Reviewed on Sep 29, 2016

Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
6.3
Mixed Usage
7.1
Neutral Listening
6.2
Commute/Travel
6.1
Sports/Fitness
6.4
Office
5.4
Wireless Gaming
7.2
Wired Gaming
6.3
Phone Call
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

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.

Test Results
Design 7.2
Isolation 5.8
Microphone 6.5
Active Features 0
Connectivity 3.8
Pros
  • Good audio reproduction.
  • Very comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Plasticky build quality.
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.
  1. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  2. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  3. Update 9/28/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  4. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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7.2

Design

The Bose 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.

Style

The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II share the familiar Bose esthetic of the SoundLink Around-Ear II and QuietComfort 25. 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.

8.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.38 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0.59 lbs

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 without feeling any pain or discomfort.

7.2 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
iOS
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Okay
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : No

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.

6.4 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 5.8 C
6.1 Portability
L : 8 "
W : 6.38 "
H : 1.75 "
Volume : 89.3 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The Bose 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.

7.0 Case
Type : Soft case
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

Comes with a sturdy, soft case that's only slightly bigger than the headphones. It will prevent them from getting scratched or damaged while carrying them in your bag. However, it's still a soft case and won't offer much protection against hard falls.

7.0 Build Quality

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.

6.5 Stability

The Bose SoundTrue AE II are stable enough for casual use but, like the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, they 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.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
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Sound

They have a very good and extended bass, a very good mid-range, and a good treble. Additionally, their bass is very slightly boomy, and their mid-range is a bit forward. Also, their performance may vary significantly from person to person, and they don't have an open and spacious soundstage.

Sound Profile
Neutral
:
7.8
Bass-Heavy
:
5.7
Warm
:
7.9
Bright
:
4.4
7.5 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.47 db
Dips
:
1.5 db
5.9 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.98 dB

The frequency response consistency is mediocre-at-best. As opposed to the QuietComfort 35 II that uses its noise cancelling system to calibrate the bass reponse, the SoundTrue Around-Ear II doesn't have an ANC system, and therefore showed some inconsistencies in bass delivery across our human subjects. The maximum amount of deviation in the bass range is more than 4dB at 40Hz, which is noticeable. In the treble range, they show less consistency and seem to be sensitive to positioning and placement.

8.4 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.17
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.84
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
2.2
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
6.53
4.8 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
4.67 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
7.3 dB
PRTF Distance
:
6.24 dB
Openness
:
4.8
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
3.2
7.8 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.151
WHD @ 100
:
0.158
5.8

Isolation

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.

5.1 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-12.89 dB
Bass
:
0.63 dB
Mid
:
-9.56 dB
Treble
:
-30.57 dB

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.

7.2 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
38.2 dB

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.

6.5

Microphone

Integrated
:
No
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
7.1 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
472.58 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
3.62 dB
HFE
:
20480.0 Hz
Weighted THD
:
1.716
Gain
:
16.05 dB
6.0 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
10.82 dB
0

Active Features

No active features.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Continuous Battery Life
:
N/A
Additional Charges
:
N/A
Total Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
Charging Port : N/A
0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

No compatible app.

3.8

Connectivity

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Default Latency
:
N/A
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A
0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.5 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : Yes
Length : 5.58 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS
Wired Latency
:
0 ms
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox Analog
:
Audio Only
Xbox Wired USB
:
No
Xbox Wireless
:
No
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A

In the box

  • Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II Headphones
  • Audio cable
  • Carrying case

Compared to other Headphones

6.3 Mixed Usage

The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II are decent mixed usage headphones. They have an incredibly comfortable design and a good sound that makes them viable for critical listening. Unfortunately, they also have poor noise isolation, which makes them not suitable for all use cases and environments.

7.1 Neutral Listening

Good for neutral listening. They're comfortable for long listening sessions and have a well-balanced sound that doesn't feel too bass-heavy or bass-light. They reproduce instruments and vocals with above-average fidelity, and their soundstage is also quite decent for closed back headphones.

6.2 Commute/Travel

Subpar for commuting. They don't isolate enough for loud environments and may struggle to block the noise of a train or bus.

6.1 Sports/Fitness

Decent for sports use. Comfortable and lightweight design. However, they're a bit unstable for running or intense exercise.

6.4 Office

Decent for office use. They're comfortable to wear for hours. However, you may still hear the chatter of a noisy office due to their poor noise isolation, and the leakage may be bothersome at higher volumes.

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