Comfortable, Travels Well and Greatly Minimizes Ambient Noise

Jan 24, 2012
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Greatly reduces ambient noise.  Comfortable.  Very good sound quality.  Long battery life.

Cons:Expensive.  No low battery indicator.

The Bottom Line: A good investment if you are one of the unfortunate ones who must travel by air.

I bought Quiet Comfort 15 Noise Cancelling Headphones about 2 months ago for $300.00.  Previously, I said that $300 headphones were a luxuary that I could do without and, frankly, not worth the money, in my opinion.  What changed my mind?  Well, I had a 4 hour plane ride I was dreading and I needed quality headphones.  So, I found myself at the Bose display in Best Buy trying out one of their over the ear non noise cancelling models and was very impressed.  Next to them were the QC 15s.  I put them on and hit the play button on the Bose display and a music video comes on.  Very nice.  Then you are instructed to take off the head phones and listen to the sound of a jet engine playing on the external display speakers.  It sounded just like sitting in the back of one of those planes that have the jets mounted on the tail.  Now you pop the QC 15s back on and the jet roar becomes a distant hum.  I then put on the non noise cancelling Bose and then I knew why the QC 15s were twice as expensive. 

 However, if you are equating "noise cancelling" with elimination of all background noise, you will be disappointed.  On my trip it greatly reduced background noise and I was able to enjoy my music at a very low volume, just beyond the minimum (and I have 62 year old ears).  I had to increase the volume to about 2/3s of max. to enjoy movies played through iTunes on my iPad.

The first thing I noticed when I put these on was how incredibly comfortable they are.  They fit over the ears and can be easily adjusted to fit your head size.  I had to take them off for a few minutes every hour to let my ears "breath", but they never felt too tight or like they were ready to fall off my head.

They come in a zip semihard travel case that has a pouch for carrying extra batteries.  Also included are an instruction booklet, one AAA battery, 2 audio cables, a dual plug adapter, which can be used to listen to in flight audio by plugging into the seat port.  The audio cables are about 6 feet long and plug into a port in the left earphone.  They have a Hi/Lo volume switch which does just that.  Mine is set to HI.  Both cables work, but one of them has a small attached controller with a mic.  This controller can be used to receive calls (iPhone 3 and 4), control volume, pause audio, etc.  I've never used it with a phone, but the other functions work for me.  (I use it with an iPad 1 and latest generation iTouch.)  The battery compartment is located in the right earphone.  You must turn on the power switch, which is located on the right earphone and has a green on indicator light, to use the QC15.  Switch off, no sound.  Bose claims that battery life is about 35 hours.  I am well beyond that and I am still using the original battery.

Built into the earphones are mics which pick up the ambient noise.  Then, through some kind of audio circuitry or magic I don't understand, the QC15 is able to greatly reduce the ambient noise.  I my opinion, the audio quality is excellent.  Full, rich and clear.  Some have complained that the bass is weak.  It's certainly not head banging strong, but I can bring it up by adjusting my iPad/Touch.

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