July 25, 2011
By Alton K. Marsh
In a direct challenge to the high-end headset market dominated by Bose and Lightspeed, Sennheiser introduced its S1 Digital noise-canceling headset during an evening press conference at the start of EAA AirVenture 2011.
With a price of $1,095, identical to that of Bose, the stage is set for a direct competition between the two. Sennheiser is offering an introductory price of $995 for the rest of 2011, identical to the price for a Bose headset without Bluetooth technology. The S1 Digital, designed by the BMW Group DreamWorks, has Bluetooth technology for music players and cellphone use in flight. Specially designed filters will improve the music.
The headset is shipping this week. The headset can operate off batteries or can use power from the aircraft. AOPA recently reviewed the headset.
Among its selling points is the adaptive NoiseGard, a “smart” update button that allows the headset to listen to the cockpit noise and generate a tailor-made anti-noise signal. The analysis process takes four seconds, and can be repeated as needed.
There is also a treble boost control, an integrated system that increases speech intelligibility in cockpit communications. It can be adjusted independently for right and left ears.
The headband can be set for three levels of contact pressure to match the different shapes of individuals’ heads. In addition, there is a flexible soft zone near the temple to provide extra comfort for those wearing glasses or sunglasses.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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