Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Serious piece of kit! @Bose QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones even work on a @HarleyDavidson #wow #ToughTest

I don't think I have ever tried to listen to my iPhone while riding my Harley-Davidson with its Screaming Eagle exhaust pipes. It is far too loud to hear a radio or MP3 Player, which would have to have the volume turned up very high to have any chance of hearing anything. There is also the safety aspect as well as the awkwardness of trying to use any controls with thick gloves on. So I never really bothered, though I often thought that it would be great to listen to a Beatles playlist while riding on a motorway.

Today I tested a (borrowed) Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling set of headphones and I am both fascinated about how they work and how good they are. On my way to work I just used the headphones without any music, switched them on (it has its own power supply), and rode to work. They reduced the noise of the Harley-Davidson engine rather like wearing ear plugs, only much more comfortably. It's important to note that the headphones did not completely "cancel" the noise, but they did a pretty good job of reducing it effectively.

On my way home I decided to try the headphones with some music on. I decided to go for some easy listening (AC/DC would not be quite the right sound to try on a first test!), and I settled on "Raising Sand" by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. 

The verdict? 

Top class!

While the background noise from the bike could still just about be heard, it in no way interfered with the music and I enjoyed very comfortable high-quality listening without having the volume up high. I felt safe as the headphones have an Aware Mode that let you hear sounds while still reducing background noise. I'm wondering if the Bose engineers tested this system on a Harley-Davidson, which I reckon would really put it through the toughest of tests. For me it passed with flying colours!

There are two problems: First - my bike no longer sounds like a Harley-Davidson, I risk being expelled from the Biker's Union! Secondly - the price, €299.95! It is expensive for me to buy this for an occasional ride on a motorway, but it would be nice to have. No doubt this technology will get cheaper, but Bose have created a fantastic high-quality product that lovers of music who do things like travel a lot on a bus or train would love.

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