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  1. #1
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    Bose headphones question

    I have used Bose QuietComfort 15 noise cancelling headphones when I travel for the past 7 or 8 years or so, and I love them. Despite how comfortable they are to wear, I find they are a bit bulky to transport, so I have started looking at the newer QuietComfort 20i in-ear model. I am curious if anyone here has transitioned from the 15 to the 20, and if so, do you have positive or negative feedback you would be willing to share.

    If there is already a thread about this, I would be grateful for a link instead. I found a thread about people looking at alternative cases for their 15s, but I could not find one directly comparing the 2 models...though it is possible I did not use the right search combination.

    Thank you!

    ETA: My primary use for these headphones is for their noise blocking capabilities. I am not as concerned about having perfect music sound quality.
    Last edited by NWhikergal; 07-20-2014 at 01:17 PM.

  2. #2
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    I made the transition and I would not go back! The in-ear buds are a fraction of the size and weight (obviously) and the noise cancelling performance is at least as good IMHO. If you can tolerate wearing earbuds I wouldn't hesitate.

  3. #3
    Forum Member flaneuse's Avatar
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    Dec 2013
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    I have a set of the older bose non-noise canceling headphone and the qc20i. Both are comfortable but the qc20i are my favorite. They take up much less space, are very light, are comfortable and cancel the ambient noise very well. I think if you find earbuds comfortable you will like them. They do come with 3 different sized fittings.

  4. #4
    Forum Member jannilee's Avatar
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    I agree with JLE and flaneuse. I have had both and prefer the 20i. I am giving the qc15 to my brother.

  5. #5
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    I never had the Bose headphones, but did have some Sony and Phillips models. I bought the 20i earphones and they are well worth it. Light, comfortable and excellent NC capabilities. A great investment, especially for long flights.

  6. #6
    Forum Member TavaPeak's Avatar
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    I preferred over-the ear can headphones (um, not Bose), and got the 20i for Christmas. Wow - they are amazing. I didn't think the 20i's would be comfortable for me, but I loved them for Rome/Paris trip. Won't leave home without them now! And they fit in my SE with the Nexus, no trouble. Got so tired of jamming a massive set of headphones into my carryon.

  7. #7
    Registered User vivelly's Avatar
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    I agree with everyone..I never had the 15, but I have the 20, in ear headphones and they are amazing. I needed noise cancelling headphones to drown out my ever fighting teenage daughters and the rowdy budgies for some sane moments of music and quiet bliss...and golly they work a treat! The sound is amazing too...and you can hardly feel them in your ear. I often get sore ears with the headphones that go into the ear canal, but these ones sit above your ear and they stay there too. No putting back fallen out headphones.
    Just a warning..dont switch them on when you sit in a car and slam the door shut. It gives a supersonic BOOM that will rattle you. lol Otherwise I can highly recommend them...oh and when you finish using them its easy to forget to switch off the noise cancelling...that will run the battery empty. But otherwise I cannot say a bad word about them. My most priced possession (apart from my TB collection of course) the Bose Mini Soundlink is great too.

  8. #8
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    If you are looking for noise blocking protection, you might want to consider earphone or ear protection from Etymotic Research: Etymotic Research, Inc. - High-fidelity Earphones, Headsets and Hearing Instrumentation . Their ER-4 earphones were an audio reference standard for years, and they also block out about 32+dB of noise. I have used them for over a decade, and would be loathe to give them up, for audio or for noise blocking when travelling.

    --Ken

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    If you are looking for noise blocking protection, you might want to consider earphone or ear protection from Etymotic Research: Etymotic Research, Inc. - High-fidelity Earphones, Headsets and Hearing Instrumentation . Their ER-4 earphones were an audio reference standard for years, and they also block out about 32+dB of noise. I have used them for over a decade, and would be loathe to give them up, for audio or for noise blocking when travelling.

    --Ken
    Another big thumbs-up for Etymotic Research here!

    After years of using Shures, I recently switched to the Etymotic HF3 and couldn't be happier.

    They are lightweight and easier to fit than the over-the-ear Shures, plus have excellent sound quality and noise isolation.

    (Note that they are noise-isolating, not noise-canceling, which means they don't require an external battery like the Bose. The triple flange tips of the Etymotics are so effective at blocking external sound, I can't imagine wanting any more sound blocked... nor the added bulk and inconvenience of having to charge a battery.)

  10. #10
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    I hate ear buds. The only ear plugs I can handle are the three flange type similar to the ones used by Etymotic Research.

    Does anyone know of a pair of noise cancelling headphones that uses the three flange type ear plug?

    I don't need perfect since I rarely listen to music while traveling. It's either audiobooks or recorded radio programs.
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

  11. #11
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    +3 on Etymotic. I have the HF5 and they are great. Can't really add to the above recommendations but agree with their reviews.

  12. #12
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by NWhikergal View Post
    I have used Bose QuietComfort 15 noise cancelling headphones when I travel for the past 7 or 8 years or so, and I love them.
    Bose Headphones are the antithesis to the TomBihn couture. The two really should not go in one sentence. Tom Bihn aims for efficient and minimal packing whereas Bose headphones are as bulky, clumsy and awkward shaped any travel accompaniment can be. Ever since I discovered Tom Bihn bags I have never travelled with my Bose Headsets - and like you they used to accompany me everywhere for several years - and I used to feel cool about that.

    Like others here I moved to etymotic earbuds. They provide excellent noise isolation so I do not miss my Bose one bit. I have the custom fit ear buds which are made to fit my ear canal, so they are so comfortable and I can wear them all through a transpacific or transatlantic flight without problem. And of course I don't need to figure out how to fit them in my Tristar or WF

  13. #13
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    I have the qc15 which I love but is awkward to pack. My husband is an audiophile and suggested westone for sound isolation. These are leaps and bounds above the qc15 well worth the price difference.

  14. #14
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    I just got the Bose 20i's and am really torn about keeping them. I tried them on and the sound is fabulous. Riding the train this morning, not having to hear the ambient noise, was a treat. But the complicated set-up, with the flat piece that I have to sort of balance against the back of my iPhone, and remember to turn on and off, is a little much for me. I'm debating instead the merits of noise-isolating headphones like the Etymotics rather than noise-cancelling headphones like the Bose.

    I really don't know much about the long-term effects of either. Is it dangerous to jam something like the Etymotics in one's ear canal? Does the noise-cancelling wizardry of the Bose expose you to more overall noise, because the technology is actually generating sound waves that counter what is in one's environment?

    I am considering if I should return the Bose's within Best Buy's two week window and give the Etymotics a try. I can see that having an effective set of earphones would make a huge difference in next month's overnight flight, compared to the cheap $30 pair I've been using up till now. I would probably be able to sleep much better if the sound of the jet engine could be drowned out, so I'd like to make sure I get something that works for me. I'd prefer to spend about $150 or so rather than $300, but that might not be possible.
    Last edited by bchaplin; 01-18-2015 at 08:20 AM.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bchaplin View Post
    I just got the Bose 20i's and am really torn about keeping them. I tried them on and the sound is fabulous. Riding the train this morning, not having to hear the ambient noise, was a treat. But the complicated set-up, with the flat piece that I have to sort of balance against the back of my iPhone, and remember to turn on and off, is a little much for me. I'm debating instead the merits of noise-isolating headphones like the Etymotics rather than noise-cancelling headphones like the Bose.
    I have never heard the Bose 20i, so I can not advise re: how they sound vs Etymotics, but I will say that I (still) adore my Ety HF3’s.

    Their sound quality is far higher than I expected for a relatively-inexpensive set of canalphones, and the triple-flange tips are really effective at blocking out ambient noise.

    They ship with multiple different sizes of tips, so you can experiment to find the best fit for your ear. I find them so comfortable that it is easy to forget I am wearing them.

    Personally, I would not want to travel with headphones that require charging. (Nor would I feel good about dropping $300 on any Bose product, but that's another subject: you can get some serious audiophile 'phones for that kind of money.)

    The Etymotic HF3 is half the price of the Bose 20i. If you don’t care about having inline iPhone controls, the HF5 is even less.

    I would recommend giving the Etys a shot for $100-150… and putting the substantial savings toward something on your TB Wish List! :-)

    Good luck finding the right pair for your needs.
    Last edited by bb93fo57; 01-18-2015 at 01:06 PM.

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