Personal aircrew headset recommendations?

Started by OldGuy, November 03, 2018, 03:13:57 am

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Our squadron has a couple of serviceable headsets that we share, most of the pilots have their own, better quality headsets.

Any recommendations? Brand, model, costs?


I've used David Clarks, Bose and Lightspeed headsets.

All are good. 

You can argue cost vs effectiveness all day long.

The bottom line is of course how much do you want to spend? 

Knowing that you get what you paid's all about how much use are going to get out of them.

DC's are rugged, middle of the road expensive, and you can get parts for them so that will last you a life time.
Bose are very very nice....but are expensive.
Lightspeeds are good.  Cheaper than Bose but are not as good as the Bose.

You can go cheaper.....may work for you.  If you use them like most CAP aviation types only once a month or so.  Even the cheap-o bargain basement headsets will last you a long time (assuming you take care of them between flights). 

So....if you only want to spend $100 or so....the ASA's will do you.   They are not as good/rugged/functional as a the bottom rung DC's....but for the casual CAP aviator they should do just fine.
Double the price an you are looking at the DC's.   Almost the standard for aviation headsets.   Will last for ever, can be fixed by just about any aviation electronics shop.   Are easy to repair yourself if you got the right tools and a steady soldering hand.  And they still make replacement parts for 30-40 year old headsets.

The next step up is Noise Canceling headsets.......the are very very nice.......once you use them you will never want to go back......but you are looking to drop at least $600 on them.  May be to pricey for someone who may only use them 6-10 per year.

I know I didn't really answer your question.....but a lot depends on what you are willing to pay and what you want out of your headset.



Rugged Air RA200

$85 shipped if you're prime and the secondary audio jack is great for use with a music source
or a second radio.

Full disclosure, I haven't used mine much, but worked very well recently worn all day at an airshow
with an Aviation transceiver on the main and a CAP HT on the aux.

Definitely well made.


My wife has Bose and really likes it, but it's had to go in for repair once or twice plus having to deal with swapping batteries is annoying.  I've got David Clarks and Sigtronics.  My David Clarks are super rugged, but get a bit tight on the head after 6-7 hours of flying.  So far all I've had to do is replace a mic cover on them (and Sportys carries those so I just had one shipped to me and I swapped it out).  I don't use the Sigs as much, but no issues with them at all.  Don't seem as rugged as the DCs, but I've used them on 3-4 hour flight days and they've been fine.


November 03, 2018, 06:01:56 pm #4 Last Edit: November 03, 2018, 06:09:27 pm by Live2Learn
Quote from: OldGuy on November 03, 2018, 03:13:57 am
Our squadron has a couple of serviceable headsets that we share, most of the pilots have their own, better quality headsets.

Are you looking to buy a headset for your personal use, or do you have something else in mind?  Like "it's time to replace the squadron headsets" because they're showing their age and effects of years of use?

Any recommendations? Brand, model, costs?

As above.

I've used headsets since the early 90's because I value my hearing in the cockpit.  For my own use currently I own a Lightspeed Zulu and a Zulu 2 ANR headset. The headsets are very comfortable for even a full day 8 hours+ flying.  The cost new of each LightSpeed headset (before trade ins and discounts) was about $850 + tax.   I've also used a couple of brands of in-the-ear headsets with molded ear pieces. Total cost about the same.  I liked 'em, but it takes a bit of extra time to get 'em in and there are extra wires cluttering the cockpit.  In-the-ear headsets would work fine for an individual, but NOT for group use! 

I had my first ANR experience about 10 years ago and it was eye opening!  IMHO, passive headsets are ok, i.e., a lot better than nothing, but not much better... (I trained in the era of hand mikes and NO headsets).  Yes passive headsets are much less expensive than ANR models.  BUT, if you want to have reasonably good hearing by your 50th birthday they are not the choice.  I've tried Bose headsets and wasn't really impressed.  My view of that product is that it's no better than LightSpeed, just more hype and higher cost.  You might also look at the Faro ANR headsets.  I've not used 'em, but their ANR model is inexpensive.

I wear a Faro helmet with ANR built in. My helmet is comfortable, quiet, and cost $350 as equipped. I use it when I fly at low altitudes, over mountains where few options are available for emergency landings, and at night in any SE aircraft.   

FWIW, I've personally experienced multiple engine failures, and make a habit of reading the annual NTSB summary of 'defining events' for GA accidents (see www[dot]ntsb[dot]gov).  Unfortunately for us, "system malfunction - powerplant" is always ranked in the top 3 root causes of GA SE aircraft accidents.  I've also accumulated lots of survey data that demonstrate assertions of near perfect "reliability" and "piston engines" shouldn't be used in the same sentence. Only about 1 in 5 loss of power events seem to result in an NTSB recorded accident.  So, how lucky do you feel if you are piloting, and how good (and lucky) do you think your pilot might be if you are along for the ride?


If you're buying "squadron headsets" (for observers, scanners, cadets, etc.) then get either the Rugged ones pictured above, or a used pair of David Clarks on ebay.

If you want top notch ANR headset for your own use, there is good news: it is now no longer necessary to pay $600-$1000 for a pair of Bose or Lightspeed aviation headsets.
Instead you can:
1. get a pair of noise-canceling over-the-ear headsets that people use on airline flights. (Bose, Sennheiser, etc.) I was able to find a lightly-used pair of Bose QuietComfort 35 on ebay for $200.
2. Order an NFlightMic microphone at for $249

The NFlightMic is a brilliant idea - a microphone that attaches to a pair of consumer type ANR headsets and turns them into a perfectly functional aviation headset. Highly recommended!


This thread is CAPTalk at it's best, thank you all!


I'm partial to David Clarks, but then I've been wearing them for both the Air Force and civilian flying for over 30 years.
So I may be just a bit biased. >:D


Quote from: OldGuy on November 09, 2018, 03:06:55 am
See [the uflightmic, a lower-cost knockoff of the NFlightMic]

Any opinions?

There are four user reviews of the Uflightmic on Amazon - mostly two stars. I would stay away. Read the reviews at

Compare those reviews to the mostly five star reviews of the NflightMic at