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-   -   Open cockpit - best headset (microphone)? (https://www.pprune.org/private-flying/559685-open-cockpit-best-headset-microphone.html)

Sam Rutherford 11th Apr 2015 02:59

Open cockpit - best headset (microphone)?
Any real-world experience on the best headset for use in the demanding noise environment of an open cockpit plane?

Or, same question another way - which microphone is best at 'only' collecting the voice and not all the bluster?

Safe flights, Sam.

ChickenHouse 11th Apr 2015 10:21

From my experience there is not really a difference for ANR headsets wether operated in open or closed cockpit, so any good ANR headset will do. My A20 does the same and well in a Tiger Moth or a jet cockpit.

tecman 11th Apr 2015 10:58

With open cockpit flying I'd be more conscious of choosing a headset with excellent passive attenuation (on top of the ANR), and having a fail-safe mode (reverts seamlessly to passive if ANR battery dies or another fault requires the control box to be turned off). Another thing to look for would be good microphone noise cancelling action which, as far as I know, is still done passively with most headsets. The individual's comfort factor is hugely important, of course.

After trying a few popular ANR brands I settled on the Sennheiser S1. In a range of different noisy environments I found the 'optimization' button to work well, and give a few extra dB of noise reduction. As far as I can tell it optimizes a feed-forward loop for different environments and if you're a purist you can re-optimize for different aircraft power settings, canopy open/closed (if applicable!), etc. The S1 passive attenuation and mic audio quality are at least as good, and probably better, than my trusty old DCs will the gell pads and noise cancelling electret mic insert.

Sam Rutherford 12th Apr 2015 09:21

Thanks for the responses so far, but to clarify - but it's not the earpiece that is the question (ie ANR or not, is not relevant).

My question is which mic is the best (which produces the least 'sorry, say again' from the guy in the tower)?

Thanks, Sam.

Tay Cough 12th Apr 2015 09:34

You need a muff. :ok:

I have a couple of these which work pretty well on DC mics.


tecman 13th Apr 2015 00:09

A muff will certainly help - gives a little bit of extra isolation relative to the normal foam sleeve. I notice that many pilots don't use the foam, which compromises even closed cockpit transmissions when the boom is in the correct position (nearly touching the lips).

Another thing to check is the audio gain at various stages in the chain. Many transceivers and/or external ANR buggery boxes have default gain settings which are too high. You don't want any compression or clipping circuits to be operating with just the background noise. Every setup will be different but, with a thick foam mic sleeve I ended up backing off the insert gain a little, the external pre-amp a bit, and the ICA210 transceiver gain a lot.

I did what I could on the ground but finally used a scanner with a solid state memory to record CTAF transmissions, mine included. After a hour or two of listening to lots of transmissions I have new respect for the ATC folks!

taybird 13th Apr 2015 01:04

I use a DC with post fitted ANR, and installed in a cloth cap to hold it secure. The mike is a standard H10-13.4 type. I have an extra sock on it over the top of the standard one. The extra sock is from a Lynx headset so it's quite a big one. I cut it down the inside to make it fit and it's held in place with a black hair elastic band.
This works really well for me.
The Lynx system is very good, being designed for the Microlight environment. However the connectors are all bespoke so you have to invest in the whole system which limits its value, particularly if you're flying different types.

Dan Dare 13th Apr 2015 05:47

Comunica headsets in the UK were brilliant for this and very well liked in the microlight world. They had a massive muff over the normal muff on a sturdy mic boom (like a bendable rubber duck arial). Old DCs and many headsets with a hinged mic boom would blow around in the wind.

They are also based on a Peltor shell, which gives good passive noise attenuation and they did one with an integral active noise attenuation module built in.

Good luck finding them now though - I think aircraft spruce stock some with Comunica name, but I'm not sure they're the same thing.

Sam Rutherford 14th Apr 2015 12:56

Thanks for that, some great suggestions!

Need to reassure a TV crew that they can get good recordings from vintage cockpit transmissions - and some of these ideas should achieve that nicely.

Safe flights, Sam.

newty74 29th Dec 2020 12:29

I just bought a throat mic (a modern one not a military surplus from ww2 or Vietnam etc). They appeared to be the best I can find for consumers. The company www.iasus-concepts.com is making a dual GA plug for me to use with my current headset (Lightspeed Zulu PFX, I also have a Sennheiser S1 Digital) as we speak.

Small Rodent Driver 3rd Jan 2021 23:30

Originally Posted by Sam Rutherford (Post 8939683)
Any real-world experience on the best headset for use in the demanding noise environment of an open cockpit plane?

Or, same question another way - which microphone is best at 'only' collecting the voice and not all the bluster?

Safe flights, Sam.

I would opt for one of the microlight setups. They are simply made for the open cockpit environment.

I’m currently using Micro Avionics intercom and headsets in a vintage biplane and have been very pleased with the result. Headsets are fitted with ANR and have a settable VOX (squelch) control built in.

The standard radio intercom just wasn’t up to the environment.

just my two penneth worth.

Genghis the Engineer 4th Jan 2021 12:03

Exactly what SRD said. There are off the shelf solutions used in flexwing microlights, that integrate helmet, headset, microphone and intercom - they work very well. Don't re-invent the wheel.


P.S. I notice that Sam Rutherford's last post was 5 year ago and he's now banned. Not obsessing too much about La Curtis-Taylor was he? Anyhow, probably all a bit irrelevant now.

Small Rodent Driver 4th Jan 2021 22:34


just shows you, it pays to read the small print,


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