Headphone advice

(Simon) #1

I don’t want to start a religious war but… I am looking for a set of noise cancelling headphones and are considering the Bose QC 35 II, the Sennheiser Momentums Wireless and the Sony WH-1000XM3.

Does anyone have any real experience with any or all of these?

(Kevin) #2

tldr; I’ve had both previous versions and I’d say get the Bose it’s your in it for the sound or the Sony if you need the features.

I’ve got the QC25 first for all the travelling I do before they released the QC35 (They launched it a couple months later) but they are the same thing except wired. Love them, the sound is amazing even with the noise cancelling and DSP off if you’re driving with something with a proper DAC. I’m using them on my desktop pc now and my sound card has a 24 bit DAC headphone amp and these things are CRYSTAL, and the profile is really deep and warm. When you click on noise canceling it puts it through an active EQ that really boosts the bass, possibly too much for some people (but probably not most). The noise cancelling is great and really cuts the drone from flights. The ear cups are big and super soft, I don’t have a problem wearing them for 6 hours at a time. The battery for noise cancelling lasts for about 15+ hours, I usually have to change them after 2 maybe 3 international flights.

But I wanted bluetooth, and had heard a good review on gizmodo about the XM2. I was really attracted to the touch feature where you can hold your hand over the ear cup and actually does the opposite of noise cancelling and amplifies the microphone picking up. I was really interested in this so I can hear overhead announcements or be able to have short conversation without taking the headphones off. But in real life this is more awkward than you think because it actually takes a couple seconds to engage and many times you need to hear something immediately. Also you have to continue to hold your hand up when it is probably easier to just flick one ear off quickly.

One advantage is if you were looking to use it in the office because it has a mode where it cuts everything except voices. So you could use them to cut down the office background noise, listening to your tunes and then if someone comes up to talk to them you can hear them just fine. (But to be polite you’ll still end up flipping an ear cup off)

The Sony has a profile with much more bass, that’s pretty well documented. The bluetooth connection and all that stuff works flawlessly. The biggest downside is the ear cups on the XM2 is smaller than the bluetooth but that was actually the main thing that was changed on the XM3. I actually get pretty sweaty and start hurting my ears after about 3 or 4 hours but I have kind of big ears and the update should fix most of that. They are also heaver than the QC25, but probably not much different than the 35. The battery life is about 9 to 12 hours. I’ve never had a problem them cutting out on me on flying internationally if I remembered to keep them fully charged when I left.

I have a lot of opinions on tech maybe I should have a blog.

(Matt) #3

I have Bose QC 25s as well and love how well they cancel noise, especially on airplanes. I have some other noise cancelling headphones and they aren’t nearly as good. I’ve always heard Bose is the best if noise cancelling is your main concern.

My wife’s QC 25’s died 3 days after the warranty expired and Bose would not help us. That left a bitter taste in my mouth. I mean, yeah, I get it, but come on, 3 days?

(Kevin) #4

Funny story, my QC25’s died like a couple weeks after I bought them. I think it was my fault though, I didn’t realize that they have a “break in” time they even say in the manual don’t listen at full volume right away… whoops, I blew out a cone.

I happened to be in China at the time, hopped the border showed up unannounced at an unmarked Bose service facility that I found on google and they said it was unusual for someone to show up without an appointment but I had my receipt and they replaced it for me on the spot!

My Sony actually developed a crack on the plastic almost immediately, and I just superglued it back together.

(Simon) #5

Great feedback guys … I have a pair of over ear Sennheiser Momentums and was leaning that way except the price was putting me off. I also have a pair of Bose SoundSport in ear jobs and they are by far the most comfortable in ear ones I have had (and I have had a number of Sennheisers prior to that).

A story about the SoundSports … I bought a set of the wireless ones in Hong Kong before they became available in Australia. They were doing a recall on them as apparently some were not as ‘water resistant’ as claimed so I got in contact with Bose and asked to exchange them before any issues occurred. They didn’t have stock of the new improved ones so they sent me a set of corded ones in the interim until they became available. I received the replacement before the new model were released in Oz so I sold them on eBay for more than I paid. So … I made money and got a free set of corded SoundSports to boot!

Obviously, @city41 your experience and mine were vastly different.

I think I have settled on the QC 35 II. I am heading OS at the end of next week so I better get them quick!

(Kevin) #6

I know the guys who invented this just to plug it:

I’ve not actually tried the final version but even the demo hardware was very, very impressive. The only downside is that it feels a little weird having earbuds and over ears at the same time.

I think these would be the perfect thing to get if you did any kind of studio work on the go.

(Ramon Moorlag) #7

I travel a lot with public transportation (which is excellent in the Netherlands) and the days I traveled without my Bose QC 35 II can be counted on one hand. The warranty is a little strict, my previous pair had a strange sound in it (it made a ticking sound when there was no audio input) and I was told that the warranty expired 4 days ago. Still, use the pair (with cable) at home. Now traveling with the Bluetooth version. Hands down for the noise cancellation :heart:. Enjoy trying different headsets!

(Simon) #8

Thanks Ramon, despite two negative comments on strict warranties I think I might go with the Bose.

(Simon) #9

Have returned to the land of Oz and was able to give the Bose headphones a workout on jet and prop planes and (today) the train. They are excellent. I don’t doubt the Sony ones are as good or even better but I am very happy with my purchase.

Thanks all!

(Kevin) #10

Unbox therapy posted about this shortly we had this discussion:


No thumbnail? Embedded disabled?

(Erwin) #11

I have the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 SE and I am a happy user :slight_smile:

I feel they are cheap enough and very high quality. Plus you can buy replacement parts easy in ebay (I teared 1 earcup).

(Simon) #12

I am not familiar with these ones … there is no doubt with both Sony and Bose that you pay for the name.

(Kevin) #13

Plantronics is usually known for their landline headset, they pretty much own the market for voice headsets used in offices afaik.

(Simon) #14

Right … I actually have a set here thanks to someone who obviously did not understand my job. The set I have cost $50-odd and does the job but I couldn’t say I thought of them as a top end reseller. Then again I do not profess to be an expert in this area

(Erwin) #15

I tried some phillips, sony and wired bose. I prefer my plantronics and keep the extra 100 USD, also the brand name sounds cooler: PLANTRONICS (say it with a robotic PL and TR sound). It is like cyber turbo.


  • Sound is very sharp and crisp/ no fake bass
  • NFC, no pairing (and up to 8 devices linked at the same time)
  • PC firmware updater, change settings, the voice, etc
  • Smooth switching when someone calls you or you lift the earphone, pauses the video etc, feels seamless


  • Heavier than Sony’s (those w1000 something) and less bendable than Bose ones (no double hinge)
  • Windows 10 bluetooth suck, apps hold the audio with white noise so the Earphone does not switch (but this is not the headset problem)
  • Noise reduction is not as strong. It removes airplane sounds and PC fans but I think Bose is better in this regard


So my friend brought his ten year old Bose AE2 to school (because he lost his Airpods case.) It was in horrible shape(like the sponges all CRACKED OPEN and stuff).
And so I found him a Airpod case. As a exchange he gave his “abandoned” AR2 to me.
I went home, bought replacement cushions, and it feel like a charm.
That replacement kit is supposedlt for that … yes, QC25. It all fits.

It’s wired, no noice cancellation, but can be fitted with a bluetooth receptor (here on amazon)
I don’t like noice cancellation.