Updated: Aug 2, 2019
Following on from my review of the Pilot PA17-72T Headset, I have now owned the Lightspeed Sierra for three months and feel like I have enough experience with it to write a review.
I purchased the Lightspeed Sierra as I needed a reliable ANR headset that wouldn't let me down and would provide superior levels of comfort. I instruct for up to five hours per day and in the last year or so I have found that the noise levels with my old passive headset have become fatiguing. As readers of my previous review will know, my first experience with ANR was negative but I attributed this to buying a cheap headset.
The Sierra is Lightspeed's entry level headset, but they are a high-end manufacturer and even their lower end products are better than most of the competition.
The headset costs around £660 inc. VAT depending on where it is purchased. It comes with a carry case, a set of batteries and a spare audio cable.
Upon opening, the first thing I noticed is how well the headset is put together. The cups feel well machined and the set feels solid but not heavy. The microphone is easy to move and pose and it stays in position when moving around.
The noise reduction and bluetooth features are powered by two AA batteries. They are slotted into a slim compartment in the audio line which also comprises of the volume control, bluetooth and power controls. The battery life is purported to be 40 hours, though I have used the headset continually for three months, clocking up more than 40 hours and I have not yet had to change the batteries. I make a habit of manually switching off the noise reduction after each flight, rather than leaving it to auto switch off.
The headset weighs only 16 ounces. Admittedly, this is heavier than the model I reviewed earlier which weighs 9.6 ounces, though I didn't notice any difference. In fact, I suspect the additional extra weight is unavoidable in order to make the headset durable. The headset is certainly comfortable and it is easy to forget that it's there.
Active Noise Reduction
I couldn't find any reference to the Active Noise Reduction specific figures other than, "over a broad range of low frequency noise". The Active Noise Reduction is excellent and it removes nearly all of the low level noise. I have found that this makes a big difference to my comfort levels in day-to-day flying. The passive noise reduction is very good considering the headset is a comfortable fit. My past experience has taught me that in order to get good passive noise reduction, the headset must be a tight fit, but it seems that Lightspeed have achieved a good level of PNR without compromising on comfort.
The headset is able to connect to phones via Bluetooth which allows you to take calls whilst flying. It does not allow you to stream music on the Sierra headset - though this is possible on the Lightspeed Zulu headset. However, you can still play music through the 3.5mm aux cable which is provided. I don't use the bluetooth feature whilst flying though have briefly tested it and it worked clearly, though I suspect it is a major drain on the batteries if used frequently.
I have used the headset frequently for just over three months without problem so I am not in a position to judge it on durability just yet. However, it seems robust and my instinct is that it will not fail on me when I need it most.
I am very happy with the Lightspeed Sierra. I feel more confident in this headset than any other I've used previously and the difference in noise levels when activating ANR still makes me smile.
High levels of comfort
Bluetooth call features and audio in for playing music
Made in the USA
High build quality - feels like a premium product
ANR and PNR are very good
QuizAero Rating : 5/5
Are you learning to fly? Click here to check out our highly acclaimed online ground school and practice exams. We cover aeroplanes, helicopters and microlights.