Customer Review

139 of 148 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good headphones, but in some ways inferior to the previous version of the product, July 5, 2012
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This review is from: Bose OE2i Audio Headphones - Black (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
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.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 14, 2012 7:13:59 AM PDT
Jabberjaw says:
great review. I agree they hurt my ears after about 20 minutes. Sound is a tad bit better than my Sennheiser PX 100-II i. The Senn are more comfortable though. I wonder if there is a break in period for the Bose where they will better on my ears? Just debating on a return. I can get almost 3 pairs of Sennheisers for these

Posted on Nov 24, 2012 9:03:41 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 24, 2012 9:04:09 AM PST]

Posted on Jan 26, 2013 7:12:18 PM PST
Cary Jones says:
I completely agree... I had the exact experience and result. In my opinion, Bose is cutting corners and riding on their name...not what they use to be. Problem is, there are no other really good options.

Posted on Jun 13, 2013 11:19:18 PM PDT
L. PECKUS says:
So after reading this I bought the old version, hope they soumd good.

Posted on Nov 4, 2013 8:46:49 AM PST
J Rowley says:
Exactly the same experience for me. Loved the old ones, replaced them and very disappointed. These are uncomfortable with prolonged use.

Posted on Nov 4, 2013 9:04:14 AM PST
Just a follow up on this. I did end up keeping both the OE2i and the OE sets. Using them as I stated in the original review. The OE2i I use when I'm doing any kind of physical activity, and the OE I use when I'm stationary and want to focus on the music. Over time the OE2i set doesn't bother me as much anymore comfort wise. I can't honestly state if that's because I've become accustomed to the tighter fit of the set, or if they've "loosened up" with wear. I still note the slight different in sound between the two different sets. I'll stand by my original three star rating for the newer model because while there are pluses and negatives to the tighter fit, I can't imagine any excuse for a decrease in sound quality between generations. It's not what I expect of Bose products.

Posted on Jan 12, 2014 9:03:47 PM PST
I saw that you replaced the detachable cord a couple of times. I would like to buy one but I can't find it on amazon, where did you buy yours??

Thank you very much!

Posted on Apr 5, 2014 4:00:36 PM PDT
John Glenn says:
Excellent review. Thanks

Posted on Feb 3, 2015 8:00:51 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 4, 2015 11:34:06 AM PST]
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