Grado vs Bose Quiet Comfort 2

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I’ve written about my new Grados a few times already, so this might feel like piling on a bit.

I mentioned in a post about my new iPods that I own a pair of Bose Quiet Comfort 2 headphones, courtesy of my genius gift-giving friend Ed. I only use them when I travel on airplanes, and they work like a charm. I keep them in the apartment, since I typically leave for airports from the apartment.

I’m in the apartment now, so I figured I’d do a quick bake-off between the Bose and the iGrados (the SR80’s are up at the house at the moment). I assumed that the Bose might sound a drop better, given that they are noise-canceling, and, are Bose (not a bad brand).

I happened to be listening to Girlyman with the iGrados at the time I decided to check the Bose. I had the volume on the iPod Nano set to 1/4 and it was plenty loud and very rich sounding. I then played the same song on the Bose.

First, the minute I turned on the noise canceling switch (you have to, even just to passively listen to music, which is one of my complaints about the Bose!), I was impressed with the immediate difference even in our relatively quiet bedroom. We have two laptops going and regular city background noise. I wasn’t noticing it that badly, but the Bose made it melt away. Nice. In fact, Lois got on the phone half way through the song, and her voice was way in the background, since all of the bass was washed out of it.

But, the volume of the music was low and thin. I needed to crank the Nano up to 1/2 volume to get near the same richness of sound that I got from the iGrados at 1/4 the volume. That was counter-intuitive to me, given that the noise canceling should make it require less volume. Also, at 1/2 volume, the Bose didn’t sound as good, but they weren’t bad (like the ear buds).

Since the SR80’s are at least as good (perhaps a little better) than the iGrados, I can now say that for me, the Grados are wildly better than the Bose (unless you need active noise canceling). Since the iGrados cost $49, and the Grado SR80’s cost $95, while the Bose cost $299, it becomes even more ridiculous to compare them.

Now, if I could only somehow magically fast-forward four weeks to where the iGrados won’t be as horribly uncomfortable after an hour or so, I’ll be much happier. I think I’ll be sticking with the SR80’s for anything but exercising, but unfortunately, I didn’t think to bring them in with me this time around. šŸ™