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Headsets

Old 30th Jun 2018, 17:51
  #1 (permalink)  
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Headsets

Hi guys!

Just started my career as an Airbus FO! Had a lot of captains advising me to get some proper noise cancelling headset, because later on your hearing actually gets worse (and as we all know, once you've lost it, there is no turning back).

I had a look at the most famous brands such as Sennheiser, David Clark, Bose etc...but I'm still not sure which one to choose. Definitely I wouldn't go for on ear headsets, because I find them uncomfortable for a long day of work, but I would definitely go for some in-ear (such as the new Proflight Bose (BTW has anyone tried them, they look very interesting)) or over-ear headsets.

Please give me all your experience on it!

Thanks and safe landings!
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Old 1st Jul 2018, 16:23
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PPRuNe Handmaiden
 
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I used to wear the venerable Dave Clarks. They stood me in good stead over many years and many different types of flying. They weren't ANR but a cut ear plug did the trick. Anyway, that's old school. Until a few years ago I was wearing Sennheisers in the Hawker (bizjet). They were great until I got a pair of Bose A20s. Whilst they aren't the lightest headset on the planet, in my opinion for clarity, reliability and ruggedness they are pretty hard to beat. I've had one niggle which was swiftly resolved by the service centre for free. Very good customer service. They're not cheap and since I have had them for over 5 years, that cost per year becomes very reasonable. You might need to check the connections though for Airbus. I use rechargeable batteries and that works fine.

Anyway, congrats on your new job, I do agree the Bose Proflights look interesting.
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Old 2nd Jul 2018, 01:04
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Originally Posted by smoothwings View Post
Hi guys!

Just started my career as an Airbus FO! Had a lot of captains advising me to get some proper noise cancelling headset, because later on your hearing actually gets worse (and as we all know, once you've lost it, there is no turning back).

I had a look at the most famous brands such as Sennheiser, David Clark, Bose etc...but I'm still not sure which one to choose. Definitely I wouldn't go for on ear headsets, because I find them uncomfortable for a long day of work, but I would definitely go for some in-ear (such as the new Proflight Bose (BTW has anyone tried them, they look very interesting)) or over-ear headsets.

Please give me all your experience on it!

Thanks and safe landings!
I'm a big fan of the Telex 850, I know it's on-ear, but I've had great luck with mine, including four and a half years on the A320.
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Old 3rd Jul 2018, 09:38
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Join Date: Nov 1999
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I use the BOSE QC25 (over ear) with the UFlyMike microphone* which is a very good combination and light and comfortable. It is cheap compared to all the others, that frankly take the xxxx with their prices.

However the QC25 is in very short supply now.


*Beware the import duty which nobody tells you about.
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Old 3rd Jul 2018, 10:10
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Problem with some anr is they are useless if the battery goes.

I like my DC anr because they turn into normal good passive headsets if anything goes wrong. Plus our aircraft headsets are the passive DC and our techs are more than happy to keep mine serviced with ear pads and mic socks etc. DC seem to cause the least problems with the various intercoms etc. They just work. And if there is a problem nobody will instantly blame the pilots headset.
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Old 3rd Jul 2018, 11:25
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I used the QC15 with the UFlyMike, and it was a pretty good piece of kit, but had the severe downside that you couldn't hear anything if the battery went flat. Which is why i always replaced it rather early to make sure it never happens to me. Now i use a Bose A20 which is a spectacular piece of kit, both the ANR and the passive noise dampening as well as the comfort of wearing it is the best i've ever experienced. Still ordered a ProFlight in April to check out which of the two will remain with me for the long run, while selling off the other one. The downside of the A20 is its bulk and weight in my flightkit and actually on my head as well.

I did start out with passive DCs in flightschool, provided for us by the school. On starting to fly ME planes we had active fixed installation Sennheisers on board, and they were actually a very good compromise, however, being on ear and me wearing glasses they grew uncomfortable after some hours. As we were not allowed to fly for more than 3 hours in a row (yes, we hat flight duty time regulations in flight school) it was not a big issue. In my first job on the 737 we had personal passive Sennheisers provided by the company, if they broke simply call maintenance and they replaced them and did all the repair thing. Later my AME mentioned that my hearing got worse over time and suggested to switching to ANR, which i did with a Telex 850, an excellent headset as it didn't use batteries and was very lightweight. But it was simply the wrong headset for a loud airplane like the 737. After that i decided against a Bose professional ANR headset and rather went with the QC15/UflyMike combination, for several reasons: less space in the flightkit, very lightweight, dual use for deadheading and on the flightdeck, and comfortable to wear. But now using the A20 i have to say that it is actually a better fit, although i switched to a slightly less noisy airplane with the A320.
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Old 3rd Jul 2018, 11:53
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BOSE QC 25 works perfectly without a battery, and is much less bulky than the A20 and a fraction of the price.

They are pretty good passive noise reducing headsets - I used mine for a week before getting round to putting the battery in. It only takes one AAA battery, which fits into one of the earphones, so no bulky box hanging on the cable.

Yes, if required, you can disconnect the mic and do your walk around in them without having to carry a set of ear defenders too. And when you go on holiday, you can take the QC25 to listen to music or films in ANR comfort !
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Old 3rd Jul 2018, 19:18
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Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post
BOSE QC 25 works perfectly without a battery, and is much less bulky than the A20 and a fraction of the price.

They are pretty good passive noise reducing headsets - I used mine for a week before getting round to putting the battery in. It only takes one AAA battery, which fits into one of the earphones, so no bulky box hanging on the cable.

Yes, if required, you can disconnect the mic and do your walk around in them without having to carry a set of ear defenders too. And when you go on holiday, you can take the QC25 to listen to music or films in ANR comfort !
Is it TSO approved? Working now for a company that requires that (didn't matter an iota in my old company), or it being on the airbus list of approved headsets.

Last edited by Denti; 4th Jul 2018 at 04:44.
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Old 3rd Jul 2018, 19:57
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Thanks guys for all your insights! I think in such an important matter to our health, such as this one, others people experience help a lot!

I do actually own a pair of QC25, and also looked at buying the add-on UFlyMike. However they are not EASA/FAA certified, and I doubt they would allow me to use them when operating.

In the past few days I also inquired about the new ProFlight, asking if there is any opportunity to create an impression of your ear and connect it to your Bose headset. They said that it is not possible, but they added that the product is delivered with 3 different sizes. So that could be a very valuable option.

To be fair, especially after reading some of your replies, I think I made my mind on the brand. I think I'm gonna go with Bose. Everyone that owns them have always enjoyed them. Now the choice is between A20's and Proflight!!! I'll keep you posted

Thanks! It is the realization of a life time dream being able to do this job. I'm blessed for having this opportunity, and proud of being part of this massive international community!
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Old 17th Jul 2018, 13:01
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Join Date: May 2018
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Talking

smoothwings

So, which one did you go with?
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Old 29th Jul 2018, 09:59
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I did eventually go with the new Bose ProFlight. However here in Europe, I don't know how's the situation in the US, they're having big issues with stocks. It seems like everyone is buying them.

When they'll arrive (and I have no idea of when that will be) I'll give a quick description of the product in this thread!

In the meanwhile safe landings to everyone!
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Old 22nd Aug 2018, 12:43
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How much better is the ProFlight compared to the A20?
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Old 22nd Aug 2018, 22:50
  #13 (permalink)  

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I have both.
If you're looking for a headset that will take up less room in your flight bag, you'll need to find another case. It's the same size case as the Bose QC25 (hard shell). If you're looking for a lighter unit, it is a bit lighter than the A20, but the battery pack is a 2 AA battery unit, and is not light.
The A20 is easy to use and set up. Plug it in, find a suitable routing for the cable, stick it on your head and away you go.

The ProFlight is a shed load more fiddly. Getting the ear pieces in right is a bit more fiddly, especially if you want to maximise the noise cancelling. Also, getting the fit right is essential to not get discomfort over a long flight/day. There are different size ear pieces and it's worth spending time on it.

What is really neat with the Proflight is being able to tap the ANR off per ear. The ANR is pretty good but you do get more ambient sounds compared to the A20. Sound quality is excellent and my colleagues have had no issues with clashing etc.
It is a lot cooler to wear and a lot less interference with sunnies.

The Bose Proflight is an interesting option to the Bose A20. Is it better? No, in my honest opinion. Whilst the Proflight is lighter and cooler to wear, it is a lot fiddlier to put on and go, especially compared to the A20 (or any over the ear headset). Also, it will take up nearly as much room in your flight case given the size of the case. Sound quality is excellent, as it is with the A20.
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Old 24th Aug 2018, 07:13
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I have to agree with most things that red snail has described in the previous post.

Having tried both headsets I do find as well a slightly higher "complexity" in hopping on your headset before departure. Although we are talking only of a few more seconds, I do get that people may find it annoying. However you do compensate this when you need to talk to cabin crew for example, as with the ProFlight you only need to tap twice on the earbud and you'll de-activate its ANC.
No one can't deny that you need some time to get used to the "in-ear" nature of the headset, as we've basically always been costumed to over-ear or around-ear types in this industry. My strictly personal view is that it is not that bad, once you've tried them for a few times (I know also of people getting their own personalized ear shape impressions, to create specific-fit earbuds for the headset). The problem I had with the A20's is that when wearing a pair of sunglasses (bear in mind I have the RayBan Aviators, which are specifically made with a very thin frame for this exact reason) they will feel squished from the headset. This has given me unbearable headaches after a day of work.

The ANC function on the ProFlight is pretty good, nearly as good as the one in the A20's. Again I must say I prefer the ProFlight because they still give you an excellent noise reduction level and at the same time don't completely isolate you from the aircraft. You can still hear the engines spooling, which I find immensely important for our situational awareness.

The frame of the ProFlight is really really light, and it happened to me on a few occasions that I forgot I was wearing one. Having said this, there is no doubt that the A20's provide a better stability and I have heard of a colleague having issues with the ProFlight slipping off in the flight deck. Personally I never had any issues and found them very firm on my head, but that is something you'll have to try on yourself.

Case wise I rather have the ProFlight in my flight bag simply because I can manage to fit them in. I tried to squeeze in the A20 case and hardly found any space for them. The con about the latter case is that it is not rigid as the ProFlight one is. We all know our flight bags do have some rough days, and I rather have my headset in a smaller and hard case to ensure its protection.

This is pretty much all I have for the time being. I will be giving extra-updates as time goes by to help you guys with this difficult and expensive choice. I would just like to remember that the above opinions are purely personal. I don't feel like I can give a better rating to one of the two. They are both high quality pieces of technological equipment. The only thing is to find your best fit, and evaluate yourself the pro's and con's and how you feel they are impacting your normal day-to-day work.

Please don't hesitate to ask and share your opinions! This community is great because everyone gets to say their own personal view on this wonderful industry.

In the meanwhile, fly safe!
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Old 12th Sep 2018, 10:05
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Join Date: Jan 2006
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Iíve just finished my first block using the Pro Flight that has replaced my A20.

My thoughts, smaller case, itís so much easier to carry around unlike the A20. Itís so light I forget Iím wearing it sometimes, it does take some getting used to in putting the ear plugs in as there is a technique. For a few days sometimes they would fit and other times not so well and I would have a bit of ache, however practice makes perfect and by day 5 I had the technique right and have no issues.

The ANR isnít as good as the A20, but they donít have to be as theyíre not designed for GA, I use medium as I found that better than high, high seemed to introduce a high level hiss noise, that maybe due to it being set to high for the aircraft noise itself (A320). The Bluetooth works better than the A20. When making a call using the company phone with the A20 plugged in, there would be a whine type of noise that was distracting to both myself and the person on the other end of the phone, I would have to unplug it to stop interference, the Pro Flight doesnít suffer from this problem.

Overall the first day or or two I wasnít sure if I was going to stick with it as it was a little fiddly to get right, however more time spent with it and adjusting I now know how to set it up quickly every time and wonít be going back. It makes for a much easier day, the tap through works, maybe not as well as I hoped but that maybe just my ears need to retune how I hear everything with a new headset, as the week progressed it got better.

Itís a great headset, the A20 is more of a plug in and forget, the Pro Flight might need just a few days for you to get it the way it works best for you. It wonít be to everyoneís liking, try the 30 days to find out.
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Old 12th Sep 2018, 12:08
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After about two months of using the ProFlight i tried my A20, just for a change of pace. Yes, it is still comfortable enough (and i do wear glasses), it dampens noise overall better than the ProFlight, however, it takes up more space in my flightkit, not a lot, but enough to make it somewhat cumbersome to carry around. Most colleagues that still use the A20 carry it as another piece of kit, but not in their case which is even worse in my view.

Luckily, i had not had to change my cable routing (on the A320), it is exactly the same for the ProFlight now than i used on the A20. That said, as everyone noted, one has to get used to the in-ear reality, and i find that i sometimes have to get out one bud in cruise as my ear itches. I am very interested to hear about people that managed to get an individual in-ear piece on it, that is what i am planning for the future, if i find someone who can make that. But yes, getting the right fit or size is crucial and takes some time. And yes, it might change over time and sometimes between days. I still don't like that the tap-to-talk feature activates on the runway, both during take-off and landing, on its own. The light weight and the fact that it simply rests very lightly on top of your head and can be moved around a bit without changing the fit of the earbuds is a great plus. And of course it makes it much easier to take off or change glasses.

I wished they could manage to work the ANR out of the mic-power like the Telex 850 does, as the battery box is quite heavy compared to the headset, but it is not really an issue for me. I usually use the ANR in high on take off, climb, descend and landing, and on medium in cruise climb and cruise. Over time i noticed that the high hissing noise once seems to hear going away when switching to medium, is still there, but simply masked a bit by the less effective ANR. A nice feature is, that the tap to talk feature is not only removing the ANR, it is actually slightly putting up the outside noise while still protecting high noise level events. Kinda like my range-headset that protects me from the noise of shots while still making it possible to talk nearly normally. And it behaves similarly to loud noises like my colleague slamming his table shut or someone slamming the door.
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Old 12th Sep 2018, 16:56
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Iíve only had the tap to talk activate on its own the other night in my right ear during decent. Hasnít done it since.
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Old 13th Sep 2018, 12:44
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Denti, I know what you mean about getting itchy. Quickly goes away though which is good. The tap-to-talk happens when I am fiddling around inserting the ear pieces but I haven't had it activate on take-off. (so far).
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Old 14th Apr 2019, 18:57
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Join Date: Jan 2018
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Hi guys,

since itís been a few months - would you be willing to share your Ąfinalď thoughts on the ProFlight?

It seems to be a really interesting piece of tech - but just like most of you in the beginning Iím a little sceptical and kind of inclined to go the proven route with the A20. Especially since none of my colleagues is of any knowledge simply because most of them stick to their A20s or some other headsets theyíve been using for years.

Any news regarding the comfort & usability of the ProFlights?

Cheers
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Old 16th Apr 2019, 11:14
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Wouldn’t return to my A20. Especially now that i have custom earpieces on my ProFlight that perfectly fit my ears. I still sometimes get a tap to talk activation on take off, but it is now very rare indeed. Is it perfect? No, but at the moment the best fit for me flying A320 family aircraft.
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