Bose’s A20 has proved to be one of the most popular noise canceling headsets on the market but the company figured it’s due for an upgrade. And that will be the A30, being introduced at Sun ‘n Fun 2023. Bose said although the A30 is a follow-on product, the company considers it an entirely new product offering improved comfort and fit and a platform already noted for good noise canceling performance.
At first glance, the two products appear similar but in this AVweb video, Bose’s Matt Ruwe said the new headset, at an intro price of $1249, has been redesigned almost from the ground up. It retains the center-spring headband, but the spring mechanism is now fully enclosed as are all the wires connecting the earcups and microphone. And speaking of mics, the A30’s is easily reversible without using tools. No major changes have been made in the noise cancellation performance but where the A20 was analog, the A30 is now digital. For improved comfort, the A30 has redesigned earcups and lower clamping pressure and a fresh design for the headband pads. It also has a feature carried over the ProFlight Series 2 in-ear headset—three modes of noise cancellation to allow talk through in the cockpit when that’s desired.
Bose will be showing the headset in its booth at Sun ‘n Fun. Find them in booth MD-29B.
Watching Paul’s video on this was painful. Paul repeatedly tried to drag out “why is this different” from the Bose guy who didn’t seem to have any answers. It’s the same but totally new? My takeaway was: identical except for a few cosmetics, with a switch to make the ANR less good if you’re in a very quiet cockpit. Otherwise, the same as an A20.
At least it’s more expensive.
😂 if it ain’t broke, repackage it, and charge more!
Please pass me my thickly padded old David Clark headset. It still works as well as the day I bought it in 1980.
My A20 works just fine, thank you.
I almost jumped at the chance to trade in my A20’s to Saratoga at $600, assuming the A30’s would offer a leap forward in ANC technology. As I came to realize that the only ANC change appears to be the option to DOWNGRADE performance, I decided to pass. Who would ever want to do THAT??
As an electrical engineer and pilot, I find it difficult to justify the approximate $50 in electronics needed to cancel ambient noise, vs the added $1,000 over a passive headset.
Using ‘digital’ electronics may have some advantage, if the pilot could ‘tune’ the response. But they only provide a reduction switch…!!
There’s a famous story of a journalist interviewing an executive of one of the major liquor companies, who described the process for making their two bourbon products. The journalist noted that the process described was the same for both and inquired as to why the “premium” label was so much more expensive. In a burst of apparent honesty, the executive replied that it was primarily “a pricing philosophy.”
The digital ANC electronics could also theoretically be updated in the future with a firmware upgrade.
The A20 is a great ANC headset, but I’ve been using the LightSpeed headsets for several years now. When I was researching the two, it seemed LightSpeed had a bit better customer support. I recently purchased the new Delta Zulu (as a second headset to the Zulu.3 I’ve had for years), and it similarly has digital ANC electronics, and it does let you “tune” the profile to your personal hearing (though I haven’t tried this yet). So there shouldn’t be any reason why Bose couldn’t implement something similar with their new A30.
The question then becomes, why hasn’t Bose added more capabilities to the A30 if it theoretically only requires some additional programming? I somehow suspect they were caught off guard by LightSpeed with their Delta Zulu and may have rushed the A30 out the door before they finished everything they would have liked to. Maybe they’ll add additional capability in the future.
Bose has been running an ad on AOPA’s weekly news show for years about how their headset group “just can’t stand still” and “just keeps innovating”. I never could figure out what they were talking about since the A20 was more than a decade old. Apparently the innovation is to jack up the price for fewer features?
Please hire me as a business consultant, Bose. I could have come up with that idea in half the time.
Bose sells an audio ANR headphones with bluetooth and an equalizer for $329…??
” Bose QuietComfort 45 Bluetooth Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones – Triple Black
Visit the Bose Store, 4.6 out of 5 stars 14,197 ratings, $329.00 ”
Adding a pilot cable and mic will cost a few $
Almost – certification costs should be the bulk of the difference.
Companies have to push out newer models every now and then so as to keep an innovative image. Obviously there’s no incentive for any A20 owner to upgrade, which goes to show the high quality of the A20. But anyone new in the market for a great headset will likely pick the latest model, that’s simple marketing psychology.