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Thoughts on 'In Ear Headsets'


PondJumper

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What's up guys? I've been looking at headsets for some time now. Since it will be a major investment, I'd like to make the best choice possible. I have been leaning toward the Bose X, but then started doing a little looking at in ear headsets.

 

I've done quite a bit of reading, and video watching about Clarity Aloft In Ear Headsets. Now I am considering this type as a serious option.

 

Do any of you guys have experience with this type of headset? I'd like to get the pros and cons. Even though I've already done a bit of research, I'm sure there has got to be few things I haven't considered. So what do you guys use? and why?

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CEP ear molds are the BOMB! My volumn knobs are about as far down as they can go without shutting it off. As far as the ones you are looking at, I dont know that they were designed for a helicopter cockpit. Thats more for corporate jets. I wore a set flying a Cessna 206 and it seemed that a lot of noise crept in

Edited by Flying Pig
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Take a look at the telex stratus heli-xt as well. It has 29dB of passive reduction and 16dB of active reduction at 18.5 oz. Using some musician ear plugs as well I think it will be an excellent setup. Someone did a comprehensive review with it and the Zulu 2 and preferred the xt in most categories(I'll post the link when I find it).

 

The word on the street is that you should always double up hearing protection. The CEPs look like a great setup and probably are the best, but require you to drill into your headset and do a bit of rewiring.

 

Normally people are very happy with the clarity aloft type headsets, but the reviews are generally from the fixed wing side, where cockpit environments may already be somewhat quieter and not the screeching of a turbine next to your head.

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I recently installed homemade CEP's in my david clark headset and the improvement is incredible. I used a set of skullcandy ear buds with comply foam tips. Now I can hear every detail of the radio comms and the engine and rotor sounds are much more isolated. My volume knob is no longer pegged on 10. After a long flight I feel less fatigued and I am now more confident when decrypting complicated ATC calls. It cost me about 35 dollars. They sell specific CEP upgrade kits if money is no issue and I think this set up is just as good or better then expensive noise cancelling headsets.

 

The negative aspects are drilling a hole in the headset and it takes 30 seconds to get them in your ears during run up. If you aren't good with taking apart stuff or soldering then there are some companies that will do the work as well.

 

My insipration...

 

CEP Sytle Headset...My Version - The Biplane Forum

 

Po Man's CEP

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I use the quiet technologies Halo. I love it I think the sound is very good I never have problems with noise or comfort and you can't beat the price or customer service. The only two draw backs are one, that it takes a little getting used to putting them in, and two, the constant does that work/what is that questions.

http://www.quiettechnologies.com/

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I've used both Clarity Aloft and Quiet Technologies headsets, and both are superior to any dome headset, passive or ANR, for noise suppression in any cockpit, and especially in a turbine helicopter, since they provide much better suppression at higher frequencies. Any headset manufacturer should provide NRR numbers for their headsets, and you can compare those numbers between different models. In-ear headsets consistently have better numbers. That said, using CEPs inside a passive headset will give superior noise suppression, because you get the suppression from both the earplugs and the domes. But IME, the in-ear headsets provide adequate hearing protection.

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I have flown over 1000hrs wearing a Clarity Aloft and still love it. When I started flying 8hr+ days on pipeline patrol, I found that my old Bose AHX no longer cut it. My head and ears got very sore throughout the day and my ears were ringing at night. Here are my thoughts on the various headsets I've tried:

 

Bose A20-

+/- The most comfortable traditional headset I've worn, but still gets bothersome on long days.

++ The best sound quality and ANR technology, hands down.

-- $1200 price tag, yikes!

- You'll rip through tons of batteries unless you have a panel plug and passive noise reduction is not so good.

- Bluetooth only handles phone calls, not music input... wtf is up with that? Aux input is fine but music quality is worse and creates a rats nest of wires in cockpit.

 

Lightspeed Zulu-

-- awful passive noise attenuation. If your batteries go radio coms are almost unreadable.

-/+ good sound quality, fairly comfortable, more reasonable price.

- construction seems more flimsy than others

 

David Clark helo ANR

+ price is right, durable construction

-- major clamping force on your skull

 

Clarity Aloft Link Headset

++ Cannot be beat for all day comfort. Wear any hats or sunglasses without comfort issues and no earcup seal to break.

++ Superior noise attenuation. Better protection than any ANR and does not rely on batteries. Only need batteries for Bluetooth and microphone noise canceling.

+ Blulink allows for two simultaneous Bluetooth connections. Also has an aux input for headphone cord.

+ Outstanding audio quality, almost on par with Bose A20. Crisp sound but slightly lacking on the low end bass when jamming out to tunes. The comply ear tips keep things so quiet you can really turn down the volume and still hear perfectly.

+ packs up very small for traveling

+ you can unplug the headset from the Bluetooth unit and keep the eartips in and protect your hearing while outside the helicopter when it's running, mx runs, hot fuels etc.

- Comply ear tips are expensive.

- they don't have a single plug helo option, needs a ga adapter

- takes a minute or two to get em in our ears at each turn around.

+/- $800 still ain't cheap!

 

Tips for Clarity Aloft use.

You must use the cord clip or the headset will pull down and not fit correctly.

Use the largest Comply Tips that will fit in your ears. I used the grey/medium for a while but now use the extra large black and find they are even quieter and last longer. The comply tips do lose their effectiveness as they get gunked up with earwax and oil. Keep your fingers clean when inserting them and use Qtips at night! You DO NOT have to throw them out when they get gunked up. Soak them in warm soap water for a bit or throw them in a shirt pocket when you do laundry. Voila, like new!

Squeeze up the ear tips as small as they go (dont twist or roll), pull up your ear with opposite hand, and cram that sucker in deep. Make sure the ear tip is screwed on all the way. There should be no noise bleeding through, just the gentle hum and whine of blades and engine and super crisp audio.

 

n7wiv.jpg

Edited by 280fxColorado
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Not gonna lie... those things look pretty sweet. Not a fan of having to use an adapter though. I've seen people have numerous problems when they had to go that route with their bose headsets.

 

Anyone know of a schematic or something that would tell me what I need to know to splice in the helicopter plug?

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Pins 1 & 3 on the helicopter plug are the mike, and 2 & 4 are the audio. The audio and mike wires are completely reversible, meaning as long as you have the proper two wires for either, either wire can go to either pin, they're not polarized.

 

But it can be a PITA to change the plugs, and IMO it's not worth the trouble. An adapter work just fine, but if you want to change the plug, that's up to you.

Edited by Gomer Pylot
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