Bose AE2 Soundlink is a wireless headphones pair from Bose. It is also known as Bose Soundlink around-ear wireless headphones II.
I have used it for a couple of years. They are incredibly comfortable to wear for hours on end. They are good, not great, for music. But to use as headset on video calls, it is utter trash (just like any Bluetooth pair apparently).
- It can be connected using both Bluetooth wirelessly or an analog audio cable.
- When connected over Bluetooth, Windows lists it as two audio devices: headphones and headset. The headphones is listed as Bose AE2 Soundlink Stereo. The headset is listed as Bose AE2 Soundlink Hands-Free.
- The headphones device uses the Bluetooth A2DP profile. This profile only supports one-way audio playback or sink (like a speaker).
- The headset device uses the Bluetooth Hands-free profiles (HFP or HSP). This supports two-way audio. So it is used for both audio playback or sink and also audio input (like a microphone).
- In headphones mode, it seemed to be using the SBC codec. SBC is the lowest-bandwidth highest-latency oldest codec of Bluetooth. Settings in Windows listed this as
2-channel, 16-bit, 44.1KHz (CD Quality).
- There are other better codecs like AptX (supported by Qualcomm and supported on Android phones) and AAC (supported on iPhones), but this headphones did not seem to be using either.
- In headset mode, it seemed to be using a
1-channel, 16-bit, 16KHz codec. This sounds quite terrible, like an old radio. Settings in Windows even lists this as tape recorder quality.
- In applications, like video calls, which use both a audio sink and source, you cannot choose the headphones as sink and the headset as source. This type of mixing is not supported since they involved different Bluetooth profiles (see above) and only one profile can be in play at a time.
- The headset mode sounded like utter trash for video calls! There was a background buzz which would temporarily go away when someone spoke.
- For video calls, I ended up using an external microphone in my webcam and used headphones mode for listening to the audio in the call.