I thought Christmas was over… until a colleague dropped this set of headphones in my lap. Would I like to test them, were they ~30 Days With~ material? So started my tryst with a very appealing product from a line that is much to my liking.
Slipped them on for a couple of hours on my rickety office machine. The Quiet Comfort 3 does seem to perk up a few of my MP3s. For an on-ear design these are by far the most comfortable headphones I've used, even over prolonged periods. Heck, they're more comfy than many circumaural headsets! There isn't a volume control on the cans.
The Quiet Comfort 3 has a tiny li-ion battery rated at 200 mAh, which is good for around 18 hours. The headset doesn't operate without the battery, however, which means noise cancellation is always on. The noise cancellation is active and will drown out general ambient sounds. Louder sounds (for example someone talking right next to you) are audible.
Its quality as far as music goes. In a word â€“ Superb! The soft foam pads pamper your ears while your eardrums soak up this aural treat. I've listened to circumaural headsets that are better, but these are the best-sounding on-ear type headsets that have come my way.
The little red power indicator keeps flashing… time for a battery charge. Bose provides an extra battery; they also provide an assortment of plugs for different power sockets. There's also a neat-looking dock for the battery. I lamented the lack of a USB charger, but hey, you can't have everything! Charging took hardly an hour.
Time to hook this baby up to my music system. I used the bundled Â¼-inch gold-plated adapter. After firing up a few CDs â€“ Eagles, UB-40, and Joshua Kadison â€“ I'm impressed. So the Quiet Comfort 3 passes both CD and MP3 music tests…no problemo! It distorts at high volumes, though you'd have to be deaf or a reviewer to even try pumping the volume up so high!
It's Lamington Road day, and I'm off. I use a Nokia N73 music edition and dump the stock headphones for the Bose QC 3. I'm using Nokia's very own AD46 Pop-port to 3.5 mm converter. The difference on a noisy local train is immediately noticeable: the noise cancellation on the headphones cuts out a little more than half of the external noise. While there are better noise cancellation sets available, most of them circumaural, the Bose QC 3 scores heavily on the portability front. The flexible material near the ear cups means they very nearly fold inward, effectively flattening out the headphones for storage… good for me, because all I had was my backpack.
My better half came over today. She's a casual gamer and likes the extra bite my rig provides. Out came the QC3 and on to her ears they went. She's a classical music buff, and the look on her face ensured she was 100 percent satisfied…with the headphones! A half hour later she was delving into my MP3 collection, and proclaimed that the headset was "just lovely." She rated them above my HD555s (because of their size, I presume). Size matters here in more ways than one: I decided to tell her the price â€“ Rs 18,500. Amazing reply: "So what, you cheapo! They're good… maybe for my birthday…yes?" Oops…!
I fired up the QC3 on my X-Fi Platinum again. As I'd expected, the Bose excelled. The bass is well-defined. Treble like guitar and sax notes are right on. Vocals â€“ Indi-pop or English â€“ are really good. Next I tried an original HD-DVD I have. Once again, the QC 3 delivered. Absolutely no distortion even after hours of listening, not that I expected any from Bose. And from cans costing nearly as much as an entry-level PC! However the Bose QC3 do qualify as audiophile equipmentâ€“performance wise that is.
It's back to office for the Bose Quiet Comfort 3 Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones… long name, huh? Sure they're good, but carrying a name like Bose means you should expect to shell out that small fortune. Definitely not for us regular mortals, and the steep price should scare away most audiophiles as well! After all there are cheaper alternatives out there that perform better. However portability is a strong point, as is the active noise cancellation (a must for portables in my opinion). If you're as rich as I want to be someday… flaunt them, and you'll want to carry around the bill with you!