Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.3.1
Reviewed Sep 29, 2016 at 01:44 pm
Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II Picture
6.4
Mixed Usage
7.3
Neutral Sound
6.2
Commute/Travel
6.2
Sports/Fitness
6.5
Office
5.6
Wireless Gaming
7.3
Wired Gaming
6.4
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.

Our Verdict

6.4 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.

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.
7.3 Neutral Sound

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.

6.2 Sports/Fitness

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

6.5 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.

7.3 Wired Gaming
6.4 Phone Call
  • 6.4 Mixed Usage
  • 7.3 Neutral Sound
  • 6.2 Commute/Travel
  • 6.2 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.5 Office
  • 5.6 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.3 Wired Gaming
  • 6.4 Phone Call
  1. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  3. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  4. Update 9/28/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  5. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.
  6. Update 3/1/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.

Test Results

Design
Design
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
Design
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
Design
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 Cancelling 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.

6.5
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 5.8 C
6.1
Design
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
Design
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
Design
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
Design
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.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

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

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-0.87 db
Treble Amount
-2.75 db
5.9
Sound
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.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.9
Sound
Bass Accuracy
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
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.9 dB
Low-Mid
-0.0 dB
Mid-Mid
0.13 dB
High-Mid
2.65 dB
7.8
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.68 dB
Low-Treble
1.26 dB
Mid-Treble
-1.03 dB
High-Treble
-8.15 dB
7.5
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.47 db
Dips
1.5 db
8.4
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.17
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.84
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.2
Weighted Phase Mismatch
6.53
4.9
Sound
Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
4.67 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
7.3 dB
PRTF Distance
6.24 dB
Openness
4.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.5
7.8
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.151
WHD @ 100
0.158
Isolation
5.1
Isolation
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
Isolation
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.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-line
Yes
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
N/A
7.1
Microphone
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
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
10.82 dB
Active Features
N/A
Active Features
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
Active Features
App Support
App Name N/A
iOS N/A
Android N/A
macOS 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.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
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
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 5.58 ft
Connection 1/8" TRRS
Wired Latency
0 ms
Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
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

Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II Price

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