First aviation headset- choice?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by tobnpr, Oct 6, 2022.

  1. guest user

    guest user Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Allow me to address this issue. I use a CQ1 in-ear headset*. I fly the rental 172s / Cherokees. There is no real difference noise-reduction wise between them and my David Clarks H10-60s. Seriously, there is no problem with the CQ-1 (and I presume the other in-ear headsets) in a noisy environment.

    The benefits of in-ear are obvious as are the downside. Essentially it comes down to can you deal w/ earplugs for an extended period of time. If so, you should consider them, if not, then don't. Also, the ear tips are customizable. That is, you can use different tips of varying material / densities / etc.

    I also own a pair of lightspeed zulu 2s that I took on one flight. Turns out that for me, if I turn my head a specific way during flight I get the weird reverb effect for a little bit.

    * https://cqheadset.com/
     
  2. guest user

    guest user Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Another suggestion that I don't see mentioned that you may want to consider is the uflymike option*.

    This is an adapter that connects to regular Bose noise cancelling headphones (QuietComfort 15 / 25 /35 / 45) that allows them to be used as GA headsets. You get the benefit of noise cancelling and bluetooth, but can then use them as regular headphones away from the airport. When added together the price would be about where you wanted to be and the reviews are very encouraging.

    * https://uflymike.com/
     
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  3. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Administrator Management Council Member

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    I'm usually a value shopper rather than buying the top of the line... but headsets have been an exception. I tried to buy cheap or middle of the road stuff at least a couple times, but the right answer ended up being Bose/Lightspeed/One-X. Buying used can save you a little bit. If you think headsets are expensive, ever price hearing aids?
     
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  4. tobnpr

    tobnpr Filing Flight Plan

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    Sure- muddy things up some more for me !!
    It would be interesting to know whether the A20 uses the same ANR circuitry as the QC 45. I know zero about this, but it would seem that the frequencies to be attenuated in an aircraft environment might be different. If it's the same ANR, then is the difference just a redesigned (more durable) passive headset?
    :confused: ;)
     
  5. Tscottme

    Tscottme Filing Flight Plan

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  6. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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  7. Shepherd

    Shepherd Final Approach

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    My first failure was the fabric coming off the top of the wing. It was just a very quiet flutter. Landed, got some duct tape on it, and flew it back home.
    My second close call was an exposed aileron wire started to slap. A pulley had started disintegrating. Also very quiet. That one sat for a couple days until we could get back with the part.
    In the first failure, my passenger with the ANR didn't hear the noise.
    Just personal preference. Like religion and politics.
     
  8. WDD

    WDD En-Route

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    Agree that I hear so much more with the ANR than without.
     
  9. Tscottme

    Tscottme Filing Flight Plan

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    A couple of years ago when I first was told about buying/financing through Bose, it was interest free if paid within 12 months. NOTHING is worth 25% interest, not a car, house, boat. MAYBE a heart transplant.
     
  10. Daleandee

    Daleandee En-Route

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    I'll second the motion ... I fly an experimental, 120 HP with dual exhaust & no mufflers. The Clarity Aloft works extremely well to quiet down the noise. The mic is also excellent for those that are listening to you ...
     
  11. Martin Pauly

    Martin Pauly Line Up and Wait

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    Would you consider an in-ear headset? They are more affordable than the traditional headsets, have excellent noise reduction, feel weightless, give you more headroom, have no clamping pressure, have none of the white noise you get from ANR, and they don’t need batteries. On the other hand, they take longer to put on (say, 15 seconds to put the foam plugs in your ears vs. the couple of seconds to put on a Bose). They are my favorite style. Look for the Axis headset if you want to go that route.

    - Martin
     
  12. WDD

    WDD En-Route

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    I tried clarity aloft for a few months. It broke, replaced, left ear now dead on replacement set. The ANR standard headset is so much better IMHO.
     
  13. woodchucker

    woodchucker Pattern Altitude

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    @pigpenracing might be able to get you refurbed light speeds. Been a while but I purchased two through him.

    DCs are awesome also. New or used.
     
  14. guest user

    guest user Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not going to dispute this, but just to add that CA has the sound driver at the ear piece, so you have the wires going to the ear, this inevitable flexing of the wire and their being unprotected increases chance likelihood of damage. CQ, has the driver in the band of the headset, so no external wires going to the ear piece just sound tubes so if one of them get damaged its simple and cheap to replace the damaged part.
     
  15. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    The right answer depends on the person.

    I've worn DC, Telex, Lightspeed, Flightcom, and a number of others. I cannot stand things in my ear, so the in ear is out. I also don't like on the ear, so that style is out. I needed something that my entire ear fit inside the cup so for me the best solution was a Bose QC35 with nflightmic microphone attachment. And the nice thing is - no battery replacement, like other ANR. Just put it on the charger when I leave the hangar. (Yeah, I know at some point the whole thing will die, but that should be a while. I have a set - minus the mic - that I use around the house all the time for the past 3 years and those are going strong.)
     
  16. Pinecone

    Pinecone Cleared for Takeoff

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    You can wait on the ANR. Many of us have flown many hours without ANR without issues.

    And if you are really worried, wear ear plugs under your headset and turn up the volume a bit.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2022
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  17. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    I flew quite a few hours with no headset at all. That’s part of the reason my Grandson says I can look right at him and not hear what he says. That’s true sometimes, but he is failing to consider that his toddler sister is banging on the Piano while his Mom and Grandma are trying to talk over that.

    Once I got a headset, it was a basic David Clark. A basic, but quality built piece. NOW I have a DC converted to noise cancelling and its fabulous and was affordable. Love noise cancelling!
     
  18. 40YearDream

    40YearDream Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Started with a good used David Clark , added the DIY ANR. I've been using that for the past year or so. The ANR works quite well (kit from headsetsinc.com). The original setup, with a separate 9V battery box was kind of a nuisance, IMHO - added an extra cord to fuss with. I've since modified it to mount the battery on the head band, 'MacGyver' style. The whole setup is kinda heavy, though. Also, even with the nice gel seals from headsetsinc, after a few hours the clamping force gets uncomfortable. (Some people call 'em "David Clamps" !) So at some point I will explore something else. Lots of interesting tips in this thread.
     
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  19. LesGawlik

    LesGawlik Line Up and Wait

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    I have the QT Halo. I have had good luck with them. When I had a problem, I called the company and the problem was solved right away. I used to use Lightspeeds, and they were okay as headsets. However, I would forget to remove the batteries. Do that once and the next time you have a ruined battery box even if you use the "leakproof" batteries. I then found out that the manufacturer did not have any parts to fix the headsets. The $50 (or whatever) off a new headset was not satisfying. The Halo is great for my flying.
     
  20. WDD

    WDD En-Route

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    Odd. I’ve never removed batteries unless they died after a year of use.
     
  21. farangutan

    farangutan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I switched from Lightspeed Tango headset to the CQ-1. I fly 172s, Archers, and a Grumman Traveler with these. I can wear in-ear stuff all day, and I use the comfortable foam ear tips. I wear glasses, over-sunglasses, foggles, IFR hoods, hats without any issues with the in-ear style headsets. Don't have to take off the headset to put on a hat or a hood. The best ANR headsets don't work as well if you feel the pressure on your temples from wearing glasses or if your glasses create a gap in the ear seal and let in much of the noise.
     
  22. AlphaMike

    AlphaMike Line Up and Wait

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    I started with a pair of good old ANR David Clarks and they were perfectly fine. Then, when I bought my plane the previous owner had installed the 6 pin LEMO plugs along with the standard plugs. This was just too tempting! So, my good old David Clarks became the back seat sets and I got 2 pairs of Bose A20s 6 pin LEMOs (on Ebay for 900 each) for up front. I don't think I could ever go back... I believe the sound is better and NO MORE double A's to fail and change out. This only works if the plane has the LEMO plugs (obviously) but if it does, they are pretty awesome!
     
  23. Llewtrah381

    Llewtrah381 Line Up and Wait

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  24. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Nope....haven't tried them. I have a couple of DCs and off brand non ANR headsets. I figured they were cheap enough to try. Most of the negative comments I read on Prime were from Pro pilots. I don't have any issues with them. My only beef....occasionally I forget to turn them off and run the batteries down. That hasn't happened in a while though.
     
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  25. tobnpr

    tobnpr Filing Flight Plan

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    After a lot of ambivalence, purchased the Lightspeed Sierra.
    I was ready to pull the trigger on the Bose QC45 and UFlyMike ANR kit- when I came across info on their website that they're hearing of echo/sidetone feedback problems when used with the new QC45's.

    https://uflymike.com/blogs/news/qc45-sidetone-audio-quality-issue

    They say it's an issue for around 10% of users, who knows- but there's no "fix" for it presently (they advise calling Bose to ***** about it). Wasn't willing to roll the dice on it, so went with the Lightspeed. Posting this follow-up mainly to let those who've been considering the QC45/Harmony upgrade know of the potential issue.
     
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  26. Pinecone

    Pinecone Cleared for Takeoff

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    You do know that DC makes headsets with LEMO plugs?
     
  27. Justin Brady

    Justin Brady Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Been beaten to death already but more input is better right?
    I started with cheap passive, then nice passive, then mid range ANR and finally now I run Bose A20.
    Doing it again it would have been half the price to just buy the Bose to start with.
    I'm a cheap ***, and the thought of 1000 bucks for a headset infuriates me, but they really are the best out there and worth the cost if you value your comfort. (*i haven't tried the ONE-X yet, but same concept I'm sure they are great)
    I had to fly the other day with my backup lightspeeds and I did not enjoy it.
     
  28. AlphaMike

    AlphaMike Line Up and Wait

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    Yes I do. I got the A20's on eBay for cheaper then the DC's My comment was more about using the LEMO plugs as apposed to battery power.
     
  29. Half Fast

    Half Fast Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you only need one headset, you're correct. If you need four, now you have them.

    Here's my perspective: many of us will eventually need four or six headsets to accomodate passengers. Should we spend $1k on each of them? Maybe you will choose to, but shelling out $4k to $6k for headsets seems a bit much for some pilots, especially when some of those will be used very infrequently, maybe just a couple of times a year. Furthermore, the passenger headsets don't necessarily need the audio quality of the pilot's headset, since the passengers aren't required to hear ATC and other aircraft. So, many of us will select less expensive headsets for passengers.

    Now, if you can go along with that logic, then consider whether it makes sense to buy one of the cheaper headsets first. The student pilot is spending a great deal of money for lessons, ground school materials, a medical, a written test, and a checkride. The student might decide to save a grand or so on the headset, knowing that later it can be relegated to passenger use and he can treat himself to a nicer one after the bloodletting eases up a bit. After all, that saved money could easily cover another 5 or 6 hours of training. Meanwhile, the inexpensive passive headset can get the job done satisfactorily.

    If, of course, you are willing and able to sink $1k on headsets for your passengers as well as yourself, disregard the above.
     
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  30. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Cleared for Takeoff

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    Actually, the low frequencies carry more energy than the higher frequencies, so they cause hearing loss. You lose high frequencies first because the high frequency cilia are more fragile than the low frequency cilia. Ask me how I know this. I got a very good deal from Pigeon Racing on a pair of used Light speed A NRs. I have big ears so there was no choice. I'm really happy with them.
     
  31. Jim K

    Jim K En-Route

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    I feel like Bose's response would be, "you know we make an aviation headset, right?"
     
  32. Redneckpilot

    Redneckpilot Pre-Flight

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    I started out in the ‘90s with Flightcom, then bought some DC 13.4’s when they came out. Loved them.
    Then a buddy of mine talked me into some Lightspeeds. I flew with them for about 3 years. They were ok but I hated that stupid battery/volume control thing on the cord. I finally jerked the wires out of one of them accidentally when I got my foot tangled in them getting out of the plane one night. Lightspeed repaired them at no cost and even told me to send the second pair with them and they would upgrade that stupid battery/volume switch. Lightspeed customer service is awesome!
    While the Lightspeeds were being repaired I began using the DC’s again and haven’t missed the Lightspeeds at all.
    I guess the ANR just isn’t for me. I love my David Clarks.
     
  33. rockwoodrv9a

    rockwoodrv9a Filing Flight Plan

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    I have 2 sets of Zulu 3. They both work well. My wife wants a set with the boom on the right side since my plugs are on that side. I do not believe they are able to be changed. I sent Lightspeed a support ticket asking if they could make the change. I am interested in if it is possible. I like the CQ1 and may get a couple of them. You can get the mic on the right.
     
  34. Flyhound

    Flyhound Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you are interested in the Pilot Communications headset, but want an easily replaceable battery, just buy the Pilot PA-1771T headset. It has the same electronics as the rechargable unit, but uses an off-the-shelf 9V battery. I used this headset for years and was happy with it. It does remove a fair amount of background noise, and it is comfortable, but my ears are getting worse and I had to ask ATC to repeat instructions too many times, so I bought a Lightspeed Zulu at Oshkosh this year for $785. It is noticeably better than the PA-1771T unit that is now my spare/backup headset.
     
  35. francisco collazos

    francisco collazos Pre-Flight

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    I'm cheap (unless it's scotch) but I use Faro Stealth without the ANR and they work fine for me. No one talks about these at all.
     
  36. Pinecone

    Pinecone Cleared for Takeoff

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    VERY good point.

    That said, a basic David Clark is not too expensive, and I am still using one bought in 1979. :D
     
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  37. WDD

    WDD En-Route

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    I did buy a second headset for passenger - wife. For the infrequent flyer comfort and noise protection is even more important if I want her to enjoy the flight and fly again. So I bought a second Lightspeed set for her.
     
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  38. drummer4468

    drummer4468 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Agreed. I'll give my passengers, usually girlfriend and mom, the fancy noise-cancelling comfort and use the backup passive DC's for myself. Kinda pointless hyping up flying with me as a wonderful experience, just to make them listen to the loud(to their ears) engine drone through relatively uncomfortable "headphones".
     
  39. John Spartan

    John Spartan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Absolutely. I went for the Lightspeed Zulu 3 because they fit my head better than Bose. It’s worth the extra cost. You really notice after a couple of hours. Extra $300-400 for what you get in return is well worth it… to me at least.
     
  40. DavidWhite

    DavidWhite Final Approach

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    I’ve got A20s and Zulu 3s. My favorite headset that I own is my QC35s w/ a Uflymic. The only thing I’ve tried it in that it didn’t work very well in was the Beaver, but even then once you’re out of takeoff power its fine, just a hair louder than the A20s and SOOOO much more comfortable in my opinion. Works well in every other piston (185, 206/7) I’ve flown with them. In the jet I can’t tell the difference between them and A20s or Lightspeeds other than they are a good bit more comfortable IMO.