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-   -   Buying my first headset (https://www.pprune.org/private-flying/540116-buying-my-first-headset.html)

andrew_donaldson1 19th May 2014 19:59

Buying my first headset
Hi everyone.

Just wondering what peoples thoughts are on which headset I should buy for my first one?

Advice for a trainee ppl would be gratefully received.


Steve6443 19th May 2014 22:49

The best advice I can give is go to a shop and try various makes on for size - and not for a second or two, leave them on for a couple of minutes, you'll soon get an idea of how they are. For example, DCs have something of a reputation for clamping your head, Sennheissers tended to feel as if they were perched on top of my head, various Bose and Lightspeed models fitted nicely, I eventually settled on the Zulu2 because of price and the fact that Lightspeed's customer service is infinitely better than that of Bose.

Once you know what fits comfortably, you can then determine how much you want to spend. I would always tend towards active headsets but if your budget only stretches to passive, just make sure they sit right, nothing is worse than being in the plane trying to learn with an uncomfortable headset on, giving you a headache.

Finally, if you think an active headset is too expensive, just divide the number of hours you expect to fly with that headset over the price - mine worked out around 1 an hour. Well worth it. But before you decide go somewhere to test and then decide based on price.

piperboy84 19th May 2014 22:57

Don't know about the fancy new ones, but I still use my Dave Clarks that I bought in 1994, never had a problem

drivez 19th May 2014 23:04

Started with a second hand pair of DC's that I got for a steal from a mate trading up, replaced the mike and headpiece, looked like new and performed well. Then when I got a job, I've traded up for the Bose, specifically after seeing an AME who told me it was characteristic of pilots to be missing a certain frequency range!

Think it all depends on your disposable income and commitment. If your taking trial lessons and not sure, then get something very cheap or use club. Just a low hour ppl, not much disposable income then DC's do a great job. If you can afford the nice headsets and your committed then go for it. Take care of them and they will last you.

slam525i 19th May 2014 23:07

Are you planning on flying as a private pilot?

The best advice given to me when buying a headset, as a private pilot, was to buy a cheap first pair. Eventually, you'll buy a second one, which will be a better one, and will relegate your first one as occasional use for your passengers. This also gives yourself time to figure out what you really want.

Other than that, I'd say buy a passive set from David Clark. Reasonable prices. If you're looking at long term, frequent use, ANR is a big plus. Just make sure it'll continue to operate as a passive set if the battery gives up.

XLC 20th May 2014 00:04

As a student I bought a cheap headset online (89 USD) , and installed an ANR kit in it, 135 USD (quite simple to install). The only drawback of that cheap headset is that you can not use it when flying open cockpits (noisy microphone).

India Four Two 20th May 2014 01:50

DCs have something of a reputation for clamping your head
I cannot wear DCs for just that reason. I would go further than Steve6443's advice. Don't wear a headset for a few minutes - go for a flight.

If you feel you have to buy without trying, I also recommend the Zulu 2.

abgd 20th May 2014 01:52

I would second the ANR upgrade - I've done this for my DC headset. Can't really compare it with commercial ANR headsets as I've never tried them, but it's certainly a cheaper alternative and more effective than any passive headset.

IFMU 20th May 2014 02:42

The first headset I bought back in 1990 was the cheapest money could buy. They were headache machines. I upgraded to Peltors, which I like a lot. Bought a few more off eBay for flying with passengers.

BroomstickPilot 20th May 2014 04:36

Hi Andrew,

Use the search function on this site. This subject comes up time and time again so there must be a mass of information already here.


Rod1 20th May 2014 08:34

I started out with a cheap set. My doc thinks flying has damaged my hearing but the deterioration stopped when I got a Bose (10 years ago) (Work tested my hearing every year as part of my medical package). If you can afford it get the best, you only have one set of ears.


ChickenHouse 20th May 2014 09:44

I object to the buy cheap advices. Every damage you do to your hearing aids are not worth the money saved. Even further, buy cheap and then let your passengers suffer is not my way to treat my neighbors. I advice to go for the best ANR headset you can afford and go to a shop to try which one is the best solution for you. If you have more money to spend later and want something better, you at least have a decent one for passengers. I saw dozens of unused old headsets lying around in hangars and that is serious money.

I started on a Bose A20 and still use it. Many friends told me crazy, when I bought it, but they are all using similar headsets now and their cheap crap from beginning rots in some bags.

Andy_P 20th May 2014 10:00

I researched far and wide before buying mine. Opted for the telex stratus 50d based on many reports on how comfortable they were and how good the passive noise attenuation is. They are so good I often forget to turn on the noise cancelling, which you really only notice on long flights. Got to say, I am pretty happy with them..

As for sennheiser, if the aviation headsets are as good as the headphones I use at work you wont have a problem. I have had my sennheiser headphones for about 10 years now, use them everyday and have replaced the ear seals once.

Pirke 20th May 2014 10:12

I've got a DC H10-13X and love it! Wouldn't trade for anything else. Very good passive reduction, and ANR on top of that. The ANR is more useful with the Lyco engines, less with the Rotax as they seem to be quieter.

Contrary to the posts above my DC doesn't feel like it's clamping my head. It's very comfortable even after multiple hours.

A and C 20th May 2014 13:11

I have to agree with Pirke, I got my top of the range DC in 1992 and have been using it ever since, no "head clamping" no technical issues........ 5000 hours later just on keeps working.

Probably the best and most reliable bit of kit I have ever owned.

Piper.Classique 20th May 2014 13:41

Milspec ear defenders and no radio..


There, that's saved you some money

Mariner9 20th May 2014 14:22

Aero Expo is on at Sywell the weekend after next (May 30th - 1st June). All the major aviation shops will have stands there, and will be selling headsets at discounted prices. There should be a good range for you to try on there.

tmmorris 20th May 2014 18:53

You really do need extended testing. Heads come in different sizes and shapes, and headsets don't unless you try different manufacturers.

Vote for Sennheiser here, but YMMV

Piper.Classique 21st May 2014 08:54

If you decide to buy two, make sure they are compatible. Someone will probably know why, but some brands not to work well on the intercom if they are different makes.

dublinpilot 21st May 2014 09:32

My advice would be a bit different to the above.

I'd say not to buy a headset while training. Use the schools headsets for the moment.

Then when you qualify see how you feel about your intentions in the longer term. A lot of people give up very soon after getting their PPL. If, at that time, you are sure that you will continue flying for a long time, then buy the best headset that you can afford.

That's what I did 13 years ago. I bought what was a top of the range DC ANR headset then (cost me a lot of money) but I still use it. It's still very good, and still looks brand new.

Buy cheap and you'll buy twice.

Buy too soon, and you might end up giving up earlier than you think, and have an expensive headset which isn't much use for anything else.

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