: Bose Triport Headphone Review

11-11-08, 05:18 AM
I made a trade with my roommate. He got my RC battery-powered Camaro and I got his Bose Triport headphones. I paid $50 for the car (50% clearance price from Radio Shack in 2006) and he paid $150 for the cans. Despite differences in monetary value, I think he came out ahead in this deal.

The Camaro has only been used for a couple hours but its covered in grease because I left it on top of the fridge next to the stove for over a year. The turn signal indicators come on when you turn, and the steering wheel spins as well. The doors have an actual door mechanism with working miniature handles, and the trunk and hood open to reveal life-like details. The shifter moves and it even has "power locks" that you can activate with the remote.
Not a serious RC car, but a seriously cool toy.

The headphones are a few months old and in good shape.

I've never been a fan of anything Bose-branded. The only Bose car audio systems I've enjoyed have been the Porsche Cayenne and 98-04 Seville STS. Most Bose-branded cars are mushy, generic, and forgettable, like someone added a little kick to a factory radio. I've heard some pretty impressive things about the sound systems in the latest CTS, STS, M45, and Escalade, so maybe not all is bad.

As for their speakers and home audio systems, they're no better than any other consumer-grade equipment you can find from Panasonic/Technics, Pioneer, Polk, Klipsch, or Onkyo. They just cost a lot more.

Here's my pathway:
Compaq F500 laptop with Conexant onboard audio -> Onkyo SV313PRO receiver from 1995 -> no headphone amp -> then either the Bose Triports connected to the front of the receiver or some Technics bookshelf speakers from the mid 1990s.

With the Technics speakers, acquired for $15 at Goodwill, the sound stage is wide, filling my bedroom with bright, clear sound. I don't use a subwoofer because the three-way speakers do an excellent job with low frequencies. Plus, I don't want to wake anyone up. Every detail, from depth and grit of John Michael Montgomery's country voice to the earthy mandolins and airy violins is up front and live. They aren't buried by overwhelming bass or muffled in any way.

With these Bose headphones, the sound stage is very narrow, as if two small speakers have been placed next to my head (I guess in the literal sense that's true). I don't feel surrounded by the music because its presented as if the drums, vocals, and other instruments have been crammed into a six-inch spot down in the pit of the theatre instead of evenly distributed up on the stage.

If you've ever listened to a decent sound system in a tiny space, like a Honda CRX, you know what I mean. Its overbearing.

Only the bass is given some kind of life, and its actually impressive. All the dips and hits are fully articulated without slop, and none of it overpowers the rest of the music. With most headphones, there's a tendency for powerful and short hits of bass to linger, but the Triports are accurate and precise.

Unfortunately, the rest of the audio spectrum has been completely neglected. Treble is artificially strong, like when you turn the treble knob up on a cheap boombox. Sure, you get more "treble", but the overboosted highs are only high mids, compensating for a lack of spectral width.

Forget about vocals. You can hear them, but Bose apparently thinks that we're all morons who want nothing but booming bass with some crap sprinkled on top.

iPod earbuds
Just to compare... the cheap iPod ear buds have far superior stereo separation, a wide soundstage, clear and lively mids, shallow bass, and less treble (but not boosted artificially either).

The Triports are incredibly comfortable, so I'll give them that much credit.

If these were $40 headphones, I'd be somewhat impressed, but $40 bought me brand new Grado SR-40s years ago and $100 bought me near-reference-level Grado SR-80s in 2007. And comparable Sennheisers, while not quite as well built, blow the Triports away at only $60 with wide retail availability.

Overall, they're garbage for $150 but tolerable if they could be had for $40. These Triports go for $60 on Ebay, so I'll try my luck there. Anyone wanna buy some crappy headphones? $50 NICO special with free shipping.

Songs used to test:
B52s - Private Idaho
OAR - Shattered
Amy Grant - I Will Remember You
John Michael Montgomery - Cover You In Kisses
Euge Groove - Mr Groove
Elton John - The One
Nicole Atkins - Maybe Tonight
Don Henley - Boys of Summer

The tested MP3s are either 256k rips from CDs or purchased 256k files from Amazon.

11-11-08, 08:16 AM
I bought the noise canceling Senhheisers for the wife. She loves them. She will play classical music when she studies at the university and public libraries. It's amazing how many people no longer respect the no talking rules in libraries.

11-11-08, 09:54 PM
No Careless Whisper?

11-11-08, 10:14 PM
I've had Triport IEMs (the $100 earbuds) for about two years, then just a couple days ago they crapped out on me. The silicon tips refused to stay on which was unbelievably annoying. The saying for these was true "No high, no lows, must be Bose". It was just a muddy mess. I'll me looking at Shure next.

Night Wolf
11-11-08, 10:32 PM
Yeah, I've heard them and was very disapointed with them. I was going to mention Grado then saw that you have/had them. I have SR-60's and am totally happy with them, either powered by ipod/laptop or via headphone amp, still great. I may get some Shure earbuds in the future for the ipod on the go.

11-12-08, 03:15 AM

11-12-08, 10:38 AM
I'm quite happy with the Bose system in the S. I'm by no means an audiophile, but it more than satisfies my needs. It's crystal clear, plenty powerful and easy to use. The only thing that scares me is the cost of replacement parts for BOSE systems (the amplifier is $2200) and the complexity of their systems.

11-12-08, 03:20 PM
Jeez, I thought the amp for a Seville was expensive.

Overall, I wasn't too impressed with Bose systems until my car. My mom had '05 Yukon XL with Bose and it was ok; her current Yukon XL Denali is only ok as well. A friend of mine had some more expensive Bose headphones and they were great.

11-12-08, 03:27 PM
I wanna see how the Bose 4.0 system in your STS compares to the Bose system in the W140. I've got more speakers, but you've got much more power (400 watts v. ~200 for mine) and your system design is like six years newer than mine.

11-12-08, 03:31 PM
I'm sure yours is better than mine is now. I've got a terrible sub rattle that really ruins loud songs. On top of that, I'm sure you cabin is alot quieter than mine so the sound would really pop.

11-12-08, 03:38 PM
The Bose system in the Seville is one of the best factory systems I've ever heard.

11-12-08, 03:46 PM
That's what I keep hearing, and I want to compare so badly!

Night Wolf
11-12-08, 04:07 PM
I test drove a '98 STS and was impressed by the Blose system.... if I had a car with one tho and the amp or something went out, no way I'd sheel out those big bucks to fix it, unless I could find a used replacement cheap I would just install my own aftermarket system.... all cars that use a factory amp are that way, the BMW has/had a Blauphunkt amp in the trunk... whole darn thing had to be rewired, but it's done now and sounds alot better. I actually like the JBL system in the Lincoln and decided to leave that alone once I added the aux connection.

stock Bose car systems are usually not too bad, but I wouldn't waste my time with any of their home speakers/headphones. Some of their PA stuff isn't too bad, but I am not sure what it costs and what can be had for similar money.

11-12-08, 04:16 PM
The JBL system in dad's Camry sounds pretty good....seems to be as clear as my Bose.

Night Wolf
11-12-08, 04:53 PM
I've got a thing for JBL (and the Harmon family...H/K,infinity and then also Altec Lansing) that no doubt stems from my ancient L100(A)'s for the home system.... so I may be a bit biased.


Even then, not saying JBL may be the be-all-end-all in any particular segment, but I've been impressed by all that I've heard, even their new iPod dock systems are pretty good.... and the Altec Lansing speakers in my HP laptop even still impress me.

Old picture from the house I rented last year...


Anyone remember this picture? Take one guess which speakers those are (hint L100)


I've got that picture up on my wall in my house now with one of the track lights shining on it... pretty darn cool.

I'll stop now before I get off-topic even more... this is one of those things that I tend to have a hard time getting away from....

11-12-08, 06:09 PM
The speakers on my computer are Altec Lansing. We bought them in March of 1997 and they still sound pretty damn good, even when I'm listening to Rush so loud the neighbors can hear. I'm pretty satisfied with them.

Now, I go through headphones on my iPod quite frequently. Probably 80% of the time I use them, they're playing at full blast, so they don't get used lightly or easily. I've been buying Phillips earbuds (good for running) for like $15 at Best Buy, but I seem to go through 2-3 pairs in a year. Kinda frustrating. What would be my best bet for a great sound and awesome reliability at a reasonable price?

11-12-08, 06:24 PM
I had a pair of JBL Creatures that I used with my MacBook and they were the best pair of $100 speakers I've ever heard. Lots of bass, crystal clear sound, and they looked neat. I wish I hadn't of sold them, my internal laptop speakers aren't nearly as good.

Night Wolf
11-12-08, 08:18 PM
I had a pair of JBL Creatures that I used with my MacBook and they were the best pair of $100 speakers I've ever heard. Lots of bass, crystal clear sound, and they looked neat. I wish I hadn't of sold them, my internal laptop speakers aren't nearly as good.

Ohhh, I can 1up you! I too have Creatures... $20 from Goodwill! :) Some kids got a pen and kinda dented in the dust cones (even tho they were already inverted) but man they still sound so awesome, I can't believe the sound from them.

If you want good sound for computers, also check out H/K Soundsticks, their newest ones, pricey, but man they are darn good.

IMO the best "looking" comptuer speakers were the Altec Lansing 2100 system. When I first saw them I liked them alot, I actually got one, but was actually very disapointed with the sound, but I kept them for the looks.... then when I got the Creatures, which sound much better, it just came down to the fact that I have these comptuer speakers sitting here that are never going to get used (I don't even use the creatures right now) so I boxed them up and gave them to goodwill.... I wanted to replace the drivers in them but it would be more trouble them it was worth.


As for headphones... I would flat out reccomend the Grado SR line.... IF IF IF you are not active and you don't need to be quiet for others in the room.

If you are active and want in-ear buds... spend the money, I would reccomend Shure earbuds, the E2C are lower in the lineup, E3C are better, but I would reccomend the E4C's, find them on ebay for a good price. I have heard them and was very impressed, I'll be getting a pair for myself for being on the go, once I start riding my bike and stuff.... for home/away form home but not on the go use the Grado SR-60's flat out rock for the price and do not need a headphone amp to sound their best.

Grado SR-60.... truely one of the best buys of any market. The 80's add more bass, but once you get to the 80 and 125 you really need a headphone amp, my friend has the 125's and when powered by ipod/MP3 player they sound the same, if not a slight edge given to the 60's... however with a proper headphone amp, the 125's sound alot better... still tho, for the price, impossible to beat, read reviews on the things, they are all over the place. The styling tends to be love or hate, which for me falls under the former.


11-12-08, 08:23 PM
I wanted the Soundsticks. There was a pair of them in the Apple Store and they sounded amazing. At $170, a little pricey though.

11-12-08, 11:53 PM
Still rocking a set of 10 year old Altec Lansing computer speakers(two speakers with a sub). They'll bug the neighbors and sound very clear pounding away near max volume. Funny thing was I got them from work for free, all I had to do was replace a bad mini-jack cord.

11-16-08, 02:04 AM
I had some old Altec computer speakers (ACS45 if i remember right?) they're still going strong, I gave them to my brother because they didn't go with my new 30" cinema display.. Currently have the Altec FX6021

As for my home stuff, It's all HK/Infinity. Receiver is a H/K DPR2005 the speakers are the Infinity Beta series. (the TV is a 45" Sharp Aquos)

As for some headphones, I've had a set of Shure earbuds for about a year now and I'm very satisfied with them. They're the low-end, but they hold up well and overpower the lawn tractor heh.