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Audio

Bose Ups The Technology In Noise-Cancelling Headphones

ImageBose has long been the leader in noise-cancelling headphones, and this week the company introduced its best model yet--the new QuietComfort 20 Headphones.

Though these headphones are designed primarily as a consumer product, they have clear professional applications, such as monitoring professional sound recording in noisy environments.

The new QuietComfort 20 headphones are the first in-ear noise-cancelling headphones from Bose. They are clearly the best in-ear models ever offered and Bose has more combined patents on them than any other product it has ever produced. The performance is stunning.

They offer two ways to listen--one to shut out the world and one to keep you connected. They fit in your pocket, weigh just 1.5 ounces and rival the performance of much larger headphones.

"The Bose QC20s are a revolutionary headphone," said Sean Garrett, vice president of the Bose Noise Reduction Technology Group. "Just like your phone, you'll want to take them everywhere, every day."

To design these new phones, Bose engineers first placed two tiny microphones in each earbud; one senses the sound approaching, the other measures the sound inside.  The measurements are then sent to a digital electronic chip located in the control module found on the headphone cord.  

The digital electronic chip--exclusive to Bose, and the first of its kind--calculates an equal and opposite noise cancellation signal within a fraction of a millisecond.  The resulting noise reduction is so dramatic, it has to be heard to be believed.

Within the quiet environment created by Bose noise reduction, audio detail previously "lost" through conventional in-ear headphone listening can be heard with remarkable clarity. Bose TriPort technology uses ports to increase the effective acoustic space of the earbud to reproduce deep lows and lifelike dialogue.

Bose active equalization tunes the frequency response for improved, natural sound. The sound quality is excellent--full, rich and deep, without artificial boosts or distortion.

The QuietComfort 20 headphones were made for comfort and performance. New proprietary StayHear+ ear tips sit at the entrance of the ear canal, and feature an improved conical design that ensures an effective seal to passively block noise, and the proper acoustic enclosure to improve active noise reduction. They are stable, secure and barely felt.

The QC20 headphones can be used in two ways, giving the users control over what is heard and when. Owners can choose to block out the noisy world. Or, with the push of a button on the cord's Y-joint, the QC20 headphones switch to new Aware mode, which keeps the audio signal, but allows surroundings to be heard clearly. It is excellent for third party interruptions when you are monitoring sound.

"Aware mode changes behavior," said Garrett. "With it, you no longer have to remove your headphones to connect with the world."

A rechargeable battery provides about 16 hours of power; when the battery is depleted or the power is turned off, the sound continues to be heard.

The new Bose headphones will cost $299 and be available later this summer.