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If I remember correctly, the first Bose we
installed in an aircraft was during 1989; the panel-mounted Bose was
placed in a Cessna T210. ANR
was all new to the aviation world and as the leader they are Bose was
the forerunner; today there are dozens of headset companies
manufacturing ANR (some use other names such as ENR) headsets.
I had never worn an ANR headset before the T210 installation and
didn't really know what to expect.
Before starting the aircraft I placed the Bose on my head and
fired up the Cessna; at that point nothing exciting seemed to happen and
I figured the headset was just another expensive aviation product.
Soon I got distracted and forgot about having the Bose on, then
turned on the avionics master switch and the engine quit! Or at least I
thought it did, my first thought was how could we possibly have wired
the new installation so it would shut-off the engine when the avionics
were turned on? Instantly I
turned off the master and sure enough the engine sounded normal, only
issue was it didn't sound as if there ever were a problem.
Then it hit me, could the Bose ANR be "That" good?
Sure enough, I soon figured out that turning on the avionics
master energized the avionics and Bose panel-mount, not shutting down
One may think that it wouldn't be wise to
block out all the background noise and that's true.
What the Bose does is greatly lower the background noise in the
60-100hz range; it doesn't completely remove it.
After flying with this headset for an hour or so, you"ll soon
notice any difference in the engine or prop noise.
The purpose of any ANR headset is to remove unwanted noise with a
certain frequency range and the Bose does a bang-up job of that.
Using an ANR headset will make the poorest intercom sound like
the folks on the system are sitting in your quiet living room, ATC will
be much clearer than you can imagine and pilot fatigue will be greatly
reduced on cross country trips. Why
any pilot would use anything but an ANR headset (with the exception of
open cockpits and some helicopters) is beyond me.
Later the Series II Bose came out; it was
much like the first generation Bose, the greatest improvement if I
remember correctly was the small panel-mounted connector.
The first generation Bose connectors were about the diameter of a
beer bottle and the Series II were about the size of your thumb; a big
difference if it's to be installed in an instrument panel to where
real estate is valuable.
Some years later Bose announced the Bose X
series ANR headset. This
lightweight headset only weighs 12 ounces; my friends that"s light for
an ANR headset. Bose was
able to slash the weight by using an ultra-light magnesium headband.
The first generation Bose X employed an advanced torsion spring,
contoured ear cups and soft padded ear cushions, making the Bose X the
most comfortable headset built. Early
model X series had a foam material at the top of the headset where the
two magnesium bands join via the torsion spring; later Bose changed this
foam to sheepskin, thus enhancing the comfort of the headset.
The Bose X has about 50% less clamping action than most
conventional headsets. I've
found my Bose X to be so comfortable that I've forgotten to remove if
after a flight and almost rip it off my head getting out of the
aircraft. It's obvious to
the most casual observer that the Bose X is a synonym to quality, every
detail on this headset yells out quality and performance.
In some cases the pilot is required to use a TSO'ed headset
while flying the aircraft and the Bose X is one of the few ANR's that
meets that high standard. All
Bose X headsets come with a nice headset bag and it should for what it
As good at the original Bose X was, it had
some issues that needed to be dealt with.
The portable model of the "X" had a huge battery box that
housed a 9Vdc battery. The
battery didn't last long nor was there an "auto shut-off" system
that would kill the power when the headset was not in use, thus saving
the battery. I couldn't
begin to count the number of times I left my Bose X in the aircraft,
only to return the next day and find the battery dead.
Yes, the headset will operate without external power but the ANR
doesn't function. Now
tell me, who wants a $1,000 passive headset? Another issue with the
big battery box was setting the volume control; it was a funky set up at
best. During this time
frame, many of the cheaper ANR headsets had an "auto shut-off"
feature to save the battery when not in use but not the Bose.
The control panel for the early Bose X was kind of clunky too,
both needed work.
Now, the "Improved Bose X" ANR Headset.
There is a little difference in the new Bose headset itself (none
externally). What I discovered was the following:
A new Bose X headset and cord operates around 40 hours off of two
AA batteries. My original Bose
X headset lasted about 15 hours when using the 9Vdc battery.
If I took the new-style cord off of the brand new Bose and placed
it on my older Bose X, then battery life went to 30 hours before the two
AA's packed it in; in other words the new cable doubled the battery
life of the older Bose X headset. Most of the changes are in the cable and control boxes.
First, lets talk about the "portable" Bose X.
The new cable assembly can be attached to either side of the
headset. This can be handy
for use in the copilots seat if the jacks are located in the far, right
side of the panel.
If the cord is attached to the right earpiece, the cable will not
drape over the copilots lap, one less cable dangling in the way.
The new ergonomic designed portable control module uses 2 AA
batteries for power. Bose claims the 2 AA's will last up to 40 hours. The new module is about 30% smaller than the early model;
smaller but yet does more and does it better.
As mentioned earlier, if it gets quiet for a period of time, the Bose
X will shut-off (ANR wise) to save battery power.
Battery life status indicator. Located on
the module is a Battery Life Status Indicator.
The single LED provides three status indications.
Green means the batteries are in fine shape, yellow means you
have about 8 hours of use left and red means it"s fixing to roll over
on you. I'd recommend
always carrying a couple of AA's in the pilot's bag just in case you
need them. Oh, don't use rechargeable batteries; the status indicator
doesn't work properly with them and they only last a few hours.
If you can afford a Bose, then you should be able to afford a
couple of AA's? There's a button on the module that turns on/off
the headset controls the brightness of the LED.
As prior, the new cable assembly has dual volume
controls but now they operate like controls should; just roll the
volume level up or down. User
configuration switches located inside the control module allow the pilot
to configure the headset to work with any type of audio system installed
in the aircraft. The Bose X
user can easily be switched from "Mono to Stereo" depending on the
aircraft you're flying that day.
The Installed system is somewhat different.
Because a connector is installed somewhere in the instrument
panel, battery power is not required.
The installed Bose headset just plugs into the panel connector,
which supplies power for the ANR and is wired for stereo or mono,
depending on the aircraft audio system. The control module attached to the headset is new, sleek and
well designed. The headset cord can be attached to either side of the
headset. The control module
houses dual volume controls and the on/off switch.
Installing the connector in the panel depends on the location you
want it placed and difficulty in getting to the audio wiring behind the
radio stack. On an average
I'd say it takes about 2-3 hours to install the panel connector but
again, each aircraft is different.
If you presently have a Bose X connector OR older Series II
connector installed in your panel the new Bose X panel-mount headset
will plug right in; no wiring changes are required.
I"ve flown with the Bose X for years and my
complaints were the short battery life, no auto shut-off and the
funky, huge battery box. Well,
the "Improved Bose" conquered all those issues and then some.
To date, Bose hasn't raised the price of their aviation headset
in years (even this Improved model); I give them a big salute for that.
One may wonder how I was able to get the Improved Bose for evaluation; after all, they've been on back order for months. Bose made an error and shipped me four Improved models, only to call and ask for them back once I received them. You can imagine my answer to was to returning them. Anyway, I kept two (panel and portable) for evaluation and sold the others within seconds.
Is the "Improved Bose" worth the $995.00
After all, some other ANR headsets are as much or in some cases,
more noise canceling. When
you look at this American Built headset the first thing that jumps out
at you will be the quality of the unit.
This headset isn't assembled, it's built and with the finest
workmanship and quality materials available.
While this may not be the headset for the masses, it certainly
will be the choice of the pilot who insists on having the highest
quality known to exist in an aviation headset.
Try this; stop by our shop and plug any ANR headset into our
PS-Engineering CD player and listen to the tunes.
Next, plug in the Bose X and listen to the same CD; most headsets
sound OK but once you placed the Bose X on your head, you're taken
aback by the concert hall sound. Factory
support from this company has been excellent.