We hate those elitist Bose vs Lightspeed active noise reduction (ANR) headset comparisons for the same reason you do; it’s like arguing over which color Lamborghini to buy. Why spend $1000 – the equivalent of 7 hours wet flight time in a vintage 172 – to buy a cutting edge ANR headset when a $100 passive noise reduction (PNR) Chinese knockoff of the famous $300 minty green one lets you enjoy more flying?
First, let’s understand why ANR is overrated. The ANR headset works by using an electronic circuit to counteract that lovely engine noise and whistling slipstream you hear while flying. Once the ambient concerto of flight is muted it’s easy to hear the radio and have a normal conversation with your passengers – If that’s your aviation goal, just stay home and coffee klatch on the sofa and you won’t have to buy bulk packs of AA batteries.
The famous minty green PNR headset we all know so well takes a classic approach to noise reduction with ear cups that are simply packed with foam to deaden some ambient flight sounds and most of your hearing over time. Once you get used to maximum volume to enjoy the sweet sound of a fast talking ATC controller you’ll never fly any other way and will always say “what” whenever you see someone’s lips moving while facing you.
Virtually all knock-offs of the $300 minty green standard are nothing more than a cheaper copy so just pick the lowest priced one and get an extra two hours of Cessna 172 time as a bonus!