Borrowing from friends is obviously an option. Unfortunatley most of my flying friends don't have anything better than what I'm using now. I actually have a couple headsets in mind that I'd like to try but I don't think I know anybody that owns them.
I read and article in Flight Training that suggested taking headsets out for a test drive before buying, so I'm guessing there are some FBO that do it. It's something I wish I had done. Only thing is, I wanted to save a few bucks, so I wouldn't have felt very honest trying out all the headsets at an FBO and then turning around and buying them from Marv Golden.
I never understood why an FBO wouldn't want to let you try something out.
Heck, you can go into almost any store, and try on clothes, which cost 50times less than some headsets.
Of course, if everyone got to try out a Stratus 50-D, then maybe nothing else would sell?
Problem is, I think a real trial is a 3hr or more xcountry flight. Not sure how many FBOs want to loan the things out for such a long time. I've seen larger shops have them on display you can try on, but I doubt you'd be able to take all the $500+ sets out for a trial all at once, switching between them, which is what is really needed. Maybe a test room, with simulated noise, or an intercom setup in a maintenance hanger, while they are running up an engine.
Even the 4105 is as good as everything else out there. The 50D is just that much better. With these rebates, prices are at or below the DC models, and I don't personally like the green clamps, so I'm not going to plunk down $500+ for their ANR versions.
I think I spend 1/4 of my time on ebay looking for one