Bose X Aviation Headsets

Bose really made history by introducing active noise reduction technology to the world of aviation headsets. Those little inset photos with arrows show the mechanism that does this. Basically, the unit listens to the noise outside the headphone and then introduces a "negative" of that signal into the earphones which cancels out the noise. Sounds complicated, but the effect is both elegant and profound. Planes are inherently noisy beasts, and when you flip these babies on the noise just vanishes. It becomes so much easier to hear that it's amazing. Bose is not the only maker of ANR (active noise reduction) headsets--virtually every aviation headset manufacturer has had to rush units to market. What sets the Bose apart is the space-age Porschedesign look, the super lightweight (less fatiguing to wear for hours), and the ridiculously high price tag. Yep, these bad boys will set you back one whole kilobuck. I hate when that happens. Anyway, read all about why they're great on the Bose site. There's a lot of hype, but basically these things are the Ferraris of aviation headsets.

I must say, they are really slick, and I love them, even at the ridiculous price. However, you can get 90% of the value for 1/2 the price by choosing Lightspeed headphones. I've used these headphones too--my CFI loans them out to his students (nice guy!), and I think the noise reduction is just as good as the Bose. I have heard in back-to-back reviews that the Bose are more musical, so if you have a cd player in the plane you may prefer them. Lightspeed also has a neat auto-off feature so you can't forget to turn them off after the flight and wear out the batteries. I always carry a spare battery with my Bose. The Bose are also quite a bit less heavy than the Lightspeed. I haven't worn the Lightspeed long enough to know how much this matters, but I'm told it can be a factor after hours. Finally, the Lightspeed just don't look as cool. It'd be okay to use them in a Cessna 182, but it just wouldn't be right not to have Bose in a kerosine burner!

Here I am flying the Cessna 182 with Bose clamped on...

Unless you have the bucks to burn, I'd get Lightspeed so that I could afford a nice GPS or more hours in the plane.

Lightspeed are not ugly, just very conventional looking...

All material 2001-2006, Robert W. Warfield.