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Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II tailor the sound to your ear shape

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Bose says its new earbuds attenuate outside noise better than any other consumer headset, including over-the-ear models.

The earphones, called the QuietComfort Earbuds II, are a third smaller than their predecessor, each weighs just a third of an ounce.

The Earbuds II come with silicone ear tips in three sizes to better fit all ear sizes. They also include three sizes of “stabilizer band,” a ring of soft silicon around the center of the earbud that molds to the shape of your outer ear, keeping the earbud securely in place, Bose says.

The company says the new QuietComforts include a technology called “CustomTune” sound calibration technology, which aims to tailor both noise cancellation and audio reproduction to the unique shape of the user’s ear.

Bose engineer John Rule says the earphones deliver a “slight ringing sound” into the user’s ear canal and then measure how the sound waves move in that confined space. The audio processing technology in the earphones uses that data to adjust the EQ of the music to the specific shape of the user’s ear. It also uses the data to customize the way the phones cancel out ambient noise.

Since I didn’t get a rating unit, I can’t say how well this really works. However, I can say that the noise reduction in the sister unit, the QuietComfort Over-Ear Headphonesis impressively useful in noisy shared work environments and on airplane flights.

[Photo: courtesy of Bose]

Bose was the first to bring noise cancellation to consumer headphones two decades ago. Bose CEO Lila Snyder says the company is challenging itself to help people manage the sounds they hear, even as media quality and listening environments continue to change.

“We feel like great sound has never been at greater risk than it is now,” she says. “Not only is content created at different levels of quality – sometimes it’s studio quality and amazing, sometimes it’s someone on their iPhone recording a video we’re watching – but our [consumers’] All that content is expected to sound great. And we consume it in increasingly harsh environments: on the road, in our car. So we think there are so many exciting issues that need solving in that area.”

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II will retail for $299 starting September 15th and will only be available in tricolor black, though Bose says it will be adding a soapstone color soon.

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