Hands-on: The Bose QuietComfort 15

I just got back from one of Bose’s signature demos where they trick you into seeing their products in a whole new light. It’s clever and it sometimes works.

The trick went down like this: they showed us the QuietComfort 2 headphones, the older model, and ran about 92 decibels of airplane noise in a little room they set up for the purpose. I’ve been using the QuietComfort 3s for a year or so now and love them for airplanes so I noticed just about the same noise reduction with the 2s as the 3s, meaning a considerable reduction in the hissing and clanks associated with air travel.

Then they had us try on the QC15s, the $299 replacement for the QC2s. The noise reduction was quite drastic. Wham. Most of the noise was gone. Fair enough.

So then they had us watch a video of Yo Yo Ma and Diana Krall or whoever. Really jazzy. They like that stuff. And as we were watching it, engrossed in the video, they surreptitiously turned up the airplane noise. No one in the room noticed it at all. All you could hear was the music.

Why is this important? Because, well, these QC15s really seem to work. Bose knows that most audiophile junk is highly subjective and it’s easy to sway the brain one way or the other. Why not take advantage of it? If you can reduce the ambient noise and offer good sound, more power to them.

That said, the QC15s were pretty impressive. At $299 they’re a little expensive but the noise cancellation was a wonder. I’m hoping we get these in to really test sooner than later – I’ve got three long flights coming up – but you can call me aston-Bose-ished!

They new headphones are available in stores tomorrow.