8 December 2006


The new Bose QuietComfort 3 headphones are lithium-ion battery-powered, phase cancelling on-ear headphones that constantly analyse and ‘remove’ the ambient noise surrounding the listener by replaying the phase-inverted equivalent of that sound into the headphones. While not a pro audio device, these noise-cancelling headphones are quite remarkable at removing sounds like road and wind noise experienced in cars, the hideous incessant roar of an aeroplane cabin (which is often around 90dBA), and just about anything else you care to nominate, whether it be percussive or unremitting.

For anyone in the audio game looking for some peace and quiet in noisy environments – particularly if you’re also trying to monitor in that environment – these headphones are definitely worth checking out. They’re incredibly effective in doing exactly what they claim to do – namely, isolate the listener – to the extent that wearing them while crossing roads or driving a car is seriously ill advised!

There are several other things worth noting about these headphones. Firstly their sound is full-ranged and deep (almost to the point of being too extended in the bottom end, perhaps). They’re also among the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn. They’re light, soft on the ears and sit so gently (yet securely) on your head you can almost forget you’re wearing them. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that, in terms of comfort and fit, they’re close to my ideal headphone.

If there were to be any caveat with this, however, it would be that the effects of the phase cancelling technology are an acquired taste. Some people find the experience of wearing them unnerving, while others get a sense of the headphones ‘sucking’ on their ears. The problem with this phenomenon is that if you become aware of it or grow weary of the side-effect, the phase inverting process of the QC3s cannot be bypassed. When they’re switched off, there’s no sound at all.

QC3s come with a number of accessories: a 1/4-inch jack converter, dual plug adapter, five-foot mini-jack extension cord, carrying case, two lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, as well as every international socket converter known to man. – Andy Stewart.

Price: $599

Bose: 1800 023 367 or www.bose.com.au


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