Starter Headset

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by kyleb, Nov 13, 2021.

  1. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    Are there any preferences at the bottom end of the headset marketplace? A good friend's son is taking flying lessons and I've loaned him an older set of DC knockoff's. He's welcome to use them for as long as he wants, but has decided he wants his own headsets.

    I don't think he is at the point of dropping big bucks on a Lightspeed or Bose. He's looking at what I'll call entry-level headsets.

    Thoughts? (Other than, use the freebies as long as he can, then buy something nice.)

    Got any brand/model preferences?
     
  2. farmrjohn

    farmrjohn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I've been happy with my passive Crazed Pilot headsets
     
  3. TJ in Az

    TJ in Az Filing Flight Plan

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    Rugged Air RA900. Quite comfortable.
    The gel ear seals make a big difference.
     
  4. BladeSlap

    BladeSlap Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Get a good headset

    This is not a place to save money
     
  5. jrollf

    jrollf Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I love my Halo headset, and for a headset they are cheap $379.00. I'll never go back to my David Clamps.

    http://quiettechnologies.com/

    Sent from my SM-T580 using Tapatalk
     
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  6. texasclouds

    texasclouds Pattern Altitude

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    DC One X
     
  7. BladeSlap

    BladeSlap Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Recommend wise, I like lightspeed as they have a large earcup which helps for loud aircraft
     
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  8. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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  9. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    I used the ASA Classic @Salty mentioned through my Sport Pilot training and I still have it. The ASAs are a good value in a passive headset. Mine have held up very well, and the lifetime warranty is a big plus. An ASA can be relegated to passenger use if the pilot decides to upgrade later on and the warranty will keep it going and going...

    TIP - if you get the ASA, spend just a few dollars more and get a set of cloth earpiece covers. Makes a BIG difference in comfort.

    Now, if you can spend a bit more, you can pick up something like this and get active noise reduction: https://www.gulfcoastavionics.com/products/gca-anr-stereomono-anr-headset?variant=39418557431985 . They list for $250, but I got mine on sale at SNF for $200, so watch for a sale. They're not as good as my wife's DC One-X, but they were a couple of hundred bucks and not a thousand. I've had the headset for a couple of years now and while I'm not delighted, I'm satisfied.
     
  10. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I'd rather have a gently used one rather than a cheap new piece of junk. Keeping your hearing is more important.
     
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  11. jrollf

    jrollf Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Very true, a close second is comfort. Personally I never found an over the ear headset, even $1,000 Bose, that don't give me a massive headache in an hour or so of flight. This is where I fell in love with the Halo in ear headsets, light weight and no head clamping. Their passive noise reduction is on par with many ANR headsets.

    It's a persoanal prefernce, I know some pilots that hate in ear headsets...

    Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
     
  12. WDD

    WDD En-Route

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    Agree

    I got a starter headset. Then I got a light speed. I was an idiot for getting a starter headset.

    He will have a much better learning experience with a real headset. You’re paying $12000 for lessons - nothing about learning to fly is going to be inexpensive.

    Have the young man go to a store and try on either a light speed, a Bose, or a DC One X. Pick the one that is most comfortable. If he likes Lightspeeds, Pig Pen racing here on the board sells reconditioned light speeds. As an owner / former user of a pair of in ear Clarity Aloft I do not recommend them as I do not find them durable or easy to use.
     
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  13. N747JB

    N747JB Final Approach

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    I’ve bought a couple Bose X’s used for $4-500 each and they’ve been great. As others have stated, hearing is too important to go cheap. I started flying in 1984 with a hand mic and the cheap paper overhead speaker, finally got introduced to headsets and a portable intercom!
     
  14. Domenick

    Domenick Cleared for Takeoff

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    Whatever brand--get ANR.
    When I started my training, I couldn't understand a thing through the school's vintage DCs. With everything new, with the crappy audio quality of the 40 year-old radios and intercom, compounded by the crappy headset, I was missing a lot.

    I bit the bullet and bought an ANR equipped headset. Changed my training. Might have saved my training. Suddenly, I could understand radio calls, and I stopped saying "what?" to my CFI.
     
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  15. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    Thanks to those of you who answered the question that was asked.

    I understand that different people would do different things with their money or for their reasons, but the answer in this case is going to be an entry-level headset. The good thing about that is there's no loss if he quits his flying lessons after 20 hours, and if he continues, he can buy a nicer set later and let a passenger use the entry-level set.
     
  16. WDD

    WDD En-Route

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    You’ve made up your mind that your friend’s son is best served with a cheap head set. Best of luck to the young man and his training.
     
  17. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    Read the first post. It clearly laid out the scenario including that he's welcome to use the loaners I provided until he wants to buy a nice set of headsets. But that isn't what he wants. You can start backpedaling any time now.
     
  18. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Has anyone explained to the young man the issue of long-term hearing problems? Has anyone taken a DB meter along with them in a flight and noted out the noise level?
    Has anyone explained a good headset (not even ANR) can be had for the price of a couple lessons, and in the long-run, more than worth it?
    *sigh*
    Doesn’t matter what anyone here says, the kid will do what he wants and many years from now, regret it when he understands.
     
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  19. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    While getting a good headset is important. Note that if you get a headset you don't like, simply keep it as a headset to let your passengers use. It's not really wasted money.

    And, note, you might need to go through a couple of headsets before finding one that you find comforable on your head.
     
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  20. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Also remember that most vendors offer a 30 day trialperiod so he’s not out all that money trying to find one he likes.
     
  21. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 En-Route

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    I did the same as a student, per the recommendation of my CFI. Buy a starter, and if you continue to fly you'll have one for passengers.

    I chose this one and liked it: Here
    Made in Korea, as were the ASA's at one point...but heard through the local flight school that ASA was taken over/bought by a Chinese company and the quality is not as good, can't say for sure.
    They've gone up a bit (20 bucks) since I bought mine, but what hasn't. Definitely better than the old DC's I have used.
    Cheaper version but haven't tried them. here
     
  22. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    Today's most basic headsets provide ample hearing protection. Below is a link to a table showing OSHA's and NIOSH's hearing limits. With any of today's cheap headsets, you get 23-25 db of noise reduction which puts you at an effective 70-80 db in cruise in most light aircraft. That's comfortably below the industrial guidelines, which are designed for workers who are in high noise environments 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=osh...E&biw=1366&bih=625&dpr=1#imgrc=bUDQn_opLlxoqM
     
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  23. WDD

    WDD En-Route

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    I read the first post. I offered advice based on my similar experience. I believe the premise of starting training with a cheaper headset is wrong.

    You don’t agree with my advice - peachy. No need to be snarky.
     
  24. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg En-Route

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    Bose A20s hold their value well. A used set, then re-sold a year later if kiddo gets bored, will amount to no more than a $50-100 loss.

    I doubt that there are more than 1 or 2 makers of the cheap white-label headsets that are everywhere. I think there is the "round cup" model and the "wedge cup" model. They may even be made by the same place, no idea. They're all the same as far as I can tell. Find a set of those on craigslist for $20.
     
  25. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    I didn't ask for anyone's premise on what level of headset to buy. I asked for a starter headset recommendation.

    If you want to talk snarky, look at your first post in the thread.
     
  26. WDD

    WDD En-Route

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    My first post? I said I got a starter headset when I first started training and it was a big mistake. How is that snarky???

    Time to switch to de caff.
     
  27. Robert Gee

    Robert Gee Pre-takeoff checklist

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    What are any complaints of the in the ear type, Martin P. approved, other than fragility or maybe in the ear comfort?
    Are there any alternatives to Halo?
    Compared to the $$ of Bose or LS someone could buy a 2-3 Halos then get some shooting or industrial ear muffs on top if they wanted.
     
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  28. psween

    psween Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Some people just can't stand the feel of something in their ear, while others find the clamping pressure of an over the ear set intolerable. For me, I started with a $100 pair of off brands, they worked fine enough for shorter flights and they are still my passenger set now 18 years later. I now use QT Halos and will never go back to clamp types. No more headaches after long flights, no more interference with hats or glasses, and 1/3 the cost of Bose or Lightspeed. As mentioned above, even cheaper sets generally have enough hearing protection to keep your ears safe, the big differences are in audio quality, mic quality, and comfort, along with amenities like bluetooth. For what it's worth, my starters were DRE stereo PNRs, which are still available, although the earcups have changed color and the price is up to $139.
     
  29. RyanB

    RyanB Super Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Yeah I wish I had bought a nice headset a lot sooner than I did. A nice ANR headset makes a world of difference to your flying experience.
     
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  30. bkspero

    bkspero Line Up and Wait

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    I use my Halo's during summer months as I find myself sweating under the earcups of my over the ear headset. I find them quiet enough and comfortable.

    As downsides, I find that the weight of the cord pulls the microphone out of position near my mouth as I turn my head. QT used to supply a cord clip with their headsets but stopped prior to when I bought mine. Find one so that you can clip the cord to your shirt with some slack between the clip and headset. The other downside is that it takes some time to properly insert the foam earpieces in ones ears. I find that the silicone rubber "Christmas Tree" shaped earpieces are faster to insert. But still not as fast and easy as an over the ear variety.
     
  31. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    I've got Lightspeed Zulu's, Sierras, a couple sets of basic DC knock-off's, and two sets of Halo's. I generally wear the Halo's because they work better with a hat and eyeglasses. They don't offer quite as much noise attenuation (IMO) as the Lightspeeds, but they benefit from not needing batteries. The downsides of the Halos are that they are more fragile than regular headsets (the cords and control box are weak spots), and they don't have a great microphone. One key with the in-ear's is to find the right inserts for you. I was about to give up on the Halo's until I tried their silicone earpieces (not the ribbed ones). The foam and ribbed silicone versions didn't work well at all for me.
     
  32. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    WHAT DID YOU SAY"? I CAN'T HEAR YOU BECAUSE I RUINED MY HEARING YEARS AGO BY USING A CHEAP HEAD SET.

    Actually, that is partly true. But mostly because back when I was learning (in the '70s) most of us didn't use head sets. Now I am profoundly deaf without the most powerful hearing aids. And THEY cost a lot more than a good headset.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2021
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  33. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    I recommend the David Clark 13.4. Will be about $300, but will likely last you 20+years. You can upgrade to a ANR set when you like, but the DC will be a good passenger or backup set. I still regularly use mine just because they are handy for short flights or for switching to other planes.

    Biggest issues with cheaper headsets are quality, the common issue is after about 100 to 200 hours of use (2-3 years) the cables will often break internally, like cheap earbuds. Really cheap headsets will have terrible microphones and will pickup all the background noise in the cockpit and can be difficult to filter out background noise with the intercom squelch, plus’s you/everyone hears that background noise when you transmit.

    Brian
    CFIIGI/ASEL

    I have had good luck with Flight coms headsets in the about the $130 (4DLX) category, but usually only last about 3-5 years due to cables breaking.

    Brian
     
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  34. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Another reason to get ASAs with their lifetime warranty if you’re shopping for an inexpensive headset.
     
  35. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Check out REI or other sports shop for replacement widgets for camping and such for clip thingies for the cords.
     
  36. rugger1869

    rugger1869 Filing Flight Plan

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    My first headset was David Clark 13.4s. Good solid, beginner headset and probably the cheapest I would personally go.
     
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  37. FPK1

    FPK1 Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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  38. woodchucker

    woodchucker Pattern Altitude

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    Save a $100 plus. Contact @pigpenracing for some refurbed light speeds. I’ve bought two. Legit source.
     
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  39. pigpenracing

    pigpenracing En-Route

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    I 100% agree with this...If you can't afford a high end (Lightspeed) ANR don't waste your money on a cheap ANR.
    The David Clark H10-13.4 is a great passive headset and is quieter than the junk budget anr stuff. The DC passive will last MANY years.....
    The cheap $125 headsets usually last a year and the cords fall apart and the mics are nothing to write home about.....
     
  40. Sluggo63

    Sluggo63 Pattern Altitude

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    Jeez. All these opinions. Where was everybody when I was in high school and learned to fly in a 152 with an overhead speaker and hand mic? Whatever entry-level headset the new student is going to get will be miles better than the mic/speaker combination.
     
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