Conventional wisdom states that Bose is overpriced and terrible. And for years, I believed this without having actually tried any of their products. Then this weekend, I folded and finally bought a pair of AE2's. And I love them!
Once upon a time, $150 for a pair of headphones was considered expensive. But given the not-so-recent explosion in premium headphones, $150 has become relatively inexpensive. For that price point, you could do much worse than a pair of AE2s, and I'd argue it's better overall than the ATH-M50s, which I find uncomfortable to wear and muddled-sounding despite its universal acclaim from the audiophile community.
That said, the AE2s aren't stellar but sound good enough. The bass isn't as boomy as others have claimed, and the highs aren't overly harsh either. I've noticed it performs better for certain genres, like metal and live music. For the same price, you could certainly buy better sounding cans, but good luck finding one as lightweight, sturdy, and comfortable as the AE2s. These are great for commuters and people who walk around the city. They don't actively cancel ambient noise, but the ear-cups block out enough unwanted sound so that you don't need to blast the volume. Overall, the AE2 is a very solid pair of cans.
I guess bashing on Bose is similar to beer snobs who hate on Budweiser. It's the popular thing to do and kinda fun. But sometimes, nothing hits the spot like a can of Bud.