Dad-orelli asks me each year what I'd like for my Christmas gift. I've learned that no response = L.L. Bean product (I am not dissing the "other" Bean, it's just that a girl can only order so many rugged and lifetime-guaranteed items over thirty years of birthdays and Christmases.)
This year, I decided to go luxury and ask for something that I
would could never buy myself: the Bose Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones. After all, I hate listening to the roar of the train or anonying chatter of those riding public transit with me, so the gift seemed appropriate.
The Hype: Bose QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones use proprietary technology to electronically identifiy and reduce unwanted sound while faithfully preserving the audio or tranquility you desire. Basically, the headphones figure out the average frequency of the noises around the wearer and produce a tone that is exactly its opposite (think green/red on the color wheel.) As such, the noises cancel out each other, leaving the wearer with a nearly silent background.
The first day that I wore the QCANC headphones on the T, I kept switching them on and off to see if the 'technology" actually did anything. I can report that the noise cancelling seems to work -- the train sounded about 70% louder when I turned the earphones off. That being said, these earphones don't cancel out all background noise for complete silence; apparently only God has that power, if he'd ever answer my prayers any time I have to listen to a duo of chattering harpies talk about their past Saturday nights.
I chose the QuietComfort 2, which sport larger, around-the-ear cups. You know, like Natalie Portman in Garden State. Yeah, I'll probably listen to the new Shins album with them and uh-huh, the experience will change my life. (That joke just never gets old for me.) Anyway, Bose just released the QuietComfort3, whose cups fit on-ear for those headphone enthusiasts who prefer a slimmer profile. I've seen a few people wearing these, and, admittedly, they look sleeker. Both pairs have the same technology and work with computer/television/mp3 player or cell phone inputs.
After testing the headphones out in various situations (on the T, walking around downtown, in my car,) I'd say they are a sure bet. In fact, a few times they worked a little too well, lulling my senses into an oblivious dreamworld wherein I almost got hit by a car while crossing the street. PLUS they have a sort of cult following among travelers, particularly airline passengers -- and cult = increased hype.
Hyped: Bose Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones
Believe it? Yes, yep, and yeaaaaa