I tried earbuds with the best ANC and almost got hit by a bus

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Turns out I wasn’t the only one surprised by the noise cancellation on these true wireless earphones. We were all in awe during the official demo. Bose claims these feature the “world’s best noise cancellation.” These things are incredibly good at blocking out external noise, and I can tell you that the technology has come a long way. But what happens once you take something like the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 out of a controlled environment and into the real world? Is there such a thing as “too good” active noise cancellation? I think.

Bose claims that the QuietComfort Earbuds 2 have the best noise cancellation in the world.

We can assume that most users have not experienced expensive premium wireless headphones with class-leading ANC. However, as with anything else, such technologies will start to become more ubiquitous and affordable with time. Their next headphones could also have amazing ANC. You’ll want to hear the experiences of another excellent ANC rookie before heading out in your shiny new ensemble; It can get dangerous!

Bose QuietComfort II Headphones

First thoughts on the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2

Someone puts the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 in their ears

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Let’s start with my first thoughts on the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2. These wireless headphones are something else. In fact, they adapt to each person by sending sound waves to your ear and recovering them with the integrated microphone. Then each earbud will take a measurement of the shape of your ear canal and adjust the sound for you. All of this happens when you put on each earbud and the unit’s built-in chip processes it locally.

In addition to fine-tuning the sound for your specific ears, Bose also harnesses four microphones to achieve what it claims is the best ANC in the world. By the way, this technology also isolates your voice when you’re on a call, helping you communicate better on the go.

Regardless of where I tried them, I felt like I was in a silent chamber.

With all that in mind, does the technology work? Of course. These things are amazing. I wore them on the noisy streets of New York and San Diego, on a plane, on the bus, and more. Regardless of where I tried them, I felt like I was in a silent chamber. This made whatever I was playing sound more isolated and clear, with no outside distractions creating noise. Since I couldn’t hear anything around me, this meant I could also enjoy music without turning the volume all the way up, even in noisy environments.

Nothing is perfect and some noise will filter through, but in my experience, it has been minimal. Construction machinery will sound like it’s far away, even if it’s used within half a block. And my wife yelling at me in frustration because I can’t hear her will sound like a distant buzz.

Can Active Noise Cancellation Be Too Good?

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 in hand

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 and all of their amazing features are exciting, but the awe wears off after you’ve been wearing them for a short time. At least, that’s the case for an ANC newbie like me (and probably for many new users who will start to experience a significantly good experience). Noise Cancellation early).

For starters, the experience is a bit strange. It’s quite an unnatural feeling. I feel like I’m in a soundproof room when I’m wearing them. We’re just not used to hearing so little. Not to mention, it’s always nice to have some outside noise.

It’s an unnatural feeling, we’re just not used to hearing so little.

Suddenly it’s hard for me to hear someone trying to talk to me. My wife is starting to hate these headphones too. She will often have to tap me on the shoulder or jump in front of me to get my attention. Then I’ll have to take a few seconds to turn off silent mode or remove the headset. This can be a bit annoying. A flight attendant also had to grab me by the shoulder and shake me awake so she could pack some of my belongings before landing. By the way, I also missed most of the announcements during the flight, since I couldn’t hear anything. Even the engine noises were muted.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 in-ear

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

However, awkward moments with other people are the least of my worries. In fact, I found myself in possibly dangerous situations a few times. The most worrying moment occurred just after leaving the building with Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2. You know how wild the streets of New York can get. While it was nice to disconnect from all the noise pollution, at one point, I was waiting for the pedestrian light to turn green, when suddenly a bus whizzed by right in front of me. It was a scary situation as I never heard it coming. Fortunately, I always wait my turn and I was in a safe place.

I was waiting for the pedestrian light to turn green, when suddenly a bus whizzed by right in front of me. I never heard it coming.

Of course, not hearing other sources of noise such as cyclists, people walking, animals, etc., will also be a problem.

With great sound comes great responsibility: use ANC safely

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 in case in hand

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

I can already see some of you yelling at me in the comments for being irresponsible and leaving ANC in such dangerous environments. The truth is that this is a rookie mistake. I am not aware of when and where to turn ANC on or off. There’s also the fact that I was excited to experience such advanced active noise cancellation. I just left it on all the time. It didn’t take long to realize that this is not the way to go.

You definitely shouldn’t block out all sound at all times. In fact, it would be smarter to do it rarely. This level of ANC should be reserved for times when you really want to relax and unwind. Probably while working in the office or for media consumption in a safe place like your bedroom. Using it on airplanes is fine as long as you can see the signs and seatbelt lights. Turning off ANC doesn’t actually take long, as you can just tap and hold on the earbuds to do it. Removing them works just as well.

You definitely shouldn’t block out all sound at all times. In fact, it would be smarter to do it rarely.

A common place where people like to use active noise cancellation is on the bus or train. However, I like to be aware of my surroundings when around strangers, so I switched to using transparency mode while traveling on public transport.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 in the background with a smartphone choosing Modes in the foreground.

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

The good news is that the technology that makes ANC good can also make transparency mode more efficient. In the case of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, it’s “Aware Mode.” As long as the music volume isn’t too loud, you can listen to just about anything when this setting is turned on. Of course, another solution is to use only one earphone at a time.

Bose QuietComfort II Headphones

Bose QuietComfort II Headphones

Excellent ANC • Bluetooth 5.3 • Personal sound experience

Bose put its best ANC tech into these headphones

The QuietComfort Earbuds 2 feature the best audio know-how from Bose. They customize sound quality and isolation to fit your ears every time you wear them. They also come with Bluetooth 5.3, USB-C charging, and can last 6 hours on a charge (24 with the case).

If you’re interested in learning more about these buds, keep an eye on our sister site, SoundGuys.com. They’ll take care of all the complex testing and give you a full, unbiased review of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2.

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