One Year After Debut, Bose A30 Headset Well Received

A retired airline pilot weighs in on the latest headset offering from Bose at Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo.

The Bose A30 weighs in at 14.2 ounces making it lighter than its predecessor, the A20. [Courtesy: Bose]

LAKELAND, Florida — While exact figures aren't readily available, all of Bose's headsets showed a marked increase in sales in the past year, inclusive of the A30, the ProFlight series, and the A20, according to the company.

The A20 is set to cease production in less than a year. More and more professional cockpits are ditching the molded earpiece and boom mic for a ProFlight, but the model generates fewer sales because of its defined market.

Although Chris Wuerfl, Bose’s business development manager, did not reveal a new aviation product, he expressed a general wish that one would be forthcoming. However, it would seem that the one-year anniversary of the Bose A30 headset was reason alone for the company to celebrate here at the Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo (SNF) this week. According to Wuerfl, the product has been well received. 

Like all of the company’s headsets, the A30 was designed to reduce noise fatigue. Bose claims that the unit has a slightly higher degree of effectiveness. A touted 20 percent reduction in clamping force, in addition to a headband with larger cushions that span a greater area, are also attributes. The clamping attribute is a game-changer for me, because for whatever reason, Bose headsets eventually begin to pinch the top of my head.

One feature of the A30 that the competition hasn’t added is the ability to swap the position of the mic from one side to the other. The headset allows this to be performed gracefully by simply pulling and replugging without the use of a tool. Although for GA use this feature isn’t a must, after more than four decades of flying professionally, it just seems awkward to have the boom mic always on the left side no matter what seat you occupy in the cockpit.

Testing the unit at SNF was a good experience, considering the volume of ambient noise. The quality of sound was superb. In addition to the standard volume controls, the A30 control box contained a slide switch that allowed for the ambient noise reception to be increased or decreased by selecting low, medium, or high. Movement of the slide didn’t dramatically change the reception with my degraded hearing, but perhaps a noisy cockpit would make it more apparent. Simply tapping a couple of times on either headset cup accomplishes the same task. This feature is probably more of an asset in a professional environment when you need to hear another pilot, flight attendant, or mechanic.

Bose maintains a five-year warranty on all of its headsets. If a headset is out of warranty, $225 is a one-size-fits-all refurbishment fee. The consumables, like ear cushions and mic covers, can be purchased as a service kit for $49.95. (The SNF show special is $35)

No one can argue that Bose set the standard for ANR equipment. The A30 continues to maintain that standard.  

Les Abend
Les AbendAuthor
Les Abend is a retired, 34-year veteran of American Airlines, attempting to readjust his passion for flying airplanes in the lower flight levels—without the assistance of a copilot.

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