Headset Reviews

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Headset Reviews

Postby GAHorn » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:03 am

Thought I'd start a headset review.

I've owned a set of Lightspeed 15 K's...and later a pair of 15XL's both of which were fine but made of plastic and the foam ear pads simulated leather fell apart easily after only two years, and the cord's sheathing literally disintegrated sitting in a hangared airplane.

When the electronics failed, Lightspeed offerd a set of Sierras for only $300 each trade in so I went for it. Same problem with quality.... one of them shattered the "Y"-fork at the earpiece when my grandson attempted to put it on going to convention... and the other has problems with cord sheathing coming apart as well as the stereo/volume slides become stuck and won't allow volume adjustment. Plus as LIghtspeed's cheaper units their ANR capability was disappointing.

I think I'm thru with Lightspeed. Their cost doesn't justify their shoddy materials.

I've got two cheap headsets I bought used for the back seat.... passive units... a Sennheiser and a Pilot brand.... and they've both held up fine, they just aren't ANR.

I think Bose may be the best but for my purposes it's just waaay too expensive.

I'm looking at a FARO G2 ANR unit that has a good review from pilots. ($350) I've ordered it thru Amazon Prime so if I don't like it I can return it free.

Anyone have any experience with that model or brand?
Or any others?
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Re: Headset Reviews

Postby G280driver » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:16 am

I have and still use an original old set of Bose and they still work great. I also have a 15 year old David Clark ANR that works good but the foam inside the ear cup is starting to come apart.

But my recommendation would be Clarity Aloft. I wear them for work and love them. They are light, cool, and no vice on the head. I have flown 6 plus hours and never adjusted them. I flew today in the 170 this morning with them for the first time and they were great.
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Re: Headset Reviews

Postby swixtt » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:14 am

i am so pleased with Lightspeed headsets. i've had their originals for years... zero issues. i recently tried the Tango, very impressed with them.
you'll find headset reviews on every www site ... it really is personal preference and saying one is done with a company is just that, personal.
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Re: Headset Reviews

Postby GAHorn » Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:28 pm

swixtt wrote:i am so pleased with Lightspeed headsets. i've had their originals for years... zero issues. i recently tried the Tango, very impressed with them.
you'll find headset reviews on every www site ... it really is personal preference and saying one is done with a company is just that, personal.


The problem I've found with "every www site" is that most of them are unwilling to find fault with the products donated for testing by the mfr's.
I don't have a vendetta against Lightspeed...(it's not "personal" in that sense)....but I take care of my equipment and the insulation/sheathing on the cables certainly shouldn't disintegrate if not stored out in the sun/on the flightline. My Lightspeeds have been stored indoors in air conditioning or in the cockpit in a hangared airplane.

G280.... so.. you liked their capability in the 170? I've used high-$ units in the corporate-jet world... ( (I like the Telex lightweight 750/850 series ...non-ANR unfortunately... but not their over-the-ear type).... however most I've tried didn't have to deal with a prop six feet in front of you. The Bose are the cat's meow but I don't want to spend a Grand on a headset (now that I'm retired and flying mostly for pleasure.) And I have to admit, I don't think I want the types that stick into the ear canal. (Wow! I just tried to purchase a set online and rec'd the message: "This item cannot be shipped to your location." ) :?:
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Re: Headset Reviews

Postby 170C » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:28 pm

Like most of you, I have tried numerous brands of headsets and have yet to find the "perfect" one. My first purchases were two David Clark H10-40's, which I still have. They are robust and still after almost 28 yrs, still work as well as when new. They are, however, heavy and after 2-3 hours will squeeze one's ears & brains! They aren't ANR. I did purchase (convention auction) a set of Oregan ear muffs & headband cushion which makes them MUCH more comfortable. For my back seat I have had a couple of low cost units that I tossed as they were junk. Many yrs ago I got a Lightspeed 20X ANR unit, which I still use. It has worked fairly well, but it too isn't too comfortable after 2-3 hours---guess I just need to make shorter flights. The headband (plastic as George said) broke, I sent it back and they replaced it at no charge, did some update and put on new earcup cushions (they do go bad after a couple of yrs) all free. A couple of yrs ago the band broke again & they no longer support that unit, but did send me a headband from a tradein (free). It has worked. I got an older 20X on Ebay & it is my copilot set. ANR doesn't work, but nobody complains. Several friends have Bose units with blue tooth capability which is nice to be able to call and receive cell phone calls and the calls sound like the person on the other end is sitting next to you in your living room. But at $1100 a pop I will have to wait until my Lightspeed craps out.
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Re: Headset Reviews

Postby Ryan Smith » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:25 pm

I'm a Bose fan for life. My only gripe is that the cord for the Bose is not nearly as good/pliable as the latest generation Lightspeed cord.

I have two pairs of DC H10-40s that are older than I am and still work great, but I can only stand to wear them a couple hours at a time. The Bose I can wear (and have worn) 8 hours a day with no ill effects. Other than them being expensive, I have no complaints about the Bose. I have the older version of the A20s that do not allow streaming music, so connecting an AUX cable to my headset sucks, but I guess those are first world problems. I find that headsets are an investment, and as such, I value quality and engineering over copycat Chinese garbage.

Doug Mueller came out to visit me recently, and he had a pair of DC Pro X that looked VERY nice. I wouldn't mind trying a pair of them out. I also found myself wishing I had QC Halos or Clarity Alofts during the sweaty summer months with students. I destroyed a pair of ear seals with sweat over the course of 400 hours/3.5 months.
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Re: Headset Reviews

Postby GAHorn » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:34 pm

Here's a review sent to me by a friend, copied from a webpage he visits. Seems like a good review from an actual user (tho' still not in a "prop-job"):
I've now tried the A20, QC15/Uflymike combo, Clarity Aloft, Quiet Tech Halo, Sennehiser HMEC-26 and DC Pro X. All worked well.

The A20 is giant, gets hot on long legs and is a pain to carry. The mic gain is way too high and keeps the CRJ intercom on with background noise at all times. On the good side, it is the quietest out of the ANR sets I've used, and the music input that cuts out with ATC is nice. I returned the A20 after a 4 day.

QC15/Uflymike is 95% of the noise cancellation, and much smaller, comfortable, and not as hot as the A20. It also has a screw to adjust the Mic gain which is awesome since you can adjust it to cut out completely when you aren't talking, makes the cockpit much quieter. Music input sucks since it's up on the mic itself, and unless you get the TSO version and also wear a set of earbuds, it dies when the battery in the Bose dies. Some airlines might not let you use it if you don't have the TSO version. I had one check airman who had a vendetta against people using this combo and only let me use it when I put the ear buds in.

DC Pro-X I flew one leg with. CA I was flying with picked them up at the Stopover Store in the middle of a trip, didn't like them and let me try them on the next leg. I liked them. Fit well, felt a lot like my QC15. Not quite as quiet as the QC15, great mic on it. Look very cool.

Sennheiser - I've owned these for nearly 20 years and flight instructed with them etc. Very light and comfortable, not as quiet as any of the others, but mine are an old model, they've probably advanced since then. By far the most comfortable of the normal style headsets I've owned. They are more and on-ear style like the DC Pro X than an over the ear like the QC 15 and A20, so they have a different feel and are not hot. I also wear glasses, and they are by far the most comfortable of the normal headsets when wearing glasses, and the glasses don't break the noise seal like the A20 and QC15.

Quiet Tech Halo - Bought these about a month ago and returned them right after the trip. The Mic gain is way too high and super loud, can only be adjusted by sending them back to manufacturer. They are good with glasses since they don't depend on a seal around your ears. I could never find a great way to wear them that was comfortable. The part that goes over your right ear is thick and created pressure. You can wear them a bunch of different ways but I was never able to find on that was really good for me. They do sound great, and the music input is very good as well but doesn't cut out with transmissions. Not TSO, so might not be legal to use at your airline. Great price.

Clarity Aloft - Overall my favorite. Flown with them as my main set for 5 years and thousands of hours. Very comfortable for me, even on 4 hour legs. For me more comfortable than the Halo since both sides are very slim rubber coated wire and is great with glasses. Sounds great, very quiet just like a set of ear plugs. Mic gain not adjustable, but comes set at a good level that cuts out the intercom when not talking. Music input is down on the control box but does not cut out with transmissions. I only use one ear when I have a jumpseater so I can talk to him/her and still monitor ATC. Mine is the TSO version so it is legal at any airline. Downsides are that it and the ear tips are expensive. It works with any Etymotic ear tip though, and they can be bought cheap on Amazon. The control box on mine also broke after about 4 years. I was quoted $100 to repair it, when I sent it in they ended up fixing it for free and sending it back after completely refurbishing it with a new box, wires, etc etc etc. I also like not having batteries.

Hopefully that'll help you, they were all used in the I used the QC15 and Clarity Aloft in the 200 and 900, Halo only in the 900, and the others in the 200.
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Re: Headset Reviews

Postby DaveF » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:27 am

I've had Lightspeed Zulu and Zulu2 since they were introduced. They're great and have been 100% reliable. At OSH this year I tried the latest model of Zulu, the Bose A20, and two different David Clarks, one over the ear and one top of the ear. All ANRs. They were all excellent, and I was disapponted to find, nicer than my Zulus. Made me think it might be time to upgrade. I'm not sure which I'd get if I were shopping today, but it would be hard to go wrong with any of them. We're lucky to have the choices. I value my hearing too much to get anything less than the best headset I can find. But like shoes, you have to try them yourself. What works for my head and ears may not work for you.
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Re: Headset Reviews

Postby n3833v » Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:24 pm

I purchased Headsets without ANR years ago and then bought ANR headsets all at Oshkosh and I like them. I am no professional but these do what I want.

http://www.headsetsinc.com/

John
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Re: Headset Reviews

Postby brianm » Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:23 pm

n3833v wrote:I purchased Headsets without ANR years ago and then bought ANR headsets all at Oshkosh and I like them. I am no professional but these do what I want.

http://www.headsetsinc.com/


Earlier this year I put a Headsets Inc ANR conversion into one of my old Dave Clark 13.4s. The ANR quality isn't as good as Bose or Lightspeed, but it's pretty good for $200.
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Re: Headset Reviews

Postby hilltop170 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:57 am

For less than the Bose, I use David Clark H10-56 HXL/XP ENC headsets that will deliver a NRR - 27 dB passive noise reduction rating plus 17 dB to 22 dB when the ENC is turned on. What that means is they still work very well even when the power is off or the battery dies. Anyone who has ever turned off the Bose in flight will know what that means. These headsets are made for noisy helicopters but work equally well in any noisey airplane.

They weigh 22oz but are comfortable to wear all day with the gel ear seals and headpad. Like all DC products, they are tough and will last for years. All DC headsets have an annealed segment in the headband that can be bent to adjust the "pinch" on your head. Folks who have complained they are uncomfortable may not know about that feature.

In the past I have converted standard H10-40 David Clarks to ANR with conversion kits and they worked great. The only problems with the kits is they sound a little "tinny" and I lost a lot of passive noise reduction when the unit is switched off which will also happen when the battery dies. Other than that, for about $200 you get good ANR headsets, assuming you already had the David Clarks.
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Re: Headset Reviews

Postby nippaero » Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:57 pm

I have Zulu 2's and they have been really nice. I just got a new Zulu 3 but haven't had time to try it out yet. The cord is much more flexible. I really like the A20's as well but the Zulu's seem to be just as good/comfortable and a couple hundred bucks cheaper.
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Re: Headset Reviews

Postby iowa » Wed May 12, 2021 10:06 am

Used Bose for many years
Yeah, they are the most expensive 8O
But one will never regret
A little extra spent to prevent
A precious sensation impairment
Due to eventual Neural Sensory Hearing loss
And the 4-5K for good hearing aids :mrgreen:
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Re: Headset Reviews

Postby dstates » Wed May 12, 2021 12:14 pm

I currently have two sets of Lightspeed Sierra (with Bluetooth) that I am super happy with. Granted, I've never worn a Bose A20 or Lightspeed Zulu in the cockpit of a running aircraft, so I cannot compare ANR, but for the guy like me that flies 75-100 hours a year and wants to spend his cash on 100LL or airplane parts, I have zero regrets. Especially when I turn on the ANR when the engine is running and it is a marked difference than with it off. Tells me it is doing a decent job. That and I got the two Sierra units for less than one Bose A20. They have a great trade in policy, they will give you ~$100-150 for an old crappy David Clark set that doesn't work. Who doesn't have one of those that came with their plane or a friend who will give you one???

Now if I tried an A20 or Zulu3 I might change my mind, but for now why succumb to that temptation.... Then again, I'll be going on a Vans RV-14 ride soon and from what they say I may have to order a kit after that.
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Re: Headset Reviews

Postby GAHorn » Wed May 12, 2021 2:50 pm

n3833v wrote:I purchased Headsets without ANR years ago and then bought ANR headsets all at Oshkosh and I like them. I am no professional but these do what I want.

http://www.headsetsinc.com/

John


Regardless of their disputed ANR capability, I don’t want any headset that requires expensive 9-volt batteries or requires re-charging Li-ion batteries like these.

I like your comments Iowa... it’s time I quit believing it’s possible to be cheap in aviaiton. :lol:

(BTW, I did buy a pair of FARO G2 ANR headsets on Amazon for $350 ea, as I suggested in the opening post of this thread.)
My Review: They are well-constructed and comfortable on long trips. After almost 4 years they have not displayed any of the sorry construction I witnessed in 3 different Lightspeed models. The ANR is “OK”... not up to Bose but they drop the prop-noise fairly-well and reduces fatigue for sure. Those are the “Plus” remarks. The “Minus” marks are the battery case (2 AAA cells) is a tight fit for the batteries...a little tricky replacement excersize,...and it consumes them in about 8-10 hours of continuous use. They do have an “auto-shut-off” feature tho’, and FARO encourages the use of DuraCells only for improved performance, but I’ve had nothing but trouble with DuraCell batteries for the last 5 years or so... leaky and short-lived. Energizers and Ray-O-Vacs have worked just fine but again, only for 8-10 hours. No bluetooth capability .... but I’m entertained sufficiently with flying and don’t need music or phone calls. :)
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