Categories HARDWAREREVIEWS

Bose SoundTrue Over-Ear Headphones

It should be a comfortable experience if you have a set of over-ear headphones on your head. It should be complete with the sound isolation, a fun one, and with a strong performance you expect to  be put forward by a set of cans in 2015.

[Update: The Bose SoundTrue range (both in-ear and over-ear) are becoming a regular feature in sales stock, chiefly because they are now a couple of years old. These headphones are less relevant on the biggest sticking point. You should definitely consider them if they drop to a price that is significantly below its original recommended retail price because these are expensive headphones.

With the key tech staying more or less unchanged unless you’re after the latest DTS or Dolby sound, the headphones are a product that tend to age well. You will get a good sounding headphones that still look stylish.]

The Bose SoundTrue over-ear headphones hit nearly all the marks of what makes a great set of headphones, all for just $179 (£149, AU$179). There are some extra goodies included, that even you would be smitten to see in this set of wired headphones.

But even so, the sound quality of the Bose SoundTrue just isn’t quite up to par compared to what other headphones in its price range can handle. But hey, these are stylish.

Design:

The design of the SoundTrue helps to round out the Bose headphone offering as a sporty and sleek look for on-the-go listeners. These over-ear cans borrow some way of looks from their more expensive and bigger brother, the Bose QuietComfort 25. Rocking some moves of its own, the SoundTrue knew when to split off to shape its own path that I prefer to its noise-canceling kin. The metal frame of the headband is lightweight, thin, and padded to make the SoundTrue comfortable. A leatherette material on its top makes for a stunning first impression and the material is soft to touch. Now, to make for a soft pillow against your head, there is a softer felt material that coats the underside; the plushy touches make way for plastic to make it easier to grip –  just in case you wanted to increase or decrease) will still be comfortable because there are several notches built into the SoundTrue. So, looking at the sidearms, the Bose always stamps an ‘R’ and an ‘L’ facing outwards so that the user can put it easier, the right way.

Actually, compared to the QC25 headphones, the stamps on the SoundTrue is much easier to see. The sidearms that stretches own to the ear cup hinge comprised of a few pieces of matte textured curved plastic. Mobility of the war cups is one key area, speaking of the hinge, where design influence from the Bose QC25 was lost in translation. Unfortunately, the cups on the SoundTrue can only twist 90 degrees and forbids laying them flat out on your chest. One minor complaint though… instead of looping them on my neck, their stiffness made me opt out to take them off completely when not in use. That being said, the SoundTrue’s cups have enough flexibility to wiggle around, helping over-ear headphones find the right fit. With more of Bose’s favorite material for the SoundTrue (matte-textured plastic), the ear cups rock a look that is both minimalistic and flashy. On the outermost section of each cup, was the planted logo of the Bose, front and center.

The cups boast a hearty helping of the padding that is leatherette-coated (as for the insides) that yields the same comfort benefits of the headband. Keeping the sound out and your music in, the cushion of the headphone against your head provides isolation. Looking inside the cup, the SoundTrue offered by Bose has a different design depending on the color variation. Lastly, from the left ear cup stretching down is the 5.5-foot 3.5mm cable. You know how most people are most of the time, they say that the more cable, the better. However, personally for me I think it’s too long. So that it wouldn’t catch on my knee while I walk upstairs, I found myself routinely holding this one up. Without having to touch your phone (on the plus side of things) it features a set of inline controls and microphone to make taking calls, adjusting volume and skipping songs easier. Also included inside the box is a carrying case for the Bose SoundTrue. Just more of the leatherette material, nothing too touch, but it is an appreciate perk.

Performance

It is hard not to mention the Bose’s QuietComfort 25 and the SoundTrue noise-canceling headphones in the same sentence. It goes deeper than the very similar look that they have. These two sets of headphones had both a good thing and a bad thing for listeners, and sound just about the same. Speaking of comfort, hats off to the Bose’s SoundTrue as probably the lightest over-ear headphones there is that I have ever worn. It was really easy to wear these jewels for an extended periods of time. My ears weren’t suffocated in heat despite its closed-back cups design. I was also pleased in terms of its features as the SoundTrue are more capable than your average wired headphone. For making those on-the-fly adjustments to phone calls or music, the microphone and the inline controls work flawlessly. The volume functionality, unfortunately, is limited to iOS devices exclusively and I think that it’s a darn shame. It is also a hit or miss for the sound performance where it count the most for some.  Regarding a Bose product, typing those words feels strange since I have had mostly positive experiences with it.

When I had reviewed its brother QuietComfort  months ago, I am the very same person who said that QC25 offered “unparalleled audio performance.” So, for the SoundTrue, what is my deal?

They offer performance, sweet spot of comfort, and features that can be hard to find like the ones on the QC25. And yet, the SoundTrue gets outclassed by a few of its competitors when you begin to hone in on sound performance.

For $199 (about £176, AU$256), you will have the wireless Koss BT540i with a warmer and a full-bodied sound. For $150 (£129) , you will have the Sony MDR-ZX770BT that is also wireless and will give the SoundTrue a run for its money with a balanced audio presentation and a comfortable built. However, there was just no way that these Bose can sound bad. With accuracy on the bass response backing music of any genre, these Bose headphones sound quite good. The sounds are well defined and the highs are crisp.

It was the mids that cannot hold it together and the sound are muddled at times. When put against some competition in the price range, the Bose SoundTrue just can’t play ball when matched to the $299 (£179, about AU$299) Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Plus.

Verdict

The Bose has created a worthy addition to its line of balancing comfort, well-constructed headphones, performance and features well. My biggest problem with the SoundTrue, however, is it’s price and not the sound performance. Its price places it within a bracket of competition and it simply cannot hold its own against.

Though if style is  your biggest concern, there would be a lot to enjoy here. You will also be buying into a set of headphones that knows a thing or two about pumping out some sufficient sound and that is ultra-light.

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