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jaybo41
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Dec 23, 2016

I think I'm looking for a unicorn

Is there a Bose product that fits what I'm looking for?  I want wireless headphones that produce call quality on par with the stereo sound whilst listening to music.  Spefically, I'm looking for a product that will drown out the sounds around me so that the person I'm speaking to won't hear much if anything at all.  Bose used to make a single bluetooth headset that I absolutely LOVED and recommended to anyone and everyone looking for a good bluetooth headset for calls.  While it was not stero, it seemed to have the technology I'm looking for to eliminate sound and ensure a quality experience for the callers on the other end.

 

Think being in an airport.  Standing in security line listening to music in stereo, and needing to take a call.  Loudspeakers announcing flight arrivals, departures, etc, and general noise from those around me.    I was going to purchase the Soundsports, but it seems many have reported an issue with an overly sensitive mic.  That's an issue for me and precisely what I'm trying to avoid.  Also the cord on those looks to be rather short and I've got a large neck at 20".  

 

Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

 

Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions.  

8 REPLIES 8
Robertpetry
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Mar 14, 2017

Re: I think I'm looking for a unicorn

Honestly, the best Bose headphones I have had for this are the QC20.  Not Bluetooth but good sound, good mic, long battery life.  

 

You could get a bluetooth adapter to make them wireless, but that usually nullifies the mic and used the BT adaptor's mic.  

 

What you are describing is what we all hoped the QC30 would be.  And it is, outside of the microphone and in-call issues.  Some of us still hope for a firmware update that really improves the situation.  I'm confident they can do it.  But for now, I don't know of a product that meets the unicorn standard.  But I really want one.  

 

If Plantronics could replicate the excellent voice isolation and background noise reduction of the Edge in a stereo bluetooth set they would be unbeatable.  Unfortunately, their stereo BT sets seem to struggle as well.  Plantronics-BackBeat-100-Wireless-Earbuds

 

I've read about the Klipsch and Sennheiser, which both seem great for sound but not calls.   But I have not tried them personnally.  Also the Jabra Halo, Leophile Zero, or Samsung Level U Pro might be good choices.  I also have high hopes for the new Sony products. 

 

But really, the QC30 would be perfect if they (when they) fix the mic issues.  

 

Edit:  Well, skip the Leophile.  https://www.fakespot.com/product/leophile-zero

jaybo41
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Dec 23, 2016

Re: I think I'm looking for a unicorn

Thanks so much for your thoughtful detailed reply.  From the sounds of things I'm not the only one looking for this unicorn.  My best bud has the QC 20's and raves about them.  He wants complete sound isolation on airplanes as he's a frequent flyer.  Personally, I don't mind a little bit of background noise, I kind of like to have an idea of what's going on around me.  That said, I know the QC's have the ability to control this type of noise reduction.  

 

I have a set of the Bose SoundTrues with the 3.5mm jack which were outstanding for sound quality to my ear.  They were a massive upgrade in sound quality from the lousy standard issue iPhone headphones.  Bose has the comfort nailed down, so I was hoping they had a solution, but it doesn't sound promising at this point.  I have not used a more perfect fitting, more comfortable earbud, ever.  

 

I've read reviews on various brands from many of the big names competing directly with Bose and what I've come to realize is exactly what you describe.  Many of them have the sound quality for LISTENING down, but suffer when it comes to noise reduction for calls.  So the option is to use a standard mono bluetooth headset for calls and pick your favorite brand of earphones for music listening.  It's a shame, I'd think this would be a niche market that somebody would capitalize on for commuters, business travelers and anyone who wants the best of both worlds out of one set of earbuds.  

 

Based on the issues I've read here about the QC 30's and SoundSports I've opted for another brand.  Frankly, this is disappointing as I've always been happy with the sound quality from Bose products.   Unfortunately the option I selected lacks the sound quality I'm used to from my Bose products, but it's not terrible, it's middle of the pack.  Quite honestly, connectivity is the best I've tried, it is crystal clear.  No crackling whatsoever and never drops the connection.  I have 14 days to return them and may do that after I put them to use for a few days.  I've also seen the new Soundsport Free model, which has a certain amount of appeal to me, but there is comfort in having wires connecting the earbuds in that they won't get lost easily.  I'll certainly keep an eye on those as it seems the only option is to have multiple options considering my use case.  

 

Still hoping to get feedback from others!

Robertpetry
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Mar 14, 2017

Re: I think I'm looking for a unicorn

Hi @jaybo41

 

@I would love to know what you are using. You can PM me if you prefer.

 

Right now I am using a strange mix of devices until our “unicorn” arrives:

 

  • for flights, listening in noisy environments (restaurants, etc) or long on the road trips, or when I want to seriously listen intently and need good sound quality I use the QC 30.  I only take calls with them when I need to. Also I use them when mowing or trimming grass as well.  
  • for listening while shopping or in public when I don’t want ANC and am not listening intently I use ..... AirPods.  The sound quality is half decent for mindless listening, the voice quality if I get a call is also pretty good, and the convenience factor is out of sight.  They last 4-5 hours, recharge completely in about 20 minutes, auto-pause when I remove one, and hide away in my pocket when not in use.   Amazing.  They excel at nothing but convenience but they are good enough at everything else much of the time. 
  • Finally, if I am taking a number of business or an important call I will use my plantronics Edge.  Great little earpiece for calls.  I can talk on a conference call standing in front of a running garbage disposal and I come in clearly with almost  no background noise at all.  I actually keep a foam earplug in my briefcase to block out noise from my opposite ear and could take a call standing next to a jack hammer.  No kidding.  But it is obviously a one trick pony.  

 

That is a lot of money in headphones. And a pain in the rear to manage.  Honestly the AirPods are getting the most use right now but if the QC30 could take calls better it would take the lead.  

Mutnat
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Feb 3, 2017

Re: I think I'm looking for a unicorn

I agree with everything said in this thread, and I was chasing that mystical unicorn too.  I so love my QC30's for music (and YouTube and Netflix videos) and it keeps my entertained and sane on the commuter train and at many points during my work day at the office (when I'm not collaborating with others).  I was so devastated when I discovered the calling issues.  But I can't give them up for media, I just adore them.

 

That said, I did try the QC20's and while they were better for calls, they were nowhere near as good for media playback, and had the disadvantage of the cables and the clunky electronics box.  (Some may find the QC30 neck band clunky but it works great for me--and I have a large neck too @jaybo41.)  

 

I then also tried the Airpods but found them underwhelming in almost all ways.  They didn't sound great for music, had next to no isolation and definitely no ANC, and always felt like they wanted to fall out my ears.  I also found them slippery and difficult to handle with my fat fingers.  For calling, they were decent, almost as good as the QC20.  But unlike many others that enjoy them for calls, I found that once the background noise hit a certain threshold, not only were they noisy for the outbound audio, but you could not hear my voice *at all*.  It was as if I wasn't saying a thing. Disappointing, and expensive (especially as a second device in addition to my QC30's which the AirPods could never replace for media playback), so they went back.

 

In the end, I decied to try the Voyage Edge for calls, based on @Robertpetry's recommendations in other threads here, and after considering a number of reviews.  This still isn't quite perfect in super noisy environments (I've all but given up being able to talk on the train for example), but it work the best of any I've tried for calls in general, including in almost-train-noisy environments.  It is comfortable, lightweight and pocketable, has great battery life, and does have really clear inbound and outbound call quality.  

 

I left myself some voicemails to compare between the QC30 and the Edge and there is literally no comparison.  I just sound louder, clearer, and more life-like on the Edge, and it has virtually none of the exaggerated background noise issue.  Only downsides are it looks a little dorky--so I often just put in my ear when I have to, e.g in progress of receiving or making a call--plus not stereo.  And while there is no inbound ANC, and background noise comes in, somehow I can still hear the caller loud and clear in almost all enviornments.  This is a clear winner for me for calls, and I do the two-headset-shuffle as needed.  Unfortunately, it's worth it for me, as I can't find a single device that ticks all the right boxes.  My 1-device unicorn remains elusive! 

 

EDIT: fixed numerous gramatical issues

*** Please Note: I do not work for Bose; please don't private message me your support questions!
jaybo41
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Dec 23, 2016

Re: I think I'm looking for a unicorn

Thanks @Robertpetry and @Mutnat for your detailed responses, this is great dialogue!  It seems there are at least 3 of us searching for the same unicorn!  So far, we all appear to have a mix of 2-3 products to use for music listening and phone calls.  I find this to be ridiculous in today's modern technology age.  Bose--ARE YOU LISTENING?  

 

Appreciate all the input thus far and would love to get feedback from others hunting the same unicorn.  

et_tu_brute
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Mar 31, 2016

Re: I think I'm looking for a unicorn

Personally, I use the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 (QC35), for about 18 months now. It meets, imho all the conditions you set out in your post. I have found them perfect in a noisy environment. For airtravel, there is also an airline plug adapter to use with your (supplied) 3.5 cable. As for phione calls these are perfect. When listening to music etc., an incoming call will switch in and enable clear conversation despite noisy environment. My only complaint is I can't wear them when I am wearing my cool Bermuda hat... I need ear buds when I wear this hat 😉
P.S., Since I purchased this unit, an upgraded 2nd Generation model has become available... never thought that they could make 'm any better 😉
Mutnat
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Feb 3, 2017

Re: I think I'm looking for a unicorn


@et_tu_brute wrote:
 As for phione calls these are perfect. When listening to music etc., an incoming call will switch in and enable clear conversation despite noisy environment. 

 

@et_tu_brute Your experience is very atypical.  Are you saying that people on the other end can hear you fine when you are talking to them in a noisy environment?  I find that very difficult to believe.  EDIT: check out the 18 pages (and growing) of complaints here for reference:  https://community.bose.com/t5/Wireless-Headphones/QC35-and-QC30-for-communications/td-p/55153

 


@et_tu_brute wrote:
P.S., Since I purchased this unit, an upgraded 2nd Generation model has become available... never thought that they could make 'm any better 😉

 

They didn't, really.  They added an extra button for either summoning Google Assistant or to toggle the level of noise cancellation, depending on your setting, both of which you can do by other means on the first gen model you already have.  That's it.

*** Please Note: I do not work for Bose; please don't private message me your support questions!
blitz
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Dec 4, 2017

Re: I think I'm looking for a unicorn

Try the QC35 they have great passive and active noise canceling. Perfect for airports and very comfortable. If you are in a windy environment the active noise canceling can pick up some noise however they fixed this with the bose app to adjust the amount of noise canceling. If you get the newest version with the google assist button it can be changed to adjust the noise canceling level without using the app.