If you want to shut yourself away from other folks’ background hubbub, you’ll struggle to do better than this. And, yes, that includes the Dr Dre Monster Beats, our previous favourites.
Bose has previous when it comes to noise-cancelling headphones, and the Quietcomfort 15s refine all that know-how into an elegant pair of cans.
Comfort by name…
The QC15s fold up small, and the ear-cups aren’t too chunky despite covering all but the most full-on Martin Clunes-sized ears.
Thankfully Bose has seen the error of its bespoke-battery ways: the QC15s powered noise-cancellation system runs off a standard AAA, which should be good for around 30 hours of operation.
Microphones both inside and outside the ear-cups monitor ambient noise, so the QC15s are able to adapt to changes in exterior racket quickly. Bose has also beefed up the ear cushion material, so there’s a degree of passive noise isolation going on, too.
The upshot is a pair of headphones that dismiss background noise with almost disdainful ease. Nothing else can you make you forget quite so completely that you’re stuck aboard a droning aircraft. Not that the QC15s can do anything about turbulence or the standard of in-flight catering.
Punchy and attacking with dance music, spacious and detailed with movie soundtracks, and thoroughly controlled in all circumstances, the Boses display no obvious compromises when it comes to sound quality. They’re dynamic too, able to put good distance between ‘very quiet’ and ‘suddenly very loud’.
Owners of quieter MP3 players (iPods, typically) may hanker after a bit more extension: the QC15s aren’t as out-and-out loud as some less capable alternatives. And if you spend an entire long-haul flight inside these Boses your ears are going to get hot, no two ways about it.
These are trifling complaints, though. When it comes to dealing with the unwanted distractions of the outside world, the Bose QuietComfort 15s are about as good as it gets.