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  1. #1
    Forum Member GrussGott's Avatar
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    Question Help! Bose QC 35 Dilemma

    I need help deciding from you experts! Here's my current headphone setup:

    * PSB M4U 2 over-the-ear, wired, ANC headphones
    I use these everyday for music, shows, etc and also use them on flights for the last 3 years. They're much bulkier than just about everyone would want to travel with, but for me the over-the-ear bulk alone gets rid of ALL noise: my #1 need is eliminating voices & babies - I'll use these on a plane with white noise sometimes just to get a steady drown-out of all noise. The PSBs take replaceable AAAs, have passive, amp'd, and ANC modes, and are wired but that doesn't bother me that much. They sound FANTASTIC, but the ANC is just so-so and I really don't mind the bulk - it's worth it for the sound quality and noise reduction. The problem? The plastic headphone band is starting to break - it's a design flaw I think.

    * Bose Soundlink on-ear BT headphones
    I also use these daily and they do come with me on flights as a backup to my PSBs as well as my preferred set-up for calls (people can't hear me as well with the PSBs) - in fact most people hear me better with these on than with nothing or speaker and that's with two separate phones so I really trust them for calls.

    My Dilemma: because my PSBs are breaking, I need to make a move. Here are my options:

    Option #1 - The Dreamer's Diversion
    Go to Home Depot, find some kind of metal that can be taped on to the PSBs for reinforcement. Buy The Hero's Journey.
    Price: ~$450

    Option #2 - The Minimalist's March
    Keep the PSBs and Bose Soundlink for occasional home use and buy the QC20 or new QC30 earbuds assuming they function as well as over-the-ear ... do they???
    Price ~$400 incl SquarePath warranty

    Option #3 - The Pragmatist's Path
    Get the Bose QC 35s, thereby consolidating into one smaller over-the-ear set.
    Price ~$400 incl SquarePath warranty

    HELP!! I need a ruling.
    Last edited by GrussGott; 09-18-2016 at 02:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Forum Member TavaPeak's Avatar
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    Love my QC20. I'm not a picky person about sound quality--was more concerned about comfort, and these were unexpectedly great. Sound is decent too. Being freed to travel without bulky headphones was well worth the cost.

    That said, the old adage "use it up, wear it out, make it do and get a new TB bag" may apply here.

  3. #3
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    If you love the PSB's I vote try to repair them first. Headphones are a very personal thing IMO, and when you find something you like you should try to make it last. I have a pair of headphones I adore for my work calls and I need to do some repairs on soon. I'm going to try and repair them before looking for anything else.

  4. #4
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    I would like to give top votes to Etymotic Research in ear earphones. If you can handle them. Their noise isolation is far better than any noise cancelling headphones i have tried (sony, bose and senheiser). The isolation comes from the silicone tips or the compy foam tips. I can barely hear a thing... and i fly regularly in twin prop small planes. If you're flying on standard passenger jumbo jets, then you can get moulded tips for them which you can't even feel are in your ears as they are moulded to your ear canal. The sound quality is extremely good with the ER4P and the cheaper HF5. Highly recommend. Way less bulkier than the other headphone type devices as well.

  5. #5
    Forum Member sose's Avatar
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    Fix them with Sugru!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Virtus junxit, mors non separabit.

  6. #6
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    If it is a design flaw, why not contact PSB and see if they can repair your M4Us?

    At the very least, PSB might offer a refurbished pair at a reduced price -- or they might surprise you and do something more, even though it sounds like the cans are out of warranty.

    Quote Originally Posted by LordAnubis View Post
    I would like to give top votes to Etymotic Research in ear earphones. If you can handle them. Their noise isolation is far better than any noise cancelling headphones i have tried (sony, bose and senheiser). The isolation comes from the silicone tips or the compy foam tips. I can barely hear a thing... and i fly regularly in twin prop small planes. If you're flying on standard passenger jumbo jets, then you can get moulded tips for them which you can't even feel are in your ears as they are moulded to your ear canal. The sound quality is extremely good with the ER4P and the cheaper HF5. Highly recommend. Way less bulkier than the other headphone type devices as well.
    PS - +1 for LordAnubis' recommendation of Etymotic in-ears. Sound quality is fantastic, as is noise isolation. When traveling, they fit in a pocket and don't require batteries or recharging like ANC headphones do. Excellent, responsive customer service, too: after my HF3 developed a cable issue while traveling in Europe, Etymotic sent me a free replacement HF3, even though mine was well out of warranty. The HF5 can be had for under $100, and the HF3 (with three button remote and mic) for under $150. ER4 is one more step up the food chain.
    Last edited by bb93fo57; 09-19-2016 at 10:23 AM.

  7. #7
    Forum Member GrussGott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bb93fo57 View Post
    If it is a design flaw, why not contact PSB and see if they can repair your M4Us?
    Great responses everyone -- thanks much!

    On the PSB design flaw ... well there's a story for anyone that cares: I originally bought them in jan 2013 and have had them replaced twice under warranty since. Originally I was going to just return them, but PSB said they were aware of the issue and their newer models used a different material and that I should have them replaced by the vendor (crutchfield, which was great service). Of course I was concerned that the problem wouldn't be fixed but a PSB rep assured me that if I had trouble with a replacement set that had the old material out of warranty they'd still replace them. Well, fast-forward to now, I'm out of warranty and the band is cracking again. I've contacted PSB, but no response yet, and it looks like they were acquired by The Lenbrook Group which owns NAD as well.

    Net-net is, I'm not sure PSB, now Lenbrook, is going to respond or honor that 3 year old promise (which I knew was a risk), and I've been thinking about trying something new anyway.

    Some great recommendations here!

  8. #8
    Forum Member sose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrussGott View Post
    Great responses everyone -- thanks much!

    On the PSB design flaw ... well there's a story for anyone that cares: I originally bought them in jan 2013 and have had them replaced twice under warranty since. Originally I was going to just return them, but PSB said they were aware of the issue and their newer models used a different material and that I should have them replaced by the vendor (crutchfield, which was great service). Of course I was concerned that the problem wouldn't be fixed but a PSB rep assured me that if I had trouble with a replacement set that had the old material out of warranty they'd still replace them. Well, fast-forward to now, I'm out of warranty and the band is cracking again. I've contacted PSB, but no response yet, and it looks like they were acquired by The Lenbrook Group which owns NAD as well.

    Net-net is, I'm not sure PSB, now Lenbrook, is going to respond or honor that 3 year old promise (which I knew was a risk), and I've been thinking about trying something new anyway.

    Some great recommendations here!
    Sugru! Smilie


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  9. #9
    Forum Member GrussGott's Avatar
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    Ha, well that's interesting stuff however in this case I don't think it'd work:


  10. #10
    Forum Member GrussGott's Avatar
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    IMPORTANT UPDATE: I got the Bose QC35s ... then returned them. I'm no audiophile but they just weren't that great to my ear. Here's my quick review:

    Background:
    * I like white noise and sleep with a air purifier going
    * I don't listen to a ton of music, but do get into it occasionally, I'm not audiophile
    * I mostly use them to listen to movies/shows
    * I'm comparing against my PSB M4U 2s, Bose on-ear bluetooth Soundlink, and some random earbuds

    Noise Cancelling
    The PSBs block out about 80% of what the Bose do but at the cost of a low, albeit pleasant, white noise. With the Bose QC35s you get 100% silence (of what it's silencing), part of which must be soundproofing because just putting them on silences things, but at the apparent cost of the sound quality (more on that later). The Bose Soundlinks do block about 20% of noise just covering your ears, the earbuds less.

    I tested the PSBs and QC35 with a number of scenarios:
    * Outside city - I live downtown in a larger city and have a balcony
    The Bose QC35s block out a LOT of background "hiss" - probably 90% of it - and replace it with pure silence. You can still hear horns, sirens, or other noise spikes but the overall hiss is just gone. The PSBs block out about 80% of what the Bose do, but with a pleasant different much quieter "ssssss".

    * Airplane noise outside - I'm on the approach to an airport
    Again, the PSBs block out about 80% of what the QC35s do - which about 80% of the overall noise. Pretty good.

    * Fans / Air purifier
    The QC35s are less effective here, blocking out maybe 70% of the noise - the PSBs trail as above.

    * Vacuum
    The QC35s don't do a lot here. The intake/outlet air whoosh is pretty effectively silenced, but the motor whine isn't affected much. It's just ok, with the PSBs about equaling the Bose, but slightly less.


    Sound Quality

    Wit the QC35s, the music or movie just sounds distant to my ear - even when you turn it up. And the Bose don't go nearly as loud as the PSBs, with the PSBs sounding big and bright whereas the Bose sounds distant. I'm surprised because I have the Bose OE Soundlink on-ear wireless (w/o noise cancelling) and I'm happy with their sound and use them for music or movies all the time so I was expecting the QC35s to be better - they're worse. Any music or movie is an "oh. hmm... turn it up? mmm noooo turn it down? noooo. huh."

    When I put the PSBs on, I get more background noise but also, "oh, nice. Wow." and there's PLENTY of volume and it gets good loud whereas the Bose louder just sound like louder distant noise. It's like listening to a concert from a mile away - even if it's louder it's still distant.

    And the Bose OE Soundlinks are the same as the PSBs - they sound really good. They don't block as much noise because they're just on-ear but I'd probably pick them over the QC35s 80% of the time simply because the sound is so much better.

    Summary
    Overall I'd call the QC35s ok, the Bose Soundlink being good, the PSBs being great.
    Last edited by GrussGott; 09-23-2016 at 05:03 PM.

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