Lightspeed Zulu ANR vs Bose X


Well-Known Member
I am looking to get a ANR since I will be CFIing this summer. Which would you prefer. The lightspeed zulu or Bose X. I have used the lightspeed before and it is amazing. Never had a chance to use the Bose X but I do have Bose headsets for my ipod that are amazing. So just wondering which one I should go with.
Both are close in performance and comfort for me. I like the Zulus features (bluetooth, treble, bass boost and music connectivity). The ONLY thing I don't like about the Zulu is that its headband is a little too small for my taste. Sometimes it hits a pressure point on the top of my head and can cause a little discomfort. But fit and comfort ends up being a pretty personal thing. I've owned Lightspeeds for the past 5 years and have never had a problem with quality. I highly recommend the Zulus! Plus Lightspeed offers a trade up program to other lightspeed owners.
I had a lot of feedback in my zulu when the windows were open during run-up. I didn't feel like closing the windows when it's 100 outside and you got a brand new student taking their sweet time going through the checklist.
I had a lot of feedback in my zulu when the windows were open during run-up. I didn't feel like closing the windows when it's 100 outside and you got a brand new student taking their sweet time going through the checklist.

Make sure its not the FRC button. That FRC button does strange things.

Batteries apparently last a ton longer in the Zulu's (my own analysis from the Bose guys asking me "they lasted you THAT long? Wow!")
I only get feedback if the ear seals get disturbed just right. Its annoying but every ANR I've ever wore has done that in some shape or form.
I've never had a problem with my Bose and the battery life is amazing. The Zulu's bluetooth feature is pretty cool though.
I've have had both. First bought the Bose. At the time, I did alot of aerobatic flying and the Bose just really couldn't keep up with all the different noises. Also, they really weren't that comfortable for me, pinched at the top. Decided to try the Zulus and have never looked back. Much better IMO. Plus the Ipod input is a must.

When I bought my Zulu 4-5 months back this was my rational.

-In the turboprop the Bose headsets my FO's let me try didn't block out the low end very well but cruise was great. I hate the low end more than the ambient noise at cruise.
-The microphones on the Bose were very noisy (the saab has a hot mic and it suckssssss)
-Bose designed the thing when I was back in college and no substantive changes had a occured in all that time. (From what I could see)

Zulu's were cheaper, had bluetooth, newer design, knocked out the low end substantially better (but cruise is louder), and from everything I hear from Bose users at the airline is that my batteries last 2-3 times longer.
I love my Zulu's and so do the rest of my instructors. The Bose just don't sound as good and, even though the Bose are lighter, the Zulu's are more comfortable.

Just don't leave the battery box in the front windshield of the airplane. I had one battery box melt in the sunlight. Lightspeed was very happy to fix it since it was the first one they had ever seen melt.

Their service department (Lightspeed) has always taken care of me and my headsets wheather or not they were under waranty. They will even 'Next Day Air' it to you at their own expense if you have to have it.

Great company that is more focused on customer service than any I've seen or dealt with.
I personally like the bose. I switched for a leg with my student and it was much quieter and softer in the bose than the zulu. He said the same thing. Never tried them in anything bigger than light piston a/c but I assume that is what you will be teaching in. Either one you get is good but I do wish I had some of those ipod/cell phone features.
I still think it's flippin' ridiculous that the Bose X has been out for 5? years and the price is the same as it was the day it debuted.
I haven't used the Lightspeed, but I flight tested the Bose X's when my base did an initial purchase. I wore the Bose exactly twice. The first time I used it, I liked it. The second time I kept getting static shocks against my ear lobes. Not very fun. I put my DC's back on (w/ear plugs) and found the noise level to be at or below the Bose.

When I reviewed the test reports, I was one of several users who were shocked. Now, this was back in the summer of 2004. Since then, it seems you either get shocked or you don't, I can't explain why.

Long term use with the Bose found that the yoke that attaches the earcups to the head strap was a high-break item. My squadron sent headsets back for warranty service every month to have the yokes replaced.

i own both. i flew with the bose starting in dec 07 and used it until aug or sept (i forget) when i was finally able to upgrade my 30-3G -> Zulu. I'm going to sell the X, so that should answer your question.

personal observations:

i fly the EMB-145 and i find the batteries last longer in the bose. i use energizer rechargables and always carry a spare pair of those as well as a spare pare of regular alkalines (which ive never had to use), so its a non-issue. Both tell you before they die so its an easy matter of swapping them.

i find the Zulu more comfortable. the bose puts pressure against my ears (shallow cups) and after a long day its quite irritating. The zulu puts a little pressure against my skull a little bit behind my ear due to my glasses, but i can adjust them so this doesnt bother me.

the zulu is quieter and has a much less annoying mic. the bose mic picks up a lot of wind noise and we have a hot mic so there is always background noise. a GA intercom with squelch would make this a non issue. I havent compared either against the noise of a GA prop, so ymmv.

the bose is lighter and has less clamping force.

the lightspeed has bluetooth, audio input and FRC (it makes a difference).

anyone want to buy a used, well-maintained bose X? serious offers will be considered.
Does anybody else think they sound funny when they hear themselves with bose?
I could just sound funny...