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A Mere Mortals Guide To Why Bose Headphones Suck

Audio newbies are often surprised to find that Bose products are not well-thought-of by more experienced audio experts.

Bose's highly competent marketing and high prices lead many average consumers to believe that their products are high-quality. Friction can develop between people who've always heard that Bose products are great, and people who have explained many times what's wrong with them.

In-depth enthusiasts who would start a wiki with a title like this see a need to differentiate themselves as enthusiasts. Despite falling for basically the same marketing but in different ways (e.g. Audio-Technica and Denon's wooden phones) within their hobby, they will often compromise every other aspect of a product (usability, comfort, etc) for perceived superiority in sound quality in comparison to mass-market-appeal products such as Bose in order to prove that they are not 'part of the herd'.

This guide exists to collect information available via  the Head-Fi community about this subject, and organize it in a clean way that will allow a relative audio beginner to make an informed choice about Bose products.

Comments (4)

My Bose QC2 'phones had a liquid-sounding (for lack of a better term) midrange that I haven't experienced on any other 'phone.  I wonder if that perception had anything to do with the noise-cancelling process.  The bass was too heavy IMO, but tolerable for most songs.  The downfall of the QC2 was that it broke three times in one year, and I never took them anywhere or abused them even slightly.  First the left headband above the earcup snapped.  I used electrical tape to fix that - no problem.  The right headband snapped later, same fix.  Then the internal electronics quit, and that's when I tossed them.  I tried the QC3 and found the sound to be awful, and so I wondered if Bose 'phones might suffer from too much variability in sound due to poor Q/C.
I had the QC15. Sounded great, but when I compared them to my Denon 2000s (which were $60 cheaper) I couldn't listen to them anymore. I haven't bought anything from Bose since.
I remember that J. Gordon Holt used to say "Who cares how long it lasts if it doesn't sound good?" And I would always respond "Who cares how good it sounds if it doesn't last?"
Head-Fi.org › Articles › A Mere Mortals Guide To Why Bose Headphones Suck