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Customer Review

682 of 692 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars QC2 is Same Quality with Less Ear Pain, August 1, 2006
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I was preparing for a long trip to Ukraine. This involved both a very long initial flight, then a flight from Kiev to Lviv, plus many 3+ hr long van rides to various destinations and an overnight train trip between the main cities. I knew I would really need a noise cancelling headphone. With the Bose QuietComfort 3 just coming on the market, I was willing to pay the top dollar in order to maintain my sanity.

When I first received my headphone set - only days after it was released - I was thrilled. It was small, easy to carry in its slim case, and it had a rechargeable battery. This seemed like the perfect headphone for travel. I already had my 60 gig iPod ready with "sleep music". Now all I had to do was plug it in, and encounter pure bliss.

The headphones were really comfortable to "put on" - they fit on top of the ears rather than "around the ears" like the previous model. They were very light and non-intrusive. Lying sideways on a pillow didn't pose much of a problem. I waited the proper time to charge up the battery, and then I put them on and turned them on.

WHOMP. It wasn't a *physical* sensation. It's not that the foamy earcups pressed against my ears strongly. It was an INTERNAL sensation - the pressure of the waves of the speaker against my eardrums. It actually hurt. I turned it off. The sensation went away. I turned them on again and WHOMP, there was that pressure again.

This intrigued me so much that I did research and made a specific playlist of songs on my iPod that involved left-right sounds, i.e. songs like We Love You, Lightning Crashes etc. where songs only play out of one speaker or the other (left or right). The pain would definitely come more strongly out of the speaker that was not playing music. Whenever there was "silence" or soft levels of sound, the pressure of the "anti noise generators" would hurt my ears.

My boyfriend thought I was insane :) He did sense it when I played the left-right song set. We went into a local outlet where they had the demos set up of the QuietComfort 3 and the QuietComfort 2 (the older over-ear model). Both are rather good at blocking sound, to pretty much an equivalent degree. However even with their store models I could feel that same pain when the QuietComfort 3 headphone was turned in without a strong sound signal coming through. Of course their sample sounds are all loud, throbbing music, perhaps for this very reason. It's easier to mask an "airplane engine simulation" if you're listening to Santana blasting away on Smooth. I mentioned my ear pressure issue to the clerk, and he said he found the exact same thing.

Finally after about 30 days of testing, I called up Bose and asked to exchange this in for the QuietComfort 2. I would much rather have the around-ear headphone (which really, the case is about exactly the same size and the headphone itself is just as comfortable for me) and have far less pain. My thought is that with the around-ear shape they didn't need to blast directly towards your ear as much with the noise cancelling waves in order to counterbalance the ambient noise.

If you're looking at these, I would really compare the two side by side in a store. I tried my very, very best to stick with the QuietComfort 3 since I already had them in my house and they were smaller. I just couldn't do it - they bothered me too much to imagine using them for 2 weeks straight.
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 26, 2008 11:02:52 AM PDT
W. Kaye says:
Excellent review, the most informative well written review I have read.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2008 10:39:47 PM PDT
Lisa Shea says:
Thank you very much! I really love these headphones and always take them with me when I travel, even when it's not by plane.

Posted on Jun 15, 2008 6:33:32 PM PDT
Thanks for taking the time for this informative review. I am looking to buy a set of these headphones and this is really helpful.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2008 2:19:59 PM PDT
Lisa Shea says:
I still use these headphones ALL the time and love them. They were *well* worth the price.

Posted on Jul 8, 2008 12:05:32 PM PDT
M. Nora says:
Yes!! The same happens to me right now! I have used the Bose QuiteComfort 2 days now and I am going to return them tomorrow. The pressure in the ears after some hours is bad, actually it hurts

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2008 9:19:49 PM PDT
Lisa Shea says:
Yup I think some of us have sensitive ears for this sort of thing :) I even use these headphones in the house when I want to listen to my iPod and block out TV noise or something. I really love these headphones.

Posted on Sep 18, 2009 11:12:25 AM PDT
MrBios says:
You brougt out a very important issue. I think over the ear is the best for quality and noise canceling.

Posted on Jan 22, 2010 6:12:24 AM PST
Thanks from France for this excellent and very helpul comment.

Posted on Mar 25, 2010 2:08:33 PM PDT
Joel Tunnah says:
From your description, it sounds like a low frequency oscillation to me. Thanks, you saved me $300.

Posted on Nov 24, 2010 6:11:03 AM PST
Excellent review, and glad you mentioned the difference between the QC2 and QC3 (around the ear, versus on the ear headphones)...
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Lisa Shea

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