Economic alternative to Bose A20 headset?

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Marc Zeitlin

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I love Bose but the sticker shock is painful. Any recommendations for a reasonably priced noise cancelling headset?
Lightspeed Sierra is $650.

But I'll say this. When I started riding motorcycles in 1976, Bell had just come out with their first high quality full-faced helmet, and it cost $60. Most helmets in those days were crap, and cost $10. $60 is 6X $10, and Bell had to convince folks that paying 6X as much for a helmet was a good idea. Their advertising in the motorcycle magazines showed a picture of their helmet, and underneath was a caption that said:

"If you have a $10 head, buy a $10 helmet".​

Guess which helmet I bought? And it was way more than 6X as good as the $10 helmets, which as I said, were crap.

Now, for full disclosure, I worked for Bose for a year on the Series X headsets back in 1998, just when they were coming out. There are numerous very good ANR headsets out there, but the top of the line ones all cost about the same - $850 - $1K or so. There's a reason for that. The front seat of my plane has a Bose A20 (replacing a Series X that I had for 23 years) and a Lightspeed Zulu.
 

TFF

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Lightspeed is good. We had 8 at the old company. Good product support if you have an issue. We use to have Telex but they were bought out by Bosch; support went from best to worst. Hopefully it’s better by now.
 

arj1

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Bose QC25 + ANR mike (like AvMike). Works OK for me.
 

rv7charlie

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I like my Halo, as well. And my wife *loves* hers; she always hated the weight of even the early (light weight) Lightspeeds, and the fact that she couldn't wear a wide brim hat with regular headsets. They are a bit more hassle when putting them on, but *much* more comfortable for some people than any of the traditional head clamps. If ear plugs don't bother you, then you'll probably love the Halos.

If you want a 'traditional' headset for less money than Bose, this UFQ model might be worth a look. I don't have any personal experience with it, but a couple of friends who fly rotary powered RVs (very loud) use them.

If you already have a good passive headset, you can do the Headsets Inc ANR conversion.
 

TFF

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A passive set with ANR is the best I think. I hate when you loose power, the set is almost as bad as nothing. That’s either forgetting extra batteries or malfunction. Not being able to talk on the flight is one thing, but not being able to hear the rest of the day is the other. What is hard to beat is the lightspeed and Bose electronics. Those in a DC body would be the best.
 

karmarepair

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This outfit in Alabama will retrofit your existing headsets with earbuds that fairly dramatically increase the passive attenuation.
It's probably more than $95 now, but it's a lot less than an ANR conversion or decent ground-up ANR headsets. I'll be sending my Peltors in soon, followed by my "daily driver" 50 year old David Clarks.
 

dwalker

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I've tried both the Bose and the Lightspeed and went with the Lightspeed Zulu. Really like them a lot. Could not really tell much difference between the Bose and the Zulu, and I feel less ATP on the Zulu.
 
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I always thought (20 years ago) the semi affordable David Clark H10-13.4 that I converted with a Headsets Inc ANR kit were comparable to the first gen Bose units and all in, about half the price...if it matters, 20 years later it is still working and a much better head set (better ANR and it actually works when you want it too) over the factory made David Clark headsets from the same time period...and I don't think they have progressed much, either.
 

Keyepitts

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I used Bose X headsets for the last twenty years or so, just recently broke a yoke on one, so decided to try a Rugged Air RA980 because I wanted too upgrade to bluetooth audio input from my phone. I've been happy with it and plan on buying a second pair for my wife in the near future. I would say the noise cancelling is a bit better than my old Bose X, and the bluetooth works well.
 

Jsample40

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I love Bose but the sticker shock is painful. Any recommendations for a reasonably priced noise cancelling headset?

Thanks.
CR

After extensive online research and speaking with multiple pilots, I chose the Headsets Inc. DRE-6001 ANR Headset - with dual GA plugs as offered by Aircraft Spruce at a reasonable price of $359.00. Various colors available. Additionally, this headset came standard with the David Clark Model M-7A amplified electret microphone which performs admirably in high noise environments like Just Aircraft STOL planes.

Given the fact that, as I write this, I am listening to a complete (expensive) Bose Music System in our mountain top home in Western North Carolina, I am obviously a Bose fan.
However, at a cost of $360, this headset is a fraction of the cost of the "Top of the line" headsets, and to my critical ear, at least as good fidelity quality as any other choice.

Additionally, the ANR feature is second to none... which is critical in flying in STOL & super Stol aircraft out of the Brass town airfield (home base for my two aircraft). I recommend you give this item a fair trial, and return it to ACS if it does not meet your expectations.

Respectfully,
Jay W. Sample
 

Rhino

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A passive set with ANR is the best I think...
Last I checked, those are mutually exclusive. You're either passive or active (the A in ANR), but you can't be both.

The Lightspeed Sierra is probably the least expensive, high quality active headset. Several reviews I've seen in the last couple of years have remarked that passive noise reduction has come a long way recently, so if money is a concern, you might try one of the better passive models. I don't have any recommendations in that area because I don't follow passive stuff much.
 

rv7charlie

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Last I checked, those are mutually exclusive. You're either passive or active (the A in ANR), but you can't be both.
Not at all. In fact, one of the 'knocks' against some of the less expensive early ANRs was how bad they were if the 'A' quit working for any reason. The Headsets Inc conversions mentioned earlier are precisely what TFF described: Start with a high quality passive noise reduction headset,which physically blocks/absorbs as much of the noise as possible, and then build the active cancellation into the earcups.
 

Rhino

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All ANR headsets start out passive. Then the ANR is turned on. Every headset has a passive component, but active headsets are called active because they do something passive headsets don't. It's either active or it isn't.
 

Aviacs

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It's probably more than $95 now, but it's a lot less than an ANR conversion or decent ground-up ANR headsets. I'll be sending my Peltors in soon, followed by my "daily driver" 50 year old David Clarks.

I can't figure out how to order or where it says how to send a set in???
Also, they show "kit's" with installation instructions.
Does that mean they sell them for user install?

But again, do you have to use the contact info and start a conversation or something?

thanks!
smt
 

Rhino

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The Contact Us is on the home page. Just scroll down or use the Home drop down menu to go directly to it.

But to save time.....

Communications & Ear Protection, Inc.
P.O. Box 311174
3700 Salem Rd
Enterprise, AL
36331-1174

334.347.1688
877.393.2377
Fax-334.347.4306

Email- [email protected]

BUSINESS HOURS:
Mon - Thurs : 8am - 5pm
Friday : 8am - 1pm
 

Aviacs

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Yes.
I did get that.
I was thinking there was an online order form; or at least a price list.
So my question was "do you actually have to do this all old-school"

Thanks for posting, the answer is apparently "yes".

I sent an email.

:)

smt
 
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