Bose, the king of high-end home and mobile audio, has just released the QuietComfort® 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones. The features are quite impressive, and ought to appeal to those who often find themselves wanting to get away from surrounding noise pollution (e.g. the noisy train ride to work). And the headphones also have 'Aware Mode', where you can disengage the noise-cancellation. Great for not getting hit when crossing a busy street.. : ) Here is a list of features straight from the Bose headphone webpage:
- Impressive audio performance from exclusive Bose technologies
- Advanced noise reduction rivaling any full-sized headphone
- Aware mode for hearing what's around you while enjoying your music
- Long-lasting comfort plus stability from proprietary StayHear®+ ear tips
This Popular Mechanics article gives us a good summary of how the Bose noise-cancellation works:
Like all noise-cancelling headphones, the Q20s use soundwaves that oppose those floating around you to muffle ambient sound. To capture outside sound so that it knows what needs to be erased, Bose puts two microphones in each earbud—one on the outside and one on the inside. The company won't say, beyond the basics, what happens to what those microphones pick up, except that all processing happens in the in-line processing unit (a rectangle of plastic and metal that, in our opinion, would be less cumbersome if it could be removed when not in use).
So, the question for most of us is: Are the features of these headphones worth the price??
The $300 price tag is steep for the average Joe, not to mention that these are earbuds.. Earbuds, while not a throw-away item, still tend not to be a prized audiophile's possession. But, could Bose be on the verge of changing that? While they are not the most stylish set of earbuds (Dr. Dre's head-cans), for those that don't care about such things, the high-endiness may sway a good chunk of the market.
Let us know what you think.. Would you fork up $300 for these high-tech buds?