What About Intercoms?
[It didn't take long for Thursday's article on
ANR headsets to generate some thoughtful
feedback. Here's an early letter, pointing out yet another aspect
of 'cockpit sound system' choice, from somebody who knows what he's
talking about. The mic design and shielding, and proper placement,
are all important, as well -- the hearing side is only as good as
the input side, you know. It's like discussing supply and demand --
there's two sides (or 'garbage in, garbage out,' in more-colloquial
I just finished reading your
[preview of your] review on the top-of-the-line ANR headsets, and,
an intercom manufacturer, thought I would add my two cents'
As you found out, ANR headsets are good for noise reduction in
the low frequency spectrum; but beyond that point, they become your
basic passive or acoustic headsets. In some cases, [they're] not as
good as a well-designed passive-only headset.
Now, take that $900 headset and plug it in... and what
happens? Everything the headset's boom microphone picks up
that is above the ANR range is passed through the intercom and to
the headphones every time the VOX is open. That means the wind
noise, passengers' talking and the, "Ah, Ah," to get the squelch to
open are heard. This is not a good combination: high-tech
headphones plugged into voice-operated intercom, a technology that
has roots back to the 1950s.
With technology comes improvements
-- and after making voice-operated intercoms since 1993, we
developed a better way to communicate. In 1999, we introduced what
we call the Enhanced Noise Reduction Intercom technology, no
squelch circuits, no squelch knobs, no background noise, just
Enhanced Noise Reduction is not to be confused with the ANR
headsets -- it will not improve a passive headset -- but what it
will do is eliminate the sounds that are picked up by the headset's
microphone and heard through a VOX intercom. That means the wind
noise, talking, and other cockpit noises are not heard. In fact,
sound levels up to 110db that would be heard through a
voice-operated intercom are eliminated.
Another major advantage
of the Enhanced Noise Reduction technology is the fact that the
microphones are always active while canceling the background noise.
The benefit is no "Ah, Ah" when starting to talk, and no popping
audio. The pilot and passengers can carry on a normal conversation
without the VOX TALK speech pattern.
The question is often asked, "Will ENRI replace an ANR headset?
No; it picks up where ANR [sets] leave off. Will it improve the
noise reduction of my passive headset? No; what you won't
hear is everything you have been hearing on your VOX intercom.
My two cents' worth. --Joe Fisher (Owner, FlightTech