I’m a “headset snob”. There…it’s out. Guilty as charged. I have used all of the various headsets in the aviation marketplace and I like to use my own headset, and I use the UflyMike Adapter exclusively (https://uflymike.com). Even if a customer has one of the other premium brands already fitted in the right seat, I’ll bring my own UflyMike and use it…and it’s not because I’m a “clean freak” or a hypochondriac. I simply think the noise-cancelling headset is one of the BIG improvements in aviation in my generation and I like to use only the best. Right now, the UflyMike is the best IMO.
As most know, I only write Articles for products or services that I actually like and use. Such is the case with the UflyMike Adapter. I once flew a ferry flight from Africa (in 2013) with a pilot and he had a Bose QC-15 headset with the UflyMike Adapter. I tried it and was hooked. I now own 10 separate sets and use them in whatever airplane I fly, and offer them to the people that ride in the back seats. UflyMike outflanked all of the big names in the headset market by innovation and attractive pricing. They built a better mousetrap.
But…Bose threw a curveball at UflyMike in 2015 by discontinuing the QC-15 headset in favor of the QC-25. The old UflyMike adapter does not work with new QC-25 headset. So, UflyMike had to go back to the drawing board to create the “Harmony Adapter” for the QC-25. And, the transition must have been terrible because it took FOREVER for them to finally bring their new product to the marketplace (it was supposed to come out in Spring 2016 and I just got my headset in January 2017). I’m betting that Bose engineered the QC-25 to be VERY difficult to adapt…certainly the UflyMike adapter hurts the sale of the WAY overpriced Bose A20 headset ($1200+ for one headset). And, Uflymike needed to correct some minor problems/glitches that existed with the QC-15 adapter. It’s taken Ufly Mike WAY too long to get the Harmony to the marketplace, but the wait was worth it. I’ve had the Harmony for about 3 weeks (as of this writing) and have flown about 30+ hours so far (I fly over 1000 hours each year, with 95% of those hours with a UflyMike around my ears).
The Bose QC-25 headset is not a huge step-up from the QC-15. Both are light and comfortable and cancel the noise well. So, the advantages for moving up to the QC-25/Harmony is all about the improvements to the adapter. And, there’s plenty that different with the Harmony Adapter…
- Thinner cord: The Harmony cord is thinner and less bulky. Not a big deal, but noticeable.
- Separate volume controls: The old adapter had a 3-position switch that was acceptable, but not ideal. The Harmony has separate volume for each ear via a rheostat on the box on the cord. Being forthright, the separate volume controls are not important to me, but the fact that there is a volume control is important. I’ve had several instances where the volume control got caught between my leg and the sidewall (for instance) and changed the volume in flight. Not a big deal, but…
- Shorter mic boom, better mic: The mic boom is noticeably shorter, used by placing the mic on the edge of the mouth, not directly in front of the lips. It takes a few minutes to get used to, but I’ve found it better (especially if you want to drink from a bottle, hehe)
- Microphone sensitivity control: This is a neat feature that dovetails nicely with the shorter mic boom. Once in flight the mic gain can be changed to work with the amount of white noise. It’s sort of like adjusting the squelch, but better.
- Aux input: I use the AUX input regularly, and the input is now on the control box (on the cord). I like this installation better than the old version.
- Dead Battery: When the battery ran out of juice in the QC-15 Adapter, the headset stopped working. With the QC-25/Harmony a dead battery simply means the noise cancelling stops. You can still use the headset. This is a MAJOR upgrade IMO.
Why do I like the UflyMike as opposed to other aviation headsets? Here’s my short list:
- Poor competition: The big boys in the market (Bose, Lightspeed, David/Clark) either have a REALLY crappy product (David/Clark), are super expensive (Bose), or have forgotten their modest roots and have a history of poor service (Lightspeed). Any of them could have dominated the marketplace had they provided a great product at a great price with great service, but each chose to leave one of the legs of the 3-legged stool out of the equation.
- Price: You can buy a Bose QC-25 for about $300, and a UflyMike Adapter for about $300. So, an all-in price of $600 gets you a great product.
- Low profile headrest: The top of both the QC-15 and Qc-25 headsets are VERY low profile, and that works great for my 6’4″ frame in a small cockpit. I simply cannot wear a headset that has a big, tall foamy pad on top for I constantly hit the top of the fuselage.
- Small company: Most of the great innovations in any market occur at small to medium sized companies. UflyMike has a neat history and has (so far) not forgotten their roots. They are all about innovation and building a better mousetrap…they have 3 legs on their stool.
- History: I’ve got literally 3000+ hours flying with the UflyMike headsets, and I appreciate the fact that they are robust, durable, and always work.
So…yes…go buy the Bose QC-25 Headset with a UflyMike adapter. I think you’ll REALLY like it!