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Headsets A20, Zulu 3 or PFX?

Old 16th Feb 2017, 21:40
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: FNQ
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Headsets A20, Zulu 3 or PFX?


With the recent release of the Zulu 3's, has anyone out there in PPRuNe land
had a chance to compare them to the A20's? I'd also be very interested to
hear peoples opinions regarding the PFX and how it shapes up?

I'm currently bashing around with an older set of A20's with lightspeed
serria's as my back up set.

As I've recently started flying a Twin otter, which maybe the world's second
loudest aircraft after the islander?!!? link describes
the noise princible of flight that DH must have borrowed from the islander )
both of these headsets struggle to cope. Particularly with the higher
frequencies (turbine, wind and prop noise)

To top it all off our aircraft has a terrible com-panel so just considering what other headset options might be out there?
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Old 16th Feb 2017, 21:46
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I went to a set of Zulu 2's when my BoseX couldn't handle the R985 up front. No complaints about the headset and the service was great when my ANR box packed it in out of warranty, it got replaced free of charge! Though the only thing I've noticed about the Lightspeeds vs the A20's other mates have is that the cord shielding ends up brittle after 4-5 years of commercial use.

If you can make it to Avalon I'm sure there'd stands with all headsets for you to try out.
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Old 16th Feb 2017, 22:58
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Originally Posted by Wiggley View Post
Though the only thing I've noticed about the Lightspeeds vs the A20's other mates have is that the cord shielding ends up brittle after 4-5 years of commercial use.

Zulu 3 is said to have an upgraded cable, presumably to fix this.
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Old 17th Feb 2017, 04:44
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I now have a set of PFX and have previously owned Zulu 2's/A20. The zulu/A20 differences are basically personal preference, the PFX is a whole new level and should be for the price.
I love how good the quality of the transmissions are with them and overall comfort but they are a bit buggy, take 4 batteries, go flat quickly and make strange noises if the seal around the ear is disrupted (mostly when eating). What they do well they do well enough for me to put up with the other stuff but is annoying.
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Old 17th Feb 2017, 05:53
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left 270, I have the exact same problems with my PFX, little disappointing to be honest, I was actually considering moving back to my Zulu 2s, but think I'll sell both sets now and buy these Zulu 3s if they're good.

I have rather large ears that require more room, the Boses never suited me for this reason by the Zulu 2s were perfect and the 3s are promoting themselves on having lots of room inside the cups so that's a massive plus for me. Not to mention 2 AAs again instead of 4, I don't use Ipads so the extra stuff it links to is really not much use to me unfortunately.

Will definitely go try a pair hopefully on Monday, I'm assuming the shops around have started getting stock, some have them listed as "Instock" or at least one I can try on!
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Old 17th Feb 2017, 06:30
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Melbourne
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The quietest headset I've ever used is the DC H10-56HXL. It's not the most modern flashy looking headset but it has very, very good passive attenuation and then a great active attenuation as well. Note that it's a helicopter headset so it has a curly cable (which works for me) and you will need an adaptor to go from the NATO to a two plug.

I like mine so much I bought a second pair for whoever else is in the other seat. I've been using mine for 10+ years and it looks new.

A lot of the newer "fashionable" headsets have poor passive attenuation and rely on the active attenuation which is better at some frequencies than others.
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Old 18th Feb 2017, 01:33
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Like previous posters, I upgraded from Zulu 2 to PFX 18 months or so ago. The headset is in daily use, 4-6hrs a day. In honesty, I regret selling my Zulu 2. If I still had that, it's what I'd be using. Battery life on the PFX is horrendous -but that's partially due to the very poor quality of the batteries available here in Indonesian Papua. But even with batteries I have purchased in AUS and carried here, the life is poor. The odd noises (some Very loud, especially as the batteries weaken) are distracting, annoying, uncomfortable and IMO unacceptable from a "premium" product such as this.

Far from being all bad though, when working well, the ANR performance is superb. The clarity of calls and music (bluetooth) has to be experienced to be believed. And before people pounce on me re battery-life & bluetooth use -nope, I RARELY activate bluetooth because of the impact on already piss-poor battery life.

Another very strong point of the PFX is the cable used. I've not seen equivalent or better on any other headset. I'm pleased to note the new Zulu 3 has the same cable! I'm thinking very seriously about "down"-grading to the Z3 in the near future.
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Old 18th Feb 2017, 02:15
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If the Z3 had the same transmission quality (I describe it as the same as AM to FM quality) I would also downgrade.

Every now and again I switch off the features with the button on the side which downgrades the quality of the PFX to Z2 quality just to remind myself how much better it is.
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Old 19th Feb 2017, 22:30
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I've had and used the DC X11, Zulu 2, PFX and A20 - A20 is my choice. PFX are very good but damn the use up batteries very quickly.
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Old 20th Feb 2017, 14:29
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Bought myself a set of Zulu3s today, have to say I find them to be extremely comfortable! The contour of the new seals is subtle but I'm sure will do an excellent job. HEAPS of space inside the ear cups, even big ears like mine fit in easily and the noise cancelling is excellent but I haven't had a chance to test them in the Aircraft just yet.

Glad to be back to the smaller control box and only needing 2 batteries and definitely feel more comfortable to wear as well. Will probably report back in a week or two with my experiences using them in flight if no one else has already done so.
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Old 21st Feb 2017, 01:48
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Totally agree what some of the other guys have said re PFX!

I fly offshore heli, had a Bose X loved it, sold it as it was getting on a bit and decided to try the PFX. Great ANR, Battery life is very poor i was changing the 4 AA every 3-5 days depending on hours flown, ear cups make odd noises when seal broken, found the Battery unit big and bulky.

Ive sold it after 6 months and going to try the A20.
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Old 21st Feb 2017, 02:41
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Be very interested on a comparison to the PFX Ixixly.
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Old 21st Feb 2017, 03:48
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I have the PFX.. had it for over 500 hours in loud pistons.

I don't find the control box too cumbersome, as I am not holding it and it sits nicely in one of the map pockets.

Noise cancelling is amazing! Gap in the seal can be annoying at times, but all ANR sets seem to experience this. 8 hour days don't leave me with a headache and the kevlar cable is second to none.

I get around 25 hours from a set of batteries, with the usual bluetooth and music streaming while flying.

I don't have the issue with batteries being costly. I have a few sets of rechargeables.. Emailed lightspeed and they said they are safe to use, just wont get the low battery warning. But given the predictable 25 hours of use, it isn't an issue.

Invest in a decent charging station and some high quality batteries and you will break even at the 400-500 hour mark.

Keep an eye out for secondhand units. I picked mine up for $800 within only 3 months worth of use on it. Lightspeed said they were more than happy to carry the warranty (5 years) over to me.
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Old 21st Feb 2017, 05:05
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I always go for the noise cancelling with the best passive protection.

The worst case scenario is loss of noise cancelling at a vital moment.

Sennhausers have good passive properties, but their noise cancelling tends to block lower frequencies which may be insufficient for a turboprop- they are well made and confortable.

Lightspeed noise cancelling is very good, and they have good passive protection, but are a little less robust.

Bose passive protection is less, but they are comfortable, with excellent active noise cancelling.
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Old 21st Feb 2017, 14:14
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I thought I'd save a few dollars and buy a pair of Zulu 2s over the Bose A20s - ostensibly because the Bose phones didn't have Bluetooth at the time - but after 12 months I came to my senses and bought a set of A20s anyway. I'll doubt I'll ever go back.

IMO, Bose A20as are better made, with better ANR, better alround sound and are simply more comfortable to wear for extended periods. They also seem to be more reliable with Bluetooth connections and have a better low-battery warning system. (Rechargeable battery life is about the same.)

After 12 months, the Lightspeeds needed new ear pads, the mic boom lost its ability to stay in place (it can't even be reversed for when you're sitting in the right-hand seat), and my ears always hurt after wearing them for extended periods - despite all that room, my ears always seemed to find the hard bits inside the cup to press against.

The Bose phones are a tighter fit - which helps with noise seal - but are deeper and seem to be a better shape (certainly for my ears). My wife likes the Lightspeeds because they don't have a lot of clamping pressure. I also can't fault their customer service. So now they're hers.
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Old 22nd Feb 2017, 01:06
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Just in regards to the batteries. I've always used rechargeable and got at least some warning of them depleting with the other lightspeed sets. Also I've started using the coles brand $7 rechargeable with no noticeable difference in performance (rubbish either way) between them and the expensive ones.
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Old 22nd Feb 2017, 07:51
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Difference between cheap and expensive batteries generally is their capacity. Cheaper ones tend to be 1200-1400mAh, while the higher end ones are 2700-4000mAh.

A standard alkaline battery is around 2000mAh, while a Lithium ion battery is 2800mAh. So using a higher capacity rechargeable battery should give you the same, if not longer battery cycle.
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Old 22nd Feb 2017, 13:28
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Clearedtoreenter, I've own a couple of excellent David Clark PNR headsets that did block a lot of the noise, I've found that the trade off though is that the clamping force is a lot higher to get that effect and therefore with long sorties become very uncomfortable and downright painful. I remember trading from my DC H10-60s, excellent headset but anything more than 3hrs became a bit painful, the change to my Zulu2s was incredible and never looked back
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Old 24th Feb 2017, 05:52
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Have you lads seen the Bose QC15s with a Uflymike adaptor?
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Old 5th Mar 2017, 03:30
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My Bose X is showing signs of wanting to retire. Had it since 2006 and it's been in for repairs on three occasions (twice out of warranty). But I think it's time to update.

I've used the A20 with my previous job quite a bit. Seems to be quite a good headset, other than one or two having the very uncomfortable squealing occasionally.

No experience with the Zulu brand. But from the reviews I've read, they seem to be more susceptible to the squealing.

Question is; Does anyone know of any rumors of Bose releasing a new Headset any time soon? The A20s have been around for a few years now. All be it, with a few updates along the way.
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