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Bose A20 Review

This year I picked up the Bose A20 Aviation Headset as my early Christmas present.

I took a look at the A20 during AirVenture and thought it was really nice, but I still hadn’t made up my mind between it or the Lightspeed Zulu. I wore the  Zulu on my way out to Oshkosh and thought it was just awesome! The fit was perfect for me and my ipod sounded great. In the end, it came down to the Bose financing offer (0% for one year). So I made the decision to place my order. Soon after, I found that the expected ship date was in 10 to 12 weeks! I was not a happy camper. Then I heard about a recall (causing the delay). I started thinking that I had made a mistake. The next day I searched the internet for financing offers from Lightspeed, and found that if you call them they will offer the same financing plan as Bose.  I had made up my mind to cancel my Bose order. Just than I got a call from my wife, the headset had arrived! Yea, I guess, but would I like it?  

My first impressions:

The headset is of good quality and right away I liked it, but I felt as if it was overpriced. I gave the ANR a try in my living room. As soon as I turned it on it was like diving under water. All sounds in the room dropped way down. I have used ANR headsets before but this is ANR to a whole new level.


The Bluetooth functionality worked as advertised and it even worked well with a speech activated IVR system. So far so good on that front.

My first flight:

So here we are. Cleared for takeoff in N4757T our club owned Cessna 182RG equipped with a very loud O540 (that’s a 540 cubic inch 6 cylinder engine). Time to see how the new headset works compared to the Lightspeed 23G I was waring on my previous flights. Initially everything sounded pretty much like my other headsets. Once at my initial cruising altitude I brought the power back to 23″ set the prop to 2200 RPM, set the cowl flaps and leaned out. As the speed built up I started thinking that something was wrong. I found myself turning the com radios up louder and louder. A quick look at the control unit and I realized my mistake. I had turned the ANR feature off during the run-up and forgot to turn it back on. As soon as I pressed the button it was like getting into different aircraft. I could still hear the engine, but it sounded like an engine a quarter it’s size. I could also hear things I could never hear before, like the vent flap for the heat, little rattles along with just about everything else.


The best thing you can say about any headset is that you forget that you are wearing it. Well, that’s true with the Bose A20, at only 12 oz it’s so light that I really forgot about it during my IPC flight.

I will update this post with any future findings, but so far I am happy with the A20. That being said, the Lightspeed Zulu is an amazing product as well.

For now, I think I made the right call.

For more information on the A20 check out the Bose website here.

For more information on the Lightspeed Zulu check out the website here.

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Amanda Michelle (Younkin) Franklin 3/14/1986 – 5/27/2011 Click for information on Amanda