Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Beyerdynamic HS 600 DANR Headset
Advanced noise reduction from Germany
Beyerdynamic’s HS 600 DANR offers 40 decibels of ambient noise attenuation, which combines both passive and active modes.
Beyerdyamic, a German company with an 85-year history in designing and engineering audio products, has recently updated the HS 600 DANR (digital active noise reduction) aviation headset with its “version 2.0” advanced noise-reduction features. The company claims 40 decibels (dB) of “ambient noise attenuation” (combining both passive and active modes), compared with 21 to 27 dB for most passive headsets.
To understand that, you need to know that a decibel is a logarithmic measurement of sound pressure. Add 20 dB and you’ve increased the pressure by a factor of 10. That’s important because too much pressure can damage your ears. According to an FAA safety brochure, continuous exposure to sound levels of 90 dB or higher can produce permanent hearing loss. Average noise level in single-engine piston cockpits ranges from 70 to 90 dB, which is uncomfortably close to the limit. Conventional passive headsets cut this by 19 to 27 dB, which certainly helps, but they’re most effective at cutting high-frequency noise—and how well they work depends on how good a seal the earphone cushions provide against your head. Those of us who wear eyeglasses never get a perfect seal, so we tend to get less noise reduction. Even with a perfect seal, there’s still a low-frequency rumble that’s similar in pitch to human speech, so you still may have trouble understanding your copilot, passengers or ATC when it’s calling “traffic alert.” Electronic noise reduction filters out low-frequency noise and makes it easier to hear the intercom and radio. Most vendors who offer electronic noise reduction claim around 20 dB of additional noise reduction over and above the passive reduction offered by the earphone seal.
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