It has taken me a long time to transition from earbuds to over-the-ear headphones, mostly because I needed a compelling reason to ditch the simplicity, portability, and relative comfort of earbuds for an extra carry-on in my backpack. While I own a pair of Sol Republic over-the-ears, I have only used them for GarageBand music recording—never to venture out with them. The Sol Republic headphones, free with Coke Rewards points, are fine for the free price, but the wire is very annoying.
With long plane rides coming later this summer, the release of the wireless Bluetooth Bose QC35 headphones came at a perfect time. I had been doing research for years and the wired QC25 model had been the clear winner in the industry (except for snooty audiophiles who can’t ever seem to say anything coherent about any audio device). The early reviews for the new Qc35s were overwhelmingly positive.
Since these are my first noise-cancelling headphones, I needed to adjust my expectation of the concept of “noise-cancelling.” The term suggests that “noise-cancelling” is the same as “silence-creating”—if I were to cancel my credit card, I’d not expect to be able to use it just a little bit. However, when noise is cancelled, it is merely lessened. So as I sit here at Starbucks with the reggae soundtrack blaring from the speakers 10 feet away and pointed at my ears, the noise-cancelling headphones I’m wearing allow you to hear the music, but only at about 10%. At the same time, nearly 100% of ambient background noises (i.e., traffic from outside, conversations on the other side of the store, the Metra train outside behind me, air conditioning) are rendered silent. My friends and colleagues tell me that this is typical, and that Bose cancels more noise than others.