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Bose: The wonderful sound of silence

Posted on by Mike Evans

Today I wandered into a Bose store and asked to see the new in-ear noise-cancelling headphones. I didn't expect too much but I was surprised. I was abslutely astounded, not by the sound of music but by the silence. After plugging in the earpods and switching on the noise cancelling device (a fairly hefty in-line rechargeable block, only a fraction smaller than an Apple remote) I was in almost complete silence. I could hardly hear the sales assistant, just the high tones of her voice, but the silence spoke more than words. I was smitten on the spot.

The astonishing thing is that Bose has managed to achieve this level of noise reduction in such a small earpod which rests just inside the ear but not inside the canal. I own the larger Bose Quiet Comfort 15 over-ear phones and, frankly, the level of noise reduction on the new earpods is as good, if not better.

The QC15s are hefty and come in a rigid case which offers good protection but makes for a bulky addition to airline hand luggage. Often I'll put the QCs on my packing list and then remove them when squeezing all the necessary paraphernalia into a small carry-on bag. I cannot remember the last time I actually travelled with them. With the new earpods there are no such reservations and I am sure I would carry them with me at all times.

I am tempted. The only snag is the enormous price tag. At £260 the QC20i phones are the same price as their bigger brother and will be more easily lost (I have a Masters in losing earphones). Still, the results are extraordinary, even without experiencing the music reproduction. I could definitely live with a pair of these earphones if I can muster the cash.

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Only snag with the QC20i earphones is the hefty in-line battery pack which powers the noise-cancelling system. Good news is that the battery lasts 16 hours and is rechargeable via a USB cable, so great for travellers.

Only snag with the QC20i earphones is the hefty in-line battery pack which powers the noise-cancelling system. Good news is that the battery lasts 16 hours and is rechargeable via a USB cable, so great for travellers.

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