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Headset?

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Old 10th Jan 2019, 13:39
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Join Date: Dec 2014
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Headset?

Hi All,

Im about 20 hours thorough my NPPL (M) up in Scotland and I noticed last lesson the poor quality of the headset im using - I mean it does the job but I find it quite noisy (more so the surrounding aircraft noise)

Anyway they are a club set, so I really should be looking into getting my own

What are peoples recommendations? Is it worthwhile investing in a really good set, or will middle of the road suffice?

Once passed I imagine I would want to be flying every couple of weeks

Thanks
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 13:47
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A middle of the road set is fine. Fancy noise cancelling thngs cost an absolue fortune and really aren't necessary in most PPL flying.
Look for a set that is not heavy and has a good seal around the ear. Also does not clamp onto your head which becomes very panful after a short while. That rules out David Clarkes. They are, imo, one of the most uncomfortable headsets around.
My vote is for a standard Peltor which I wore for years in commercial helicopter work. If its good enough for helos its way good enough for spancans.

If you can try other club-members' headsets - the ony real way to see what suits is to use it, and it's too late for that if you've already bought one!
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 14:18
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I suggest buying a set of used David Clarks. They are the most durable, and repairable headset out there. You don't need fancy noise cancelling at this point in your flying, they're nice, but that's several hours of flying you're spending for a little more comfort, leave that until later. I recommend the gel ear muffs for the DC headset, they are the most comfortable. The head clamping force can be adjusted by bending the head band, but some clamping force is better for a better noise seal around the ears. I still have and use the first DC 10-30 headset I bought new in 1983, they last forever. There are probably lots of choices on eBay or similar.
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 14:49
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I too find DC's too clamping. I had a Peltor that lasted 25 years - the type that fold up really neatly like their ear defenders. Lately, I've invested in a Lightspeed Sierra which is noise cancelling. The batteries last well and the headset is nice to wear for an extended period and the ANR keeps out most of the noise, whilst allowing you still to hear the change of engine note and slipstream in the glide. Mine has done 1,000 hours and is starting to look a bit battered as I'm afraid I haven't looked after it very well and hop from aircraft to aircraft with it. However, it still works as advertised. I replaced the gel ear cups at 500 hours along with a new foam cover for the mic, not very expensive and gave new life to the headset.
A 'friend' lent me a Bose A20 and I really wish they hadn't as I now keep dreaming about having a set. However, at 1,000-ish I can't justify the expense, on an instructor's stipend!

As all things in life, you get what you pay for...

TOO
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 15:21
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Totally agree with Pilot DAR...I still use my DC set, also circa 1984 or 5. The Gel cups are real comfy. Not a lot of use recently, but have around 8500 hrs on my ugly head.
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 15:34
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When flying in a club environment, speak openly on your headset question to them. Try out all different once you can get your hand on. My best bet, you end up in the Bose A20 or Zulu Lightspeed question. A word of maybe wisdom, there is nothing more valuable than your hearing. Once damaged it cannot be restored. My advice, once you are for certain to stay in being an airman, get one of the best ones! The choice between Zulu and Bose is usually one of personal comfort, so try both for a longer time before taking a decision. Yes, you cab get along with less than the top notch headsets, but it is much more fun to take one big jump and forget all thinking on headsets thereafter, focus on flying ;-).
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 15:49
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One more thing about 2nd-hand headsets. The older ones usually had brass plugs, which tarnished really rapidly, causing intermittent comms. The newer ones have chrome or other more durable finishes.

TOO
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 16:24
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Getting a decent noise cancelling headset absolutely transformed my flying experience. I bought a Bose QC35 noise cancelling 'entertainment' headset with the Avee adapter ( www.getavee.com ) and absolutely love them. The package was half the price of a Bose A20 and, as far as I can tell, just as good from an audio point of view, although possibly not as robust. And I have a really good entertainment headset as part of the deal - I use it all the time when flying as a passenger in big aeroplanes.

Three professionals who have tried my system immediately went off and ordered one for themselves. If I was to do it again, I would probably consider the Sony WH-1000XM3 headset for which Avee also make an adapter and which is reputed to have better noise cancelling. Although how relevant an audiophile's review is to the din in a Cessna is probably debatable!
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 16:28
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If I may, what type of aircraft are you flying? As it is an NPPL (M) is it an open cockpit very light type or an enclosed cockpit like a Eurostar? That may make a significant different as to what type of headset is suitable.
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 16:51
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Originally Posted by TangoAlphad View Post
If I may, what type of aircraft are you flying? As it is an NPPL (M) is it an open cockpit very light type or an enclosed cockpit like a Eurostar? That may make a significant different as to what type of headset is suitable.
Hi - Its a Eurostar

Thanks for the responses so far - its interesting to hear the different opinions. I will check out whats been recommended so far
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 19:28
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I bought a pair of DC 13.4S (stereo) with the undercut gel pads. They are really comfy (longest flight for me was about 3 hours, and I didn't notice they were on my head), but there seems to be a bunch of people who find DCs uncomfortable... not sure why, maybe they have bigger noggins? I would suggest if your club DCs are comfy but you want your own pair, get DCs, otherwise look at Lightspeed Zulus. I think they offer better value for money than the A20s. The only problem with non-DC headsets, is that walking through the terminal without those lime green DCs, nobody will realise you are a pilot ;-)
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 20:12
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I've had a basic DC headset for nearly 20 years. No problems with it or my hearing. No problems hearing ATC.
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 20:15
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callum,

Lots of good advice here. One of the key points is to make sure you try one out in the air for an hour or two, before buying. Ten minutes walking around a store looking like a wannabe is not enough!

I'm one of those people who finds a DC excruciating to wear for more than a short while. I have a Lightspeed Zulu 2* that I have worn for flights of up to three hours with no problems. For non noise-cancelling headsets, I like the Peltor.

* A minor problem I'm having that needs fixing is that the boom mike is loose - it acts like a G meter in steep turns!
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 20:37
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I have a big head (so my wife tells me), I've been using my DC 13.4's for 15 years and they still look like new. I've never experienced any discomfort from wearing them. On a recent club trip I flew for a total of 6 hours over two days and I was fine. I don't fly often enough to warrant buying an ANR headset and so far DC have been the best all round PNR set I've used, which is why I bought one for myself.
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 22:20
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Originally Posted by double_barrel View Post
Getting a decent noise cancelling headset absolutely transformed my flying experience. I bought a Bose QC35 noise cancelling 'entertainment' headset with the Avee adapter ( www.getavee.com ) and absolutely love them. The package was half the price of a Bose A20 and, as far as I can tell, just as good from an audio point of view, although possibly not as robust. And I have a really good entertainment headset as part of the deal - I use it all the time when flying as a passenger in big aeroplanes.

Three professionals who have tried my system immediately went off and ordered one for themselves. If I was to do it again, I would probably consider the Sony WH-1000XM3 headset for which Avee also make an adapter and which is reputed to have better noise cancelling. Although how relevant an audiophile's review is to the din in a Cessna is probably debatable!
This is interesting, as surely 'entertainment' headphones are probably lighter and less clunky that typical aviation sets

Means I could watch the football at home without the missus complaining about the volume too.... :-D

On the downside as mentioned, no one will know im a Pilot!

Im curious to the durability of these type of designs? I see theres a couple of different options - Avee, Uflymike and NFlightmic
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Old 11th Jan 2019, 00:41
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Another vote here for David Clarks. I've had a set since the late 1980s, they've given excellent service, probably done about 7000 hours with them. I've replaced the Gel seals two or three times and mic muffs about a half a dozen times. I've never had a problem with their comfort. I've also flown another 6000 hours with company provided DC's.

I've also used various models of Telex, and Lightspeed.

If I were to buy today I'd buy the David Clark One X noise cancelling. They're quite expensive, the equal to the Bose A20 on noise reduction, but based on prior experience with CD headsets I'd expect them to be long lasting.
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Old 11th Jan 2019, 05:48
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Originally Posted by callum_62 View Post
This is interesting, as surely 'entertainment' headphones are probably lighter and less clunky that typical aviation sets

Means I could watch the football at home without the missus complaining about the volume too.... :-D

On the downside as mentioned, no one will know im a Pilot!

Im curious to the durability of these type of designs? I see theres a couple of different options - Avee, Uflymike and NFlightmic
Indeed, they are very light and comfortable, much lighter and less clunky than the dreadful old DC's I started with. I wear them in headset-only mode as a passenger for many hours at a time without problems. The upside over the A20 in this role is that I don't look a prat with a microphone boom stuck up in the air beside my head! I do handle them carefully, I have not had problems but I assume that they cannot be as tough and durable as more traditional and clunky designs. I do not expect them to last a lifetime as some of the DC old-timers cheerfully claim for theirs, but I am currently very happy with them and will not begrudge it if (when) I have to replace them.

Before I went with Avee, I looked at uflymike but they could not supply the Bose microphone adapter, they were having manufacturing problems, that may have changed. Avee were a joy to deal with - instant response to email enquiries and incredibly rapid shipment, plus helpful and instant response when I found the standard microphone boom too short. They shipped to Edinburgh by DHL and I had it within less than 48 hours from my 1st contact with them.
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Old 11th Jan 2019, 13:52
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Originally Posted by double_barrel View Post
Indeed, they are very light and comfortable, much lighter and less clunky than the dreadful old DC's I started with. I wear them in headset-only mode as a passenger for many hours at a time without problems. The upside over the A20 in this role is that I don't look a prat with a microphone boom stuck up in the air beside my head! I do handle them carefully, I have not had problems but I assume that they cannot be as tough and durable as more traditional and clunky designs. I do not expect them to last a lifetime as some of the DC old-timers cheerfully claim for theirs, but I am currently very happy with them and will not begrudge it if (when) I have to replace them.

Before I went with Avee, I looked at uflymike but they could not supply the Bose microphone adapter, they were having manufacturing problems, that may have changed. Avee were a joy to deal with - instant response to email enquiries and incredibly rapid shipment, plus helpful and instant response when I found the standard microphone boom too short. They shipped to Edinburgh by DHL and I had it within less than 48 hours from my 1st contact with them.
Thanks - im definitely going to look into this option - and given your Avee success probably stick to that - im based just outside Edinburgh so nice to know the postage was prompt

I didn't like the velcro part of NFlightcam so that would rule that out

I imagine that the headphones are liable to be part of a decent sale over the next few months, so will keep my eye on that.

Also will try a few different sets if I can get my hands on some at the club

Cheers

Cal
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Old 11th Jan 2019, 14:02
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There are actually two reasons to go for a headset with active noise canceling. The possibility of hearing issues has already been mentioned, I know that many pilots have flown without ANC for years and have not had any issues but then again, some have. As you only have one set of ears, it is worth looking after them, if you ask me. The second selling point, which isn't mentioned all that often, is that it can really reduce fatigue. Listening to a constant noise means that your brain is constantly processing, which uses energy. The less noise, the less energy spent and I have found that I have stepped out of aircraft with lower fatigue levels after using an ANC headset, when compared to flights where I didn't have this luxury (usually because I forgot my spare batteries). Because of this I have also taken to using a Bose QC35 whenever I'm sat in an airliner. For flying, I use a David Clark H10-13X.
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