Bose launches mini Bluetooth speaker, in-ear noise-cancelling earphones

Macworld Australia Staff
5 June, 2013
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Bose today launched the SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker and the Quiet Comfort 20 in-ear active-noise-cancelling in-ear headphones – both delivering class-leading audio at a decent price.

The SoundLink Mini is an aluminium-encased speaker that measures just 5.1cm high, 18cm wide and 5.9cm deep – which means it can fit on the palm of your hand – but delivers a sound you’d expect from a far larger unit.

When we first heard it at this morning’s launch in Sydney we had a real ‘wow!’ moment. Performance was excellent across the tonal range, with next to no distortion at higher volumes, but it was the bass that really stunned the room.

Bose has managed to get big bass from a small unit by using dual opposing passive bass radiators to boost the low notes from the SoundLink Mini’s two new custom-designed, high-performance transducers (speakers).

The placement of the radiators means that audio from the rear is almost as good as from the front, and they cancel each other out so the Mini doesn’t vibrate off the table.

The unit uses A2DP Bluetooth for wireless connectivity, and also has a 3.5mm Aux input.

The Mini will come with a simple charging cradle. Its rechargeable lithium-ion battery is rated for seven hours’ use. Coloured covers in green, orange and blue will be available as optional accessories.

Coming to market next month, the speaker will have a very reasonable price of $249 – far cheaper than we were expecting.

Turning to the QC20 earphones, Bose is showing that it hasn’t stopped innovating since pioneering active-noise-cancelling headphones three decades ago.

Bose says there are 700 brands of headphones and 6000 models available so consumers are spoilt for choice, but the company believes the new model “rivals the performance of any headphone”.

The earphones use two microphones in each earbud – one measuring the sound outside and one inside. A chip on a small and light module on the cable creates an equal and opposite wave in a fraction of a millisecond, producing one of the best noise-cancellation effects we’ve experienced.

In this morning’s demonstration the NC circuit effectively covered 85dB of noise, and in our hands-on tests we were able to enjoy Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor while Daft Punk was blasting out just a few metres away.

Sonically, the earphones feature typically warm Bose tuning that is both musical and engaging – and excellent for long listening sessions such as plane travel.

The StayHear tips create a seal at the entrance to the ear canal, creating an enclosure for improved audio reproduction. They’re very comfortable.

The rechargeable battery lasts for 16 hours, and you can still listen passively when they run out.

An Aware Mode allows you to hear outside noises while still keeping the music playing. It works a treat.

The QC20s will be available in September at a price of $399.



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