View Full Version : Professional Headset

9th Mar 2011, 08:48
(Mods, please move this post if there is a more appropriate forum)

Morning all,

Neither the pprune search function nor google come up with recent threads on headsets suited for professional use.

I'm in the market for a new headset after using an old David Clarke in a B738 cockpit for the last year. To be honest, the old DC is not uncomfortable, even on 4 hour legs; is quiet despite not having ANR and, apart from looking like an ugly green Mickey Mouse, I'd keep wearing it until it falls apart.

However, I'd be interested in hearing from you all with some advice on a replacement, perhaps from the new Sennheiser range. Mind you, I have an open mind and would consider anything.



9th Mar 2011, 09:20
The new Bose beats the Sennheiser range by a country mile. Id recommend to give it a try! Or look for a Bose X from someone who is upgrading to the new 20.

9th Mar 2011, 10:16
I agree, the Bose is a really good headset, light, comfortable, good noise attenuation with ANR.

However, my personal choice would be the Lightspeed Zulu, beats all others hands down, however there is a drawback, it only comes with the Mike on the left, so if you're an FO its annoying.

I'm issued a Sennheiser HMEC 26 - its a good headset, but only as its free. I wouldn't buy it if I had too.

Hope this helps.

9th Mar 2011, 17:16
Why mess with a good thing? There's no such thing as a "professional headset", the most important thing in a headset is that it is comfortable and give you the functions you want. Sounds like you already have that.

9th Mar 2011, 19:17
The Bose gives the best comfort and quality, in my opinion. The new A20 is good enough that on a recent trip, one crewmember who had the headset loaned it to two others to try out, and they bought one for themselves at the conclusion of the trip. Pricey, but worth it.

For those so inclined, I'd offer the QC-15 with a u-fly-mic as a worthy and less expensive alternative. It's a very compact and excellent set-up. It's the headset technology from which the A20 was developed, and the u-fly-mic is a very well-made, very robust set up.

10th Mar 2011, 11:55
aviatorhi, you have a valid point. I was discussing with my better half (she who holds the purse strings; both mine and her own!) and she suggested the same thing. However, boys being boys and wanting new toys, particularly as the cost can offset tax liabilities, I thought I would test the waters of advice.

SNS3Guppy, I found a thread in which you or someone else mentioned the QC-15 and would consider it. I overheard a colleague mentioning getting a new headset which was supposedly great but required the purchase of separate mic. I wonder if it was the QC-15? In any case, I recall he had problems with his new headset. I shall have to investigate further.

In the mean time the big green headset will do the job... :p

10th Mar 2011, 12:27
I would suggest that if you really want a new-ish headset that you get a Plantronics T-30 or Telex 5x5 with ear inserts for both ears, then use the DC as a backup. It's a great (inexpensive) setup and very good for talking on HF (if you're into that sorta thing). Otherwise find another toy you could use... maybe a new flight bag, those seem to wear out faster than DCs if you don't have a nice one.

I keep a seperate headset for listening to music, a Beats by Dre model, which surprised the heck out of me when I listened to it in the store, it beat the entire Bose line hands down.

10th Mar 2011, 13:15
The top three ranking is: Bose, Bose and Bose.

My company is in the process of installing Bose A20s in all our 737NGs. Quiet and comfortable, although some find the clamp pressure of the A20 a weeee bit on the + side after about 5 hours straight. You should try out different types to find the one that suits your needs. Remember, though, that you have to have a service letter for the a/c and an official approval from the regulatory agency for EACH aircraft and EACH headset (which have to be registered with the tech dept. with its own serial number). Your company will have to apply for both. I.e. you are not allowed to bring any ole' headset to work.
But then again, I never bothered to pay much attention to this since I am the one having to suffer The Devil's Orchestra the rest of my life because of some silly rule... :hmm:

10th Mar 2011, 14:34
SNS3Guppy, I found a thread in which you or someone else mentioned the QC-15 and would consider it. I overheard a colleague mentioning getting a new headset which was supposedly great but required the purchase of separate mic. I wonder if it was the QC-15? In any case, I recall he had problems with his new headset. I shall have to investigate further.

I find that the setup is excellent, without any problems. I've had clearer, crisper communication than with any headset I've tried before (including the Bose X, which I own, and which I like).

The setup is economical, and its nice when deadheading somewhere or riding commercial to be able to use the headset to listen to a movie or music, or plug in one's personal music player. The u-fly-mic also includes a music adapter, and while it doesn't cut out music, I've had no difficulty at all understanding ATC even with music playing. When in a terminal area or in a location where the radio traffic gets busy, just turn off the music, of course, but it won't interfere, especially if the volume is slightly lowered.

I've found that when using that headset arrangement, I turn the volume down very low, because it's not necessary; I get in the airplane where others have been using a headset like the Airman 750, and the volumes are turned up very high. Cranking that much volume up can cause hearing damage just from listening to the radio; forget the background noises or ambient sounds in flight. That's not good.

When traveling internationally, a headset like the bose works very well when it comes to hearing and understanding foreign accents, poor radio transmissions, etc. One of the worst places for radio work in the world has got to be Pakistan (setting aside much of deeper, darker Africa), and it's not very good in southern Turkey, either. The Bose headset makes understanding weak, garbled, or strained transmissions easier.

Perhaps the best feature of using this sort of headset is that it's very light weight, and it reduces fatigue substantially on a long flight. I do a lot of legs that are seven to ten hours in duration. Some of them are fairly lonely legs, over a lot of water, without a lot of radio traffic. I feel a lot more rested with the Bose headset after a long flight than I do with other kinds of headsets.

I have a significant amount of hearing loss already. Between gunfire and lots of big radial engines, and other loud noises (too much time behind a rivet gun, driving and bucking rivets, I suspect), I hear a ringing in my ears all the time. I miss things the kids say. I don't hear the cell phone. I pass my medical exam handily enough, though with some effort, but I'm missing hearing on various levels, and it shows. I hear the ringing right now, in fact.

I've used headsets that went in one ear only (ala Plantronics T50), big clamping headsets like David Clark (all mine are filled with the Oregon Aero hush kits of high density foam and the wide headbands). I've even worn foam ear plugs under headclamp headsets too. I've worn the Bose X all over the globe. I've worn various helmets, noise cancelling headsets, lightspeeds, etc, and a number of different passive headsets from clamping style (DC, Telex, Flightcom, etc) to lightweight corporate style (Telex 750, etc). All work as intended, but none come close to the Bose, in my opinion.

I don't hear well in one ear; I need to hear with both ears to understand properly. I can cock the Bose off one ear slightly for takeoff and landing, and still hear with both ears and hear cockpit conversations comfortably, or slide the headset over both ears during long, quiet cruise.

The QC-15, if you go that route, uses a single AAA battery, which seems to last about 40-50 hours. A little power monitor light blinks for 10-20 hours before the battery goes flat, and that's more than enough time to preventatively change the battery. I keep several AAA's in my flight bag, and even with a heavy flying schedule at 30-40 days on the road nonstop, I've never gone through all my batteries. If I do, of course, AAA's can be purchased all over the world, and I keep some spares in my suitcase, too.

On that long commercial flight to your next assignment, you might be sitting next to the guy who wants to talk the whole flight. You might not want to talk. Putting on a set of earphones is a great way of throwing up the do-not-disturb sign. People don't bother you. The sound is outstanding, and I can hear things on a little MP3 music player that I can't hear through other means like a stereo player.

In my opinion, purchase of the QC-15 is worth the investment. Purchase of the uflymic is also a wise investment. I figured I'd try it out and see, not expecting much, but have been nothing but impressed. The uflymic comes fully TSO'd (in compliance with a technical standard order), and the seller (a Southwest Airlines pilot: call the company and talk to the owner directly) is easy to deal with, and will explain everything. The company offers a set of earbuds that can be plugged into the uflymic assembly which can be used to bypass the Bose portion of the headset entirely if it fails, and are also TSO'd; these alone meet the fully TSO'd requirement for a headset; I keep the earbuds in my bag as a spare backup, along with one or two of my own Telex 750's, but I haven't had to use them thus far. The headset and mic have been 100% reliable, and in my opinion, better than advertised.

10th Mar 2011, 17:39

I'm considering buying the u fly mike bose combo just got a couple of questions. I'm an F/O at the moment and we're required to do some procedures 'off intercom' so for a few minutes i need to have one ear uncovered and because of my current seat, my left ear. Can you plug the u fly mike either way round?

10th Mar 2011, 19:25
@Crossunder, very interesting information. How do you solve the intercom issue on the 737? I know my company is right now in discussions with Boeing about a speech-activated intercom system as it is common in every SEP nowadays but is currently unavailable from boeing. Do you use a third party installation? And if so, which one?

Remember, though, that you have to have a service letter for the a/c and an official approval from the regulatory agency for EACH aircraft and EACH headset (which have to be registered with the tech dept. with its own serial number). Your company will have to apply for both.

That of course depends on local regulation and approved company manuals, in our outfit everybody has to use its own headset on the boeing fleet as the company currently does not provide any. We have the approval to use any kind of headset we want although TSO'd ones are preferred, but not required. That will most probably change though due to local worker safety regulation and the company will be forced to provide headsets of a pretty high minimum standard, therefore the talks about a real intercom system.

10th Mar 2011, 19:33
With the QC-15 arrangement, I believe the mic stays on the left side. Cocking the earcup slightly off the ear isn't a problem, however.

18th Mar 2011, 22:07
Headset services still have X's for sale at 630 plus p&p, they are the twin plug/battery/COIL lead.

Looking forward to it.

22nd Apr 2011, 15:51
Sorry to dig this up again, but I have to make a pretty fast decision on this:

I used to have a Tbone headset for use on the 737, had a cable malfunction, sent it back to Denmark, while it was there they declared bancruptcy and my headset is gone. Fantastic. So I'm again without headset.

So, my outfit has a deal with Sennheiser, I could get a HMEC 26 for slightly more than 500 until the 25th, but colleagues already complain about it being uncomfortable (too tight to sit comfortably on top of the ear). Now the Bose seems to top comfort ratings, I am looking for good ANR as well of course - people in my company use anything from a massive DC to no headset at all, but I claim that I still have hearing to preserve. Yeah, the Bose is basically double the price, but I suppose I could even return it after using it for a month (which I probably couldn't if I ordered the Sennheiser through the company)... Any ideas?


23rd Apr 2011, 08:53
I've tried a few.

Currently using the clarity aloft, TSO'd, with a QC15 as a spare back home.
I find the pro-Bose's a little to much (my head is big enough from before!) GA/piston-like and will continue to use my QA even tough my company introduces the Bose as we speak.

The Clarities are very light and simple, but still provide excellent passive noise reduction.

As for noise on the flight deck, the most annoying thing is when my colleague doesn't use a mic foam and I have to hear all the ambient noise through his/hers mic. I really was surprised when I learned that the Boeing didn't have speech-activated intercom!

20th May 2011, 10:34
I am flying 737 NG, want to buy HMEC 26-V-KP P/N 026-35-999-3161. The headset should be powered directly from airplane DC.
Anybody here who has experience with this headset?