We recently moved in a new building that has open offices. It get pretty loud sometimes with ~10 people in the same room. I wanted something that can isolate me from the noise and since I don’t like ear plugs, I decided on noise cancellation headphones. After reading some reviews I tried Bose QuietComfort 15 and Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7b.

Construction and case

Both headphones are well-built. However, ATH-ANC7b is made of better quality materials; it is sturdier and I bet it could take greater damage than Bose before breaking. Both sets have leather ear cups but the Bose ones are softer and more comfortable.

In terms of case, again the ATH-ANC7b case seems stronger; it is a rectangular case with rounded corners, nothing fancy. The Bose case has the shape of the headphones but I think that makes it less resistant to damage (more concave surfaces). Both cases have enough room to store an MP3 player, cables and extra batteries.

Noise cancellation

This is the primary reason I got these headphones. Both of them need one AAA battery to cancel noise.

When enabled, the noise cancellation on ATH-ANC7b is pretty good. You can still hear human voices but it is able to cancel most of the background noise. The noise cancellation on Bose is… unbelievable. Enable it and you are locked in a bubble. No more noises, no nothing. It is actually scary how quiteit gets- if you wear them without listening to music, you can hear the blood in your ears. But, just like ATH-ANC7b, you can still hear voices and non-background noise.

Music

I didn’t get these headphones for sound quality. Both, do a pretty good job at playing music with noise cancellation on.With noise cancellation off, Bose cannot play any sounds. It is astounding that such expensive headphones cannot be used as just headphones. That’s a very big minus for Bose.

Comfort

The ear cups on Audio-Technica are too small. I have size normal ears but they don’t fit well in the cups (see the pictures). Also, because of the design, the cups are pressed against the head and ears. I found the Audio-Technica very uncomfortable. Bose, however, areextremely comfortable (they are called “Comfort” for a reason, huh?).

Accessories and cables

Both sets came with a regular cable, a cable with phone controls and an airplane adapter. Audio-Technica gives an extra jack for sound systems. Bose uses a proprietary connector to plug the cable in the headsets. While that makes cable fit very well, if it breaks, you need to buy a brand expensive cable.

Price

Audio-Technica costs $149 before taxes. Bose is $299. Bose’s price is twice the price of Audio Technica but is it worth?

Conclusion

When I got the Bose and opened the box, a strong smell of chemicals struck me others reported the same issue. Even though I ordered them from Amazon, I took it to the Bose store in Seattle and gotthem exchanged without any questions asked (kudos to customer service!).

Overall, both sets are good. The Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7b have the advantage of price and the fact that can work as normal headphones but, they are not comfortable. Bose QuietComfort 15 are expensive but they do an amazing job at cancelling background noise.

I will keep the Bose because of the how well the noise cancellation works and because of their customer service.