Friday, December 15, 2023

Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones: History & Innovations

We’re sure we’ve all been on a flight with crying babies and chatty neighbors. It can be pretty challenging to get some peace and quiet when you’re stuck on a long flight. That’s where noise-canceling headphones come in handy. You’ve probably heard of Bose headphones, which are popular for their ability to block out all that unwanted noise. But did you know that they were originally created specifically for airplane use? Let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore the fascinating history behind these headphones.

Historia de las BOSE Ellos revientan las bocinas con su historia 6 57 screenshot Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones: History & Innovations

Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones History

While Fogel pioneered noise cancellation in headphones, Dr. Amar Bose, the creator of Bose Corporation, did not invent the type we know today until 1989.

Many people recognize Amar Bose as the creator of Bose Corporation, but few understand that his popularity was due to his vast experience as a teacher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (official website) , his talent for problem-solving, and his innovative creativity.

Video Review: A brief history of Amar Bose and Bose Corp.

Formation of Bose

Amar G. Bose founded the company in 1964. Bose, a graduate student at MIT, then had bought a stereo system and been dissatisfied with its output eight years before. This prompted him to investigate the impact of reverberant (indirect) sound on audio quality perception.

Early Years

Bose started conducting intensive research to find out what he saw as the inherent shortcomings of high-end audio systems. The general configuration of the electronics and speaker, in his opinion, struggled to compensate for the spatial properties of the radiated sound in normal listening spaces and the ramifications of spatiality for psychoacoustics, such as the listener’s head as a sound diffraction object. He formed the company eight years later, with the goal of creating “Better Sound Through Research,” which became the company slogan.

Bose Aviation Headset

Bose’s headphones have had a lot of success over the years, from making pilots hear audio and messages more effectively with the Bose Aviation Headset (official website) in 1989 to shield the US Army with the Bose Combat Vehicle Crewman Headset (read more on official website) in 1993, Bose’s headphones have had a lot of success and placed the noise-canceling headset innovation in the forefront.

The First Noise Cancelling Headset

The noise-canceling equipment we use today isn’t all that new from what was used in the first prototypes for noise-canceling headphones in 1978. The natural evolution of modern technologies, on the other hand, has resulted in significant advances and developments, such as cellular and digital noise-canceling technology (read more about digital noise-canceling technology on

Noise-canceling headphones, particularly for frequent travelers, are now regarded as a necessity rather than a luxury by today’s standards.

It broke away from the confines of aviation and has become almost a household name, with versions available for both children and adults. It has also infiltrated other niches, such as learning, making phone calls, and gaming.

Video Review: How Amar Bose Used Research To Build Better Speakers | Money Lab | CNBC Make It

Are there any tests confirming the outstanding characteristics of Bose headphones?

One study published in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society in 2019 evaluated the noise-cancellation performance of several popular headphones, including the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. The researchers found that the Bose headphones provided the most effective noise cancellation across a wide range of frequencies, outperforming other popular models from Sony, Sennheiser, and AKG. Another study published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America in 2018 evaluated the sound quality of several noise-cancelling headphones, including the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, using objective measurements and subjective listening tests. The researchers found that the Bose headphones provided a high level of noise reduction while maintaining good sound quality, and were preferred by participants in the listening tests over other models. A study published in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society in 2017 evaluated the sound quality of several wireless headphones, including the Bose SoundLink around-ear wireless headphones II. The researchers found that the Bose headphones provided accurate and natural-sounding reproduction of music, with low distortion and good frequency response.

Bose: The Innovation – A Timeline of Key Milestones

Bose used their noise-canceling technology to create headphones in 1986 to shield the pilots’ ears on the first non-stop around-the-world flight. Ever since then, Bose did not stop innovating until today.

1. Noise Cancelling Headphones (1989) Bose launched its first consumer-level noise-canceling headphones for pilots, the Aviation Headset, in 1989, after about ten years of research and development. Electronic equalization (non-adjustable) is used in the new standard.
2. Bose QuietComfort 3 Headphones (2006)  On June 15, 2006, Bose launched its first pair of on-ear headphones, the QuietComfort 3 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones. While headphones that surround the ear have better passive noise protection, Bose reports that the QC3s provide the same overall noise suppression as the QC2s thanks to enhanced active noise cancellation.
3. Bose QuietComfort 15 Headphones (2009) The Bose QC15’s were released on August 19, 2009. Both the QuietComfort 2 Revision 2 and the QuietComfort 15 have the same cosmetic style, but that’s where the comparisons stop. Bose improved the Acoustic Noise Cancellation engine so that each ear cup has two microphones instead of one on the inside and outside.
4. Commercial Flights On certain long-haul flights, American Airlines offers passengers in elite flight classes (sometimes even business-class) with Bose QuietComfort 15 or Bose QuietComfort 3 headphones, based on the flight. Beginning with the initial QC1 with blue ear cups and an American Airlines icon, Bose produced several limited-edition models of the QuietComfort for American Airlines.
5. A20 aviation headset (2010) These are noise-canceling headphones for pilots, and they were launched on July 26, 2010, as an update to the original “Aviation Headset X” (aka A10). It is operated by the airplane’s electrical system or operates on two AA batteries for 45 hours.
6. AE2 (2010) Bose launched the AE2 on-ear headphones on October 15, 2010, with a style that covers the whole ear. A detachable cord attaches to the left side of the headphones for connection. Similarly to the QuietComfort versions, the foam on the initial TriPorts headband has been substituted with synthetic rubber, and the earpieces turn flat for better storage.
7. OE2 (2011) In October 2011, Bose removed the previous On-Ear headphones. It has a smaller size and weighs less. This version is available in white and black. Aside from the color, the OE2’s and OE2is are two distinct varieties. The only distinction is that the OE2is come with an integrated three-button iPod/iPhone remote and microphone that allows users to pause and forward their songs.
8. SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II (2015) Bose introduced its SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II in September 2015. It has features such as NFC pairing, voice prompts, and a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts for up to 15 hours.
9. OE2 (2011) In June 2016, Bose released the QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones, which are the first headphones in the QuietComfort line to feature Bluetooth wireless connectivity. It has noise cancellation and voice prompts, and its rechargeable battery lasts up to 20 hours.
10. SoundSport Free wireless headphones (2017) These are Bose’s first truly wireless headphones for workouts, released on October 22, 2017. It has features such as water resistance, voice prompts, and up to 5 hours of battery life.

Bose: The Leading Brand in the Premium Audio Market

The Bose Corporation is a privately held American company that designs, develops, and sells audio equipment. It is a well-known brand in the audio industry and is recognized for its high-quality products and innovative designs. Bose offers a range of products, including speakers, headphones, home theater systems, and soundbars. In terms of market position, Bose is considered to be a leading brand in the premium audio equipment segment. The company has a strong presence in the United States and other global markets, and its products are highly regarded by consumers and professionals alike. That being said, the market for audio equipment is highly competitive, and Bose faces competition from other established brands such as Sony, JBL, and Harman Kardon, as well as emerging companies that offer affordable and innovative products. Nonetheless, Bose’s reputation for quality and innovation has allowed it to maintain a significant market share and a loyal customer base.

What’s New?

  1. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (2019): These headphones feature an updated design and improved noise-cancellation technology, along with integrated voice assistants and touch controls.
  2. Bose Home Speaker 300 and 500 (2019): These smart speakers integrate with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and feature 360-degree sound.
  3. Bose Portable Home Speaker (2019): This portable smart speaker offers 360-degree sound, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, and voice control through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
  4. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds (2020): These true wireless earbuds feature advanced noise-cancellation technology and up to 6 hours of battery life.
  5. Bose Sport Earbuds (2020): These true wireless earbuds are designed for athletes and feature sweat and water resistance, up to 5 hours of battery life, and a secure and comfortable fit.
  6. Bose Frames Tempo (2021): These sunglasses feature built-in speakers that allow users to listen to music and take phone calls without wearing headphones. They are designed for athletes and feature a sweat and water-resistant design.

What’s Next?

 based on their past innovations and market trends, it’s possible that Bose may continue to focus on improving their noise-canceling technology and audio quality, as well as incorporating advanced features such as voice assistants and wireless connectivity. Additionally, Bose may explore new markets and applications for their technology, such as healthcare or virtual reality.

Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones: Products Today

1. Bose QuietComfort® Earbuds (official website) The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds come in black or white and are sleek but bulky in design. The style is similar to the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700: subtle curves and a low profile. Bose got a lot of flak for the first truly wireless earbuds, which were unnecessarily bulky. Though Bose’s QC Earbuds have been reduced in size, they still protrude more from the ear than other alternatives. The earphones are housed in a chunky carrying case with a matte black exterior. The case is lined with four LEDs that signify the remaining battery levels. A button sits between the two earbud slits on the inside, which you can click to manually start pairing mode.
2. QuietComfort® 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones — Apple devices (official website) The Bose QuietComfort 20 and 20i are small in-ear headphones that sound great, are very easy to use, and have remarkable noise cancellation (more info about why we need less noise on An advanced rechargeable lithium battery powers the noise cancellation and provides up to 16 hours of battery life. However, in this price range, they don’t sound as fine as many rival in-ear headphones.
3. QuietComfort® 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones — Samsung and Android™ devices (official website) The Bose QuietComfort 20 headphones have Acoustic Noise Cancellation, as well as an in-line microphone and remote for making phone calls. With Aware mode, you can listen to the sounds around you or get lost in the music. It is compatible with select Samsung Galaxy phones and allows for easy hands-free communication.
4. QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II (official website) A dedicated button for Google Assistant has been added to the Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphone, but it can also be configured for other purposes. It has the same top-of-the-line active noise cancellation, superb wireless Bluetooth sound, and extra-comfortable build as its predecessor. If the battery dies, the device can be used in wired mode using the provided cable.
5. Bose QuietComfort® 35 II Gaming Headset (official website) When it comes to gaming, the QuietComfort 35 II attaches to a PC with a USB controller that comes attached to the device. The puck-shaped gadget has a solid and relaxed feel to it, with a dial that helps you to easily adjust the sound. You can also use the remote to turn on and off mic monitoring so you can hear yourself (which is useful for those aspiring Streamers).
6. Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700 UC (official website) Bose has entered the market for advanced UC headphones. The Bose 700 UC is a high-end wireless headphone designed for audiophiles who want great sound clarity, a wide bass range, and active noise cancellation (ANC). The Bose 700 UC headset is explicitly configured for Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams, which ensures you can communicate with the software using the headset’s buttons. Of course, you can use the headset for any software; however, the controls on the headphones would not be designed for them specifically.
7. Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700 (official website) The NCH 700s reflect a new direction for Bose headphone design, and that direction can be summed up in one word: clean. There are no obvious hinges or pins, giving the QC35s a much more futuristic appearance than the QC35s’ early-2000s industrial style (as we said earlier). The core of it all is a stainless steel headpiece that runs down and shrinks to a cylindrical shape that slices across the center of each earcup. Through slipping the earcups up and down the steel pole, you can fine-tune the fit. There are no clicks or feedback in this movement.


Why is Bose so expensive?

While the majority of the other responses come from a marketing perspective, they ignore one of Bose’s most significant philosophies: research. Rather than investing in deceptive market activities, Bose channels the income back into research in the hopes of making new breakthroughs. Making it relatively more expensive than other brands. It’s easy to ignore technical advances like Noise Cancellation, but the fact is that it took them 15 years to build the technology in the first place. So the consumers are paying for the technology.

Why do audiophiles hate Bose?

Many audiophiles dislike Bose because their devices are more concerned with aesthetics than with sound quality. Audiophiles, by design, are Hi-Fi (high-fidelity) fans who are constantly striving for professional studio sound. In this regard, Bose falls short. This isn’t the only explanation, however.

Is Bose The Best Noise Cancelling?

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones are perhaps the best wireless noise-cancelling headphones available. Although these headphones are costly, many people claim they are well worth the money for regular travelers who enjoy durability and comfort. They have more adjustability than most other noise-cancelling headphones in rival companies as well as the excellent noise cancellation that Bose itself is recognised for.

Is Bose better than Beats?

Beats headphones normally have more bass and are quieter than Bose headphones. The Bose headphones, on the other hand, normally have an equalizer built in to make music sound better. However, it will almost always sound different from the original. Neither pair of headphones is a poor option, and although the Bose cans have better audio output, the Beats aren’t bad either. When you spend $350 on headphones, though, you want more than “not poor” audio quality.

Video Review: Dream + Reach: The First 50 Years of Bose: MIT

Flick Emil Henricus

I'm a 34-year-old freelance musician and soundproofing specialist, DIY enthusiast, blog author, and Silence Wiki founder originally from the Netherlands. I've been a musician for over 15 years now - playing all sorts of instruments but especially guitar and saxophone. As a soundproofing specialist, I help people with their acoustic needs in order to make them happy! I also enjoy DIY projects around the house or wherever else they are needed - thanks to my wife who always has great ideas!

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