Top positive review
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Stop Listening to the Bose Bashers!!!
on September 4, 2012
This is the first review I have written for a product on Amazon... The reason I am doing so is because I feel like I was lead astray a little from the biased reviews of others.
I know this is a bit wordy, but there are plenty of quick reviews you can read about this product without spending much time on mine. If you want a 100% truthful review, then please take a minute to read this, especially if you are new to the higher end headphone scene.
About 6 months ago I listened to a Bose display at a local Target store. This got my gears turning about the idea of having better quality headphones than I had previously been using. I had never really thought about putting the kind of attention you would put into car or home audio into headphones. Since I listen to headphones about 20+ hours a week at work, it seemed like a worthy investment.
Here is where things got dicey... I knew Bose was considered a top notch company by most average music listeners. Despite this I started reading reviews (as I normally do before buying anything over $40...lol). To my surprise I read review after review from people bashing Bose products, including the AE2 headphones. I was pretty surprised to say the least since I had never heard anything but favorable talk about Bose. I mean car companies go out of their way to highlight the fact that their car comes with a "Bose sound system". So I was now very confused. The more headphone forums I read, the more determined I was to stay far away from anything Bose. So after an obsessive amount of research I just through caution to the wind and bought some V-moda Crossfade LPs. Of all the products on Amazon I think the V-moda brand gets by far the most positive reviews. So I made the purchase, and when I received the headphones I was blown away by the intense sound and style! They are borderline indestructible, and come well equipped with a solid case.
Here is where reality started to sink in. After letting the headphones burn in for several days, I began using them at work. The bass was insane, just like I wanted. But after a few minutes of wearing them I realized that my head felt like it was stuck in a bear trap. After a week of wearing them off and on (I found myself listening to music less due to the extreme discomfort they caused my average sized head), I realized that the extreme bass was now becoming an annoyance. Everything I listened to was dripping with bass. Now this is great for dubstep, but try and listen to some country music, or even acoustic rock and you will immediately start trying to EQ the bass away. And the bass doesn't go away even at the lowest "bass reducer" setting on iPad. By the way I use both an iPad and a Sansa Clip+ (read the reviews...it has incredibly good sound) at work for music. So all opinions will be based on these two audio sources.
So the V-modas were sent back after a week. They were useless for anything other than bass heavy music. Next I read more reviews on the Sennheiser HD line. I ended up purchasing the Sennheiser HD 518. I took them out of the box, marveled at the comfort/sound quality, then unmarveled when I realized that even at low volume these things leak a ridiculous amount of sound. Unacceptable in an office setting, so they went back to the store.
Finally, after getting burned twice, I spent hour after hour after hour reading and sifting through all of the audio charts on a very popular website dedicated to headphones. This research led me to the Sony MDR-V6 headphones. These have been my go to headphones for the last several months. They have good neutral sound quality and they leak very little sound. But the drawback is that they seem to weigh a ton, and the cord is extremely thick and heavy. The cord is so obnoxious that I don't even like using them sometimes, because my little clip is outweighed by the cord, and god forbid if you clip the mp3 player onto your shirt. The weight of the cord just tugs right down.
So after all of the above ups and downs, I ended up walking into a Bose store in Orlando Fl this past weekend. I tried the AE2 headphones on again, and I found what I have been looking for all along! The sound was right on (not full of unnatural bass like the v-modas) just good clean sound. The comfort level was through the roof. They are so light they are almost unnoticeable. The lightness is what I assume the Bose bashers are talking about when they talk about Bose making cheap feeling products. I disagree however. Bose makes a solid product that isn't uncomfortable or silly looking on your head. It's kind of like the difference between a big barge of a car from the 70s verses a 2013 sleek Ferrari. Is the barge more solid feeling? Of course! But which one do you really want in your garage?? And if you are so reckless with your gadgets that you need military grade features (like V-moda) then you deserve to have your head stuck in a bear trap all day! And as far as sound leakage (Sennheiser HD), these things can be set to an almost uncomfortable volume, and yet my wife can barely hear them right next to me! The sound is crisp and clean, with nice tight bass. And they block more outside sound than the Sony MDR-V6. Now they are double the price of the V6, but again, if they aren't comfortable enough to wear, what's the point in having them??
BOTTOMLINE: After months of making purchases based on other people's reviews, I 100% stand behind the Bose AE2s! I'm glad I went through the hassle of buying all of those other headphones (in addition to hours of hands on testing at various stores). Because of this I now know just what a gem the Bose brand is! Are there tougher headphones? Yes! Are there better sounding ones? Probably. Are there excellent sounding headphones that are comfortable, look great and don't leak sound? Yes!...and they are called the Bose AE2! From my experience they are pretty much the holy grail of headphones!
I'm sure there are going to be fellow headphone nerds (I concider myself one too, so I can say it) that will roll their eyes at this review, and swear up and down that Bose sucks and the other "professional" headphone brands are far more superior, but according to my ears you would be mistaken! Bose isn't the only quality headphone manufacturer out there. But when it comes to finding a pair of headphones with top notch sound, comfort, looks, and that don't leak sound, and that are sub $150, then Bose reigns supreme!
Thank you to everyone that has commented on this review. I wanted to follow-up on how things are going with these headphones now that it's been about a year.
I am happy to report that the AE2s are still running strong! I have been through a number of other headphones, but these are still my favorites! I work in a cubicle environment, and the comfort and sound suppression (not complete canceling, but VERY reduced) is unbeatable.
To everyone that has bought a pair of these to use with mobile type devices (I use these with an iPod classic the most) here is a tip: spend $80 and purchase the FIIO E07k amp, along with a FIIO lineout cable. This setup will cost you about $90, but the amount of sound quality, impact and soundstage that this adds to your AE2s is well worth it! The FIIO amp doubles as a DAC to listen to higher quality FLAC sound files from a USB connection (Windows, OSX and Linux - tested on OSX and Linux and it works perfectly!).
You will be able to better adjust your treble and bass settings as well, giving you a much better handle over your music. Trust me, you will be surprised at the difference!
I hope my original review, as well as this update has helped!