Lightspeed Introduces Zulu, The World’s Quietest A NR Headset

Lake Oswego — The new Zulu headset from Lightspeed A viation hasn’t just surpassed previous models in a few features. It’s entirely leapfrogged them. Zulu is by far the quietest, lightest, and most comfortable headset the company has ever made. In addition, it incorporates advanced audiophile technology that has never before been available on any type of headset or headphone. In addition, Zulu has Bluetooth compatibility for cordless cell phone access. Zulu is the first premium priced headset from Lightspeed and will be the basis for a whole new line of products. One of the first clues that Zulu is different is the size of the ear cups. They’re shallow. E arlier Lightspeed headsets achieved optimal A NR performance with earcups that had a distinctively prominent profile. W ith Zulu, company engineers figured out a way to give the headset much better passive performance while making the ear cup significantly smaller.

They accomplished this by using magnesium in combination with specially tuned plastics. W hen it comes to reflecting airborne acoustic waves, magnesium reflects 10 times more sound than traditional plastic cups while being both stronger and lighter. But by itself, magnesium resonates sound. S o Lightspeed engineers created a design that uses both the sound reflecting properties of magnesium and the damping properties of plastics to provide an optimally quiet experience.

The sturdy Zulu weighs just over 13 ounces, not counting the cord and battery case. Inside the headband is a core of thin, flexible spring steel, which gives an excellent fit with 40% lower side pressure than Lightspeed’s 3G series headsets. Luxurious, soft leather surrounds extra wide earseals made from temperature sensitive foam. Calibrated magnesium sliders adjust ergonomically to the wearer’s exact head size with uniform pressure. The vented headpad evenly distributes the weight of the headset and can be removed. A ll wiring is fully concealed, using patented design features, and the headset folds flat for easy storage.

“Our engineers didn’t set out to make a headset that was just measurably quieter,” says Mark S hepard, Lightspeed vice president of Marketing. “They set out to make a headset that is noticeably quieter. They want people to put them on and say ‘Wow.’” Lightspeed engineers analyzed how engine noise at different frequencies is experienced by the ear. Then they worked on cutting the most sound at the amplitudes that are perceived as the noisiest. They discovered that a 3dB cut at one frequency can make a bigger difference than a 10dB reduction at another. A s a result, Zulu is really is noticeably quieter than any other model available for comparison.

The Zulu is so quiet, it’s actually possible to appreciate high end audio performance. Typical aircraft headset designs allow distortion around 1%. Zulu’s distortion is one tenth this amount. To achieve this, Lightspeed used audiophile components throughout, including gold contacts for all wire connections and high grade audio quality film capacitors. They also developed special Noise G ating Technology (NGT) to eliminate intercom noise. The headset has two independent auxiliary inputs, both capable of cell phone and stereo connectivity. One is wired and the other is Bluetooth compatible, allowing the user to listen wirelessly to music or talk on a cell phone. The switchover from music source to phone is seamless, with an incoming call automatically getting priority.

Human ears hearing music through headphones perceive it differently from music played over speakers. Because the right and left channels on headphones are totally isolated from each other, the brain is not able to create a true a 3D sound image. Lightspeed engineers solved this problem by electronically duplicating the sounds the left ear would hear from the right speaker and vice versa. A s a result, someone listening to a commercial recording on the Zulu headset has the experience of being in the optimal listening position. Lightspeed aptly calls this new technology Front Row Center (FRC).

The Zulu FRC processor closely matches the shadowing effect of the head for the „crossfeed‰ signal to either ear. The signal is both amplitude and delay corrected to compensate for the increased distance the sound would travel.

The Zulu headset marks a new direction for Lightspeed. The innovations discovered (and in many cases patented) while developing this headset will be incorporated in future models.

Lightspeed A NR headsets have been the number one seller in the country since their introduction in 1996. Founded by a group of former Tektronix engineering, manufacturing, and marketing people, the company’s mission was to provide the best performing, most comfortable, and best consumer value in the aviation headset market. The result has been a line of products that has dominated A NR headset sales at major dealer outlets ever since.

Zulu Headset Factsheet

Headset name: Taken from “Zulu time,” the pilot term for Greenwich Mean Time.

Noise reduction: The best combination of Active and Passive in the market.

Materials: Made from metal and composite plastics. Magnesium Ear cups are half the thickness of typical plastic cups yet provide a better rigid barrier for attenuation. Ear cups have heat sensitive foam covered in soft leather.

Headband: Removable, vented headpad for comfortable weight distribution. Thin, flexible, formable spring steel band design produces 40% lower side pressure on ear cups than on the 3G series. Calibrated magnesium sliders adjust ergonomically to accommodate larger heads with uniform pressure.

Weight: 13.9 ounces.

Batteries: Requires 2 A batteries. Estimated to last 40 hrs.

Storage: Headset folds up when not in use.

Bluetooth compatible: W ireless phone and music interface with controls is embedded into the battery box.

Comm. Priority Mute: Circuitry gives priority to incoming radio calls, automatically muting the aux music source.

Audio System: Full wireless stereo interface with patented Front Row Center (FRC) audio circuitry. One wireless audio input and one wired.

The Zulu FRC solves the problem of left/right channel isolation on stereo headphones. The processor closely matches the shadowing affect of the head for the „crossfeed‰ signal to the left (orright) ear. The signal is both amplitude and
delay corrected to compensate for the increased distance the sound would travel. The results are extremely pleasing and akin to switching from mono to stereo.


Source: Lightspeed
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