Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones
Bose is the most recognized name when it comes to noise cancelling headphones, and rightfully so. There is no doubt that the technology Bose uses to cancel outside noises is very effective. It includes microphones both inside and outside the ear cup to sample outside sounds. Plus, the over-the-ear design seals the ears well providing passive noise reduction as well.
In terms of overall audio quality, the Quiet Comfort 15 are good, but not great. Bass response is exaggerated although less so than in older designs. The midrange where vocals and many instruments set in the mix are a bit recessed, with treble rising but not to the point of fatigue. In the environment for which they were designed the shaped frequency response is appropriate, and works with the noise cancellation circuitry to very good effect. Like many NC designs, the QC15 has a cable that incorporates a built-in mic for headset use, and remote for controlling iPhone and iPad functions. A AAA battery is required for the circuitry and is rated for 35 hours average life. Keep in mind that there is no passive mode available. A dead battery equals no sound.
Finally, it should be noted that the QC15 are comfortable and lightweight. Reduction of weight comes at a cost of durability. But, like all things of value, if you take care of them they will reward you with quiet, convenience, and pleasant listening.