I tried the AE2 and they're quite good, but not $150 good to me. I think if they were sold for $70-$100 they'd be worth it. Please tell me what is as small and as comfortable for under $100. Not many that are easy to find online. Any of them with memory foam? Nope.
So far I can think of the Maxell DHP-II, Beyerdynamic DT-235 and a few others that are as comfortable and circumaural. It seems that for the Bose AE2 you're paying a little more for the Bose name, it's marketing, the size and comfort. To me the AE2 is $70 sound for $150. People expect them to sound like a $150 headphone.
The sad thing is that most Bose haters never gave them a chance. I'm willing to bet money that most of them never actually had them in their home and are just judging them from a store display. I can't tell you how dumb this is.
The AE2 sounds fairly good, but I returned it and kept my Creative Aurvana Live, which is actually less balanced sounding. The AE2 actually had better mids and a clearer sound to me.
I actually prefer the AE1 a bit. To me, it didn't have any bloated bass, very very slightly recessed mids and some fatiguing treble. Who would have thought they would have a lot of treble?!
I remember back when I was new to all this I originally had the AE1 and always loved them. This was back before everyone had mp3 players! I bought a pair recently for $40 and I was shocked that they didn't sound like garbage.
In the end from my Ipod Touch they had too much treble for me so I gave them away to my mom as an upgrade to her Maxell DHP-II (which is a very good headphone, despite being a Maxell!).
It's funny how many people have this idea about how Bose headphones sound, but yet can't even describe the signature or are totally wrong on it. They just listen to all this junk from others how "Bose sucks" and just continue to spread it around without having a clue.
I will say that the AE1 has HORRIBLE build quality. I've tried maybe a hundred or more headphones in my life and these are one of the few that has actually broken..twice! Bose replaced it with no questions asked the first time.
Edited by tdockweiler - 9/24/11 at 10:25am