The Difference Between “Sweet” and “Are You Serious???”

A few years ago, I was given a pair of those amazing Bose Quiet Comfort 2 noise-reduction headphones for my birthday. They were one of the best presents I had ever been given and I got an amazing amount of use out of them.

Bose Quiet Comfort 2 Noise Reduction Headphones



After owning them for about 18 months, I fell victim to someone’s sticky fingers and I found myself actually sick to my stomach that such a great gift was gone in an instant. I was determined to replace that wonderful piece of equipment as soon as was possible.


About the time I was ready to make the purchase, I read a review of a new product that was comparable to those wonderful Bose headphones that I had lost. These new headphones, the Auvana X-Fi, were produced by Creative Labs, a company whose products I had come to trust and rely on for over 10 years, as they are the producer of the extremely popular “Sound Blaster” series of audio components for computers. They’ve always been a reliable and well made product.

Creative Labs Aurvana X-Fi Noise Reduction Headphones

After weighing the pros and cons of each product, I decided to go with the Aurvana X-Fi. And to be completely fair to Creative Labs, the quality of the sound from these headphones is amazing, and as good, if not better than the Bose QC-2s that I had before. Sadly, the comparison drops off sharply from there…

When I had the QC-2s, the plastic headband on either side of the headpads began to crack and made it impossible to adjust the height of the speaker cups over the ears. Not knowing what to make of the issue, I took them to a Bose retail store. They were apparently aware of the issue (a design flaw, they called it) and promptly replaced the set with a brand new pair, and showed me where Bose had corrected the flaw with a new aluminum housing instead of plastic. Total cost to me? Zero dollars.

At the time I purchased the Aurvanas, they were approximately $50 less than the QC-2s, but as you can see from the pictures of each one that they are pretty similar in appearance and design. They are comfortable and as I mentioned earlier, the sound quality is amazing.

I’ve had these headphones now for about 14 months, and sadly, the plastic housing that holds the speaker cups on either side has cracked and similar to the original Bose headphones I had before, these Aurvanas are breaking up just as those did. Sadly, there is one OTHER big difference to the Bose headphones.

Bose not only gladly replaced the faulty headphones, but they made it very easy to do. Not so with Creative Labs. Firstly, Creative has no real customer support to address this issue. After making over a dozen phone calls and finally getting the voicemail box of the U.S. Customer Relations person, I have had no success getting these headphones repaired. When I was finally able to speak to someone, I was told that the Aurvanas only have a 90 day warranty, and that Creative didn’t offer a way to even get the ones I own repaired, despite my willingness to pay for the repairs.

As a strange coincidence, I also own a $50 pair of Logitech Skype headphones that were recently damaged. Upon contacting Logitech, not only were they understanding, they also offered to replace the headphones and didn’t even require me to return the damaged pair! For a $50 pair of headphones!!!

Bottom line? I have a $300 pair of headphones that I have gerry-rigged with two strips of duct tape to keep the metal guide inside their faulty plastic housing.

Moral of this story? Buy Bose: They stand behind their product! Buy Creative? Buyer beware!

P.S. As an aside, I have sent an e-mail to Creative Labs Customer Relations team to see how they may respond to this issue.  I’ll keep you updated on what happens!

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Michael on February 8, 2010 at 1:30 am

    John,
    I purchased the new bose QC 15 and i absolutely LOVE them. wonderful product and great company!!

    Reply

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