Headsets Inc. ANR Upgrade Kit
Product Review

Scott Plischke
Sonerai IIL N994SP


After the third flight of my Sonerai IIL, it was apparent that I had a problem. The engine and wind noise in the cockpit made it difficult to impossible to hear air-to-air CTAF radio traffic on my David Clark H10-13.4 headset. I needed to find a solution to this problem and one which would not require much money or modification to the aircraft. An ANR (Active Noise Reduction) headset was the obvious solution but I just sank a good chunk of change on the H10-13.4 and I didn't want to spend several hundred dollars on another headset. I decided instead to upgrade my H10-13.4 to ANR stature using Headsets Inc. ANR upgrade kit. Fortunately for me Headsets Inc. is located in my hometown of Amarillo, Texas. After educating myself on the Headsets Inc website, I made the short drive to their office to purchase the upgrade kit and the optional 9 volt auto-shutoff battery holder.



ANR Kit

The Headset Inc ANR upgrade kit contained all parts necessary for the conversion. It even included a few inches of solder! A pencil tip soldering iron, wire cutters and screwdriver were the only tools needed to successfully perform the upgrade.

 


Ear Seals RemovedThe first step of the upgrade is to remove the gel ear seals. These simply slide off the ear cups.

Remove FoamNext, remove the donut shaped foam from the inside of the ear cups. These foam pieces will not be reused. Removal of the foam will expose the original speakers.

Remove SpeakerRemove the screws that anchor the speakers to the ear cups. Lift the speakers from the cups. Note the colors of the two wires that go to the speakers. On the H10-13.4, the green wires are the audio (+) and the black are the audio (-) and common ground.

Remove Speaker WiresRemove the wires from the speakers by unscrewing the terminals and pulling the pins out. The speakers are not used in the ANR upgrade and can be discarded.

Disassembled HeadsetAll parts removed from the headset. Only the gel ear seals and inner foam pieces will be reused.

Power Supply HoleA 1/4 inch hole must be drilled in the left ear cup for the ANR module power supply cable. A rubber grommet is supplied in the kit and is fitted into the hole prior to slipping the cable through. You can avoid drilling this hole by purchasing the optional $19 AMP cable from Headsets Inc. This cable combines the audio/mic cable with the ANR power supply and makes for a tidy installation. If you're on a budget like I am, a 1/4 inch hole and a few tie wraps are acceptable.

WiringNext comes the wiring. First remove the original cross-over audio cable that runs from the left cup to the right. This is replaced with a new crossover cable supplied in the kit. Second, splice the common ground and audio (-) wires inside the left cup. Third, splice the audio (+) wires. When done, three wires will extend from each cup; the audio (-), audio (+) and positive power. The installation manual has a simple to follow wiring diagram.


New Foam InstalledBefore soldering the three wires to the ANR module, insert the original foam pieces that were located under the speakers back into the cups. Do not reuse the original foam donuts. Instead, use the pink temper-foam supplied in the kit. After the foam is inserted, solder the three wires to the lugs on the ANR module.

ANR Modules InstalledAfter soldering the three wires to each ANR module, insert the modules into the cups. Double-sided tape supplied with the kit is used to hold the modules to the cups.

Felt-like PadsInstall the original gel ear seals onto the cups then insert the felt-like pads that are supplied in the kit. These pads are necessary to prevent feedback. I left them off for testing and when the power was turned on, I was greeted not by the anticipated silence but rather by a deafening squeal. Ouch!


The installation took about two hours to complete and was not at all difficult. I was anxious to see how my new ANR headset performed so I took it to the garage, started the lawnmower and turned on the ANR power. The results were impressive! The sound of the mower was reduced to a quiet rumble. I can't say scientifically what the noise reduction was but it was a lot. Interestingly, the ANR dramatically reduced the mower noise but minimally reduced human voice sounds. I could hear a person over the noise of the lawnmower better with the ANR turned on than off. Of course the true test of my new ANR headset will be in the noisy cockpit on my next flight.