I stopped into a Best Buy this afternoon and heard the Bose SoundWear Companion Wearable Speaker. It puts a high quality 2 inch speaker with a Bose “wave guide” (I am guessing it’s really a transmission line) in a neckpiece. Sound is near field. It really does sound like the few near field setups I have tried. Not sure how much it would bother other people, but it has, at modest to moderate volumes a pretty decent sound. It also doesn’t feel like headphones, and might even work in that state just before sleep.

Has anybody had any experience with them? I am not sure when and where I would actually use them, but the seem like they should have some use somewhere. Three hundred American dollars.

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That’s an interesting piece of technology. I can definitely see its appeal when you want to engage in a focused listening experience while still be able to actively engage with your environment: maybe while watching TV or driving a car? No way I am going to pay 300 bucks for it though; but that’s just me. Still very cool!

These look really cool. I could definitely think of a bunch of scenarios where something like this would come in handy. Unfortunately not $300 handy, but I guess we’ll see if the price goes down at some point.

How disturbing are these to others around you? It sounds like Bose does their best to make sure the sound points at your ears but the open design means others are going to hear. I’d be curious to know how usable they are in shared spaces (I suspect not very).

The cheap knock-offs have arrived:



JBL makes one too. Sennheiser had one a long, long time ago if I recall. I’m not super interested in this but I can see it may be useful for someone who doesn’t want to invest in a home theater system or 2-ch stereo perhaps. But even then, seems odd to me.

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And LG: LG Tone Studio. Gotta say I like the Bose’s design the best, but given the price point I would be more inclined to check out the LG.

I can’t see it being a particularly enjoyable experience for anyone near the listener too. It doesn’t look my kind of thing. Although I have never heard or even seen one.

They don’t publish any measurement specs, so you don’t know what frequency response is. This is perhaps difficult to measure in near-field.

They were very comfortable. I would need a second person to test them, cranking some Led Zeppelin or Metallica so I could hear how much it leaks into the environment. Looking at the reviews, it appears that motorcyclists like them. I could imagine a bicyclist liking them also.

Looking at the knock-offs, they all appear to use considerably less speaker than a 2 inch with some sort of enclosure. If you’ve ever looked at how near-field works, I would bet that the Bose sound a lot better than ones with tiny speakers. Bass was audible, not punchy, but it was there.

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I can see the usage there as you say for motorcycles and cyclists. But definitely not something that would do for Audiophiles :grinning:. Though as always I could be completely wrong.

I tried the Bose SoundWear yesterday (Monday was a federal holiday–honored by my employer).

It’s amazingly relaxing, and more comfortable than any set of headphones or IEMs. The sound quality was very good, but seemed as if I was standing explicitly with my back turned to an in-room stereo system. You turn your head left and the sound moves with you. You turn right and the sound moves with you. Always and forever have your back to the sweet spot. No bass to speak of, and no resonator a la the ancient “Bone Fone.” At normal listening volumes I could hear it 5-6 feet away.

The main use seems to be for people who are alone in a house and walking around from room to room, or to a garage or yard. The salesman said some people use it while driving, as it can take phone calls too. For me, it’s a <$100 niche product.