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Flight Simulator Headsets

If you want to make use of ATC in your simulation, you will need a headset. This is made up of headphones (a pair of small speakers) and a microphone. Important aspects are comfort and sound quality. The (analogue) headsets connect to your computer with a 3.5 mm (1/8") jackplug. There are also a lot of 'digital' headsets around, which means that they are connected by a USB. These headsets are recognised by the Operating System as a separate USB device. This opens up the possibility of connecting to a separate ATC program, while using the soundcard and speaker set for the Flight Simulator.

An important specification of the headset is the frequency response of both the microphone and the earphones. A good quality microphone has a frequency range between about 100 Hz (any lower doesn't make much sense for our purposes) and 8 Khz, which is enough for good sibilance. This range also covers the frequency range of the human voice well. An upper limit up to 16KHz makes for excellent brilliance and sibilance as the higher harmonics are captured too. Higher than 16 Khz again doesn't make much sense as the human voice spectrum doesn't reach that high.

The headphones not only reproduce voices but also engine sound, wind shiffer, etc. Therefore, they must be capable of reproducing the complete audible audio spectrum, ranging from 20Hz to 20Khz. Finally, when using the headset for communicating with ATC, a 'talk' button is a better fit to purpose than the mute button commonly found on headsets used for gaming. Otherwise, a keyboard button has to be defined as the 'talk' button. The models set out below are good candidates to be used for flight simulation purposes.

Name Sennheiser PC151 Headset Creative Labs HS-980 Fatal1ty Professional Series MKII Gaming Headset Saitek PH09 Pro Flight Headset
Price level
(approximate)
$42 $55 $75
Description Headset designed for comfort and sound quality. Headset designed for comfort and sound quality. Targeted at gaming audience. Headset designed for use in flight simulators. It also closely resembles aviation headsets. The headphones block out external noise by forming a tight seal with the head. It also has a 'talk' (instead of a 'mute') switch.
Features
  • Noise cancelling microphone
  • Microphone rest position
  • Adjustable headband
  • High power stereo headphones for prolonged use
  • Single sided cable
  • Closed-back ear capsules to reduce background interference
  • Robust microphone with high speech intelligibility
  • Internet telephony compatible
  • In-line volume control and microphone mute switch
  • Silencer noise suppression technology enabled
  • Ultra-comfortable over-ear memory foam padded earcups
  • Inline mute and volume control
  • Foldable for easy storage and travelling
  • 2 Noise-cancelling condenser microphones
  • Headset for flight simulation modelled to look like a real pilot's headset
  • High quality stereo sound
  • Volume control
  • Microphone activation switch
  • Adjustable boom microphone
  • Cushioned headband for comfort over long haul flights
  • Passive noise cancelling: very effective design for blocking out external noises
Comfort level

High

High Good
Sound quality High High Good.
Frequency response earphones 18-22000Hz 20-20000Hz Not specified
Frequency response microphone 80-15000Hz 80-16000Hz Not specified
Target audience Gaming. Gaming. Aircraft simulation.
Interfaces mini jack (3.5 mm) mini jack (3.5 mm) mini jack (3.5 mm)
Shopping







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HeliStart is authored by Peter Goossens.