Bose adds Bluetooth to its A20 headsets

The classic A20 headset has been updated with Bluetooth audio, customisable audio prioritisation, flexible power with auto-on capability (for select headset variants), and a coil cord cable for helicopter pilots.

Through expanded Bluetooth audio and communications capabilities, pilots can now wirelessly stream warnings and advisories from popular aviation apps from their mobile device. Owners can also stream music via the Bluetooth audio function for high quality in-flight music. For devices without Bluetooth functionality, the headset includes a wired auxiliary audio input.

The Bose A20 headset also now includes an updated customisable audio prioritisation feature so pilots have full control of what audio source they hear, and how they want to hear it. There are two prioritisation settings - Mute or Mixed - accessible via the headset’s control module. Pilots can mute an audio signal when an IC/intercommunications signal is detected, or mix in-bound IC/intercommunications signals with the Bluetooth or wired audio signal. In either setting, the aircraft’s ICS signal and a Bluetooth enabled call can be heard together.

An optional coil cord configuration is now available to meet the requirements of helicopter pilots for a shorter cable to be used in the cockpit.

For models that can be powered from the aircraft, a new auto-on feature turns the headset on automatically as soon as the avionics are powered on. It also lets pilots switch seamlessly between aircraft and battery power without compromising headset performance.

The story of Bose headsets began on a flight from Europe to Boston in 1978, when Dr Amar Bose, a professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, had his first experience with electronic headphones. Disappointed, he started a research programme at Bose to develop a headset that would reproduce speech and music with high fidelity and significantly reduce unwanted cabin noise.

In 1989, the first commercially available Bose active noise reduction headset was introduced. Since then, Bose engineers have developed additional products for the military and aviation markets, as well as the US National Football League.

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“Owners tell us about flying with the A20, and hearing from them is the most satisfying part of our 30-plus years in the industry,” says Sean Garrett, Vice President of Consumer Electronics Product Engineering at Bose Corporation. “They let us know that noise in their cockpit fades further away, that their communications can be heard with real detail and definition, and that wearing the A20 is very comfortable. They also asked for more features as they increasingly use electronic flight bags and other wireless technologies in the cockpit, and today we can offer those, too.

“We have millions of owners around the world - private pilots, members of the armed forces, pro teams and people all relying on our headphone technology. We take that very seriously, and we’re out there earning their trust every single day.”