Customer Review

30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for those who can't tolerate IEM's, March 14, 2011
This review is from: Bose MIE2i 326223-0080 Mobile Headset for Select Apple Products (Black) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
These Bose MIE2i's are great. They are not perfect and even have a couple serious drawbacks. But in my case, it's actually the drawbacks that make them the perfect IEM's for me!

I have tried probably every type of IEM (In-Ear Monitor) that is out there. Okay, I've tried a whole bunch of them - Klipsh, Shure, Denon, Altec Lansing, UE, to name a few. The isolation and the sound quality of most medium to high-end IEM's ($100 - $300) is really good. Great isolation and really high fidelity with audiophile quality. I'm a huge fan of bass so I like hearing that thumping bass. But I'm just one of those people that cannot tolerate IEM's. After just about an hour of listening my ears begin to really become uncomfortable. They begin to itch really bad like there is some bug making a nest in there. Then they begin to hurt. I also notice that if I ignore these sensations (as much as possible) and continue to use them for long periods of time, my ears go into overdrive creating wax. It's like it's some sort of protective thing going on.

So I had resigned myself to being able to only use over-ear or on-ear headphones. The stock buds that come with most mp3 players and phones just don't stay in your ear well enough to be useful for much of anything. But I still needed/wanted something to use for working out, bike riding, or just something to use at work when I didn't want to be walking around with a huge pair of Bose QC 15's on my head. I recently just jumped on the iPhone4 bandwagon. Once again I tried several sets in IEMs in the vain hope my ears could suddenly tolerate them. No way. So then I noticed that Bose had made their IEM's with dedicated Apple controls so I thought I'd give them a try and I was pleasantly surprised on a couple levels.

The 'problem' with the Bose IEMs is that they have no isolation like most IEMs available today. And as such the audio quality suffers. You don't get that pounding bass that you 'feel' in your chest like you do with most normal IEMs. This is too bad because you can tell that the audio quality is really quite good and if there was better isolation then the experience would be fantastic. One minor caveat to this statement is that highs seem rather shrill to me. I think that probably because of the lack of isolation, Bose boosts the levels in an attempt to compensate. Unfortunately, most music today is so poorly recorded that clipping on the high end is rampant already so boosting these frequencies is a bad thing. But this might also have something to do with my personal hearing which is very bad. I suffer chronic tinnitus and hypersensitivity on certain frequencies from military service. So take this with a grain of salt.

But there's a couple major upsides to this lack of isolation. First, they don't get uncomfortable at all. These phones sit in my ears but do not completely block the canal and I do not get that itching or pain that I get from IEMs. Also, the lack of isolation is good from the standpoint that you can use them in situations where you really do need to be aware of what's going on around you, like riding a bicycle in traffic or using them at work. If a co-worker says something to you, you can hear it depending upon your volume of course. This is good for me as I have to hear announcements on the paging system.

The iPhone controller works fine. It's kinda small and has no markings but it works fine. The middle button is recessed slight from the top and bottom which makes discerning which button is which easy. It's located up on the right side. I guess they wanted it to blend in and not stand out, which is funny considering the obnoxious wire color scheme. I just got back from the gym and when I walked past the full length mirror had to laugh at how much they stood out with the black and white twist color scheme. Hopefully future models will offer either black OR white! There is also a small plastic clip for attaching the cord to a shirt to help with stabilization. There is no cord movement noise transmitted to the ear which is a plus.

So the things that for many would make these a bad choice make them a perfect choice for someone like me with specific criteria.

Other considerations:

Construction: They seem extremely well made. The cord is a good thickness and seems very sturdy and should last with care. The buds are the same way, very well made and look sturdy. The package comes with a very nice zippered padded soft case that has some rigidity that is roomy and should provide good protection in normal conditions. It would likely not do so in a harsh environment such as a backpack filled with heavy books and what not. An update to this review is with this padded case. The size is perfect. You can roll up the headphones around your fingers and easily put them into the case. Also, the case just happens to fit the iPhone 4 perfectly (without the headphones of course). I don't know if this was by design but it's great at the gym. After I remove the headphones and plug them into the phone I put the iPhone into the case and zip it up. This provides the iPhone with great protection from sweat and other bumps when working out. Good job Bose!

Style: This area is a huge disappointment. Bose usually makes pretty good looking stuff. These are the exception. They chose to go with a black and white cord color which just looks stupid. I guess maybe they thought they were being clever and would appeal to those who want white or black only. They totally missed the mark though. In my opinion, this just looks stupid. Also, the part of the bud that sticks out of your ear has a huge chrome Bose strip on it which I guess is supposed to make it scream, "Hey everyone, look at me, I'm wearing Bose!" Again, they missed the mark. Unless you're the type that needs to make sure everyone knows what brand of product you are wearing, this isn't for you. I'm a 50-year-old guy so I don't care what I look like. But if you have style considerations, you might want to look elsewhere unless Bling is your thing!

Sound: The sound is definitely pretty good. Like I said, they lose a lot of bass because of the lack of seal but they still get the job done. As with ALL Apple products, the sound quality of the source unit is suspect at best so it's not a huge deal anyway.

Comfort: Here is where these shine. I can wear them for hours and forget they are there. Then have these new stay-in arms that keep the buds stable and in your ear without causing discomfort. This is probably the single biggest reason to buy these, at least for me. This alone bumps these from 3 star to 4 star.

Price/value: As with all Bose products, they are overpriced. You can get a lot of IEM for the price of these. They are certainly not prohibitively priced and in my case because the do what the others did not or could not, they were worth the price.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 25, 2012 6:17:35 AM PDT
ROSE says:
I agree with everything you said about this product. The number one reason I bought them was because most reviews said they were comfortable. For whatever reason (small ear canals or sizes of the buds) I have always had problems with earbuds. I can't say enough about the comfort and fit of these. I totally agree with you about the style; they are downright ugly. They figured people who bought a black or white iPhone would be covered. Really? They should have considered the fact that people like to put cases with various colors over their phones. These things looked so bad with the purple case I had that I went out and bought a black OtterBox just so it wouldn't clash with my earbuds. Guess what? They are still ugly! I even told the guy at Bose about this and he chuckled and acted like it was the first time he ever heard that. Bose should seriously consider changing the style. I gave them 4 out of 5 because of the style factor ( or lack of) Anyhow great review.
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S. Martin
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