Sunday, June 12, 2011

Final DeBoxing of Bose Headphones

I give a lot of talks, both in company and in public, about learning from failures. My classic case of design and communications failure is Bose. Yes, they made the most comfortable noise-cancelling headphones on the planet. The Quiet Comfort 2 headphones also had a design fault which the company refused to acknowledge. If you fell asleep on the plane while wearing them, the plastic holding the earpads would very quickly crack. Took about 9 months on average. And Bose would never repair them. Within the warranty period they were replaced. Out of warranty, they wanted 50 Euros for a small piece of plastic - plus proof of purchase. Bose doesn't understand social media, or how to handle sites like Get Satisfaction. When I posted on the site I got a curt response from the US company acting on Bose's behalf. They sent me on a wild goose chase which ended up with the same response. We don't fix our products. We simply replace them. They certainly don't admit to making a design fault.

They had a clever idea in the headphone case. Initially people came up to me and asked me what brand of headphones I was wearing. Bose thoughtfully put a courtesy card in the headphone case which explained the brand and where they could be ordered. When I tried to repair the headphones with RescueTape (brilliant stuff by the way), I changed for being a brand ambassador to being a brand alternative influencer - buy anything but Bose. Don't ever repeat my expensive mistake.

Today the phones broke again. Now they're beyond repair and its time to go through the official deboxing. Bose have the next generation QC-3 headphones for a ludicrous 398 Euro on their website. You can bet I won't be upgrading. If you've been thinking about buying Bose headphones, or any other Bose product for that matter, I urge you to reconsider.

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mikey said...

Sorry, my experience is totally different from yours. I have had my Bose Quiet Comfort 2 noise cancelling headphones for about 5 years, I fly off somewhere or another every other week and my trusty headphones get used every time, I often fall asleep whilst wearing them and they have not developed any fault.

Sounds like you have been unlucky with yours.

I personally would recommend Bose Quiet Comfort headphones to anyone, I have a high opinion of Bose products. Maybe a bit expensive, but good value for money. They do the job. Whether you like the QC 1.5 over-ear or QC 3 on-ear is down to personal; preference.

Draculus said...

I had a set of QC1s that were comfy and effective but bulky. I used them on the train every week and gave them to a friend when I 'upgraded' to QC2. What a mistake! The side pieces snapped with very little use. Poor design is very evident in the mechanics and materials. They sound good though, so now I am migrating the electrics to a cheap but effective headband for use in my studio. Meanwhile I bought the Sony in-ear noise cancelling phones and love them to bits.

Draculus said...

As a postscript to my previous comment, in the end I took apart an old set of cheap headphones with metal horseshoe brackets and fitted the Bose earcups from my QC2s to the cheapo headband, feeding the wire through as it should be. It meant a bit of (de)soldering had to be done but I now have working QC2 cups if not the soft leather band. They don't rotate but as I only use them I don't care. Problem solved!