Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The New Peltor 9500 Digital Headset

Peltor’s new headset aims for the cockpit

tech talk
Peltor’s latest offering, the ANR 9500, boasts digital and analog ANR technology. It’s equipped with a Gentex mic boom and can be outfitted with gel-filled cushions.
Headsets are funny things. Even though there are scores of them on the market and their job is essentially the same, each headset has its own “personality” and unique feel. Among professional headsets, I’ve found that the “right” one is different for each individual wearer and is a matter of personal preference. It was with that fact in mind that I opened the package containing the brand-new Peltor ANR 9500 digital headset.

First impressions are, as we all know, very important. One thing that impressed me as I opened the box from Peltor was the headset bag. It’s a considerable, well-padded affair that looks larger than it needs to be (good for extras), with a well-thought-out inner-fabric closure that cinches shut with a cord clamp (like camping gear bags) and keeps the headset from falling out if the top flap is accidentally left loose. The flap itself closes with a sturdy outdoor-grade clasp and features a good-sized handle. Little details like this make a difference when comparing professional-grade headsets.

I wanted to give the new Peltor a good test drive so I scheduled time in a couple of cockpit environments to give the ANR features a chance to do their thing. Also, I made sure to bring a passenger or two along to see how the 9500 would perform with in-cockpit conversation, along with the usual stuff from ATC.

On the first round of flying, my newbie passenger commented about the ANR 9500’s white ear cups. “Those are gonna get dirty real fast,” he said as I took them out of the black bag. Indeed, I wasn’t crazy about the white color, but I thought that perhaps Peltor is looking to establish a color identity like David Clark has with its blue-green ear cups.

One word about the ear cup cushions: I suggest you use the gel ones. I tried the Peltor with the standard foam cushions, and later, with the gel-filled cushions. The difference in comfort is huge, especially after about an hour in the air. They’re well worth it, in my opinion.


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