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Do pilots listen to music in the cockpit?

Do pilots listen to music in the cockpit?

At MyPilotStore we take thousands of calls, emails, and online chats with pilots around the world that have questions about the Bose A30 Aviation Headset. Our FAQ certainly doesn’t address everything, but we’ll bet it answers a couple of the questions you have right now.

Bluetooth or no-Bluetooth?

They are identical in every way (including price!) except one does not have ability to connect via Bluetooth to other Bluetooth enabled devices (phones, tablets, GPS, etc.). Both the Bluetooth model and the non-Bluetooth model also allow you to plug in your smartphone or MP3 player to via the 3.5mm headset jack. We encourage most civilian customers to go with the Bose A30 Aviation Headset with Bluetooth instead. MILITARY customers need to get the non-Bluetooth version.

So, the choice is up to you. If you want to be able to use your cell phone or listen to audio via wireless Bluetooth, get the a title=»Bose A20 Bluetooth version» href=»../sep/7424″>Bose A20 Bluetooth version/a>. If you are okay with connecting your phone via the 3.5mm headset adapter, go with the Bose A20 non-Bluetooth version.

Bose A30 Aviation Headset

The Bose A30 is the most comfortable around-ear headset Bose has ever created. It dramatically elevates every flight with the best combination of comfort, audio clarity and active noise cancellation available on the market.

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What’s the difference between the A30 Aviation Headset and its predecessor, the A20 Aviation headset?

The A30 Aviation Headset is the evolution of the A20. Its sleek, modern design significantly improves long term comfort with a lower on-head weight and reduced clamping force. It also features three modes of active noise reduction and tap control for talk-through communication.

  • Enhanced comfort achieved through a purposeful design with quality materials, redistribution of weight throughout the headset and reduced clamping force.
  • Digital active noise reduction with three modes of active noise cancellation.
  • Tap control.
  • A thinner, more flexible down cable.
  • A swappable down cable (no tools required).
  • Storage in a smaller carrying case.

How does the A30 headset compare to the A20 in terms of noise reduction?

The A30 provides similar total noise reduction to the A20, but with a different weight distribution and substantially lower clamping force. The most significant advancement is the new digital active noise reduction system that provides full attenuation in even louder environments compared to the Bose A20, which is the current industry leader. In addition, the new system provides a renewed balance of attenuation across the entire spectrum of noise based on user selectable modes.

What is talk-through tap control?

Double tapping an earcup in high or medium ANC modes will shift that earcup into low mode, enabling voices outside of the intercom to be heard more easily. If the earcup is already in low mode, then tapping will not change the setting.

What makes the A30 Aviation Headset so comfortable?

Overall, the Bose A30 Aviation Headset is one of the smallest, lowest-clamping and lightest around-ear active noise cancelling headsets on the market – it’s a balance of function and comfort without sacrificing stability. The headset’s angled earcups follow the contours of pilots’ heads, and the intentional shape of the headband pads help achieve the highest level of comfort in the lowest possible on-head weight. Additionally, the A30 has distinct left and right earcups with a quick release and a side swappable mic for improved comfort and ergonomics.

What is customizable audio prioritization?

Priority switching allows pilots to customize their audio sources. There are two options for audio prioritization:

  • Mute: When the switch is in the top position and an intercom signal is detected, all secondary audio sources are muted (streaming Bluetooth® and wired auxiliary inputs).
  • Mix: When the switch is in the middle position and an intercom signal is detected, Bluetooth® audio is mixed with the intercom audio. (Phone calls are always mixed.)
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What kind of microphone does the Bose A30 Aviation Headset have?

The A30 uses a noise cancelling electret microphone (often called a high-impedance microphone), which is typical for aircraft. It is optimized to reject far-field noise and improve performance when used with “hot mic” systems. A 5 ohm and a 150 ohm dynamic microphone are available in specific configurations.

What is the weight of the headset without cables?

The total headset weight is 524 grams (18.48 ounces). The on-head weight (includes the headphone and half of the upper cable with boom mic) is 404 grams (14.25 ounces).

Can I listen to music with my Bose A30?

Yes, all Bose A30 headsets allow you to connect to your smartphone or MP3 player via a 3.5mm patch cable or via Bluetooth on the Bluetooth model. It can also connect to other devices such as a GPS or traffic warning system. An Audio Priority switch on the A30 allows you to control if/when external audio will cutout during an ATC transmission. The A30 headset also has other Bluetooth profiles, including hands-free calling and multi-point, which allows you to connect to more than one wireless device simultaneously.

Are there any special deals on the Bose A30?

Yes! You will receive a FREE Bose SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth portable speaker (valued at $199.95) with the purchase of a new Bose A20 or ProFlight Series 2 Headset through August 1, 2020.
Plus, get a 10% discount on the purchase of a 2nd and all subsequent Bose A20 or Proflight Aviation Headsets when you purchase 2 or more new Bose Aviation headsets at the same time. Your discount will show in the shopping cart. Valid only on purchases through August 1, 2020. —>

We are currently offering a headset trade-in program that allows you to trade in your current, working, headset towards the purchase of a new Bose A30. We also offer quantity pricing if you are purchasing more than 4 units at a time. Contact us for details. We’ll also pay for the shipping and insurance on your new Bose A30.

What type of plugs do I need?

For most of you, you’ll want the Bose A30 with the standard dual plugs found on almost all fixed wing civilian airplanes. These will work on everything from a Cessna 150 to a Boeing 777 and everything in between. The Fixed Wing Portable option is the best choice for people who rent airplanes. If you are flying helicopters, get the Helicopter Portable model with the standard single U-174/U plug. Bose A20 Dual Plugs Bose A20 Helicopter Plug U-174/U.

What is the panel powered option?

The panel powered option means the headset has a 6-pin plug called Redel or LEMO instead of the standard dual plugs that you often see. Some people just refer to it as a «Bose style jack». The panel powered option uses the aircraft electrical system to power the Active Noise Reduction technology in the headset instead of getting power from AA batteries. If you are a renter, the panel power option is probably not the best choice for you since many of the planes that you rent will not have a Redel style jack to plug into. Of course you could always get a Bose Panel Power to Fixed Wing Adapter and have both bases covered. Bose A30 Panel Power Redel / LEMO.

I own an airplane. Can I install a panel power jack?

Sure! Many newer aircraft are made with options for plugging in either a panel powered headset or a headset with dual plugs. For example, Cirrus SR20 and SR22’s have both options. If you own an aircraft without a LEMO jack, you can get our panel power install connector kit and have your local avionics shop install it in your aircraft.

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Can I change the plug type later?

Yes, the Bose A30 is a modular system that allows you to replace the entire cable assembly with a different type (i.e. go from military to civilian or from Airbus to standard dual plus). Or, we have adapters that convert from / to almost any combination you might need. No tools required! It’s literally a 15 second swap!

I fly for an Airline in the USA. Does this comply with FAA and company requirements?

Yes, the Bose A30 is FAA TSO and EASA E/TSO-C139a certified, proving its durability in tough conditions. It meets or exceeds all FAA requirements. A Technical Standard Order (TSO) is a minimum performance standard for specified materials, parts and appliances used on civil aircraft. When a company is authorized to manufacture a material, part or appliances to a TSO standard, this is referred to as TSO authorization. When a company receives a TSO authorization, it is assured that the product meets these minimums in both design and production. Bose Corporation meets all and exceeds many TSO requirements.

What is the battery life of the Bose A30 Aviation Headset?

The A30 operates for a minimum of 45 hours from two AA alkaline batteries in typical aircraft noise. With continuous operation of the Bluetooth® function, battery life will last 25-plus hours. As always, battery life varies with the type of battery, noise environment and features used during flight. The headset has a battery life indicator light to signal when batteries need to be replaced.

What happens if the batteries run out?

If you let the AA batteries full deplete, the Bose A30 will still continue to function as a normal passive noise attenuation headset. You will not get the benefit of active noise cancellation or Bluetooth, but you will still be able to transmit and receive normally with ATC.

Can I use rechargeable batteries?

Yes. However, flying-time battery life may be lower than the acclaimed 45-hour life, depending on the type of battery chemistry used. Rechargeable batteries may also alter the accuracy of the battery status indicator light; when the light changes to amber, pilots will likely have less than eight hours of flying time remaining. Multiple battery chemistries can be used, including lithium-ion batteries.

Does the A30 headset automatically shut off after use?

Yes, the aircraft powered version of the A30 headset has both auto-on and auto-off capability, so when the avionics have been turned on, the headset will turn on automatically once aircraft power is detected. Battery-powered versions of the headset have auto-off, but require that you press the power button to turn on the headset.

Can the microphone boom be worn on either left or right?

Yes. The integrated boom mic and cable can be attached to either side of the headset with the toolless connector mechanism in a few simple steps.

Can I wear eyeglasses with the A30?

Yes. The earcups’ supple leather-covered foam cushions are designed to provide an effective acoustic seal even over glasses. You should be able to wear your glasses comfortably without significantly diminishing the headset’s noise reduction benefits. There is no need to calibrate or recalibrate the headset to maintain optimal performance. The headset adjusts automatically.

Do I need to buy anything else with the A30?

Nope. The A30 really includes everything that you will need right out of the box. A carrying case, batteries, ear seals, microphone muff, they’re all included.

What is the warranty on the Bose A30?

The Bose A30 is covered by a 5 year Bose manufacturer warranty.

What if I don’t like the Bose A30?

It’s a lot of money to spend and we want you to be happy with your headset. Take it up for a few flights. If it’s not everything that you hoped it would be, return it in the original condition within 60 days for a refund. No risk!

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Do you have any quantity discounts on the Bose A30?

We offer quantity discounts if you are buying 5+ units at one time. Email or call 480-556-0500 for details.

Do accept trade-in on older headsets towards the Bose A30?

Yes! We will accept your used, good condition, headset as a trade-in towards the Bose A30. This includes the previous generation Bose A20, Bose X (10) which was also known as AHX-02, AHX-03, AHX-04, AHX-05, AHX-06, AHX-07, AHX-08 as well as headsets from other manufacturers such as Lightspeed, David Clark, Sennheiser, and others. See our headset trade-in program page for more details.

Do you accept purchase orders?

We are happy to accept all US government, school, military purchase orders on Net terms. Purchase orders are also accepted from US corporations upon approved credit. Email or call 480-556-0500 for details.

Other questions?

Call us toll-free at 1-877-314-7575, email or look for the ‘Questions? Chat with us!» button in the lower right corner during business hours. A well trained, non-commissioned, crew member will be happy to assist you promptly.

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The Best Aviation Headsets for Pilots

Best headsets for pilots

Communication is absolutely critical while you’re up in the air – and good quality aviation headsets make all the difference when you’re communicating with the tower and other aircraft.

Whether you’re a brand new pilot searching for your first headset before you start flight training or you’re a seasoned airline pilot, you’re sure to find a headset that will meet your needs on this list.

What to Look for In an Aviation Headset

Here are some of the most important factors you should consider when trying to pick out an aviation headset.

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Passive Noise Reduction vs Active Noise Reduction

A great aviation headset has to block out more than just one type of background noise and system interference at the same time.

Some headsets are great at the one and not so good at the other, and many times this is something you’ll only discover once you’ve tested it out for yourself.

Passive noise reduction is simply the noise the headphones block with their design. Most aviation headsets are over-ear headsets and will block out a good amount of sound.

Active noise reduction (ANR) is when a headset emits a second sound that cancels out the other sound. In simple terms, the emitted sound wave is the inverse of the outside noise sound wave and thus they cancel each other out.

Two headsets for pilots


After a long 4-hour cross country flight with a bad headset, you’ll be ready to upgrade to something more comfortable. You want a headset that isn’t too tight but tight enough to provide a good seal and provide that passive noise reduction.

To help you find a good fit you may be able to borrow different brands of headsets from your flight school to test out before you buy your own.

In-Ear vs Over Ear

Another thing to consider is in-ear vs. over-ear. Good in-ear headsets are comparatively new to the market but have become quite good at blocking sound (typically via active noise reduction).

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Even with advancements, however, over-ear headsets are still generally better at reducing noise in the cockpit. You may also find over-ear headsets more comfortable when wearing them for long periods of time.

Good Microphone

The quality of the microphone is just as important as the quality of what you can hear through your headset.

Communication while up in the air (or still on the ground for that matter) is always a two-way street. What’s the point if you can hear the other side just fine, but they can’t hear a thing on your end?

Again, testing out a few different headsets at your flight school can be a great way to find ones you like.

The Top 8 Aviation Headsets By Category

Every pilot will have their own preference when it comes to a good headset. Considering the most important qualities listed above, I’ve tried to break down this list into top performers by category.

Some look for in-ear headsets, others want Bluetooth capability and a wireless model; you yourself might be after something else.

The Best All Around Headset – Bose A20 Aviation Headset

Our Pick

The A20 is one of the best aviation headsets on the market. It’s comfortable to wear for those long flights, has excellent active noise reduction, and incredibly clear audio.

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12/08/2022 12:17 am GMT

The Bose A20 is one of the most popular aviation headsets on the market. It’s used by thousands of pilots around the world.

It’s designed to be used in environments with a high volume of external noise and uses active noise cancellation to minimize it. Bose claims this headset reduces external noise by 30% compared to conventional headsets (granted, they don’t define what they mean by conventional headsets).

There is a Bluetooth option for this headset that allows you to listen to music or take phone calls. And you can choose to mute or mix your audio sources.

All of the settings on this headset are conveniently controlled using a small control module attached to the headset cable.

The mic can be connected to the right or left earphone allowing you to customize it to your liking. And while the headset isn’t nearly as light as the Bose Proflight Series 2 below, it’s still a lightweight headset at only 12 oz.

The biggest downside to the A20 headset is the price tag. This headset comes in at about $1,000 making it one of the priciest options on the market.

If you’re looking to wear one of the best pilot headsets on the market this is the one for you.

The Best in-Ear Headset – Bose Proflight Series 2 Aviation Headset


If you’re flying pressurized turbine-powered airplanes this is a great headset for you. Since it doesn’t block quite as much sound as the Bose A20 this headset operates better in quieter aircraft.

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12/08/2022 05:26 am GMT

If you’re tired of bulky, heavy aviation headsets, then consider the Bose Proflight Series 2. It’s one of the lightest headsets available on the market right now – and the best possible value for money at this price level.

Weight is a defining factor with this model weighing in at a total of only 4.5 oz. That’s considerably lighter than the standard aviation headsets some readers might be used.

This headset uses active noise cancellation to cut back on outside noise so you can hear tower clearly. There are three different active noise cancellation settings you can choose from so you can adjust the headset in flight.

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The headset also includes Bluetooth connectivity. All of the settings on the headset can be controlled via a control module on the cable.

One downside to this headset is the earbuds. If you aren’t a huge fan of earbuds you may not want to wear these. After a few hours, they can start to get a bit uncomfortable.

In terms of clarity, both in-and-out, the Bose Proflight Series 2 is highly rated.

Best Headset for New Pilots – David Clark H-10-13.4 Aviation Headset

You can probably find David Clark headsets in just about every flight school across the country. It’s a dependable headset that doesn’t break the bank. I even have a couple of pairs on hand to use whenever I take friends up to fly.

David Clark headsets use passive noise reduction so it won’t get nearly as quiet as some of the other options that include active noise cancellation but they still work quite well.

Best for Student Pilots

This is one of the most popular headsets for new pilots. Its lower price point and reliable performance make it an excellent option for any student pilot just getting started.

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12/08/2022 03:01 am GMT

One of its best qualities is the fact that the David Clark aviation headset is highly adjustable: The boom mic can be worn on both sides, and adjusted to exactly where you need it.

The headset does use a noise-canceling mic that helps reduce the noise transmitted when you speak and the function certainly seems to work well in my experience.

This is really one of the best headsets out there for new pilots. David Clark headsets make a great first, second or backup headset for anyone.

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Best Headset Under $300 – Kore Aviation KA-1 Premium

Best Budget Pick
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12/08/2022 05:16 am GMT

When it comes to headsets that fall under the $300 price point, a lot of professional pilots may think you can’t get a high-quality headset for the money. But in reality, you can find some decent options such as the Kore Aviation KA-1 headset.

While it lacks many of the features of the Bose A20, it will still operate well enough for most student pilots.

Gel cushioning keeps it from pressing too hard against the ears. Many cheap headsets are known for being rather uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time but that isn’t the case with the Kore headset. Of course, comfort isn’t the only thing that makes the Kore model worth considering.

Easy-to-reach controls and its highly adjustable nature helps. It also performs well when it comes to noise-canceling and overall sound quality. Better than other models of the same price point, which is how this particular model ended up on this list.

The biggest downside to a low-budget headset such as this one is long-term durability. Don’t expect to use this headset for years and years. It will, however, get you through your student training.

All things considered, the Kore Aviation KA-1 headset is a good option for student pilots on a tight budget.

Best Wireless Headset – Lightspeed Sierra Aviation Headset

If you don’t want to shell out $1,000 for the Bose A20 but you’d like a step up from the David Clark headset, this is the headset for you.

The Lightspeed Sierra headset comes highly rated both for its comfort and noise-canceling abilities.

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