Lots of thoughts on Hearphones after 30 days.
Some negative things, right off the bat, I don't love the feel of the earpieces, they feel loose no matter which size ear tip I use, they feel bulky, like they are in danger of falling out, and they DO get knocked out of my ears. The neck piece continually rotates toward the side with the controls, and tugs on my right ear. The rubber coating seems loose, off/on button, very hard to push, I have to use a fingernail, and I am concerned about my nail cutting the rubber, over time, and if the off/on switch should be THAT hard to push.
The looks, of the neckpiece...I don't mind the look of the entire outfit at all, it's perfectly in style these days, hardly anyone asks me what that is around my neck, and why. I like the free carrying case, top notch. The app looks and works great.
On to the real stuff...
NOTE: I generally run at World volume of 31-41, tone centered, or up to +7 or so.
This is when I am really just trying to hear people at my workplace, and understand them. At home, or in quiet places I can run down around about 25-30.
I have moderate (2Khz range)hearing loss and tinitus from years of drumming. Hearphones amplify the full range, and though EQ can boost certain high frequencies, it is not zeroed in at my loss point, and there is a loss of bass when you do boost the highs. This statement is simplistic, but one should be aware that Hearphones might not be a viable REPLACEMENT for hearing aids, or just to save the $4500 over buying, say, a nice set of Starkey Halo 2 aids.
My old Starkey behind-the-ear (RIC) hearing aids are over four years old, my remote is dead, and they are close to dying. The new, made of iPhone, Halo 2 are much better than the old, and I'd love to have them, and, no doubt, will eventually. I am hoping the combination of my old hearing aids, and the Hearphones could buy me time to wait, and see if hearing aids can ever achieve Hearphone-level sound quality, noise cancellation (not just reduction), music streaming, AND have full Android app control, like the iPhone has, not just volume and program.
I would have liked the Hearphones TO BE a replacement for hearing aids, AND in-ear monitors for my live band, but they are neither. I had intended to return them to Bose by today, on this last day of my trial period.
NOT great, I can NOT hear voices nearly as well as I do with my old hearing aids, but hear MYSELF really loud, and physical actions, like weighing nails in a metal tray is super loud. I do a lot of that all day. Eating too...crunchy stuff is montrously loud. Yet, still, voices at work evade me, I feel a "disconnect" from the noise cancelling (I'm guessing), from my customers. Hearing aids are transparent, smoother, and more consistent. A/C rumble is very distracting, I can EQ some of it out, by moving towards treble, but voices get thin. Battery runs out before the end of my work day, a deal breaker in as far as them "replacing" hearing aids. They take 2-3 hours to recharge, not 30 minutes like I have seen someone allege in a Youtube video.
SOMETHING I REALLY LIKED when at work though, when running a table saw, I MUTED the Hearphones, and the noise cancellation made the screeching saw blade seem very pleasant, compared to when I would mute my hearing aids and got no protection.
At a volume that works for my wife, who is a bit hard of hearing, it's too quiet for me, I have to turn HPs up high, and add treble (for voice clarity), and then the music quality is not great, lacks bass. However, as the days passed this month, I have gotten more used to the Hearphones for TV, and I am running them a bit lower. It's also nice that I can
hear my wife while watching. I also found that if I run the TV's (bottom-of-the-line Bose) soundbar system, then the thinness I experienced goes away.
PLAYING MUSIC - LIVE:
This is THE MAIN REASON I wanted to try out the HEARPHONES.
I had hoped to play a real gig with one of two bands I play with, during my trial period, but that didn't work out. So, sitting at my drumset, in the garage, playing quietly, the hi-hat cymbal and ride cymbals caused the Hearphones to POP, Click, and crackle. The drums themselves rarely set off this problem, only on the loudest bashes, and I am not a basher. It was only the cymbals that were an issue. I was very sad about this, but maybe Bose will make something for that down the road, they are very close now.
Playing in my church band though, a trio with 2 acoustic guitars, my Cajon drum, and three part harmony, the Phones worked very well as on stage in-ear monitors, there is the typical "disconnect with the adience" of traditional in-ears, as is the case at work. But what we played musically, is what I heard, including the audience/congregation singing along.
Of the six or so times I played with the trio, I only had one day that didn't go well, where I actually had trouble hearing everything. I heard my Cajon just fine, but the vocals eluded me. Again, that 2Khz loss that I have cannot always be fixed by turning up the highs. Still, it's workable, I just need to learn, and adjust.
LISTENING to a LIVE BAND:
Only got one opportunity, outdoors, not a loud band, but one at reasonable volume, the HPs worked well, sounded REAL. Hearing aids don't sound "real", digitals have a "swirly", Comb Filter type of sound. What I DO like about the HPs is that music sounds normal, good, the aids can't do that, but the HPs can't reproduce voices like hearing aids do. So
what's more important? A toss up.
STREAMING CELL PHONE MUSIC:
Is very good, but I am red lining the phone's volume control, and maxing the Hearphone vol as well. No distortion. The Music Boost makes mild differences, about 2-3db per boost. Boost seems to be lows and highs (not mids). I wish it could be a bit louder (for riding motorcyle), but probably best they don't, or I could further damage my fragile hearing.
CONVERSATION AROUND A TABLE IN A NOISY RESTAURANT:
Around a table at a noisy (outdoor) restaurant with a musician (thru a Bose L1 Compact) 25' away. This is one place where the Hearphones SHINE! I used Omni, 180, and 45 focus for varying situations and all worked as expected, helped a lot. I did have to listen intently, but I could hear well, and noise was greatly reduced. At times during this test I would drop the World Volume down, from boosting to Noise cancelling (below 0). Noise went away, and I could still make out the voices, though again, I had to REALLY listen.
CELL PHONE CALLS:
Phone calls are a joy! I can hear beautifully, and am learning more about it all the time! When World volume is at my normal level, a phone call is clean and clear, I understand every word(almost), something that I could NEVER do with hearing aids on, and it was worse with NO hearing aids. Streaming phone calls is awesome. I learned last night that by reducing World volume, and really clamping down the Noise cancelling, the voices are even better! I can make phone calls again!! It has put me back in touch with my out-of-town, adult children, and that is a blessing!! THIS is probably the best reason I have for keeping the Hearphones.
So, if some of you musicians and/or hearing aid wearers are considering the Hearphones, I hope this has been helpful to you. I have to say I would recommend them to both groups, depending on individual circumstances. There is definitely something to love about them.
Update, I am really enjoying the Hearphones on my motorcycle, the Noise Cancelling is great, and I can hear the music well enough, especially with a (half) helmet, with a wind skirt, on. Wind noise still comes thru anything that sticks out of your ear, and NC can't kill it, but that's the way it is with simple ear plugs as well. The only thing better is using my Westone In-ear Monitors, they lay flat inside the ear, and they kill noise SO much that I might not hear a truck come roaring up behind me. Hearphones will be safer, I can hear outside sounds, but they are softened just about right.