Headset advice- what you wish you knew?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Will Kumley, Aug 6, 2019.

  1. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Well, when I started, I didn't know if it was going to stick. Would rather be out $150 than $1000 on the headset. 200 hours later, I'm probably going to hang around a little.
     
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  2. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Take a look at Ebay. Spend $150 on cheep-0 student headsets and you might be able to get back 50% of that investment if you can sell them at all. Spend $600-$1000 and should get back about 90% if you change your mind. Why not get more comfort and better sound if $150 is all you're really risking in the end?
     
  3. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    This is true, if you are not sure where your aviation passion may take you then yes.. $1K up front outlay is a big commitment
     
  4. TopDollar

    TopDollar Filing Flight Plan

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    I bought a set of David Clark H10-13s when I first started training because they are reliable, durable, and are you even a pilot if you don't have a set of DCs? I bought Bose A20s the day I soloed. I knew I'd need a second headset eventually and it was a lot easier to justify the cost of the A20s (for me at least) while I was still in training mode and flying multiple times a week. I'm glad I bit the bullet when I did on the A20s since I would have a really hard time justifying it to myself now. My girlfriend also gets her own headset instead of having to borrow a well used one when we go flying together.
     
  5. timwinters

    timwinters Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    My strategy is...

    I have a sporty's handheld radio in the glove box and two flashlights (one mounted to each doorpost). All are for back-up/emergencies and never get used. I change the batteries (all AAs) every year at annual. 12 batteries total. The old batteries are put in a ziplock and tossed into the glovebox. These are used for my ANR headsets. I average about 100 hours a year and never have to buy new for the ANR...a dozen is more than plenty.
     
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  6. thebruce

    thebruce Pre-Flight

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    For me, it was more a matter of justifying well more than 10% of the expected total cost of the certificate on a headset when cheaper adequate ones were available.

    And when it came time to get a headset (my son wanted to get me one for my birthday), I chose a QT Halo and now I can't imagine using anything else. A bunch of years in the Marine Corps took some of my hearing away, and I hear much more clearly using the Halo headset than a Bose pair I tried out.
     
  7. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I bought a set of entry-level ANR Lightspeeds when I started training (15XLC), the Bose X and Lightspeed Sierras were about the only other options. I didn't have $750+ to spend on a headset in 2008, so I went with the cheaper option. I think they were around $350 at the time, which wasn't much more than the DC 13.1's. They work great, but the ear cups are a little stiff until broken in. Batteries seemed to last 20+ hours and I liked having stereo as well as individual volume controls for each ear. I'd probably look for a used ANR set like the Zulu's if I were getting ANR today. I also bought my wife a cheap set of DC 10-40's which work great, but are noticeably heavier and higher clamping pressure, however the gel ear seals it has are nice.

    Were I to try out another headset today, I'd probably give the QT Halos or Clarity Aloft a try. I wear ear buds frequently when I travel on the airlines or work out, so I'd probably like that style more than the ear-cup style. I also like to wear ball caps a lot, so the QT/CA's would work with that.
     
  8. OneCharlieTango

    OneCharlieTango Pre-Flight

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    What do I wish I'd known? There is no perfect headset. Good enough is as good as it gets.

    My advice: get the DC 10-13.4's, used if you can. Then spend a little to replace the soft parts, preferably from Oregon Aero. Or spend a little more for the full "Oregon Aero Hush Kit."
     
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  9. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller En-Route

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    Even before my Discovery Flight I knew I was going to continue with lessons to get my PPL. For the Discovery Flight, I borrowed a passive headset from the FBO. Just wow, I could not hear anything clearly - all ATC comms were unintelligible. I discussed the problem with my CFI and we inspected the headset very closely. The ear seals were old and dried out, basically worthless. So I made the decision "If i'm going to do this, I am going to do it right" and ordered a set of David Clark H10-13X ANR headphones. If I remember it was about $900 at the time. Woof! but Problem solved! and so far I have amortized that cost down to near $1.50 per flight hour, and that does not include an estimated 200 hours of use on a very noisy lawn tractor.

    I get about 25 hours on a set of six AA batteries. Newer models use a single 9v battery.

    The advice I have for all headset shoppers: Not everyone has the same shape head. You really really should try to borrow several sets to see which headset is comfortable on YOUR head. Fly with them it you can!

    -Skip
     
  10. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    I really like Dave Clarks. I then bought the ANR kit from Aircraft Spruce ($159.00?).
    It worked fine in the Warrior, C-172 and the C-150 and a few other "modern" planes, but after I switched to the Cub, I didn't bother with it anymore.
    The Cub is too noisy, and I want to be able to hear if parts fall off.
    Just barely kidding about parts falling off.
     
  11. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    What I wish I knew.

    Buy the most comfortable ANR after wearing each for at least four hours.

    Forget about the price tag, it’s nothing compared to what you’ll spend on aviation.
     
  12. chemgeek

    chemgeek Line Up and Wait

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    Um, carry spare batteries? ANR headsets give you warning of low batteries. I carry 4 extra NiMH batteries. Each pair lasts about 25 hours. No reason to be caught short.
     
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  13. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Life is way too short, and your money too hard earned, for crappy headsets.

    That said, some are just ridiculously overpriced. I got a pair of Bose A20s when I bought the plane. They are used regularly for passengers, and I even put Bose powered jacks in so we wouldn't keep burning through batteries. They're really nice, but I use my QT Halos because I just like them better. The CMW CQ-1 are supposed to be even nicer. I had a pair of David Clarks, but they were too tight for me and my wife... nice quality, but sold early on.

    Make sure whatever you get will work with mono or stereo intercoms. And try as many different styles as you can before committing. Headsets are like jeans... one size and style does NOT fit everyone.
     
  14. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Ooh that too. Spend $3 on amazon for one of those plastic holders for batteries and keep it in flight bag. Always replace any used immediately after the flight.
     
  15. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Certainly carry spares. I haven’t noticed that I get any warning before the ANR goes away, though mine are 1st generation. But if they go bad while I’m busy flying the plane ( on an approach for instance) I’m not changing them until I’m on the ground. Also mine take a screwdriver or coin to unscrew the battery cover. Not something I want mess with unless I’m in cruise for a while.

    Or you can do as @denverpilot suggested and change them preemptively. But most pilots are too cheap to do so.

    If the ANR quits, having them be decent PNR is good. And most are.

    John
     
  16. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Nah not preemptively, just have the little plastic holder for spares in the bag. Change as needed and replace the spares immediately or the little holder will be empty the next time. :)
     
  17. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    Hoo boy, no. I once completely ran down the batteries in a Bose X midflight. I thought the engine was about to grenade until I figured it out. After that, I took the red "low battery" warning a lot more seriously and check it before every flight and periodically during cruise.

    1. You're eventually going to need one for passengers. May as well spread that out instead of buying two headsets all at once.
    2. The more money involved, the more time you should take researching your purchase, figuring out what fits, your preferences, etc. During training, you should be concentrating on studying and not headsets.
    3. Some non-training planes are louder than trainers.
     
  18. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    It's like an escalator - if it quits working, it becomes stairs.:)
     
  19. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I would recommend what I did. Get the quiet tech halos for now, and then treat yourself to the Bose after you get your cert and aren’t bleeding money for training anymore. The halos are economical, quite good, and very nice when it’s hot especially. But I find myself using the Bose most of the time now even when it’s hot.
     
  20. MacFlier

    MacFlier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I used a cheap asa passive headset during ppl training and then rewarded myself with a Zulu 3 after the checkride.
    I can tell you that noise reduction is amazing but what I found out I liked the most was the comfort. No more headaches after long flights.
     
  21. iamtheari

    iamtheari Pattern Altitude

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    Sorry for the convenience.

    I haven't flown with Bose A20s with dead batteries but I have flown with people using the A20 without the ANR turned on a couple times, and they survived just fine. I would definitely recommend that anyone flying with battery-operated anything in the cockpit do what @denverpilot suggested and keep a full battery caddy like this in the plane: https://www.amazon.com/Storacell-12AACY-Powerpax-Battery-Batteries/dp/B004YG7JXW
     
  22. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    This one is the most compelling, thanks. I hadn't thought of that but it's true. The SR22 is noticeably louder than the 172s I trained in.. in fact outside of a few exceptions most of the non-172 and non PA-28 I've sat in are louder than the 172/PA-28 baseline

    As for 2, I'm not advocating everyone buy the A20, there are many other solid headsets out there that some find more comfortable, etc., I just meant more that rather than spend $300 now and $800 a year later.. just spend the $1K now

    For 1 (yes I worked backwards), that is an oft overlooked item, but also a good point
     
  23. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller En-Route

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    @DaleB Yes, the legendary David Clark Headclamps. Fortunately I have a hard head and I never minded the fit of the DC ANRs.

    Try before you buy!

    -Skip
     
  24. The-Flying-Lawyer

    The-Flying-Lawyer Pre-Flight

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  25. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Well there's your problem. they're only meant to be worn by one person at a time. :p
     
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  26. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route PoA Supporter

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    The main benefit to buying a cheaper headset for training then upgrading later on is that the cheaper headset can be kept as a spare or passenger headset to avoid renting one in the future.
     
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  27. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Not really an advantage, you can do that with a more expensive headset too.
     
  28. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    That depends on how important are your passengers. :)
     
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  29. MacFlier

    MacFlier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Exactly my plan. I now have a spare that is clean and works well for passengers.
     
  30. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Darn, so THAT'S what we were doing wrong!
     
  31. 172andyou

    172andyou Line Up and Wait

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    This. 100%. This.
     
  32. Jim K

    Jim K Pre-Flight

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    I bought the Zulu first, and am planning to buy the cheap pair for passengers after training....

    Interestingly, all the of the instructors I've flown with have A20's. I'd like to try one and see if there's any difference, but I feel like that's like asking to try someone's toothbrush.
     
  33. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Meh, it depends on the person I think. If I had really nice headphones and someone I knew wanted to try them to see how they like them, I wouldn't mind swapping for a flight so they can try them out. Depending on what you're using, it would give me an opportunity to try a brand or model I might not otherwise have a chance to try.
     
  34. OneCharlieTango

    OneCharlieTango Pre-Flight

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    As an aside, don't give passengers the cheap headsets. They're your honored guests; give them the good stuff.
     
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  35. LT4247

    LT4247 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I wish i had known that Lightspeed and Bose headsets are made of cheap material. They look really good at first. The Lightspeed cables dry rot and fall apart after a few years. As does the controller. I grew tired of shipping Lightspeed headsets in to get repaired. I wish i had known that i would be buying ear pads and head pads on a regular basis (they don’t last either). SO i went back to trouble free David Clark 13.4S and had them converted to ANR by Headsets, Inc in TX. Love this combo that performs great AND after 3+ years I haven't had to buy anything else or have either repaired. I have 2 Lightspeed Zulu 2s that need go back to factory right now with various failures,,,again. They are spares now for passengers.
     
  36. Slavcha

    Slavcha Filing Flight Plan

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    I'm just starting my ppl training and for my first lesson i bought of eBay lightly used pair of DC 10-13.4 and i liked it up until CFI let me try his A20. Now i know what ill get me for christmas
     
  37. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I saw a OSH the Zulu 3 has a braided kevlar cable. Seemed like it would be tough and hold up well. Is that what your Lightspeeds had that dry rotted?
     
  38. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wrestling with this stuff myself. I've got two DC H20-10 headsets, but no real experience with anything else other than some REAL cheap entry level Sigtronics (I think) when I first started flying years ago. The H20-10s are comfortable enough and work well, but there's a few things about them I don't like. The mic boom doesn't always stay where you put it and droops, and the volume adjustment knob is kind of stiff and continues to turn past the ends of its range if you're not careful, which makes me think the entire switch is turning internally and maybe stressing the wiring. I'm sure DC would take care of these things if I send'em in, but I haven't bothered yet. The other issue is I wear glasses, and then wear-over sunglasses on top of THEM. WIth just my wire frame glasses on, the headsets still work well, although they aren't quite as quiet as they are without glasses. If I wear the wear-over sunglasses, the headsets let in far too much noise. The gel seals are in excellent condition and comfortable.. just aren't quite up to the task of sealing around the bulky frames of wear-over glasses.
    Another downside to the H20-10, if what I've read is correct, is that they can't be converted to ANR using the headsetsinc or other kits as easily as the H10-XX series; they need to be sent in for retrofit, at higher cost, than being able to use the owner-installed kits.
    I'd like to get a good set of ANRs now that I'm flying more regularly; as a musician by trade, I'm concerned about the constant exposure in the cockpit. Also, as a musician (not a famous pop star or household name guy), audio aficianado, and part-time recording engineer, I can't stand Bose as a company for reasons that really aren't important to pilots in terms of aviation headsets, so I can't bring myself to support their company, nor do I have the budget to buy their headset. My CFI has a Telex set and loves'em, but they're pretty pricey too. Lightspeed is probably a great option, too... but still pricey. ( @pigpenracing 's posts re/ Lightspeed sales always intrigue me..) NOT saying any of those products aren't worth it... just wondering about other options before sucking it up and dropping those many semolians.
    There are some very cheap ANR sets out there.. the GCA-ANR /PCA-ANR sets, the CrazedPilot set... all for less money than my DC sets were new fifteen years ago. Anyone have any first hand experience? Do they work well? Are they really 4/5 the performance of the high end sets for 1/4 to 1/3 the price?
    The ClarityAloft or Halo sets are probably great choices for some folks, but I already wear earplugs more than I'd like to on gigs, and my ear canals are pretty small so even soft foam ones get uncomfortable after a few hours. Not sure I want to subject my canals to more intrusion, although I should probably try them... if there's a way to do that.
    Interested in anything anyone has to say or recommend... or offer for sale in excellent used condition, or willing to let me try in the CNY area if you have something you really recommend.
     
  39. N1120A

    N1120A Line Up and Wait

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    I have 2 pairs of A20s, 2 pairs of Sennheisers that I got cheap cause a shop was getting rid of them and a pair of DC 13.4s. I wore the DCs on my last flight, because I was going on a long trip and a friend was taking them back for me. They are very comfortable, but the lack of ANR is staggering.

    Get the ANR. Get the one that fits your head better (A20 for me). Remember that, technically, Zulus aren't legal for 121 work, cause they aren't TSOd

    ASAs are horrible. 20 minutes with those on and my ears are screaming at me.
     
  40. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route PoA Supporter

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    The clamp on headsets were fine for my training flights which almost never went over 1.1-1.2 hrs max.

    Once I started flying longer cross country legs or multi legs, the headaches started. It’s not from the noise, but rather the clamping pressure.

    I got a set of these just as an experiment for my wife and she liked them, so I tried them too. Liked em enough that when @GMascelli put his up for sale I snagged them.

    https://www.crazedpilot.com/crazedpilot-in-the-ear-headset/

    No doubt they’re inexpensive, and they may not last long, but it was my cheap experimental entry into the in-ear style. I may upgrade to one of the more expensive in-ear brands if/when these stop working. They’re not perfect, but the pros outweigh the cons for me at the moment vs the clamp on style.

    For cheap clamp on, looks like they have one for $87 new:
    https://www.crazedpilot.com/crazedpilot-cp-1-aviation-headset-pilot-headset-aircraft-airplane/