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Beware Bose QuietComfort Headphones

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Ronald Epstein, Nov 3, 2005.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    A few years back I became a huge
    advocate for the Bose QuietComfort
    headphones that have been selling for $299.

    Based on my original experience with these
    headphones I posted a rather lengthy, positive
    review concerning their quality in both sound
    and workmanship.

    I'd now like to take those words back.

    It seems there is a defect in materials used
    in these headphones that could plague other
    owners in the years to come.

    3-4 years after purchasing my QuiteComfort
    headphones I noticed that the rubber earpiece
    material is flaking away like mad.

    Every time I wear the headset and take it
    off, my face and ears are covered with black
    residue from the shedding of the earpiece.

    Though these headsets are nearly 4 years old,
    I haven't worn them much outside of travel.
    Additionally, they have been kept in the
    travel accessory bag included in the package.

    What bothers me most about this is the fact
    that despite countless mails I have sent to
    Customer Service, Bose will not address this
    problem.

    While I understand the headsets are probably
    out of warranty, this is a pretty major defect
    in materials that most owners probably will not
    realize until after the warranty expires.

    For the price that Bose charges for these headsets,
    I would expect this company to at least reply
    to consumers who are reporting this problem and
    offer suggestions on what can be done.

    Many on this forum have warned members about
    quality issues concerning Bose. I should have
    stayed away from these headsets based on those
    recommendations, but for some reason, the
    QuietComfort still remains at the top of most
    reviews dealing with noise-cancelling headsets.

    All I can do at this point is warn people
    to stay away from purchasing these headsets until
    Bose shows that they have some sort of concern
    towards complaints when their products go bad.

    My apologies for recommending these headsets
    to anyone that may experience the same problems
    I am experiencing now or in the near future.
     
  2. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Ronald
    I think what bothers me the most (& many on this forum)is the way the public and many news sources act like Bose is the pinacle of audio.
    I don't know of any other product where the the public is so totally misguided when it comes to quality.
    There is a pretty good audio store I go to in San Francisco and they carry KEF & Bose speakers.
    I asked the salesman why would anyone buy bose when they could listen to Bose & KEF side by side?
    He told me most of the people who want Bose don't want to even listen to them before buying (?!?!!).
    Also many designers want them because they blend in with the drapes & such.

    To err is human and the important thing is you've been enlightened
    Take Care
    Grant
     
  3. PaulT

    PaulT Supporting Actor

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    I wonder if they use the same spec foam rubber from their 901 speaker surrounds that used to rot. It took them quite some time before they admitted the problem.

    I bought a set of Sennheisers:
    http://www.sennheiserusa.com/newsite...transid=004924
    duty free on a flight in the far East they were about 120USD.

    I have tried the Bose QuietComfort units (borrowed on a flight) and found them very comfortable, I especially liked the option of having a removable cord. Too bad they are falling apart on you, it was the only Bose product I would have ever considered purchasing.

    Be very careful what you say or Aman Bose and his lawyers will be after you [​IMG]
     
  4. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member

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  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I bought a pair for a daughter who was facing a 14 hr flight. Dont know if mine are rotting as they are in a box in the garage.

    What I suspect: the acoustic foam they use is very, very good at sound proofing, but the cost is a short lifetime. Many rubber based products (like high-performance car tires) work great, but wear out quickly.
     
  6. Kenneth Harden

    Kenneth Harden Screenwriter

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    I have a $100 pair of Sony's MDR-V600 and the glossy black stuff has worn off, but the foam is fine. I literally >10,000 hours on them and they still work. Nearly 5 years old!

    When they break, I will get a pair of CLOSED BACK headphones, as I cannot have other hearing stuff (annoying to others).
     
  7. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    If only Grado made an airplane friendly headphone... [​IMG]
     
  8. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I've been using Shure E3C earbuds, and they do a great job in blocking out noise, even on airplanes. I also prefer the compact size of earbuds. They also sound great (I'm listening to them right now via my iPod [​IMG] ).
     
  9. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Brilliant marketers. I cringe when I hear someone say "Bose is the best." Too bad about the 'phones, Ron. I've tried them before but never coughed up the money - way too pricey. But I admit they are exceptional, at least in their "pre-flake" years. [​IMG] I ended up abandoning the noise reduction philosophy and opted for isolation. A company called Etymotic has a product called the ER-6 that stuffs way up in your ear, little buds with a couple of rubber cups. They effectively prevent a healthy amount of sound from entering, and when music is playing you're lost in it. Properly sealed in your ear the frequency response is phenomal and even images within the center of your head. They're very small and discrete, easy to carry around. And a fraction of the price of the Bose cans. They take getting used to but the payoff is there. They also have a newer model out that is white for you iPod users. It has a slightly different plug style that appears more like their basic ear plugs, a little longer. I might buy them just for that change as their plugs fit me perfectly. I use them for every concert I attend and they do a great job of lowering the volume without creating mud. Cheap, too, and only around $12/pair.

    www.etymotic.com
     
  10. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    So where did you find a place that you can buy brand new etymotic earphones for only $12/ pair? The retail on them is $99.
     
  11. Ben J Loews

    Ben J Loews Stunt Coordinator

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    I used to work in a dept store where we were actively encouraged to sell Bose over any other brands as the profit margins and "deals" they had with Bose were much more lucrative.
    Personally, I have read and researched a lot about Bose's products and found some shocking information.

    I think the majority of people who buy Bose, have seen the adverts in Cosmopolitan or The Telegraph, and assume they are the epitome of audio.
     
  12. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Not the headphones, the earplugs:

    www.etymotic.com/ephp/er20.aspx

    For the ER-6 earphones I ended up getting a pretty good price online as well, less then the MSRP listed at Etymotic. Damned if I can remember the website, though. They specialize in headphones and hearing aids. I think around US$99.
     
  13. Neil White

    Neil White Supporting Actor

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    Not defending the Bose 'phones at all but I can say I had some expensive Sennheissers that the foam cups disintegrated on. Rendered them useless.

    This is a real shame as I've been considering the Quiet Comforts but the $300 tag has been putting me off. If I flew more I probably would have bought them by now.
     
  14. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member

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  15. Wayde_R

    Wayde_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Doug

    I love Aimee Mann!

    I like Head-Fi.org too and of course the general message of Bose being a mastermind of marketing paper coned sub-par speakers as audiophile quality. It's a well established truism.

    About head-fi.org, not everybody of course but it seems the general consensus contans a level of snobbishness I don't wish to indulge.

    I've heard some shady assertions of popular audio myths remain as the unquestioned truth on that board, such as:

    Tube amplifiers make your headphones sound better than transistorized headphone amps.

    Expensive replacement cables for headphones improve sound quality by adding a (insert adjective here) quality.

    Sure, these points have been debated endlessly on this very board, that's healthy. But I've seen them go unquestioned too many times.

    The WORST are the snobs that spent a ton on very expensive headphones.

    A choice quote that sticks out ... in (yet another) thread comparing Grado to Sennheisser a guy jumped in and said that any Sennheiser or Grado phone sounds to him like shoving shards of glass in his ear because he owns these super-duper electro-stat headphones that cost thousands.

    My God! Has it really come to that level of elitism?

    That's why I love HTF. Nobody would get away with that without the very next post being a voice of reason.
     
  16. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member

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    A fellow Aimee Mann fan! Hola Wayde!

    Head-Fi is indeed the Audioholics of headphone forums, but there ARE some great people there who are more than willing to help newbies. The trick is to sift through the chaff to find the nuggets. Sometimes the SNR can get high, but if you're looking for starter headphones it's a good place to check out. Once the shock of it all wears off you'll be ahead of the game. But it's certainly not for everyone. [​IMG]

    AT ANY RATE, there are SO many better options out there than Bose that cost much less money. It just takes a little research and a little self education to end up with a great headphone that fits your budget.
     
  17. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Yeah, but did you guys wander aimlessly outside her apartment (the one with the big Fender bass in the window) in the Beacon Hill section of Boston hoping to catch a glimpse of her coming or going? (ooops, I may have said too much) Seriously, I was guilty of this, well before Til' Tuesday hit it big with "Voices Carry". Saw her at The Rat in Kenmore Square one night back then and "she stood just like Bill Wyman, then I was her biggest fan" (paraphrased from a Smithereens song supposedly about Aimee Mann).
     
  18. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member

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    I'm not a stalker, just a guy who loves her music. [​IMG]
     
  19. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    "super exotic" headphones are cheaper than "super exotic" speakers/amps
     
  20. Manny

    Manny Auditioning

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    Bose headsets are the best. American Airlines ..for their business class and first class give out these noise cancelling head phones.

    I have made 6 trips to Japan in the last one year and 4 trips to Europe.. and they are simply great.

    If you put them in a hot garage or something.. and if they are out of warranty ..why blame them?

    I am a pvt pilot and I use their headset which I own. Its nose cancelling Pilot headset. Ask any pilot.. what headphones they would like as a gift., Guess what.. Its BOSE!

    As for their speakers.. For that price range.. sure there are good speakers like Kef, Klipsh and Tannoys.

    But there are also the Polks and defenitive Tech and and others who spend more time and effort in their polishing the wooden box than their speaker tech and esthetics like Bose.

    Yes.. you can get better speakers than Bose.. but for a lot of money.


    Why isn't anyone talking about that crap Bang And Olufsun? Now, that deserves to be trashed.. not Bose.

    BTW.,. Bose is an MIT product.. cutting edge in sound.
     

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