October 2008 Issue

Budget Headset Tests: QFR, Gulf Coast Prevail

But lab tests reveal few significant technical differences between low-cost passives. We recommend buying on price and comfort.

Just about everybody has one or more budget headsets. Perhaps you purchased one as your primary headset when you couldn’t afford anything fancier or you’ve bought them for passengers or as spares. Having reviewed ANR and pricier passive headsets in previous issues (see Aviation Consumer May and July 2007) we’re examining budget headsets in this report. As in earlier reports, all of the headsets we’ve evaluated are circumaural—they fit around your ear against the side of your head. At the budget end of the spectrum—in this case generally less than $150—the market leans towards house-branded headsets. In this case, Gulf Coast Avionics loaned us three of their house-branded headsets and we tested a LightSPEED QFR and the AVCOMM 200P. Pilot USA was unable to supply a headset in time for our testing. In our previous review of passive headsets, we tested the Flightcom Classic 4DLX in this price range so we’ve recapped those results. We measured the headsets in a professional audio lab, then subjected them to flight trials by a focus group. This has proven to be a successful way to evaluate headsets because in the end, how the headset sounds and its comfort level are what count most.

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