I noticed was that they appeared to be putting a lot more pressure on my ears than what I was used to from the old set. Part of that may be from the thinner foam pieces making the pressure more notable, but it's more so from the top band of the OE2i headset having a much sharper rounding to it than the OE set had. There are positives and negatives to this of course. My old OEs actually could fairly easily slide off my head if I got a little too into a Metallica song. I think the new ones would probably hold on my head a little better, but the price for that is the additional pressure they put on my ears which actually started to ache a little after wearing them for about an hour. So some could call the sharper bend a design improvement, but it's at the cost of discomfort in long term use. I could and did wear my OE headset for hours at a time with no discomfort whatsoever. I won't be able to do so with these without enduring some ear discomfort.
3. Sound. The difference is subtle, but it's there. Some have mentioned that the OE2i generation sounds slightly muffled compared to the OE set, and I have to agree. Bass riffs still sound better than many of the headphones on the marketplace, but they're not as sharply clear as they were with the OEs. It may not be something that many people notice, but I listen to everything from Thrash Metal to Pink Floyd and often that's all I'm doing, laying back in a recliner with my eyes closed and focused on the music. I want to hear everything from a deep base to the faintest notes and I can with these, but not as clearly as I did with the previous version. I agree with a lot of people that I'm rather surprised by this.
So, after noticing all of this stuff I jumped back on Amazon and searched to see if I could still purchase the older OE headphones. Happily they are out there, and interestingly with rather varying prices. I'm now sitting here writing this with a new set of the OEs sitting right next to the OE2i ones. As I was writing this I was comparing all three headsets, my 5+ year old OE set, the new OE set, and the new OE2i set just to make sure I wasn't playing head games with myself on some of what I was thinking.
I'm still trying to decide if I want to return the OE2i set or not. I may keep them because in certain situations where I'm active they may be the better model for me because of the tighter fit. So if I'm out doing some light roller blading or biking where I'm not as solely focused on the music and would benefit from a tight fit, I'd probably choose the OE2i. The rest of the time though I'll be using the OE set for it's more comfortable fit and better sound quality.
97 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2012
Before I get into my short review, I'd like to clear something up for those who keep comparing the OE2/OE2i's to its predecessor the original OE's. Unlike the original which was geared to be a bass-driven pair of headphones, the OE2's are focused towards realistic sound - that's right, something klipsch has been doing for years. It still has enough bass, but it is not overpowering or overbearing like that of the original OE (in which bose added "fake" bass into the set for bass lovers). It is not fair to compare the two because even in terms of design the OE2's were manufactured with the mindset of portability and so the nice plastic opposed to metal accents from the original OE's (which made the item heavier and bulkier mind you) was used.
Now that the confusion is out of the way, let's get on to the Pros & Cons of this device.
- Really portable and folds into such a small case, you have to see it in person to realize how portable this is (youtube it to get an idea)
- Packs decent bass which will match the actual amount on a track (meaning if there's no bass in a track, then there will be done) and this leads to clear and crisp sounds.
- Highs are excellent and so are the lows.
- Mids are decent, but aren't sacrificed whatsoever.
- Did I mention how aesthetically pleasing the item is? Come on admit it, it's one of the reasons you're on this page.
- It's so comfortable thanks to the memory foam plus cushions that sometimes I forget it's on my head while listening to music.
- Price-tag. However, when considering what it's geared towards this should turn into a no-brainer (if this is within your budget)
- Some lower priced headphones sound better that'd cost you around 90 dollars or so (Sunrise IEMS, etc but these OE2's were designed with balanced sound, comfort, and portability in mind so this is justified)
- Sound leaks when the volume is turned up past 60% or so
The bottom line?
I'd say its worth the money when considering the mindset Bose had when manufacturing this device. If portability, realistic sound, comfort, and looks are important to you when using headphones - this item lives up to its price point - don't even consider Dre Beats.
39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2012
I have several pairs of fairly high-end headphones (Beyerdynamic, Klipsch, Shure, etc.). The best of the bunch sounds fantastic but is a bit bulky. A more compact pair I have also sounds great but the on-ear design clamps quite a bit and becomes uncomfortable after a few minutes. Now, there is a lot of Bose bashing going on in the "audiophile" world, but after trying on a pair of these in a store I was intrigued. They were so damn light and comfortable. It's pretty hard to rate sound in a store, so I eventually took the plunge. After a LOT of comparing with my other sets, I can say that I'm greatly impressed by the sound coming from these. They may not be very durable (remains to be seen) but the comfort factor and the quite good sound quality sold me. It may be the "in thing" to bash Bose, but these little toys RULE. For serious analytical listening, I may pick up my other cans, but for watching movies and casual listening these can't be beat. I am bewildered by the negative reviews.
UPDATE: Not long after my initial review, the wire began to short out near the terminal. I put the unit aside and just decided to use my other cans. Then last month I called Bose to see if they could be repaired. Turns out that the wire is detachable, so they sent me a new wire (for a few bucks). Up and running again. In addition, I had to send my IE2s in for replacement (for $50; they're beyond the warranty period). They had developed a rattle in the right ear piece. I enjoy these Bose products, but due to their light weight / comfort, they are somewhat fragile.
83 of 101 people found the following review helpful
I'm a self-proclaimed headphone junkie and can never get enough when it comes to auditioning new pairs of them. I listen to music constantly and sound quality is very important to me.
These headphones have many pros, the biggest being the design. Even though they are small, they feel sturdy and well made. The ear cups swivel and turn in so the headphones fold up and become surprisingly small. The cord is also detachable making storage simple. The convenient, zippered carrying case make them perfect for traveling. Another plus is that they are very comfortable to wear. The ear cushions are very soft and there is also a nice cushion on the head band. These things, along with the headphones being so light, allow them to be worn comfortably for hours.
Unfortunately, the one and only con for them is the most important one for me, the sound quality. I made sure I gave them a thorough burning in before really putting them to the test. After 70+ hours listening to many different types of music, i'm very disappointed with their sound. The bass and mids are muddy and the highs are subdued; it's like there's a veil over the music. I've listened to them side by side with other headphones that I have, some more expensive and some nearly 1/3 the cost, and the Bose OE2 comes in dead last. Some of the headphones I've compared them to are Sennheiser's HD448 and PX100, and The Creative Aurvana Live!. Both the Sennheiser 448 and the Creative Aurvana have much better detail and soundstage than the Bose OE2. The Sennheiser PX100 also has better clarity but the OE2 does have a wider range of bass. All of these headphones are much cheaper than the Bose OE2, as low as 1/3 the cost.
Even though the Bose OE2 headphones are attractive and comfortable, the sound quality and price make them a poor choice.
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2013
Okay, I'm your standard issue 65 year old man with low level constant tinnitus and the normal (i.e., almost unnoticeable) loss of hearing at the higher frequencies. I listen to classical (tending toward Bach, solo instrumentals, & things like the Vitamin String Quartet), big band, various podcasts (Coverville, Hypnobob, Radiolab), audio books, and whatever Bob Dylan does. I carry these things on my iPhone, and try to keep the bit rate at 192, minimum. Most of what I listen to does not lean toward heavy bass. I like a balanced sound.
My musical environment includes attending the symphony and opera, so I have some degree of listening sophistication without being an audiophile. I would not be happy with substandard sound quality - things like clarity, separation of channels, sensitivity to soft passages, etc. are important to me. On the other hand, my hearing is not at the level of a young, musically educated person paying serious attention to sound quality.
I was looking for a lightweight set, easily transported when not in use, to use while taking my daily hour-long walk in Chicago, which means I needed something with some degree of sound isolation which would work for streets with occasionally heavy traffic. I have a pair of very nice Band & Olufsen earbuds, but they really need a quiet environment.
I went down to the Apple Store, tried out the offerings, and bought these headphones. Sound-wise, they were clearly superior to the lesser priced options, and clearly inferior to the higher priced options. In terms of being light on my head, with little pressure on my ears, they were the best combination at any price. In terms of sound isolation, they were surprisingly good - they seemed to me to work as well as the over-ear headphones available to test.
I did not compare them to the noise-cancelling offerings. I own a pair of the on-ear noise-cancelling Bose headphones, but these are much lighter, and after listening for a while on noise-canceliing headphones, I start finding the sound itself to be vaguely uncomfortable. This might be related to my tinnitus.
I've been using these OE2i's for a couple of weeks. These headphones have met my personal objectives. I'm very happy with them for street use. I have not tried them out in other environments.
It's my opinion that for daily, non-audiophile listening, they are just fine. They do not sound "muddy" to me. I have no difficulty hearing spoken word content, and as anyone who has listened on the street, spoken word is the hardest content to hear. I think that this is because with musical content, your brain fills in a lot that you don't actually hear, while with spoken word, it can't. The music I listen to is reproduced to my satisfaction.
Judging from the price range I saw at Apple, I think that these head phones are fairly priced, taking into account both sound quality and the light weight. You can save 30 bucks by buying the ones without the inline mike for phone conversations.
The headphones are a little delicate, so you have to exercise some caution in using them. They are not "bump & run" headphones - if you are going to be using them in rough environments or be constantly removing them, I'd say look for something else.
The removable cable cord could be a plus, because you might be able to find a shorter cord to replace the lengthy one that comes with the headset. I hate having to tie up the cord to keep its length short enough that it doesn't keep getting in my way.
In short, consider carefully the kind of stuff you listen to, and the environment in which you will be using these phones. If it's anything at all similar to mine, you will be happy with these headphones.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2012
Thought I'd use slang for 'headphones' ("cans") to attract true audiophile readers.
These headphones are a joy to listen to!
Fit: Wonderfully light. Actual feel on the ears is great for me, since I prefer 'on the ear' (OE) instead of totally enclosing the ear. Feel against the head is unobtrusive, and whatever they use to cover the actual sound transducers soon becomes invisible.
Appearance: clearly, I'm wearing headphones, but I don't look like I'm landing on the moon or shooting a Barrett .50 (don't ask - just shoot one, once).
Finish: Hey, they're plastic. Kryptonite would have been preferable. They don't look cheap, and the multiple articulation of the earparts is ingenious. Included carrying case is nice, but it's a Chinese puzzle to figure out how to fit them in. Cable is sturdy.
Compatibility: The OE2i are perfectly integrated into IOS and mike sounds great to receivers of my phone calls. Cannot comment about android or any other mp3 or phone.
Sound: Here is where these boys shine. If you like stupid artificial pumpy bass, look elsewhere. If you are content with Apple-included earbuds, get ready to be amazed. The bass is true to the content. Midrange is rich, not muddy, not biting: perfect. The upper frequencies are where these headphones really shine: think the auditory equivalent of pure driven snow.
Hey, they're plastic. Build quality is frankly BELOW what should reasonably be expected for the high price charged.
It's REALLY DIFFICULT to puzzle out how to fit the headphones into the carrying case.
Customer service for Bose, as usual, DEEPLY SUCKS.
Wear the headphones with the cord falling from the LEFT ear to get right and left channels correct (where are the red and blue for right and left markings - lame. )
These are not studio monitors. They won't last three years with heavy use or frequent travel by air in tightly packed cases. Never wear them while running fast or riding on a motorcycle.
Rather, enjoy the artistry embedded in the music you've bought (stolen), confident in the knowledge that you're wearing one of the top five headphones in the United States.
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2011
First off, these headphones are amazing quality. Very comfortable, even after hours of listening. I opted to purchase the oe2i because it had the iPod control on the cord. Unfortunately the control only allows you to adjust volume and to pause (which the description doesn't tell you). I'm disappointed that I can't even skip tracks. These are about $30 more expensive than the oe2 and the only difference is the iPod integration which now seems overpriced for what it does. I would highly recommend these headphones for the sound quality and comfort. They also store in a very small case, which is great for travel; but if I could go back, I'd save $30 and go with the bose oe2 headphones
UPDATE: You CAN skip tracks with these headphones. Thank you to those who replied, and sorry for any confusion. I give these headphones 5 stars !!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2013
I got these mainly for air travel, because of their compact size. I have the big Bose over-ear noise cancelling headset, and it's wonderful, but it's just too clunky to take along on a trip in my briefcase. The OE2's are not noise cancelling, but they do filter out most of the ambient noise in an airplane cabin, and the sound quality for movies and music is outstanding. Great product for the price.
71 of 91 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2011
After 3-4 years of constant use, it is time to retire my Bose OE1's. They survived 8 cable replacements, dozens of drops and cord pullouts, stuffed in bags and worn around my neck. I definitely got my money's worth so I was thrilled to see a new model.
Most components of the OE2's appear to be 10% scaled down but otherwise the same sturdy plastic. The swivel hinge has been redesigned and is more robust. They now also "click" solidly into their open position and are significantly lighter; 3.4oz vs 4.6oz.
The cable jack has also been improved. The old model required a male-female cable and the free end hung down and brushed against my neck. On the new model, a male-male cord plugs directly into the earcup. This is more comfortable and also should make it cheaper to replace cables when they inevitably wear out from use.
However the most important factor is sound quality. I am not an audiophile and not very picky, but when switching from the old to the new model, I noticed the sound quality drop dramatically. It became muffled, like a placing a pillow over a speaker. On the same volume setting, the music is significantly quieter and "further away". Instruments blend together and sound muddy. Side by side, the new OE2 simply sound terrible.
When listening to audio-books, I even struggle to understand words that are perfectly clear on my OE1's. This is unacceptably bad on a $150 item. After 20+ hours of use it has not improved at all. It could be that they require a longer break-in period but the change would have to be extreme for them to approach the quality of the OE1's.
A new model should improve on the old. These improve in small ways on everything except what matters most; making your audio content sound clear and beautiful. I am very disappointed and I will likely be returning mine.