My last pair of noise cancelling headphones was the Bose QC 19s, and I wore them so often that not only was the pleather earpad disintegrating, but I had zip ties holding together various other broken parts. They were a pair of headphones which seemed amazing to me.
Though the sound isolation, the noise canceling, was never great, it was good enough that I was fine with it. Now fast forward to Christmas 2016 and my father gifted me a pair of QC35s, which is only appropriate since I got the QC 19s from him way back when. I put them on right away and was astonished at how quiet the room was, I didn’t believe it. My dad and family were also impressed.
Then I tried working while listening to music with them on, at home, and it was great. I couldn’t hear the kids messing about, and I had complete control of my noise environment — something which rarely happens when you work from home and have kids. There was an issue though: my wife left the house with the kids and I never knew. I mean, she told me she yelled up to tell me, but I didn’t hear shit.
This unnerved me, because like that infamous Amazon review, someone could break into my house or be banging on the door, and I wasn’t likely to know. This bothered me a lot; and so I put away the QC35s waiting for only the moments when the kids were just too loud.
Then came my first plane flight with them, and I found nirvana. I mean it’s a plane so I was still uncomfortable as fuck, but it was like I was in my own world. And the battery life was amazing. And it changed how I fly. Better than the AirPods or any other headphones I had been using.
Yes. They are big. And who knows what audiophiles think of the sound quality, or sound profiles. But they are amazing.
I could talk about how comfortable they are, or how well made they feel, or how nice the controls on the headphones are, how insane the battery life is, or how well they pair and move between all my iOS devices (I honestly think they are on par with my AirPods, ok just a touch not as good as the AirPods on pairing). I could talk about all of that, but I just did.
Instead, I want to tell you why I love these. I love these because when I put them on I enter my own world, with perfectly curated audio of only what I want to hear. And yet, I never once miss a pilot or flight attendant announcement — as if Bose knows to let human voices like that through. I don’t know how, and I don’t care to know, sometimes it is nice to believe in magic.
When I need to focus in my office and the giggles or screams from my kids is too enticing, I pull the QC 35s over my ears and start listening to some motivating music. When I can’t stand the fact that I am stuck on a plane for the next 4 hours, with people I really don’t want to be near, I pull the QC 35s on, listen to some LL Cool J, or Katy Perry, or Britney Spears — the good stuff — and I forget it all.
In a way, the QC 35s give me more freedom than I otherwise would have, precisely when I need that freedom the most.
I don’t love the weight, or added space they add, but like with a GORUCK bag, or a heavy mechanical watch: sometimes you sacrifice to have something truly good.
Just couple little tips for you, before I let you go:
- Let your wife know you can no longer hear anything in the house when you don the QC 35s.
- Pay close attention to the beverage cart on the plane, if they see a guy with his eyes closed, bobbing his head to “Baby hit me one more time…” they tend to just skip you unless you make eye contact and drinks only add to the experience. Alaska now serves Woodford Reserve, btw.
- If you are flying with someone, tell them tap your arm if they want to talk. Sometimes it’s hard to hear over LL’s magic.
You can grab a pair here and I can’t think of a reason to not own these. Damn good.