Reviewed on Sep 29, 2016

Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
6.7
Mixed Usage
7.5
Critical Listening
6.2
Commute/Travel
6.3
Sports/Fitness
6.6
Office
6.1
TV
6.8
Gaming
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
Sound 7.5
Isolation 6.3
Microphone 6.4
Active Features 0
Connectivity 5.1
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 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  2. Update 9/28/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  3. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

Check Price

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
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.

Cable
Detachable : Yes
Length : 5.58 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS

comes with 1/8" to 1/8" TRRS audio cable.

Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.5

Sound

The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II are a good sounding pair of closed-back over-ear headphones. 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.

9.0 Bass
Std. Err.
:
1.53 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
:
1.33 dB
Mid-Bass
:
0.03 dB
High-Bass
:
2.45 dB
8.6 Mid
Std. Err.
:
1.9 dB
Low-Mid
:
-0.0 dB
Mid-Mid
:
0.13 dB
High-Mid
:
2.65 dB
7.8 Treble
Std. Err.
:
3.68 dB
Low-Treble
:
1.26 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-1.03 dB
High-Treble
:
-8.15 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
4.9 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
4.67 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
7.3 dB
PRTF Distance
:
6.24 dB
Openness
:
4.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
3.1
Correlated Crosstalk
:
-0.06 dB
7.6 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
0.774
Weighted THD @ 100
:
4.503
6.3

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.

5.8 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-12.89 dB
Bass
:
0.63 dB
Mid
:
-9.56 dB
Treble
:
-30.57 dB
Self-Noise
:
0 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.

7.3 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.

6.4

Microphone

Integrated
:
No
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
6.9 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
Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
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.

5.1

Connectivity

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
7.8 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
iOS
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio Only
PC Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
0 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
10 Latency
Default Latency
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

In the box

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

6.7 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.

7.5 Critical Listening

Good for critical 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.

6.3 Sports/Fitness

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

6.6 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.

6.1 TV

Above-average for home theater use. They're as comfortable as the Bose QuietComfort 25 and also have a well-balanced sound for watching movies. However, since they're wired they don't have the best range, which means they won't be the ideal headphones to comfortably watch movies from your couch.

Recommended Articles

LOG IN

JOIN RTINGS.com

Be part of the most informed community and take advantage of our advanced tools to find the best product for your needs.
Join our mailing list:
Become an insider

Unlimited access to full product reviews, test measurements and scores

test table UI

Product prices across the site on reviews, tables and tools

product prices UI

Additional votes for our
next reviews

Additional votes UI

Early Access
to our reviews and test measurements

Early Access UI

Create Discussion