The Quest for MAXIMUM quiet!
by the technical staff of Lightspeed Aviation
101 was first published over 4 years ago, we've learned a lot about the
personal preferences of pilots. The intention of that five part series was
to provide education and technical data that would assist pilots in learning
about ANR technology; how it works and why it works so well in the typical
GA airplane environment. Hopefully it was of some use to you in providing a
'layman's view' of this important technology. Tens of thousands of pilots
have been exposed to the ANR benefits of enhanced communications clarity and
reduced fatigue. Many of you have provided feedback about how much more you
enjoy your flying because of exposure to this technology.
Since 1997 at least 20 new models of ANR headsets have been introduced,
providing a broader set of choices relating to fit, performance, and other
features. With those new models have come a multitude of claims about
battery life, ease of use, weight/comfort, design innovations, and
performance specifications for passive and active attenuation. Some
features, like automatic shutoff, provide clear user benefits. Others have
inherent tradeoffs associated with them...providing a benefit and
potentially an adverse effect depending on the users particular habits and
The proliferation of ANR offerings has done little to change the pricing
of products (starting under $300 to almost $1,000), but has made the
selection process more difficult. The best way to compare these various
models is to fly them 'side-by-side', but how can you accomplish that with
so many models to try? It has gotten harder, not easier, to make an informed
selection based on your noise environment and your personal preference
profile for comfort, performance, and value. During that time, Lightspeed
Aviation has provided comparative demonstration services at tradeshows to
over 10,000 pilots.
The goal at the shows is always the same...allow pilots to try on any/all
competitive headsets and compare them in acoustically accurate environment
to answer two basic questions:
- How does this technology work in an airplane environment?
- Which headset works the 'best' for me?
In the process of these demonstrations, we've answered hundreds of
questions related to the technology and the relative claims of performance.
While we can provide some technical insights, our answer is routinely "just
sit down and make your own comparisons". There are, however, some persistent
questions relating to aspects of headset performance that have been asked
more regularly and for which the answers are neither simple nor obvious. In
an attempt to address these, ANR 201 has been written.
Section 1: What
factors make a headset the quietest? — A review of the different
components that influence 'quietness'.
Section 2: Passive
vs. Active — Defining the terms and discussing their
Section 3: Acoustic
Design Tradeoffs — This section discusses the tradeoffs compared
to different manufacturers design and specifically to ear cavity volume and
ear seal design/comfort.
Section 4: Conclusion
— The emergence of two basic 'classes' of active products.
This is a two-way medium, so please be sure to send us your
Go to Section 1 >>