German manufacturer Beyerdynamic recently introduced the HS 800 Digital aviation headset. A modern-looking headset with a carbon-fiberlike design, the HS 800 definitely has the look. I recently took it for a test flight to see how it performs in the cockpit.
The HS 800 Digital is nice and light, only 0.72 pounds (without the cable and audio box). The round ear seals and the headband are enclosed with soft, supple leather. I felt no pressure points even after flying with it for a couple of hours. This headset is definitely comfortable enough for long cross-country flights.
As with other noise-canceling headsets I’ve tried, passive noise cancellation with the HS 800 leaves something to be desired, so it’s important to carry extra AA batteries for the audio box. When I pushed the “on” button to activate Beyerdymanic’s digital adaptive noise reduction (DANR) system, the engine noise was instantly eliminated. However, the DANR produces what Beyerdynamic sales manager Peter Carini calls a counter noise — a slight squelchlike sound. While noticeable, the sound was not loud and the noise cancellation was excellent.
The mic functioned superbly. There was no need to keep it attached to the lips, as I’ve been forced to do with other headsets.
Some nice accessories include an audio plug on the box where you can plug in an MP3 player or other music player for entertainment. The headset also comes with a padded bag, which includes several pockets. You could definitely get away with using this as your flight bag, particularly if you’re using an iPad for navigation.
The headset has a suggested retail price of $839, which includes a five-year warranty. While the noise reduction quality does not quite measure up to the Bose, which I generally fly with, the Beyerdynamic HS 800 Digital is a high-quality headset with superb comfort.