I am on a search for an alternative to the vice-grip like David Clark headsets that the company gives us to use on our planes. The Dave Clarks have one thing going for them; they shut out noise from the outside very well. The price for this though, is they can get downright hot and painful after a couple of hours.
The Plantronics MS200 is my first try at something lighter.
It comes with a nice zippered carrying case.
The ear bud rotates 90 degrees so it will fit in your ear. The boom Mic just kind of floats away from your cheek as you can see in the pictures below.
The MS200 never really felt very secure on my ear and I found myself constantly moving it around to make sure it was positioned right.
If you don’t have a built-in PTT (Push to Talk) button already you will need to get one as an accessory for your installation. The jacks are standard for most airplanes.
The audio quality is quite good from the earpiece. The problem for me was that the jet I fly (EMB 145) has a somewhat high windstream noise level at mid altitudes and high airspeeds (above 250 knots). At low altitudes from takeoff until about 10,000 feet the headset performed well. I had no trouble hearing and the air traffic controllers had no trouble hearing me. However, at the mid-altitudes from 10,000 to around 25,000 feet, the windstream noise in my cockpit is a little loud. I had some difficulty hearing the controllers and they reported some of my transmissions were a bit noisy. Once up in the higher altitudes, around 35,000 feet, the cockpit becomes a lot quieter and the headset again performed well.
Not all jets well have the same pattern of noise levels, and propeller-driven aircraft have a different lower frequency type of outside noise due to the propeller(s) and lower airspeeds; however, I did not have the opportunity to try the headset on a propeller driven aircraft.
Because of the mid-altitude cockpit sound levels mentioned above, my search for a headset will go on. The MS200 is, however, a good headset for the price and it had excellent audio quality when the outside noise in my particular airplane wasn’t a factor. My only other issue with it is that it didn’t feel secure on my head.
The Plantronics MS200 is available from the manufacturer and other retailers.
MSRP: $196.00 (prices vary greatly, be sure to shop around)
What I Like: When airplane noise was not a factor, the audio quality was very good.
What Needs improvement: It needs to feel more secure and move around less while being worn.