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I am finally SOLO!! and need to get my first headset. There is a huge range for the newbie flyer to get confused over !.
All advice welcome on what to look for in a headset
- any recommended brands?
- features to make sure they have? ANR?
I intend to be flying for a lot of years so want to get the "right one".
Predominant use will be in Fixed Wing Microlight (enclosed cockpit)
I have used a bunch of headsets, I now use the Lightspeed Zulu and it is by far the best headset I have ever used. That list includes the Bose Aviation X so be sure I have compared both ;)
I own 2 Lighspeed headsets, a 30 3G and a QFR XC. Happy with both. For the money, I think the QFR XC is great. I'm thinking of trading in the 30 3G on a Zulu. I would buy a QFR XC to start with (about $200), it has great noise reduction, even if the batteries die. I've used David Clarks, I know they are bullet proof, but I feel like my head is in a vise after an hour or so.
I started out with David Clarks but now swear by my Clarity Aloft set. I can fly all day with the CAs and not have any discomfort at all. Plus, I can sit higher in the seat without banging my head on the roof and this allows me to make better, more consistent landings. I don't think you'll regret the decision to try them.
Best of luck and welcome to the sky!
David Clark and Bose have managed to set the bench marks for quality headsets. The Bose headsets are the most pricey. From everything I have read, these two brands are always at the top of the lists, although proponets for all brands can be found.
It's really a matter of priorities. Asking what headset is the best, is sorta like asking which type of automobile is the best? If you are like me with lots of kids, a full-size van is the only way to go, but if you are single, a sporty two-seater may might be right up your alley!
General rule: get the best headset you can readily afford. It should last for years, and you won't regret spending a tad too much more than spending a tad too little.
I'm a 130-hour pilot, and I recently bought a headset, after much deliberation. I've tried the Zulu Lightspeed, and to be sure, it's an excellent headset, but the price was just more than I could justify. I've also tried the DCs, Softcomms, and a few others, and they seem ho-hum. Mostly decent, sometimes not so much. A few actually hurt after just an hour or so.
After lots of research, I settled on the Pilot USA 1771T. For about 1/3 the price of the Zulu, you get ANR, surprisingly lightweight, super-soft snuggy comfortable, and it comes with its own carrying case. It's easily the quietest non-ANR headset I've used when I don't turn on the ANR. It's nearly as comfortable as the Zulu - I would have no trouble at all wearing it for an all-day flight. (I've flown up to 3.5 hours in a day with it, no problems) With ANR on, it's easily as quiet as the Zulu. And it appears to be plenty durable - I expect this will last for many years to come.
Sidenote: when my wife is studying in our sometimes hectic house, she uses the headset with ANR turned on to drown out the household noise - works a champ, and the sound quality is EXCELLENT when we plug in an MP3 player...
If you want to go cheaper, they make the same headset without ANR for about $175, and that's a good bet too. They also have a slightly more expensive model ($450-ish) with the batteries inside the headset rather than in a battery box. Take your pick - I would recommend any of them to anybody!
PS: Microlights are NOISY. ANR is a very, VERY good bet.
Get the LightSpeed Zulu. Nothing compares for comfort and function....
I have the LightSpeed Zulu and love them. Most headsets make my ears hurt after long trips, and Zulu seem to out last any trip. Had Bose before and didn't like them because they never fit me ears right.
If your price point is out of range of the Zulu and Bose, the Telex Stratus 30XT ANR (up to 16 dB) headset can be had for nearly half the price of the others and works just fine and with pretty much the same features. One unique aspect is that the volume adjustment is via knobs on each earphone instead.
Check out the "Headsets Inc. EM-1 ANR aviation headset". Its well built to take the hits of being used in an aircraft. Its looks a bit like the David Clark style headset. The active noise reduction is outstanding and its nice and comfy on my head and around my ears. The price is lower than most ANR headsets and you get outstanding quality. I highly recommend this headset and so do many of the aerobatics pilot who have extremely noisy aircraft. It doesn't have music input but you can buy music/cell phone adapters if you want that feature.
I have flown with the electronic noise cancelling David Clarks and found them to be a pretty neat feature. I would suggest you try them out first, then find an online retailer to get the best price. They are very expensive (as are most things associated with this great hobby/profession) and you don't want buyer's remorse. That being said, here is a shameless plug for my own discount pilot shop, AeroWarehouse.com! We're new to the business and adding products every day. David Clarks and Lightspeed Zulus are available.. and cheap!
I have been a David Clark fan many years. I use the Lightspeed Zulu headsets now however. We have 2 in each of our aircraft. Nice comfy fit. I prefer the fit/feel better than the competitors product, Bose.
There is NO question which headset to invest your $$$ in... the Lightspeed ZULU!
I have many different headsets now all gathering dust in the closet... been using Zulu's since inception... from gyrocopters to jets, hands-down the best headset... hours of comfortable use, great ANR, and bluetooth that works great. Top all that with a company that stands behind them 100%... you can't go wrong!
Our flight dept likes the Lightspeed Zulu best overall. Personally, I like the larger ear muffs vs the Bose. Quiet...pretty much the same. I advise you to get either the Zulu or Bose electric noise cancelling models. Anything else and you will only wish you had spent a little more and got something which will protect your hearing better. I have a David Clark in pax compartment for intercom use. Is not electric noise cancelling, but I did my own noise cancel system which is near same as Oregon Aero sell for $30. Unscrew the speaker from inside the earcups and stuff soft foam all around it. Do no screw it back to cup, but leave it float loose. That did help a lot but sure not as quiet as the electric headsets. I use the rechargeable AA batteries and they seem to last as good as new ones. Recharge takes about 10 hours on those batteries. You can pack the unit around, not too large, or leave it at the house. Keep a half dozen spares with you however. I have been a David Clark user many years, but their electric headset is not near as good as the Zulu or Bose.
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