Lightspeed Zulu vs. Bose X

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I am considering investing in one of them.....any opionions or
reviews comparing the two would be appreciated.

-- Vivek Kini, June 16, 2008


I have been trying the Zulu lately. It is much quieter and feels more solid than the Bose. I don't find it as comfortable to wear, though. I don't consider the Bose quiet enough for most piston airplanes. It would be a nice headset for a jet, though.

-- Philip Greenspun, June 17, 2008

I wish I knew about the Zulu. I've used older Lightspeed headsets as well as Sennheiser and David Clark. My old Lightspeed was great (comfortable and light) except that it was large and looked a bit silly, it did work very well.

We have the Bose X in our King Airs and Pilatus. I personally don't care for the Bose. I'm not sure it was designed to effectively reduce the noise from turbines--just my take. The headset is very uncomfortable after about an hour. It's not related to clamping pressure, but rather lack of padding on top. I'm bald, so I don't have a lot of natural padding there myself. Also, I don't think the Bose really lives up to the hype when it comes to noise cancelling. I've had better luck with my David Clark (however, that headset weighs in at just under a ton!!).

-- Jason Hackney, June 16, 2008

I have a Zulu headset and my co-pilot a Bose X. Swapping them over in flight I found the following. a) The Zulu is at least as good as the Bose with the ANR switched on, and possibly better. b) The lighter clamping pressure of the Bose is better but doesn't justify the extra cost. c) The bluetooth connectivity of the Zulu works great with my Nokia phone but doesn't seem compatible with various Sony Ericsson phones I have tried. (Bose hasn't got this very useful feature) The noise in the plane is generated by a Rotax 912, other engines may give differing results

-- Phil Morton, July 3, 2008

My partner has the Bose X, and I bought the Clarity Aloft. We have a DA40 and given the Texas heat, I did not want to wear ear muffs. Recently, I wore the Bose X headset and found it to be far less comfortable and more susceptible to wind noise than my Clarity Aloft headset. I may have had a bad seal. In any event, I landed half way thru the flight and switched back to CA head set. It was amazing to me how much quieter it was than the Bose. You have to be comfortable with foam fully inside the ear. If that would not bother you, I would definitely test the Clarity Aloft. It is more robust than it looks, and it is passive so there is no annoying feedback.

-- Scott Zodin, July 4, 2008

Here's my personal comparison experience, as well as a link to the best comparative review I could find on the web.

-- Jake Sibley, July 13, 2008

I test-flew with the Bose X yesterday in my Beech Debonair. The Bose thought the audio from my GDL-69A XM Radio was noise and canceled it. I went back to my David Clarks.

-- Don Shade, July 19, 2008

The Bose are made in the USA the Zulu are made in China. That said, I think the Zulu is a very good headset but are way overpriced being made in China.

-- john jones, August 8, 2008

I used the david clark 10.13X ANR on light piston aircarft during 5 years, 6 hrs a day with perfect results. Then I swapped on B737 and invested in sennheiser HMEC25 KA also ANR. very good quality and sound. I tried the Clark in the Boeing-better in noise cancelling but finally a bit to heavy after 7 flight hrs per day.. Would some jet pilots be so kind to give me results of their tests?? is it worth to invest once again (Already 1 Clark 800 euros + sennheiser 650 euros..!!)Is there any other model above these ? espesially on a jet (because less sound noise) ?? In advance, thanks to all. Ron/B737 pilot.

-- ronald conraud, August 19, 2008

I have the Zulu and the Bose. I like my Bose but Zulu wins hands down. Whereas, both have good noise reduction, Zulu is noticeably better in blocking out the noise. The Zulu has the bluetooth that syncs with the cel phone. Bose doesn't. Very handy when making a call from the ground or low altitudes, as you don't have to cram the cel phone between the headset and your ear. Sound quality when listening to iPhone music is much better, too. The music mute button is handy and can be pressed before transmitting.

Bluetooth is handy because you can hear your cel phone in your headset and talk on your cel phone into the headset's microphone. Your cel phone is nearby but there aren't any wires connect the two.

I think these "how to" instructions are clearer than the manual - To set up your cel phone for bluetooth pairing mode, be sure bluetooth is off on the headset (blue light not flashing). Set up your cel phone for bluetooth pairing mode (if you don't know how, ask a teenager), hold down the bluetooth button on the headset for a long time until it flashes red and blue. Then enter in the bluetooth sync code 0000 in your cel phone when you are prompted. You have to turn on the headset AND the bluetooth each time you use the headset in order for bluetooth to work. To answer the cel phone you simply push the same button on the cel phone that you would push to answer it regularly, but you'll be able to hear and communicate through your headset. By the way, I have nothing to do with either company, just attempting to give a helpful opinion.

-- Kevin Wessell, September 6, 2008

hello again, finally I tried, and the Zulu and the Bose on the boeing, then I decided for the Bose. Since then, I am still amazed what kind of result I can have with it. Absolutely amazing in Noise cancellation and life duration of the 2 small batteries (one full month 16 flights against 3 flights for the Sennheiser with same battery..)but on top of that is the comfort..Definitely designed for jet.I never tried on light. bye.

-- ronald conraud, March 1, 2009

Follow up: I tried the Zulu yesterday in the King Air. I was impressed. Regarding performance, it's one-for-one with the Bose. It clearly reduces/cancels different frequencies than the Bose and I felt it was essentially on par with the Bose with regard to canceling the prop noise. While it sounded slightly different, it didn't seem any louder or softer. I didn't wring out the Bluetooth or the music features, but I'm told it works well and I could care less about the music. What I am most interested in is the Bluetooth. I need to call for clearances many places I go. Regarding comfort, the earcups on the Zulu are slightly larger and seal better than the Bose. I wear bayonet-style sunglasses and the Bose just never seals well while the Zulu worked exceptionally well. In fact, it worked better than any of the previous over-the-ear headsets I've owned. Also, clamping pressure was mentioned by an earlier post. The Zulu does seem to have more clamping pressure, but I felt it was much more evenly distributed than the Bose. With the Bose I get a 'hot-spot' on the very top of my head and had no such trouble with the Zulu.

-- Jason Hackney, April 23, 2009

I've tried both the Lightspeed Zulu and the Bose X. Personally, I've found both to be on par with each other. I don't think you can make a wrong choice when choosing one or the other.

After testing both for over a month, I ended up purchasing the Bose.

Reason: I personally found the Bose to be more comfortable than the Zulu after a long day of flying. Comfort is way more important than listening to music in the cockpit (which I don't believe is necessary in the cockpit) and bluetooth (I already have an adapter for my headset already).

As far as cost was concerned: Bose offered 12 monthly payments, when I called Zulu, they had no such offer. Therefore, it was very economical and I didn't have to drop alot of money at once.

Last, Bose was made in the USA....enough said.

Hope this helps anyone that is interested. I know I did lots of internet research prior to buying, but I recommend just flying with them first!

-- Rowan Bean, September 6, 2009

Bought a Bose and dropped it on the ground as I was climbing in the plane (DA 42) for my practical IFR test. The plastic broke in two and it won't stick together again with super-glue. Tried to contact Bose Switzerland (where I live) but can't get any answer on how or where I could get it fixed. If anyone has an idea.... I am visiting the US every other month and could take it there.

-- elie vannier, November 1, 2009

After 1 year and 800 hrs, I broke my X (left plastic yoke)The only place for maintenance in europe is in Belgium(asp-avionics at GENK).They are perfect on all aspects: fast, clean, full of respect.They replaced both pieces and head cushion and ear cushions for free (normally not under warranty).delivery, repairing and delivery back took only a few days.A great service that we all like.congratulations to them.Ronald.

-- ronald conraud, November 17, 2009

Plus one for the Zulu - I've had both and the Zulu wins all categories. I had the bluetooth module fail on me and LightSPEED was very responsive. Easy to get someone on the telephone for a service request. I believe they are a small operation only making aviation headsets, rather than a giant consumer electronics company like Bose.

-- Jake Stroud, March 24, 2010

Buy the Bose if you think spending too much money on junk will impress your chick. I contacted BOSE to purchase a small plastic swivel (non electronic) for my $1,000 dollar aviation X headset. The part looks like it would cost $2.00 to produce but it wouldn't have surprised me if they wanted $20 for it (which I was willing to pay). To my astonishment they would neither sell the part or repair it. Apparently the only option is a full priced "refurbishment" of the headset. Some over officious suit started telling me it was a not as easy as it looked and that I couldn't repair it myself. He then went on to claim that because the product is TSO'd it cannot be repaired by anyone but the manufacturer. Amazingly that isn't true in the rest of the aviation community. Even if that was true I wasn't prepared for their solution. They demanded a one time "flat fee" of $175.00 to "refurbish" the headset. Their canned description includes a litany of sugar coated (unnecessary) services apparently hoping to baffle the listener with BS. The whole story was predictably transparent and completely offensive. After spending $1,000 on a headset I think it is a reckless act of greed to gouge customers another $175 for a $20 part. As a gesture of cooperation they should have either sent me a new one or at least offered to replace it at reasonable cost. I didn't need or want a bunch of vapor-services, I just needed the plastic swivel replaced. Hey BOSE, let's call it what it is... a complete gouge and rip-off. Needless to say I will not buy Bose products again.

-- dave kirsten, November 22, 2010

As to the last response regarding poor Bose X repair service, I had the opposite experience. I have been instructing several hours a day for several years and use the Bose X headset daily. It has performed flawlessly. But it started to develop some weird feedback in my ears in certain situations. I called Bose and they said, it's under warrantee so send it in. I said, how much? They said, if you get it to us, we will do the rest and it's free. (Now this headset has seen its share of abuse over the years and I did not expect such an eager response from Bose so close to the end of its 5 year warrantee period) Anyway, I was very surprised when the headset came back. Not only did it work like new, but the wires, the ear and head cushions, in addition to several internal componets were listed as replaced on the invoice. I have also had a warantee issue with a Zulu but it was a newly purchased headset which Lightspeed just replaced. So both companies are good, but I have never had an experience like the one I had at Bose. Bose took my crusty old Bose X headset and basically rebuilt it, nearly 5 years in. Getting a like new headset after all the jostling, bumping and sweating has made it worth the steep price. Perhaps an argument for buying new, as I don't know if the warrantee applies if you are not the original purchaser. macd

-- john macdonald, November 27, 2010


I tried a friend�s panel-powered Zulu headset and was able to connect both headsets at the same time to one celular phone to listen to a music.

So I bought myself a Zulu headset , but the battery powered one and was not able to connect both headsets to listen the same music from the same cell, with mine headsets I can only connect one at a time to music or the other one to place calls.

Anyone knows if am I doing something wrong or it is really a limitation of the battery-powered version? I asked Lightspeed Company about that and still had no replies�.

Thanks in advance

-- Alexandre Santos, November 17, 2011