Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

  1. killeraxemannic
    Really really good at canceling noise. Sound is fine as well.
    Written by killeraxemannic
    Published Sep 6, 2015
    Pros - Noise canceling, Comfort, design, Sound Quality.
    Cons - Price, Not passive, Cheap cable, Bass
    I found these for a great price used and couldn't pass them up because I am going on a long flight soon. The noise canceling in these is incredible as most have said. Any sound that drones on or rumbles or is generally steady and unpleasant goes away with the flick of a switch. My first test for these was my lawnmower. They can kill the sound from it to a point where it is only a very low easy to ignore sound. Music will completely drown it out. Second test was inside a data center at work. These can almost completely kill the sound from the data center. Anyone who has been in one knows what I am talking about... Lots and lots of loud fans all going at once. Interestingly enough though you can still hear people talk with these on. They are definitely quieter but if I pause my music with them on I can still hear a co worker if they are talking directly at me. I think this is by design. They are more for canceling ongoing consistent sounds not sounds that are brief and varied. 
    Ok now on to the sound quality. It's passable. It's good. Its not amazing or awe inspiring but it's just fine. If you hear them you would understand. 
    Highs are smooth but a bit compressed and recessed. Very top end is missing. 
    Mids are very smooth clean and forward. 
    Bass is slightly muddy and a tad boomy but not overstated. 
    Overall I would consider this sound signature to be very relaxing and easy to listen to for hours. There is nothing to wear you out. That might be exactly what Bose was going for honestly. If you think about it for this type of headphone it makes sense. Some could consider them a bit muddy sounding due to the compressed highs and the boomy bass but I really do think they sound fine. 
    So in conclusion I feel like if you can pick up a pair of these for $150 or less they are worth it. I couldn't see spending any more on them. If they sounded better they would be worth the $300 price tag. Also as others have stated you have to have them turned on for them to put out any sound at all. If your batteries die you are out of luck. I also don't like the cable. It's a bit tangly and doesn't like to straighten out if you have had it rolled up for a while. 
    1. Music Alchemist
      Pro tip: use a normal headphone cable (instead of the proprietary stock cables that have electronics that interfere with the signal) for dramatically better sound quality. I had to wrap toilet paper around the connector shell to keep normal cables in place, though, and the channels get switched due to the active circuitry of the headphones.

      I'm surprised you thought the highs were recessed. I owned a QC15 for years, and the highs were boosted and often sibilant, but less so with a proper cable.
      Music Alchemist, Sep 6, 2015
  2. KBGolfRunner
    It Takes Me Away
    Written by KBGolfRunner
    Published Sep 29, 2013
    Pros - The Noise Isolation is Like No Other
    Cons - Some say the sounds isn't that great. I think it's good/great
    When I go to a busy restaurant during lunch with my headphones, I feel like I'm by myself with the QC 15's.  They work fine with your iPhone but if you get an Amp, you can change the setting on the headphone jack to Lo.  Then, you can crank the Amp and you get some pretty good sound when you are at home.  In my opinion, if you listen and get used to their sound, you'll be happy with the sound.  Also, they fit well on my head, which I like.  I felt like the other headphones (Parrot Zik, UE9000, UE6000 and others) moved around when I would walk.  I don't recommend this, but they are GREAT to workout at the gym.  I bring my iPad and can watch a TV show in a busy, noisy gym without having to crank it. 
    Don't get my wrong, you will hear sounds from the outside world, but they are sounds like someone talking or a siren.  These headphones take out the background noise.  Also, you can get these for under $200 used since they've been out for years.  You won't get the Apple cord, but you can get that online.  You will lose a little sound with the cord not from Bose, but it works and it's so nice to adjust volume, skip songs, etc.
    1. kyokosakura
      I always quite enjoyed listening to these at best buy. May not be the best headphones but they excell at noise cancelling. 
      kyokosakura, Oct 2, 2013
  3. soraxd
    Noise Cancelling is amazing, and second to none! theyre very comfortable, but sound quality wasnt anything special.
    Written by soraxd
    Published Aug 16, 2013
    Pros - Noise Cancelling, Comfortable, long term wear comfort
    Cons - unusably long cord, music quality is nothing special.
    Alright so this is my first review, but ill try to just lay down the facts and keep it simple. These headphones do an amazing job of taking all outside noise away. just flipping the switch on them even without music playing, makes you feel like you entered a vacuum where all sound disappears. Its really something to awe at. If you're going to buy these headphones, it should be for that reason alone. 
    The cord is long.. verrry long. If the headphones are on me, and connected to my phone in my pocket, the excess cord hangs almost to my ankles.. Its between 6-7 foot in length, which is pretty ridiculous. The cord does come with 2 cords of same length, one for apple, and one without controls. so if youre like the norm out there using Android, you'll be out of luck. 
    The sound is alright, it has strong bass, sometimes unwelcomed, but overall the sound is "alright". I definitely wasnt blown away, and for nearly $300 I would like to be. 
    Last point to mention, is theyre very comfortable, they dont move or budge if you shake your head, or "rock out" wearing them. in fact, when you include the superior noise canceling, its quite easy to fall asleep wearing them. Which is very welcomed in any headphones. 
    Overall theyre a great pair of headphones for the $150 range, but for $300 I would say theyre not worth it. 
    If you need noise cancellation, theyre unrivaled by anything else around however.
      gevorg likes this.
  4. MightyChimp
    Awesome for the specific purpose of Noise Cancelling
    Written by MightyChimp
    Published Feb 18, 2013
    Pros - Great noise cancelling with *good* sound, works extremely well out of an ipod
    Cons - Lacks some overall fidelity, unnatural bass
    Just a quick note about these. My point of comparison for Audio Quality is Senn HD650 / LCD3 / Grado 325is / ATH-M50.
    Comfort - Amazing. Gets slightly warm after really long listening sessions, but they mostly rise to that level where you forget you have them on. The cups are like pillows. Personally, after a couple of minutes I don't feel the "pressure". They are probably my most comfortable headphones... The Senn HD650 is close but the clamping is a little excessive on those. 
    Sound quality - Decent. They are a little muddy. The clarity isn't quite there. Specifically the bass is muddy, sometimes overemphasized, rarely as clear as it should be. The mid bass hump is ever-present.
    Great Unamped - They work extremely well out of an iPhone. I find that amp / dac add essentially nothing. 
    Design - I find them ugly, personally. I love that they include a functional case. 
    These should be seen as companion headphones for when traveling / out in public, you should not be primarily using these because they rob the music of fidelity.  I use them either when travelling or when neighbours / roommate are being loud. They do what they were intended to do reasonably well.
  5. nimbostruck14
    First headphones beyond earbuds, not too impressed
    Written by nimbostruck14
    Published Sep 23, 2012
    Pros - Noise cancellation and comfort
    Cons - Can't listen without noise canceling, sound in general
    This was the very first headphone that I have owned that can be considered "high-end". When I first received these I enjoyed
    almost everything about them except for the look. The noise canceling was what really blew me away at the time. However, these headphones
    became very sub-par with poor bass performance in terms of quality and an overall muddled and unpleasant mid and treble presentation.
    I paid $300 for these as a middle-schooler. Thank God I was able to get a refund by some hot luck. I will remember my experience with these as
    my introduction to the audio world. That is something that I will cherish about these. Other than that, not much.
    1. XxDobermanxX
      Their noise cancellation has been beaten :)
      XxDobermanxX, Sep 24, 2012
    2. jdg711
      IMHO not worth near the asking price of $300!
      jdg711, Sep 25, 2012
    3. nimbostruck14
      By who has there noise cancellation been beaten. Sennheiser? cuz that's a lie. Some have gotten close but not close enough to not tell a difference
      nimbostruck14, Sep 29, 2012
  6. leodun123
    Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones
    Written by leodun123
    Published Jun 21, 2011
    This product is totally awesome. It's comfortable and very easy to use.
    1. masuuuuud
      audio quality is deffo not a 4.5, i'd say 3.5 at max.
      masuuuuud, Jun 21, 2011
    2. doctorx
      I demo'ed these in-store and they sound quite good but not spectacular. As masuuuuud said, 3.5 stars is as accurate as it can be described if you add it's high price range in the equation. Truth be told, this is one of the best noise-cancelling headphones, and that's what these are made for.
      doctorx, Jun 21, 2011
  7. throzen0303
    Written by throzen0303
    Published Dec 23, 2010
    Pros - One of the best if not the best N.C. HP out there. Blocks out almost everything when the music is up.Decent mids and highs.Decent Detail.Great comfort
    Cons - Part from the N.C. and comfort , nothing special, really.
    Decent sound, Great Comfort, one of the best noise cancelling headphones out there. I think it's not worth the $299 price tag tho.
  8. BluFalcon
    Slow Joe Crow Comes, Bose Nose Grows Some
    Written by BluFalcon
    Published Dec 2, 2010
    Pros - noise canceling, comfortable, lightweight, battery life, travel accessories
    Cons - decent sound quality, price, won't function as standard HP w/o battery power
    I received the Bose QC 15 in the mail today.  My previous ordered was canceled by the retailer for some reason.  I went back to re-order and the price was marked down to $229 shipped.  Probably a Black Friday deal or something.  The headphones were well packaged and the box included a travel case, 1x AAA battery, detachable cable, headphone adapter for passenger airliners, operating instructions (many languages) and warranty registration card.  Anyway, I just plugged them in and gave them a quick listen (Bob Marley - Africa Unite).  Sounded pretty decent off the bat.  It was a bit heavy on the bass, but still sounded pretty good.  Noise canceling was great.  Blocked out a lot of noise in the house (running water in the kitchen, washer and dryer downstairs where I was, etc.)  So initial impression was that SQ was decent and NC was excellent.  I'll also add that they are very lightweight and comfortable to wear.  I plugged in my 225i that was nearby to just give it a quick sound comparison.  I'm no audiophile, so I probably have a higher tolerance for what some of you would consider "noise".  No question the Grados killed the Bose in SQ, with the Bose sounding muddy after switching back.  However, I did not find the SQ to be so frightfully distasteful to completely rule them out as a travel companion.  I do a lot of traveling at times (planes, trains and automobiles), so the NC is a big plus for me.  I can tolerate the mediocre sound as I suspected it would not be up to snuff with what I was used to listening to anyway.  It simply was not purchased for that purpose.  Another thing I should mention is that these will not function as regular headphones without battery power, so you're SOL if your batteries go belly-up.  Just be sure to pack spares in the handy travel case these cans come with (loses a star for design in that regard).  The Bose have been put away until its time for me to make my next trip (don't forget to remove the battery).  I figure if I stop moving around as often as I do I can always put them up for sale on ebay and probably make back most of what I paid for them.  Overall, not disappointed about this purchase and I'll be keeping them for as long as I need them.  Now back to jamming out with my Grados...
  9. s0126471
    Bose Quietcomfort 15
    Written by s0126471
    Published Aug 25, 2010
    Pros - Naturally sounding, very comfortable
    Cons - Price
    I purchased these because my Sennheiser PXC450 were getting too big to carry around once I purchased a larger netbook.  So this review is more a comparison of it and the QC15.
    The striking difference is the size - the PXC450 are just massive.  The QC15 on the other hand have cups that just fit around the ears, and are lighter.  The sound quality on both are excellent, but my personal opinion is the QC15 produce a much more natural sound.  I have also tried a friends Goldring NS1000 (which is a lot cheaper) and while its noise cancelling is good, the sound is a lot more punchy than that of the PXC450 and the QC15.
    The PXC450 and QC15 both come in a carry case which does its job, and have a handful of helpful accessoires - airline plug adapter, compartments to put extra batteries).  One thing I do not like is that Bose puts in 'business cards'.  Not only do I find this smug, but I'd rather they dont do this and reduce the price of the headphones.  I ended up taking the Bose cards out and putting my own cards in.
    I only use the QC15 during my frequent travels, so my review emphasizes more on the noise cancelling aspect.  As a frequent traveller in Europe and Asia, I get to fly on a variety of aircraft types, and here is a list (of the most common types) of what I think:
    Boeing 777-200ER (rolls royce trent engine - and old one so rather loud):
    PXC450 - whilst it does cancel out a lot of noise, the low freq engine rumble is still noticeable - although in a very reduced manner.  The large cups makes them very comfortable over long haul.
    QC15 - similar to above, it does cancel out a lot of background noise, but engine noise is still noticeable.  The sound seems to be more natural than the PXC450.
    Panasonic RP-HC55E-S - I have a pair of these in-ear noise cancelling earphones, and they do cancel out more engine noise than the other two.  However, there is a design flaw on these earphones that I really would not recommend you buying these.
    Boeing 747-400 (P & W engines - old and loud, even on newer models of the 747)
    PXC-450 & QC15 - the background noise is determined by seat position.  The closer you are to the nose/tail of the aircraft, the less background noise is present (in my opinion).  Both headphones perform at similar levels in terms of noise cancelling with QC15 having an edge in natural sounds.  Over extended (10+ hours) flights I prefer the comfort of the QC15 over the PXC450.
    Boeing 737-700 (CFM engines)
    PXC-450 & QC15 - both do a decent job of cancelling out noise.
    Airbus A312 and A320 (CFM engines)
    These newer types of aircraft use 'quieter' engines (according to brochures etc).  While this may be true, this does not seem to matter much when it comes to the PXC450 or the QC15.  Both do an excellent job of cancelling out noise, but you can still hear (low frequency) engine rumblings in the background.
    I think these are the most common aircraft types.  I've flown with many more (such as small regional carriers Embraer series aircraft) if anyone is interested in what I think of them.
    To compare the PXC450 and the QC15, they both do a good job of noise cancelling.  I'd give the edge on the QC15's in terms of sound quality.
      Argo Duck and mw818 like this.
    1. Argo Duck
      What a great review, thanks to a good methodology
      Argo Duck, Feb 21, 2012
  10. stokitw
    The best active noise canceling phone on the market
    Written by stokitw
    Published May 6, 2010
    Pros - Superior active noise canceling ability, light and comfortable
    Cons - filmsy cable, only play music with noise canceling on.
    Why I ever considered buying this? My office is now noisier than before, so I don’t want to crank up the volume too much with my closed phones. My office phone is now AKG K271s. While I like its balanced sound, the overall comfort is not ideal.
    I demoed the QC15 at Bestbuy. The noise canceling is better than others (tip: just wait till the demo music stop), and most importantly, it is very comfortable. So, I wonder if Bose QC15 can serve in my office setting. If this plan didn’t work out, I can still use QC15 for my long cross pacific flight.
    First, some quick facts:
    QC15 does not play music without noise canceling. It only came with 3.5mm plug. The cord is thin and long, you better be careful with the cord.
    NC and comfort:
    The noise canceling is amazing in the demo setting. It is not perfect anyway. I use different noises in my place for simulation. You can still feel the active air purifier running on HI setting, hear the speaking from radio clock close to you, and hear the lawn mower and chain saw running outside the apartment.
    Is this a big let down? Well, open-back phones are simply useless in this kind of environment while my closed-back phones cannot block those noises out effectively for really enjoy the music. In this setting, QC15 does its job to minimize the noise enough for you to enjoy the music. In fact, it is more efficient than my old in-flight music listening solution: Peltor H10A Professional Noise Canceling Earmuff which I found is better than the old Bose NC phones I demoed before. What actually surprises me is its efficiency in a moderate noisy environment like running air conditioning. You literally feel total tranquility. This leads to an easily enjoyable listening even compare to other closed-back phones. (You can mentally block out the noise by turn-up the volume, but you don’t have to with QC15 in such an environment. This is a big plus.)
    It is very comfortable on the head. This stands out from my two other closed-back phones: Sennheiser HD-25-1-II and AKG K271s.
    So now, the key question is: how does it sound? How does it compare to the other closed-back phones I own?
    The answer actually depends on the common issue of noise canceling phones: the slight pressure you can feel when NC is on.
    You can always feel the pressure. Sometimes I feel OK with it, and sometimes I feel a little bit irritated by that in a quiet room. I listen to classical and especially orchestral works. If all of sudden I’m irritated by the pressure, I will have trouble finish a movement in a seriously listening mood. What happen is that the NC lets you hear the quietness of quiet part, but you will still feel the pressure in your ears. You will appreciate this under a noisy circumstance, but you will feel a little bit awkward in a quiet room. This issue is not really related to what music I’m listening to, but more like randomly depends on my where attention goes.
    On the other hand, when I feel OK about the pressure issue, the sound is a good back roll seat sound in a large concert hall. It is not as detail as HD-25-1-II, and not as balanced as K271s. But QC15 has its niche to me. As for large scale orchestral work, HD-25-1-II suffers from its overall small sound stage. The sounds are clear and beautiful, but you can feel that the concert hall is smaller than it should be. QC15, just like K271s, gives you a proper back roll seat feeling. So at least you know where you are in a more realistic concert hall. However, QC15 is not as balanced as K271s in large orchestral works. It has a little bit too much mid-bass (designed for coping the air plane noise escape from NC). While the sound of K271s is recess in a more balanced way, the sound of QC15 sometimes is not equally back-roll seated. In the non-classical recordings, QC15 offers a little more fun than K271s does.
    Overall, compare to the other two closed-back phones I have, QC15 is sitting in the middle. For serious listening of small scale recording, I would lean to HD-25-1-II. As for large scale recordings, I would lean to K271s. QC15 sits in the middle while it can be the second choice in either case given that I’m not irritated by the pressure.
    Concluding remarks:
    It is a good choice as a secondary phone. Nowadays I rely on GS-1000 as for most serious listening. As for main gear, I would prefer some specialists if it cannot deliver the overall satisfaction like GS-1000 can. The lack of overall balance and the occasionally pressure issue makes QC15 not a good choice as a main gear for serious listening.
    However, for me, listening music in the office is more for relaxation. The lay back sound of Bose is not a bad thing for that purpose. The noise canceling works like a charm in moderate noisy environment. Actually, it works so well you don’t even feel the noise is there. Along with QC15’s superior comfort level on the head, the listening experience is actually difficult to beat by my other two closed-back phones. Am I going to ditch my K271s as the office phones? Probably not. But I do project myself putting up Bose QC15 more often than K271s in my office.
    Testing setup:
    Portable: Cowon D2
    Office: Aune mini USB DAC/AMP MK2 with its 3.5mm-6.3mm adapter.
    Home: Grace m902 with Grado 3.5mm-6.3mm adapter.
    Previous review focus most on the music quality, now I have some updates after my cross pacific flights....
    QC15 delivers!
    The noise canceling really works as it is designed for.
    The engine noise is reduce to a slightly strong blow from someone next you, not annoying anymore.
    In terms of volume reduction, I have to admit that it is not as good as ear muffs plus ear plug.
    But QC15 is way more comfortable.
    With ear muffs and ear plugs, I need to take off ear muffs every couple hours otherwise my skin around ears would be irritated.
    On the contrary, I simply wear QC15 almost all the way (4hrs + 13hrs + 3hrs including toilet time!).
    The battery life is as promised (40hrs), one spare in the carrying case should be enough for most people.
    Overall, I have to say Bose really delivers "Quiet" and "Comfort" with this QC15.  If you're a frequent flyer, I would say as for the noise canceling it worth every penny even without playing the music.
    1. uhura
      hey, just a quick question... thinking of buying this qc15 but wondering if it will serve the purpose i need it for.
      ok, i'm sometimes pretty 'bad' with noise : people with blaring headsets you can even hear when sitting on the other end of the bus... sometimes the neighbour who has the news or a movie on a bit louder... for those rare moments when i wanna block these sounds out, will the qc15 deliver ?
      just not sure when i read comments like : "You can still feel the active air purifier running on HI setting, hear the speaking from radio clock close to you, and hear the lawn mower and chain saw running outside the apartment " or "In terms of volume reduction, I have to admit that it is not as good as ear muffs plus ear plug". "
      thx in advance for any feedback....
      uhura, Feb 18, 2011
    2. stokitw
      My earmuff itself claims 30db reduction, so earmuff + earplug should give you 30db+ reduction.
      QC15 is not as good as 30db, but it is way more comfortable.
      My tests are actually very demanding, e.g. the lawn mower is running outside my apartment with window opening.
      You should not expect the noise canceling can mute that completely.
      In you case, QC15 is more than enough.
      My friend use it for similar purpose and he prefers QC15 over uncomfortable earmuff.
      stokitw, Feb 23, 2011