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Bose QuietComfort 15 - Sound Quality, Value and Verdict

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Bose QuietComfort 15

Summary

Our Score:

8

Bose's QuietComfort range is tricky to assess. With an RRP of £279.99, the QuietComfort 15 are clearly expensive headphones, and from a much closer inspection at what they can do, a hefty chunk of this goes into the noise cancellation and comfort parts of the equation.

They sound great, with the important caveat "for a noise cancelling pair". Bass is fairly well-managed and the sound signature is enjoyable, but it won't completely satisfy audio purists with a £300 budget.

Bose QC15 review 6

There's a deliberate attempt to make the sound warm and smooth, with a slight emphasis on the low-mids that can soften music in a rather pleasant fashion. They are about comfort, after all. However, like spraying your recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables with a coating of sugar, it's not altogether right.

Up against other popular pairs like the Beats Solo HD, though, the QuietComfort 15 demonstrate much better balance and an altogether more grown-up sound. However, if you're willing to forego the noise cancelling and the mostly-delightful experience of wearing the things, better sound quality can be had for the price. While treble clarity is good here, somewhat limited resolution and imaging stops the headphones from entering the big leagues the price may suggest they belong in. Bose QC15 review 12

For at-home use, we don't think the Bose QuietComfort 15 are a great choice. Here, few of their benefits shine, making the high price seem all the more imposing. However, as a traveller's headphone, they're simply the best. The noise cancellation is excellent, they're just as comfortable as advertised, suitable for hour after hour of listening, and they outperform most rivals - such as the Goldring NS1000 and Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7b - on sound.

Verdict

Comfortable and capable of blocking out the clamorous noise of the city, the Bose QuietComfort 15 can improve a work commute like few other over-ear headphone sets. Happy to be worn for hours, they'll take on duties at work too. Out-and-about, they thrive, but as an at-home musical partner you can get better sound quality for the same price.

MORE: Best noise cancelling headphones to buy 2014

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Design & Features 9
  • Sound Quality 7
  • Value 7

Williamn

February 6, 2012, 2:40 pm

Your review is spot on.

I bought a pair very recently. On a flight to the usa, I saw someone (who looked very smug), wearing a pair of these the whole way. I had to have a pair for the way back. Went I found out the price ($324 inc tax) - it was an "ouch" moment. The sound cancellation just works. You can listen to music on a flight at minimum volume, which is very nice (especially while everyone else is having to turn their headphone up to max just to hear anything.)

I was a bit disappointed by the sound quality. Because although it is excellent, I was not blown away as I was hoping to be. I will be keeping the headphones though, because they are fantastic, and the next time I take a flight, I will be checking I have these before I check for my passport!

Tariq Pugh

February 6, 2012, 4:57 pm

Any thoughts on how the sound quality compares to the similarly priced over-ear noise-cancelling Sennys (or should it be Sennies)?

I've had the (previously highly rated) PCX-360BTs on my wishlist for a while. Obviously the inclusion of Bluetooth doesn't make it a particularly fair fight, but just wondering...

Andrew_TR

February 6, 2012, 7:45 pm

Hi tariq,

It's been quite a while since I've had a proper ears-on with any closed-back Sennheisers. We'll look into getting the PCX-360BT in for a full review.

Andrew

stranded

February 6, 2012, 9:01 pm

Some good luck made me test a few Bose very expensive audio products in the last 3 years. Very bad audio quality, even for cheap priced ones, very good and impressive secondary specs though.
It's the same garbage as Sennheiser, only in a different way. Any way, you are not the winner.

Ed

February 7, 2012, 1:30 am

Same garbage as Sennheiser? You mean their noise cancelling ones? Otherwise it makes some great headphone products.

stranded

February 7, 2012, 11:25 am

Well ... quality standards are different between men. There are countless myths and fairy tales in the audio-video sector of technology. I am not willing to believe these, should i?

ealltech

May 17, 2012, 3:03 pm

I like the monster headphones... Don't know its price and type what...

Camilo Andres Hurtado Acero

January 8, 2013, 2:50 am

Those headphones are from 2008, do you know if Bose is going to release a new version?

And whish is the rival of QuietComfort 15?

Thank you in advance

Squirtwards

October 17, 2014, 12:12 pm

The noise cancelling is definitely out of this world, but the quality of the sound is very disappointing. I mostly use it without music, because the quality is just as good as my iPhone's headphones...

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