Review

 


Saitek Pro Flight Aviation Audio Headset
By Nigel C Martin
November 2008

Overview

Have you ever seen a product and thought I must have that? Well this review is covering such a craving. Yes, I succumbed to the primeval urge of the MUST HAVE PRINCIPLE.

Why I hear you say? Well just take one look at the new offering form Saitek, The Pro Flight Aviation Audio Headset they look incredible and if you have taken to the sky’s in a General Aviation steed, I’ll bet a Pound (or a Dollar, or any other denomination) to a penny, you would have put on a pair of cans’ that look pretty well, exactly like this offering.

You know, I already have a great pair of headphones, which work perfectly well, brilliantly in fact, (another Saitek product) but I simply had to get this pair.

With the new headphones all working and comfortably on my head, will they make me carry out perfect navigation and perfect landings? Probably not, but for the same reason we spend incredible amounts on that very realistic looking flight yoke or joystick throttle unit, we want tactile and visual accuracy and quality. Well my friends, all of these elements are rolled into one, in the Pro Flight Aviation Audio Headset. Let’s take to the skies and try them out.

First Impressions
The unit arrives in a sturdy transparent bubble plastic packaging with the headphones held securely in place. My fist impression was very favourable. I was impressed with the weight; this had to be a positive sign.

Taking a little time to open the sturdy packaging, I at last opened the protective transparent plastic, you immediately note, they are not the most subtle set of head phones, in terms of physical size, but guess what? They are not supposed to be, these babies are an almost exact facsimile of the ‘cans’ used in real aviation.

The finish is of a very height standard. Oh boy, I was eager to get the scissors out and ‘liberate’ them and of course put them to use they are intended!

Housed inside the backing card, within the packaging, you will find a booklet of instructions, I frankly had a cursory glance and placed them back in the packaging, the installation process, I felt would be very straight forward.

Some very comprehensive copy is to found on the reverse of the packaging card, this tells us the key features are:



• Responsive Microphone with mute button
• Cushioned headband
• Passive noise cancelling system
• Integrated volume control



Out of the packaging, holding your new acquisition, I am certain you will have the same smile on your face as I did, the ‘feel’ look build are on the button. They arrive in a Black and Chrome metalwork combination.

The units covering your ears are in gloss black plastic, the ample ear cushions when placed on your head will create a noise cancelling effect. The wires for the speakers and mic are attached to the frame via sturdy plastic clips. The mic is located on a wire boom arm which can be positioned so it is either side of your head. Again the mic unit mounted on the end of this ‘boom’ is very sturdy indeed, you will note a red button, when this is depressed, it will mute the mice.

An integrated volume knurled knob is found on the earphone unit where the mike boom arm is fixed. Again this is a very substantial rotary switch.

There is full adjustment to the band running over your head via two small nut’s, which I did without any problem and positioned the boom mic in a position that best suited me. After trying on for the first time, I felt the pressure on the sides of my head was too great, some very careful pressure to force open the ear units, thus slightly bending the top of the head band, did the trick.

Ok, packaging in the bin, fired up FS9 and Squawkbox, plugged in the cable via colour coded 3.5mm mini-jack plugs into any PC soundcard-in socket green sound-out and pink sound-in, sat back and found an excuse to do some listening and speaking.

In Use
All done, check to see if I got any sound, a little perplexed, as I did not get any sound, despite adjusting the excellently placed rotary knob positioned on the ear speaker unit. A little investigation, the volume control on my computer was turned to min and I had been using an other headphone set with it’s own dedicated set-up control interface.( Should have read the instructions, because this situation is there in B&W) So, that diagnosed and sorted, which took all of 1 minute, I was ready to go.

FS09 fired up and Squawkbox selected, tuned into a friendly ATC, adjusted the volume on the unit and perfect sound emanated form both units, the mic worked perfectly.

I have been using these now for some 10 hours and I have to say I have found them the most comfortable headphones to wear.

I contacted a friend (yes I do have them!) via Skype and response was my voice sounded clearer that the previous unit, good enough for me! I tried the mute facility and again this worked as intended.

I really am very impressed with this unit, works effortlessly and very comfortable.

Conclusion
You will bowled over by the realism and accuracy of these ‘real-life’ pilot set of ‘cans’, I just love them, they look the part, easy to use, extremely comfortable. Hat’s off the Saitek for developing and bringing a range of products to the market a unit which is dedicated to the Simmer and make our experience that much more realistic.

A considerable amount of thought has gone into the design of this set of headphones,

Couple of quick observations, if you use the mute function, please do not have the volume up to loud because when the red button is depressed there is a loud click, (proportionate to the volume selected) so close to your ears the effect can be ‘uncomfortable’, but at the appropriate sound level, does not pose an issue. (Warning, prolonged use at very high volume could damage your hearing. Obvious I know, but best said).

At the points where the frame holds the ear units there are some loose metal pieces that tend to ‘rattle’ when handling, I would have liked to see these ‘fixed’ so the rattle would be eliminated. BUT, it is not a major issue just an observation.

After plugging in the mini jack plugs (at the rear base of my computer) I had very little wire left, after it had spanned my computer table, I really feel there should be more cable length. But again, I can use them no problem, but another meter would have allowed me to route the cable to more convenient location.

If you are looking for realism, quality, comfort, value, then my friends, you know what to do!

Do I see Santa, wearing pair heading towards your house? Lets’ hope so!!

Onwards and upwards…


Nigel.C.Martin.

Find out more by visiting the Saitek website:- www.saitek.com

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