How To Fix Broken Bose Quiet Comfort Noise Cancelling Headset

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I mentioned the Bose Quiet Comfort has been a part of my travel gear for quite some time. (See newer version of the Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones hereIn this post I’ll share how to fix a broken Bose Quiet Comfort noise cancelling headset. I upgraded to a new Quiet Comfort headset about 2 years ago and even earned American Airlines miles when purchasing the noise cancelling headset. But after about 2 years the headset audio cord was showing some wear. The wire became exposed and I have been concerned about the product ever since. This week I finally called Bose to see how they can fix the audio cord and what I found was surprising.

It was surprising because I apparently wasn’t aware of what the warranty covers. In addition, given how much these headsets cost I was surprised it broke after a little more than 2 years.

Fix Broken Bose Quiet Comfort Headset

Bose offers a 1 year limited warranty. If your headset breaks within the first year, call them at 1-800-380-4831 or contact them through their support website to request your headset be repaired under warranty.

But if your headset breaks after year 1?

Replace Broken Bose Quiet Comfort Headset

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 9.53.27 AM

You can’t get it repaired for free if you purchased the product more than 1 year ago. Bose will only replace the headset at a discounted price. Here are the prices that Bose quoted this week.

  • New Cord Replacement: 
    • Bose allows you to order replacement Audio cables at total cost of 16.20 a piece including tax and shipping
  • New Headset Replacement:
    • If you have a broken QC2 you can replace it with a QC 5 for $99
    • Or you can replace it with a QC3 for $199

My Thoughts On Bose

The Bose Quiet comfort noise canceling headsets are not cheap. In fact, I would say they are expensive. So when the audio cord on my Bose QC2 headset broke after only 2 years of use, I was quite surprised. Even thought it was only a small cost, I was more surprised by the fact that I had to pay for a replacement cord. So make sure you know what the costs are in the event of replacement or repair when you consider purchasing a Bose Noise Cancelling headset.

Would be very interested to hear your thoughts on other headsets you’ve used.

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The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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Comments

  1. I have QC2’s for years and even with a bad crack in the headset they still performed fine until the sound quality faded (as has been the case with most Bose products I have owned). $99’ed up to QC 15’s and both of the 1st 2 sets blew out after less than 10 hours use on each. The 3rd pair (2nd replacement) is ok but nowhere near the QC2.

    Note that there is an upgrade program for the Wave radio, though I don’t know the current prices.

    Should I move over to Beats or Sennheiser?

  2. Had the same issue after 6years of use. Went to Bose store ad got a replacement & upgrade for 70 bucks.
    Real good customer service
    Jr

  3. Getting very tired of Bose products bc of this issue. I take very good care of them and my previous two have had serious issues. Head band/whatever-it’s-called broke, I’ve had two cords come loose at a connection point, and the covering on the ear covers peels off eventually. The tech is prob good for noise-canceling but the other parts are very inferior. Now my left ear canceling part just went out one week ago. Incredible.

  4. My husband broke his headset through carelessness.

    I took them to the local Bose store (even though he’d purchased them online) to ask if we could send them off for repair. The salesperson looked up his serial number to make sure they weren’t fake, and sent me out the door with a brand new pair. No receipt, not purchased there – nothing.

    They were only about 6 months old at the time. Maybe should could tell by the serial number how old they were? Regardless, I was so impressed by their service.

  5. Hi Anita – This is because you were within the 1 year warranty. Lucky you didn’t go beyond 1 year, otherwise, you would have had to put up more cash for a replacement.

    Hi Paul – I agree. I take great care of them, but somehow every couple of years the plastic breaks, the ear piece deteriorates, or the audio cord comes loose.

    Hi LR – Why are beats so good? I really like the QC2s that cover the entire ear, the really block out the noise better than the QC15s IMO.

  6. I was also deciding between the QC15 and Beats Studio headphones, and I got the Beats in the end. The noise canceling isn’t as great as the QC (still able to make out some mild ambient noise), but somehow I prefer that I am still able to hear the surroundings. Weird huh? I feel too ‘isolated’ with the QC 15… Am I making any sense?? Haha.

  7. Interesting post and comments:

    I bought my daughter a low cost insignia brand headsets.

    I trued them on an AA first class flight to the Bose units, I would say 90% as good in overall performance.

    the cables ( one for charging, one for audio input) unplug from the headset, to replace the audio cable would cost less than $3 and easy to do.

  8. My experience with Bose over the last 20 years has been great. I called Bose to upgrade my Aviation X, only to be told that they would send the kit for free! My headset was 3 years old at the time. All of my Bose purchases have been direct with Bose, and not via a third party, not sure if that plays a factor.

    I thought by now I would need a new battery for my QC3’s, but they continue to work great with multiple trips between charging.

  9. You are missing a known trick here. Buying Bose at a discount is nigh impossible. However you can buy broken pairs (even QC1) for under $50 on ebay and then call in for the $99 repair. $149 for an amazing $300 pair of headphones is why I have 2 sets – 1 for travel, the other for my desk

  10. I got the QC15’s about 3 years ago have went through 1 set of earpieces and recently the right speaker is breaking up. I would love it if they would replace for 99 bucks. Best headsets I have owned. Also have the wave radio. Excellent quality but does not go loud enough in my opinion, especially not for 500 bills. Still the best in the world in my opinion.

  11. I have the Q2, I believe the ones that have the pads on the years, not covering them. That Bose lack of quality really surprised me. After a year, my first pair broke and was replaced. First year second pair, the top logo disintegrated, second year the jack connection was lose, the third year everything was loose and finally this year the right ear gave out. It’s a connection loose wire problem. I’m trying to repair it but haven’t seen anyone done it before. I can’t open it without breaking it. Anyone has had luck repairing one?

  12. I bought my Bose noise cancelling comfortable headphones 6 days ago.. but my brother tripped over them and the delicate circuit got pulled and broken. Now one of the earphones isnt working. It is in 1 year warranty but only for American and Europe stores. It isnt applicable for asian stores. What do you suggest I do? These were reallly expensive and I was only able to use them for less than a week. 🙁 🙁

  13. Every Pair of Bose I gave ever had has broken within 2-1/2 years. My QC-15’S are now no longer cutting noise after only 2 years. In addition, I have had to replace the ear-pads 3 times since I got them! Not because the pads wear out mind you, but because the (expensive) padded ear-cups are designed to fail! The exact area where the stitching is, is ‘perforated’ by 22 1/6″ holes all around the inside of the pad. Sure enough this area is where they inevitably tear in two requiring a replacement. They have become a Terrible company. Bottom-Line Incorporated. Quality is no longer even considered there.
    If only the Harman/Kardon version were made for humans (instead of robots with 90 degree angles in their Rectangular Ears).

  14. I will NEVER buy anything from Bose after this terrible experience with their Q2. Not worth it. My AKGs last decades, if Bose can’t make something built on quality, I won’t buy it. And I’m also telling everyone not to buy this crappy quality form them.

    In the meantime, has any heard of the PSB M4U 2? I think they will be my next ones. If I’m going to spend that kind of money on NC headsets, I’d rather make it last. Hear me now Bose?

  15. BOSE are quality headphones. Cables are prone to wear and tear as you know. It would be best to order a new cable. I see someone here has mentioned that beats are the way to go. Incorrect, we have received more repairs from beats than any other manufacturer makes out there. We recommend Shure’s. All round excellence. Still, you will have the cable issue in the long run that’s a fact. Recently we received a pair of audio-technica’s where someone had caught the cable in his bike chain. miraculously the cable was kept intact, no damage at all. The headphones did not work though, and it wasn’t the jack either, or the speakers. Nether the less, he has them back now, and sent us a massive thank you. Take time in choosing what headphones or earphones to buy. There are alot out there that are superb but are sadly never a highlight of topical debate.

  16. I’m, sorry, my definition of quality is different, it means the entire headset. The Bose headset are crude, poorly manufactured and not that good. If you take the time to listen to Audio Technica, you will get much better for the same price. My AKGs last virtually decades with rougher treatment. Another great product are the PBS headsets. These products have a much better built quality and makes me feel I have zero reasons to send Bose any money from now on.

    Quality is a complete product concept, not just this and that, especially at that ridiculous price. You might be referring to its audio that is OK. But for the price, you can get much, much better. Quality and BOSE are not in the same sentence when it comes to headsets. Please go to head-fi.org/ to see what enthusiast have to say about headsets.

  17. I am now on my 3rd pair of Bose Quiet Comfort 15’s in 9 months. I have been back to the retail store exchanging them twice because they flat did not work. The store clerk tried to tell me I was inserting the battery incorrectly. Give me a break! I e-mailed Bose Customer Service and never received any type of response to my expressed concerns and frustration. With the on-going issues, I have probably not even been able to use my headphones 10 times total in 9 months. They are not working again tonight; so I guess I’m headed back to the Bose store again… Not a happy customer!!

  18. At this stage, I wouldn’t accept anything from Bose anymore. The quality is shoddy and the bass is too heavy. I’m spending on Parrot Ziks or PSB M4U 2 Active Noise-Cancelling, period.

    If Bose treats us like this, then they don’t deserve a dime.

  19. I bought a pair of QC15s a year and a half ago. The left ear makes a slight clicking sound at random intervals, every half hour or so, just enough to wake me on long flights. And the connector into the airline sound socket needs delicate fiddling to get any sound. The clicking has gone on for months but unfortunately I was travelling and didn’t take the unit in on time. The warranty expires after 1 year. Bose now want $AUS180 to replace them. There is no repair option. I bought these as my only present to myself for my 50th. This leaves a very sour taste in my mouth and obviously I will never buy Bose again.

  20. Me neither and there are plenty of others better sounding and not as artificial pretentious inflated bass sound. Price wise, you still get what you pay for, but for $450 you get a nice pair of MPS noise canceling.

  21. I’ve had my QC3’s for just over a year and the plastic bracket broke. The quality of the electronics may be good but the plastic brackets are extremely brittle and not what you would expect of a quality product. especially if these headphones are designed for travel. anyway I spoke to bose about getting a replacement bracket (very easy to remove and fit) but bose do not supply this simple part and wanted to sell me a replacement set of QC3’s. I went out and bought a set of beats instead!

  22. Darn, I wanted to add, has anyone used them or tried them?

    Moderator, can you please add this to the above comment, f approved? Thank you, Nicolas

  23. I thought I’d share my Bose experience:
    I bought my QC2’s back in ~2003. At about 2006 and ~500.000 Air miles all over the world (Gold@United and Platinum@Delta) my set was starting to drop pieces of the spring covers (Where the R & L letters are).
    On the road repair (?NZ?)I wrapped them excessively with “Duct Tape” and traveled back to US. Called Bose and explained my problem and the reason I needed them. I think the “Duct Tape” fix, flying in Business and First Class was why they sent me a new set well over two years after purchase, free of charge. I don’t think that would happen in today’s Business environment.
    Sometimes the customers Fix is worse than having upset customers…

  24. Oooh,IkeA, that is the greatest idea. I’m going to walk around with my broken pair. Who said there is no such thing as pbad publicity?

  25. I just got a pair of Beats (black Executives) as a gift to replace my old Bose (not even sure what model #, but pretty old) that had completely fallen apart. I was all excited to start using the Beats. The quality seems great, but was very disappointed in the comfort of them. They feel heavy (but is that what I get if I want metal over plastic?). Worst part is the way they make my ears feel. After about 30 minutes my ears feel hot and the cartilage feels sore (maybe I have sensitive ears?). So I tried on the Bose QC15, even though I told myself I would never buy Bose headphones again, they feel soooo much more comfortable. Not sure what to do now that the Beats hurt my ears and the Bose get so many bad reviews related to their quality (and confirm my previous experience with them). Who else make a NC headphone with the large “around ear” cup that a good for travel?

  26. When it comes to comfort, AKGs have always been the best. I forget I have mine on most of the time. I’ll catch myself wearing them even after the music has stopped.

  27. I’ve had my QC15’s for 3 years. In the last few months, the battery door became difficult to snap shut. Now somehow the door was snapped off by the headset. This small part that is probably all of about 25 cents does not appear to be replaceable. I am out of warranty. I can pay $89.95 plus shipping for a new set. I’m very disappointed because I had saved for a long time to get a pair. The sound is great, but I’m amazed that some of the parts of it are so poorly made.

  28. I bought a pair of Bose headphones for £260, after 4 months they started rattling. I decided to fix them myself on the assumption that if I contact Bose I am simply opening myself to a world of pain. I took the mufflers off and had a look – there was a small piece of paper loose inside. QC clearly doesn’t stand for quality control.

  29. I have QC-1’s from about 2000/2001. The only problem with them till now was a broken headband. I inadvertently sat on the case and cracked the yoke for the tight cup. I was still in the warranty period and they promptly sent another piece. Now to the current issue more than a decade later. My stuff including the QC-1s was in storage in a climate controlled space for about 26 months. I found them yesterday and put them on, turning to the lo setting, but w/o connecting them to an audio source. I noticed a low rumble in the left side that grew louder like there was a feedback loop of some type. I looked at the cords and fiddled with them for a second and the sound went away – for a few seconds and then returned. I took off the set and looked for obvious damage (crushing). Seeing none, I pressed on the fabric cover and it literally fell off into my hand. Whatever adhesive had dried out and it was basically wedged btw the pad and the cup. I looked in at the bare components and did not see anything that looked like a speaker element. It did seem like the wire was pinched btw the cup and a metal thingy. I freed it and shoved the cover back into place. I put the set on and now it works kind of like I expect it to except if I turn my head to the right or lean to the right. If I readjust the cup over the left ear, the buzz/rumble/oscillation sound abates. The same is true if I loosen the fit of the headband. Any ideas. I’m not crazy sad about this b/c I’ve enjoyed them for so many years, but I don’t want to toss them if there’s something mechanical I can check and fix. Ideas welcome.

    Thanks
    JTL

  30. Does anyone kow how to open the QC2? It sounds like you have to crack the cheap plastic. Any idea?

  31. Expensive yes, but modular with replacable parts. In this disposable world that is a rare thing. I don’t know how many headphones I went through before I got mine only to throw away after one or both ears stopped working presumably from fractured wires. I have replaced the cord twice on mine and the padded cups once. The price for the parts is much cheaper from ebay or Amazon.

  32. Had my qc 15 for 2 and half years they started cutting out On left hand side. Had to keep tapping left side to get them to work but it still kept happening. Out of warranty by 5 months. Contacted bose and they said they would send me another pair at a cost of £116.50p . Most disappointed because I thought they would last me a lifetime also disgusted that they don’t seem to be able to fix there own products why not I thought . Will see how long second pair will last if I have same problem wold consider suing bose.

  33. My second pair lasted the same amount of time, less than a year with noticeable degradation, wear and tear, even though it was handled with the greatest of care. It’s just sub-par quality and with little to no build control, unless it was with planned obsolescence. It’s just a company not worthwhile spending money on.

  34. I really should have read this blog before ordering them a couple of days ago. Hope mine will last 🙂

  35. Three years ago I bought a pair of QC 15s for quite a high price. But they were invaluable to me in many situations and quite decent sounding.

    Unfortunately…after a year and a half the junction between the cord and the pin broke of its own, exposing bare wire, obligating me to make an emergency, and ungainly, brace.

    After two years, the stitching reinforcing the padding on the left cup came loose, reducing it to a flat sponge that had to be forced into shape around my ear with my finger whenever I wanted to listen.

    Yesterday, the three year mark, the sound on the left cup abruptly cut out, so completely and absolutely that I think it must be the headset, and not the loose cord. Strangely, the sound suppression continues to work.

    For four hundred bucks (with tax in this part of the world) you would think something would last longer than three years. For the time being it’s still good against noise, but it’s musically dead. I’ve had my eyes on some Shure 940s, better quality sound and so padded it may almost be as good against ambient sound as the Bose.

    Thanks for taking the time to provide this forum, by the way.

  36. Steve… don’t worry unnecessarily! I’ve had my QC15 headphones for more years than I can remember without any issues. They are on & off my ears DAILY! (Many times a day, I might add.) I only stumbled upon this blog because I was looking for information on how to replace the foam earpads. One pad is starting to show wear. I think with extraordinary care, (for an extraordinary headphone set), you’ll be fine for many years. I am very happy with Bose and I’m in no way affiliated with that company or any of it’s employees. LOL I’m just a grateful customer.

  37. I am sitting at my PC using 15 year old senheisers while searching the internet to determine how to fix my 2 year old broken bose headphones… hmmmm….. 😉

  38. Using a QC15 since 2006. The noise cancelling is really excellent, with a very good match between high frequencies (from the passive design) and the low frequencies (from active cancelling). The QC15 does fit my ears very comfortably and I wake up after a 6-8h sleep in the plane without sore ears.
    The only weak part on the build I have experienced is with the cord, which I have now to replace. Plastic and cushion show now some wear, but not excessive. I used the headphones where it makes sense: when I fly over 1 hour, or e.g. work in a noisy environment.
    I admit that I always took quite some care of a $300 piece of equipment which is helping tremendously in limiting jet lag effects.
    I cannot compare, except with a piece of rubbish (I think a SONY model) we bought for $150, claiming noise cancelling properties, and perhaps having the active part working somehow, but not covering the ears: hence a limitation in actual noise cancelling to a couple of dB at best.
    So if you are really after noise cancellation, make sure the model covers well your ears: better attenuation and no pain on the ears.

  39. Yeah, reading all around the internet and came across this page….
    If this was the only page people came across…people would think to stay clear of Bose…
    Which i really don’t think is the case…i DO , however, Believe that people should stay FAR
    away from the QC-15’s they seem to be the problem child, and by all logic, should have a formal
    recall according to sheer amount of these units that are failing/falling apart…
    I myself have a pair of QC-3’s and i’ve had them since i believe 2001 or 2003…and i haven’t taken especially good care of them, not anywhere near as good of care as i should for their original price…
    Now i’m not a Bose enthusiast or anything, so i’m not sure what the Hierarchy is in the Bose QC Series, to be honest, the whole numbering system has confused the shit out of me… But it seems the QC-3’s are good, as you are hard pressed to find a meaningful amount of bad reviews/experiences…
    So this may be an indication of a Beginning of a Decline in Bose, Or possibly just a bad manufacturing run that they don’t want to admit to and just recall…which i believe is wrong…
    That being said…i wont count them out yet, i will be watching current line ups though and if maybe they just didn’t want to tarnish their Brand Power Publicly but do learn from the mistake and step up quality and thoroughness of design/performance, i will probably still support them..
    So Just do your own research, but use more than one source and try to find information from independent sources.. Like anything else electronic, don’t blindly buy on perceived specs/quality, find out what the products you are looking at are all about.
    Have a Good One!!

  40. We bought a pair of QC 15’s based almost entirely on reviews and sound quality. However, if I had known what I know now, we would not have bought them. Look inside your head band, the part where the design and manufacturing locations are printed on both left a right sides… broke. Simple replacement? Not so fast, these parts are the pivot for the ear piece and the entire head set is dependent on a piece of plastic with the dimension of 4mm X 1mm. Once this piece is broken your head phones are done; the pivot is broken and the ear piece just flops around. Hey, what the heck, its only $300+ for a little over a year of use. The way I see it, it’s a $300 lesson on why not to by Bose in the future. Great sound, but poor (dare I say, purposely designed weak) build quality.

    Hmmm what are we going to buy for head phones, that are not BOSE; for we do not mind spending good money for good quality.

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