Bose QuietComfort 2 HeadphonesIronically, while most people buy a version 2 before they buy a version 3, I bought the Bose QuietComfort 2 *after* I had purchased the Bose QuietComfort 3 newer headphone set.
Here's the issue. The QuietComfort 3 are the brand new version, they cost more, and they are "smaller and lighter". They offer pretty much the exact same noise cancelling quality, but they fit on top of your ear vs being a larger, bulky around the ear style like the QuietComfort 2.
However, when I tested out the QuietComfort 3 for a month, I found them to be quiet painful. Not in a "pressure on the ear" sense - they were quite comfortable to wear. Rather, when you turned them on, the pressure they exerted on the actual eardrum in order to "cancel noise" hurt. It was a physical sensation, when you turned them on and felt that WHOMP of wave energy pressing against your eardrum. Anybody who thinks the QuietComfort 2 is uncomfortable in that sense hasn't tried the QuietComfort 3 yet.
Yes, I realize that in order to cancel out ambient sound waves, there has to be an opposite sound wave to cancel them out. It's simple physics. However, because the QuietComfort 2 is an around-the-ear design, it doesn't have to blast that cancelling wave right at your eardrum. The larger "air area" being encapsulated by the ear cups gives you more area to work with, and you can block out the sounds without bombarding the ear canal with signals. I did numerous tests with the QuietComfort 2, with my set of iPod playlists that had left-only and right-only sounds, and even during the quiet parts, it was quite comfortable.
Also, as much as people might say that the QuietComfort 2 has "large" ear pods, I really didn't find them bad at all. I was able to sleep with them, wear them without feeling silly at all. The case, in fact, is about the exact same size as the QuietComfort 3 case.
In all, I am EXTREMELY happy that I traded in my QuietComfort 3 headphones for the larger but "kinder" QuietComfort 2 set. The noise cancelling ability is pretty much exactly the same, and the long term comfort is FAR superior. With the QC3 I'd have to wait for a recharge, assuming of course I had the appropriate charger (and outlet access) for whatever airport or country I'm in.
Quiet Comfort 2 Bose Headphones at Amazon.com
MP3 Hardware Reviews
Music / MP3 Tips and Information