Quiet Comfort

airplane vs. headphones

That’s me on JetBlue Flight 481 to Long Beach, wearing my noise canceling headphones. Sandee saw me wanting them, so she was especially happy to make them a Christmas present to me. And, with all the flying I’ve been doing lately, I was especially happy to have them.

I wanted the QuietComfort 2s not just because I like big, old skool, over-the-ear headphones (I don’t, actually), but because I really wanted the extra noise reduction that design offers. I had tried the QuietComfort 3s in a Bose store and wasn’t convinced they were better. Smaller, yes, but still large enough that I can’t lean my head against the window without knocking them off my ear. That, and I really didn’t want to have to carry yet another charger when I travel — the 2s take a single AAA battery (so carrying extra or finding more is easy), the 3s take a custom rechargeable battery. Still, if the 3′s electronics are really better, I’d like to see them applied to the OTE design to get even more noise reduction.

As it is, however, I’m quite pleased. Listening without music, headphones do a good job of quieting the drone of the plane, and with a bit of music, it largely disappears. And unlike with my iPod earbuds, which I had to run at full or nearly full volume, I can now listen — and hear the music — at volumes from the lower half of the range. What I didn’t like, however, was how bulky they are compared to my old earbuds. Sleeping required new attention to where I was leaning my head; tip my against the window or fuselage and not only would I rick knocking the headphones off my head, but the vibration would suddenly be amplified by the noise canceling hardware.

headphones, comfort, bose quietcomfort 2, bose, noise canceling, noise canceling headphones, noise reduction, noise suppression, travel

5 thoughts on “Quiet Comfort

  1. I’ve got the QC3s and I find I hardly ever use them because the noise cancelling feels like a constant pressure on my eardrum and the result is a very disorienting feeling accompanied by a headache. I wish I had gove with the 2s.

    [tags]QC3, Bose[/tags]

  2. Seems like you use an electronic device after the Captain has request that you shut off all portable electronic devices.

  3. I thought it was just me who felt the ear drum pressure. I just got the QC3s as a Christmas from my office. I love the sound, but the pressure makes me feel as though I’m up in a tall building. It almost has a burning feeling. Am I stuck with this feeling? Should I just go with a Bose on ear set of headphones? My teenage son LOVES my QC3s and doesn’t complain of the pressure. Maybe I’m just too old!!

    • I have been drooling over the Bose QCs for over a year and finally decided to look in to buying a pair. I went to an Apple store today. The first set I put on was the new QC15, over the ear. The ear pressure feeling was very strong. I wouldn’t say it was quite painful. But it was strong. Far too strong to be comfortable. The pressure went away immediately when I shut of the noise canceling. With it on and no music, lots of pressure. With music, the pressure alleviated somewhat. I tried the QC3. Same issue. I don’t know if the older QC2s don’t have this problem. Curious. I’ll have to check it out somehow. That, or just go with a non-noise canceling set.

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