I should report in on my new headset. It is a fine thing. It is comfortable. I even find myself looking forward to putting it on in the morning, reminding myself of a horse I encountered once that was so eager to get out of the paddock for a ride that it walked right up and dropped its head in the halter I was carrying1. I can hear ATC clearly, and adjust the volume per ear, and there's a jack for me to connect my MP3 player. (It also accepts Bluetooth, but I don't own any Bluetooth devices to test it with). The MP3 jack is interesting because there's a three-position switch controlling how it behaves. Off doesn't allow you to hear the music at all. The middle position allows you to hear the MP3 player and ATC both at once. And the top position automatically mutes the music when there is any activity on the intercom (i.e. from another crewmember speaking or an transmission on an ATC frequency being monitored. I use the top position and it's remarkable effective.
I have some notes here that I didn't post earlier on the research I did before I realized that I would have to buy whatever headset was available. I could have ordered a headset directly from the LightSPEED website. They have international shipping, but they irritatingly only listed American units for the specifications. I wish Americans would learn that only they and the Liberians know what sixteen ounces is, and list things in grams. Also they're one of the sellers that require me to create an account in order to buy something. Hey, I want to click on the item and give you my credit card number. I could have traded in my old headset for a LightSPEED Zulu for $587 with trade-in and shipping, but the new Zulu isn't available through the trade-in plan yet.
I found this video while comparison shopping the Bose and LightSPPED. It's a little out of date, because it's the Bose A20 now, not the X and the new Zulu not the original Zulu, but it's a good discussion of the issues to consider when buying any headset.
Sennheiser lists international units on its website, but it doesn't sell headsets from the website and won't show me the location of a dealer. Their dealer-finder app maxes out at 300 nm, and finds zero that distance from where I was when I needed one. I would have loved to try one as they are known for good technology, but they don't seem to be in the 21st century. I think the headset is heavier, though, too. And then there's this, not so much about the headset as about the very attractive young lady who is wearing it.
I have to wonder about "Certified for commercial duty" though. Is there any country in which functional headsets have to be separately certified for pilots to use them while being paid? Throw one piece of balderdash like that into your marketing statement and I suspect that everything else you have to say is a deceiving distortion, too. Dumb sort of advertising to use on a very informed group. Or so we think.
Q: What do you get when you cross an ape with a pilot?
A: An ape with a big watch.
I was musing though, that my new headset isn't as good as my first ANR headset, even though the technology is better. Back then I was the only one in the company with ANR and I had superhuman abilities. Now everyone has them, so ANR is no longer an advantage over others. It's pretty much essential. I have a coworker who doesn't use ANR, just an old fashioned bulletproof set of David Clarks, and I wonder how he does it. I couldn't go back to a passive headset. I met someone recently whose first boss discouraged his employees from wearing headsets at all, because he said you can't hear the engine properly with it on. His employees weren't bold enough to tell him the reason he couldn't hear the engine, or much else for that matter, was that he had been flying for forty years without a headset.
Also, I wrote down this quotation from someone because it made me laugh, and have now completely forgotten the context: "It was so quiet it was like wearing a Bose noise cancelling headset, but without the noise cancellation, and without the headset.
1. Unfortunately for eager-horse, I was there to catch a different horse. A horse sufficiently less eager to be ridden that it bit me, if I recall correctly.
Meanwhile a reader in the USA writes:
I am wrapping up my dispatch training and am looking to talk to an active dispatcher. Do you know of anyone that might be able to answer a few questions for me?If you can help, please drop me a line and I'll connect you two.