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One of the partners in my firm got a set of Bose In Ear headphones for Christmas. She was pretty excited about them. They're small and the sound is so "clear".

I was curious so I asked her to bring them in so I could hear them. Here is a link to Bose's website for the product.

I thought I'd give a mini-review based on VERY limited listening.

I first cleaned the attached ear inserts -- they're a soft plastic that doesn't really go too far into the ear canal and are very easy to remove. After that, I played a CD. I chose to listen to Matthew Sweet/Girlfriend. My source was a very cheap portable CD player. First song to play was Evangeline. It's kinda slow, not overly complex and emphasizes the vocals of the singer.

Before I get to the next part, please bear in mind that this is TOTALLY a snap judgement review and I tried, to the best of my ability, to keep any prejudices for or against the Bose brand, out of this review.

Ok, back to our regularly scheduled review..

First the positives. The inserts are very comfortable. I have used a pair of Shure E3's for a limited period before and already know that I really don't mind in-ear headphones. That being said, I think these were much more comfortable since they really don't get IN your ear, rather they just "PLUG" the entrance to your ear canal. This can be good or bad as it doesn't isolate you as much as in-ear phones (like the Shure's) do. Also, as can be expected, they'll play plenty loud with pretty much any source you've got.

Now the negatives: Unfortunately, pretty much everything else. Right away it felt like there was a veil over the music (ugh, that sounds so audiophile-ly). The sound stage also seemed to be narrower and less defined than I would have expected. Also, the music seemed to be a little mushy. The only thing I had to compare them to were my AKG K-701's that I had at my office -- an admittedly COMPLETE unfair comparison since they cost 3x as much. However, I have a pair of Sennheiser HD280Pros at home that cost the same as the Bose phones, and although I couldn't really make a side by side comparison, they have sounded much closer to my reference (the 701's) then the Bose did.

Well, for what it's worth, that's it. I really didn't get much past the first song to get my impression of Bose's new product since I was so underwhelmed. They're definitely better than the stock ear buds, and since they don't go too far inside the ear canal, they should be more comfortable than most in-ear phones. However, they just didn't sound all that great for the $$ you're putting out.

JCD
 

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From what I've read, these sound like typical Bose products. Way too boomy in the bass, and the highs are severely rolled off.

I actually had hopes that this could be a Bose product I could like, after all, these are earphones and it's not that hard to make a earphone that sounds ok. Even my $15 Creative EP630's are pretty passable.
 

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I don't travel all that often, but every once and a while I do have to fly. Every time I get in a plane there are always guys pulling out BOSE noise cancelling headphones. Their product is not always great, but BOSE knows how to market product and knows how to create a market demand and carry on their reputation. They sell tons of product. I'd stick to Sennheiser, Grado, or Beyerdynamic for some great cans.
 

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Their rigged demo booths/kiosks are pretty convincing to the average person. Their sound is way bigger than life, lack a proper reference, and sound impressive to somebody who's looking for a wow sound. Fortunately most of us at these forums know better, but you can't fault Bose for the effectiveness of their marketing.

I always give them the benefit of the doubt, but somehow I still end up being disappointed. I thought they couldn't screw up $99 in ear phones that badly but they still sound pretty bad. All of the Bose OEM car systems that I've owned (came standard with the car) were disappointing. And don't get me started on the Acoustimass junk. But I digress here.
 
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