Longtime audio panel maker PS Engineering has come out with a newly updated model, the PMA8000BTi, that adds the company’s IntelliAudio feature to the mix. The new model is priced the same as the previous version. The audio panel is a plug-and-play slide-in replacement for the popular Garmin GMA 340.
IntelliAudio is PS Engineering’s version of what Garmin calls 3D Audio in its audio panels with that feature, which uses stereo audio imaging to render audio from different inputs as though they were coming from different places. The result is pretty dramatic and, somewhat surprisingly, really useful too. Most commonly pilots will use this feature to put Comm 1 and Comm 2 in different Òplaces,Ó allowing the pilot to be able to focus more effectively on the different audio streams. In real terms, that means the pilot can monitor one frequency while listening in a focused way to the other one, such as we all do when jotting down the ATIS while listening to ATC should they make a call to us. Positional audio makes it far easier to pull off what can otherwise be an anxiety provoking mental task.
PS Engineering’s flagship model, the PMA450 was the company’s first model with IntelliAudio, a technology that the audio panel maker licensed from the United States Air Force Laboratory. The PMA450 has a display, which makes it easier to make and change settings, and it also gives the pilot the ability to change the apparent audio position of the different inputs, whereas the PMA8000BTi places them at the preset 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions.
The PMA8000BTi has a minimum advertised price of $1,795 (the PMA450 goes for $300 more, a reasonable upgrade price in our opinion). Both audio panels are available now from PS Engineering dealers.