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Lightspeed Zulu 1 - PNR: Poor?

Old 16th Jun 2014, 10:30
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Lightspeed Zulu 1 - PNR: Poor?

Hi I'm completely new to flying. I intend to get onto my PPL in a year after uni finishes (i.e. I get a job earning money to spend on flying) but have 4x45 minute trial flights given to me until then.

I flew the other day in an old Cessna 152 with a set of secondhand Lightspeed Zulu 1 and after landing my ears were shot!

Communications were great during flight (much better than the club loaners).

I don't feel like these are going to do enough to protect my ears over time.

What kind of PNR should I expect from these?
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Old 16th Jun 2014, 11:36
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After all of 45 mins? I'm still using the zulu 1 flying most days of the week. I have found they work best and are more comfortable without a hat on, no issues from an 8 hour flying day.
What kind of PNR should I expect from these?
Passive noise reduction from them... Bugger all, they are an active noise reduction set. They rely on electronic means to cancel out the sound waves rather than passive sound muffling. You need to keep them powered by 2 AA's for them to cancel noise properly.
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Old 16th Jun 2014, 13:32
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Agreed with above reply. I bought a pair of zulu ones at the start of my flight training, and haven't looked back since!
If you start a flight without the ANR working, you can usually tolerate them fine, if your batteries die midflight, the noise difference is significant. I usually have a pair of AA lithium rechargeables in mine, and they last usually about a month.
Thy are designed to work best with the ANR working, and provided you carry a spare pair of batteries, or recharge them not long after the light flashes red, everythings good. After a day with 6-7 hours flight time sitting in a noisy piston, you want to have ANR.
No I don't work for zulu, but mine have worked very well for me for over 4 years, and would happily recommend the 1's to anyone.
(Just don't ask me about the bluetooth, I've never used it)
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Old 16th Jun 2014, 13:54
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The ANR was on the whole flight (I checked it on/off at the start). I could hear my instructor pretty clearly.

I do wonder if ANR actually protects the ear drum or is it just adding an extra sound wave to the eardrum?

Or maybe it was just getting used to air pressure changes, is that likely to happen between 1500ft-400ft?
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Old 16th Jun 2014, 15:15
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Personal preference is quite a big factor, SNB. After trying a few options, I prefer the Sennheiser S1, which does have a high level of passive attenuation as well as ANR. ANR is great at lower frequencies, where most of the energy is in light aircraft noise. But there are components at other frequencies too and, to my ear, I prefer to isolate my ears from those as well. In passing, I note that the S1 feedforward optimization (done with a button on the left earpiece) pushes the ANR out to higher frequencies.

Comfort is quite a big thing, though. Important to try a few designs, and find one which works for you.

Re hearing protection, it is supposed to be an algebraic sum of pressure waves on the eardrum so where ANR works, it should be OK. But psycho-acoustics is a funny thing and I've also found the ANR experience can be a bit tiring (less so with the S1, I personally find).
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Old 16th Jun 2014, 22:21
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I switched from a set of DC 13.4s to Zulu 1s part way through my training. I think the Zulus with ANR operational are a bit quieter than the DCs *with the added benefit of bluetooth. But yes, the noise level when the batteries run out on the Zulus is pretty atrocious so make sure you keep spare batteries at hand. I've had the batteries run out on two flights: my PPL flight test and my CPL flight test. What luck!
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Old 16th Jun 2014, 22:47
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But yes, the noise level when the batteries run out on the Zulus is pretty atrocious
Perhaps Snbyrne forgot to turn his on?
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Old 16th Jun 2014, 23:40
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Real pilots use DCs - the rest are for sissies!
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Old 17th Jun 2014, 02:37
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I've had my DCs for 30 years, in deserts, sub-tropical & tropical wet & dry, ice & snow through 3 winters in Shetland - and they're still used every day I go to work.
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Old 17th Jun 2014, 02:41
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SNB, I brought a zulu a few months into my training (2011). I don't have any complaints with them. I concur with other posters that they are noisy with flat batteries. Their true noise cancelling abilities was most noticeable in the Cessna 206 at full noise. I like the blue tooth function for making phone calls, especially checking weather on AWIS.

Perhaps if the ones you were trying were a bit old and unloved the ear gels may have seen better days. I'm still using the original ones on mine, but I've heard other pilots up north change their ear gels every 12 months. If the ear gels aren't sealing properly around sunglasses etc they're going to let in noise that's going to overwork/confuse the ANR processor.

Regarding Bose X our class was split. I did try them. No complaints, just a little bit more expensive. The guys that brought them tended to be the sort that had trouble passing a mirror or reflective window without pausing and staring at themselves whilst wearing their expensive aviator watch/Bose X/mirrored sunglasses etc.......
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Old 17th Jun 2014, 03:22
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I've been using DC's H10.60's and have been for years. For a PNR headset they're perhaps still the best out there, even though they've been on the market for a long time now. They have nice big ear cups that fit around ones ears instead of sitting on them as the later headstes seem to with their sleek, slimline, modern (but small) looking cups. You might even say that ones ears help locate and anchor your headset to your noggin better, than the more recent smaller offerings do.

I had an opportunity recently to use the latest and greatest from Bose. I have to admit that I was stunned at the decrease in the noise level when I hit the on button, even though I was only sitting there warming up the machine. I actually turned off the ANR component off during the runup and takeoff in case I missed something that went 'pop' or 'bang'.
With the electronic wizardry turned off, things got a lot louder than the old but faithful H10.60's. I wondered at the time just how well these ANR headsets actully protect ones hearing as opposed to the older but more substantial PNR headsets?
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Old 17th Jun 2014, 11:30
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Or maybe it was just getting used to air pressure changes, is that likely to happen between 1500ft-400ft?
Was it only after descent that you felt your ears where 'shot'? Perhaps you where a bit congested and the pressure didn't equalise properly. It could be as little as a bit of wax build up in your ear or a light winter cold.
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Old 17th Jun 2014, 14:25
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PNR for men, ANR for ladies?

I bought a pair of DCs when I was training and still find they are great for up to 8 hrs in the Cessna. The wife found the PNR uncomfortable so she got a pair Zulu's for Christmas a few years back. She hasn't complained (about headsets) since.

I have used the Zulu's on occasion when the wife is at home but I actually prefer the DCs.

The big plus with Zulu's is having the bluetooth phone connection. Often we find no reception on the ground but good reception at 4,500.
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Old 19th Jun 2014, 09:54
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I have had the same pair of DC H10-40's since 1986, apart from a new microphone and some ear seals they are as they were when I bought them and still work fine. For the last 8 years I have used company supplied Bose headsets, first the X and more recently the A20. The A20 is way ahead of the Bose X.

Recently the DC Pro X has caught my eye, thinking about making the change, but would love to try one for a few sectors first.
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