July 24, 2011
Long a player in the aircraft headset market, Sennheiser is upping its game with a new digital, noise-cancelling model to compete in the Premium headset market. Sennheiser announced the new S1 at EAA AirVenture on Sunday evening in time for demonstrations -- on opening day of AirVenture. In this podcast, Sennheiser's Dave Dunlap explained that the company believes its new product will outperform the noise cancelling capability of existing headsets.
Dunlap says the S1 uses a digital adaptive process to sample ambient noise which it then uses to construct a cancelling signal. Although that's what other headsets do too, the S1 has a twist. By pressing what it calls a Smart Update button built into one earcup, the S1's noise cancelling applies individual filters that are better suited to whatever the ambient noise environment happens to be, such as a loud takeoff or the higher wind noise of fast cruise. "At the core of the new noise canceling technology is a particularly powerful digital signal processor," explains Sennheiser's Jörg Buchberger. Rather than relying on fixed filters, the processor generates a specific filter algorithm for the noise at hand, selectively reducing the dominant noise prorportions. It also features special treble boost which helps with speech intelligibility, especially for older pilots whose inevitable hearing loss makes it difficult to interpret speech. The S1 has a separate filtering circuit for music inputs.
Sennheiser has paid attention to the mechanicals, too, since how a headset fits is just as important and how well the noise cancelling technlogy works. It engaged BMW Group DesignworksUSA to develop functional comfort details, including customizable contact pressure. The S1 also features Bluetooth interface capability and provisions for adding music inputs. It collapses into a small form factor for stowage and transportation.
Retail price on the S1 with Bluetooth is $1095, but the company is offering a $995 show special at AirVenture. Find out more at Sennheiser-Aviation.com.