The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II are comfortable, lightweight headphones that deliver a good and balanced sound quality. They're sufficiently well-built but feel a little plasticky for their price. Unfortunately, their poor passive isolation is not recommended for loud, noisy environments.
- Good audio reproduction.
- Very comfortable fit.
- Poor noise isolation.
- Plasticky build quality.
The SoundLink AE II have the iconic Bose design that looks very similar to the QuietComfort 35, QuietComfort 25 and SoundLink Around-Ear II. Like the rest of the series, they're also incredibly comfortable for long listening sessions. They're lightweight and sufficiently well-built to feel durable. Unfortunately, they're not the most stable headphones. The ear cups tend to sway a lot if used while jogging or exercising.
The SoundTrue Around-Ear II share the familiar Bose esthetic of the Sound-link AE II and QC25. They have a simple design with a relatively slim headband and large oval ear cups. They're mostly made of plastic, so they don't look as premium as some other over-ear headphones around the same price point. However, the understated look will work for some, and they're well crafted enough to be eye-catching in public.
The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II like many of the Bose line up deliver a comfortable listening experience. They're lightweight, the headband is not too tight, and the padding on the ear cups is impressively soft. This makes the headphones very comfortable to wear for hours with feeling any pain or discomfort.
These headphones have an above average control scheme. They provide call/music, track skipping, and volume control. Unfortunately, the inline control module is a bit small and the tactile feedback is not as good as the QuietComfort 20's control scheme.
The SoundTrue AE II are stable enough for casual use but are not sufficiently tight to use while running or exercising. The lack of tension in the headband makes these headphones very comfortable but also means the ear cups will sway and potentially slip off your head with enough force. Luckily the cable is detachable and will disconnect if the cable gets hooked on something.
The SoundTrue AE II are moderately portable headphones. They do not fold into a more compact format like the Bose QuietComfort 25, but the earcups lay flat to take up less space. They're not too heavy or cumbersome but are still a bit too much of a hassle to carry on your person comfortable without a bag.
Decent build quality. These headphones have a good lightweight design that's made with sufficiently dense plastic so that they won't break easily from a few falls. However, their build is not as sturdy as some of the other over-ear headphones in this price range. They're also mostly plastic, which won't be as durable.
The SoundTrue AE II have a good and well-balanced sound profile. They have a punchy bass range that doesn't feel overpowering. Instruments and vocals are sufficiently clear and forward on most tracks they reproduced. Also, the Soundstage they create is quite decent for a closed back model. They're not the clearest sounding headphones and have a few inconsistencies in the treble range, but their sound quality is more than sufficient for most listeners.
Very good Bass Range performance. Low-bass is extended down to 24Hz and only lacking about 2dB, which is excellent. Bass is virtually flat and well reproduced. High-bass is overemphasized by about 4dB, adding slight muddiness to the mix.
Very good Mid Range performance. The response is flat and quite consistent for the most part. The bump around 1KHz pushes the vocals/leads to the front of the mix, and make the headphones sound a little forward.
Average Treble Range performance. Low-treble is rather inconsistent. The dip around 5KHz negatively affects the detail and presence of vocals/leads. Treble is decently reproduce and only slightly overemphasized.
- 100% Avg. Std. Deviation
Average Soundstage. Due to their closed-back, these headphones don't sound very open. Although they are more open than most closed-back over-ear headphones. They also don't activate the pinna as well as a loudspeaker, and therefore the soundstage may be perceived to be located inside the listener's head.
Good Imaging. Phase error is low, especially in the lower frequencies where it's more audible. Additionally, our test unit performed very well in all three driver matching tests.
Good harmonic distortion performance. The amount of harmonic distortion in the Bass Range is elevated regardless of the loudness. However, harmonic distortion is less audible at lower frequencies. In the Treble Range, there are a couple of spikes in harmonic distortion that exceed more than 1% of the input signal. The sound at those frequencies could get a little harsh and brittle.
These headphones unlike some the other models in the Bose line up are not noise canceling and only block noise passively. The seal they create around your ears is decent and can prevent some high-frequency sounds from entering your audio. However, it will not be enough for the noise level of commuting via public transit or long, crowded flights. They're also slightly leaky at higher volumes and could be distracting to the people around you in quiet environments.
Poor isolation. These headphones, unlike their noise-cancelling cousins, isolate only passively. They provide no isolation in the Bass Range, and achieve average isolation in Mid and Treble Ranges. The overall amount of isolation achieved in the Mid Range is about 10dB, and in the Treble Range about 27dB.
Average leakage. These headphones leak a fair bit more than most closed-back over-ear headphones. The significant portion of the leakage is between 400Hz and 4KHz which is relatively broad. The overall level of the leakage is also higher than average.
No active features.
No compatible app.
In the box
- Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II Headphones
- Audio cable
- Carrying case