Real Answers from Real Pilots

Bose, David Clark, or Lightspeed, and why?

Of all the headset options, which option is the best and why? Obviously Bose is the most expensive option with the A20, but is it worth $1,000? If not, which would you recommend?

Noah,

I have an older set of Lightspeed that I use. I don’t have any issues with them but I plan on upgrading to the Bose when I complete the program.

Honestly all of them are fine.

Noise canceling is nice in the prop plans. You don’t NEED to spend +$1000, after $500 it’s more about what added features you want.

I don’t even turn my David Clark’s noise canceling on in the jets. Had DC Pro-X for 4yrs now and still work great. (And yes, I probably abuse them alittle more than avg person).

Chris F

Noah,

I would stick with Bose or DCs. Lightspeeds are technically not TSO certified and the TSO cert will matter when you get to an airline.

Personally I am a fan of Bose. I like the way they look and feel. Their customer service is top notch and the a20s come with a 5 yr warranty. Something breaks, free replacement. No questions asked.

Tory

Bose. Stupid light, stupid comfy and stupid quiet. Great warranty, amazing customer service and yes they look great. Used them for training, instructing and 9yrs on the RJ.

While all might be quiet, you will have some long days ahead of you and having a heavy vice on your head is very fatiguing. Finally you can sell them when you’re done with them (if you ever are) and get half your money back

Adam

While I don’t have experience in headsets, when I buy one it’ll be with the same judgement I use for most of my big purchases; Am I in a financial position to apply this much money to this purchase, will I use it regularly enough in my everyday life to justify its presence in my life, and am I likely to want to upgrade it before its end of life?

For example when purchasing my first set of cookware, I bought a very high quality set of clad cookware that used up my entire paycheck. I justified it because I know that there are 3 activities I’ll be doing from the day im born until the day I die; Sleeping, bathroom, and eating. So if I’m destined to a lifetime of eating, then investing in some quality cookware that I enjoy cooking in is justifiable.

I’ve had my cookware since I first moved out and use it daily. I like cooking, and a big part of that is because I enjoy the tools I get to do it with. If I didn’t have nice tools then I know I wouldn’t cook as much and therefore spend more money eating out. I know that my cookware has therefore paid for itself multiple times over and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

I imagine a quality headset would be the same way, though I don’t expect it to last a lifetime.

Leon,

I am not a fan of Bose. I think they are too expensive and I do not like the odd tone that the noise cancelling makes. That being said, most people seem to prefer the Bose headsets.

The only proper cookware is copper clad Revere Ware, made in the USA :slight_smile:

Chris

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Noah,
It’s all personal preference. $1000 seemed like a lot of money starting out but believe me you’ll get your money’s worth. In private I didn’t even use the noise cancelling but in instrument it made all the difference hearing those controllers that didn’t always come in super clear. You’ll use that one headset through all your training, building time to 1500 and all through the regionals so it’s an investment but in my opinion worth every penny. I lumped it in to my loan.

-Hannah

One thing you might look at is if you have Bose noise cancelling headphones already like the QC35, is a mic attachment. Nflightmic makes it and it’s really good. Basically getting A20s for half the price and breaths some new life into headphones which didn’t get used anymore. You lose out on the Bluetooth, but you can’t beat how lightweight they are which shouldn’t be overrated on long cross countries. I still have my DC H10 which was great starting out, but it can’t beat the Bose QC35 noise canceling headphones with the mic attachment.

Syed,

The QC35 with the mic attachment is not TSO’d (basically that means it’s not FAA approved). That means you cannot use beyond general aviation.

Adam

They have a TSO version too. It’s a little more, but I’ll upgrade to that down the road.

Syed,

This is America and you can do as you like. That said a quick visit to Amazon shows the QC35 at $300 and the Nomad Pro TSO at $330, so $630 for the set. If we count the $250 for the non-TSO mic you’re up at $880. Nowhere near half price. But let’s say you went right for the TSO and are at $630, you save almost $400 which isn’t bad. You don’t have the Bluetooth but that’s ok. You also don’t have Bose industry leading service. What you do have is the really strong possibility of having the following conversation whilst sitting next to Capt Old Crusty:
COC: ummmm hey kid, what kind of patched together headset you have there?
Syed: Oh its my Bose QC with an NFlightmic! Pretty cool right and I saved a ton!
COC: they tso’d?
Syed: as a matter of fact they are!
COC: you got proof?
Syed: well not handy but just go on the website.
COC: yea um no, that’s not going to happen, you can’t wear them.
Syed: sure I can is fine
COC: aren’t you on probation? Maybe I should give my buddy Roger the Chief Pilot a call?
Syed: ummmm, you have any wipes so I can clean this disgusting company headset? Man, these things smell!
COC: maybe you should have spent the extra $400

Just saying :slight_smile:

Adam

Vote for the Bose A20s - got mine over 8 years ago when I first started training at ATP and still use the same pair in the 737 at Southwest. I’ve replaced ear pads here and there but otherwise - beautiful product and GREAT customer service. Worth the investment IMO. Also they offer a 0% interest payment schedule I believe.

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Speaking of mic attachments, anyone know of a universal mic attachment for a non-aviation pair of headphones? I know it wouldn’t be allowed at the airlines, but would such a thing be allowed while at ATP?

I own a pair of Sennheiser HD1’s that are amazingly comfortable and with good noise-cancellation… Not to mention they’re overall just nice to look at, especially with the 70’s theme they got going on :wink:

I thought I might use them during flight training if I could find some kind of attachment.

As an American participating in this forum, I’m only suggesting an alternative to those who already own QC35s as a consumer device. A friend of mine who actually uses them in the majors suggested them as I didn’t know this even existed. It’s also nice that these play double duty as headphones and a headset, but I won’t get into TCO. I agree and should have went with the TSO version initially. I was finishing up my private outside of ATP and believed a career change at my age wasn’t possible where I opted to save some money.

Now, might you get captain crusty years down the road with the detailed conversation and conclusion as Adam laid out when you’re making money and can afford A20s? Maybe and maybe not. While you’re in training or instructing, already own QC35s, and need to save some money, this works very well. If you do get another headset down the road, hey you basically have a great setup if you ever want to take family and friends up for a weekend trip.

Stay safe,
Ali

Leon,

Not that I am aware of. If you do find one, technically it would be allowed for general aviation, but I have to be honest I wouldn’t recommend it for reliability reasons. I’ll admit those are cool looking headphones though.

Tory

Everyone,

I cannot lie, I do love my David Clarke’s (been using them since 2018), yes they are economically priced for the quality you get, but I more likely will be switching to something more ergonomic later in my career - that is all. :smiley:

P.S. This is probably one of the most asked and most frequently debated topics on the forum; I have tried a pair of A20’s on one time during my time home between graduating and instructor indoc, they are lightweight and comfy, I’ll give Bose that. It has been 11 years since Bose came out with the A20 headset, 6 years since they’ve updated it with Bluetooth capabilities and battery life…they’re bound to release a new headset soon (and not the Bose Proflight ones)? :thinking:

Brady

And it’s been 66yrs since Cessna came out with the 172. Sometimes if you get it right, you don’t really need to make too many changes :wink:

Adam

3 Likes

Touché Adam, touché.

3 Likes

:laughing: Adam made a great point.
My DC H10-13.4 is great. My friend who flies for AA recommended them as he used them through his training, and said he waited until regionals to buy the Bose (mainly because of cost during training, and what he liked to say “training headsets get beat up a bunch in a small plane”). My instructor has the Bose, loves them, and I’ll probably end up with them one day too. But for 700.00 cheaper, and as reviews state, DC makes a fantastic, solid headset that’s been proven over the years. Save a little money for now…and DC’s signature green ain’t to shabby lookin’ :wink: