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I just started my studies towards PPL, and am looking into buying a good ANR aviation headset for flying on Cessna 172.

I have an office job, and I'm dealing with a lot of noise, hence ideally I'd like to use this headset with my computer as well (as buying 2 ANR headsets for different purposes is quite an expense).

From what I understand aviation headsets normally have 2 jacks with a different diameter. There are probably adapters to convert them to a standard 3.5 mm jack, but I wonder if it affects its noise reduction capabilities.

Conversely, can I buy a PC-compatible headset, and use it for flying with an appropriate adapter?

Also, most ANR headsets seem to operate on AA batteries. Are there any with lithium-ion battery instead, so that it can be recharged?

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    $\begingroup$ You can use rechargeable batteries in aviation headsets without any issues. $\endgroup$ – JScarry Apr 23 '19 at 2:01
  • $\begingroup$ @JScarry the only issue I heard of (and I'm not sure if it's true) is that at some point the batteries might appear fully charged, but will only have like 30% capacity, and would fail you during the flight $\endgroup$ – jFrenetic Apr 23 '19 at 2:16
  • $\begingroup$ @jFrenetic If that is an issue (I don't know), then it would be trivial to work around by using a different set of batteries while flying. Just add "headset - flight batteries installed, verified" to your own checklist of things to do or grab before going to the airport. (Since you'll be moving the headset around, you'll need some way to remember to bring that, anyway.) You can also look at the headset specs to see what the audio isolation is without the ANR; any credible manufacturer should have that bit of information readily available. $\endgroup$ – user Apr 23 '19 at 6:23
  • $\begingroup$ @jFrenetic As aCVn7 says, some headset brands are better than others when noise cancelling is turned off but none of them lose their basic ability to hear and talk. In any case, after a couple of lessons you should be able to fly the plane and swap out batteries at the same time. $\endgroup$ – JScarry Apr 23 '19 at 14:13
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The answer to all of our questions is broadly yes, but to break it down:

This company makes mic's for the Bose ANR audio headsets (quiet comfort line) that may fit your use case.

You should be able to use a step up adapter to plug any standard aviation headset into 3.5 mm. It might be worth noting that many of the headsets out there now have bluetooth that you can bus audio through including the mic audio for talking on the phone. However its worth mentioning that most aviation ANR headsets are bulkier than your typical ANR headphone as they also offer passive isolation should the batteries die.

AA batteries are the chosen option as they can be easily sourced just about anywhere and quickly replaced. Some people may chose to use rechargeable ones. I would think the lack of battery options has more to do with the fact that for a situation beyond regular old batteries many people may opt for the panel power variants.

FWIW the audio quality (for music) is decent but not headphone quality on my zulu 3 as most aviation headsets are designed to work well in the voice range and not necessarily the full frequency spectrum range that a set of headphones will work well in.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot! So, the first option you mentioned would be applicable to an existing PC headset? I imagine all aviation headsets come with a mic? (especially at such a price) $\endgroup$ – jFrenetic Apr 23 '19 at 2:13
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    $\begingroup$ @jFrenetic it is applicable to only the QuietComfort models they list, its not a general solution for all ANR headsets out there as it seems to be custom fit to the headset input on the Bose units. And yes all aviation headsets (as far as I know) have mic's $\endgroup$ – Dave Apr 23 '19 at 2:31
  • $\begingroup$ A headset, by definition, combines headphones and a microphone, no? If it doesn't have a microphone, it's just a set of headphones; possibly with passive or active noise reduction, but still just headphones. $\endgroup$ – user Apr 23 '19 at 6:25
  • $\begingroup$ @aCVn It depends who you ask, generally, r.e. aviation thats true but more broadly speaking the term "headset" may be used to apply only to headphones or even over ear plugs if the application does not dictate a mic being attached. $\endgroup$ – Dave Apr 23 '19 at 13:29
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Here's a site comparing many of the headsets that are available

https://www.sportys.com/pilotshop/aviation-headsets/guide.html

I don't know if laptops support audio-out via bluetooth (I've not seen that, my HP Probook and my Lenovo W530 don't), so you might want to look at units which accept a wired Aux-in, and then plug in a wire from the laptop headset jack to the unit's Aux-in.

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