The new S1 Digital general aviation headset from Sennheiser not only features groundbreaking technology but also comes in a visionary design. To make it very special, the audio specialist sought the help of the design professionals from DesignworksUSA, a subsidiary of the BMW Group that has many years of experience in the aviation sector.
A pilot’s headset needs to combine high functionality with a well-thought-out design, as it is a key contributor to the safety of the pilot and passengers. “Safety, excellent speech intelligibility and comfort for fatigue-free listening are our top priorities,” explained Jörg Buchberger, Business Segment Manager Aviation. “We had a lot of completely new ideas for the headset which we wanted to implement together with an experienced partner. We found the perfect one in BMW Group DesignworksUSA.” The company specializes in design consulting for premium products in the transport and mobility sectors. Its President, Laurenz Schaffer, added: “Our design consulting projects range from commercial airlines to business jets. We are designing entire cabin solutions as well as cockpits and equipment.”
The design of the S1 Digital ensures an optimum fit and a high level of comfort. For example, the pilot can regulate the contact pressure of the ear cushions via a small sliding control on the headband to find the optimum balance between comfort and a “tight” fit. Another new feature is the glasses zone on the ear pads: the cushions are particularly soft around the area of the temple arms of (sun) glasses. “That is not only a comfort feature,” explained Jörg Buchberger. “This zone enables the headset to keep ambient noise out even better. Noise attenuation is excellent.”
In addition to the replaceable ear cushions, there are also two soft pads for the headband that avoid contact for the more sensitive central part of the head. The headband itself has an inner metal band made of spring steel that ensures a constantly good fit on different head shapes and works with a lower contact pressure than many other headsets. The special ear cup shape and the inclined axis of the headset further improve passive noise attenuation.
BMW Group DesignworksUSA also paid particular attention to the headset’s control unit. It is very easy to handle and its high-contrast lettering and LEDs make it ideally equipped for night flights. There are controls for the volume (separate for each ear), NoiseGard on/off, mono/stereo operation, muting on/off and all Bluetooth transmission functions. The Bluetooth-equipped phone or music player can simply be left in a pocket. The unit offers wireless connection to mobile phones and an audio source. It also has two AA batteries to power the electronics of the fully adaptive NoiseGard™ / digital noise cancellation system, which can also alternatively be powered by the on-board power network.
Compelling aesthetics was maintained alongside all of this functionality and performance. The ear cups are reminiscent of the sweep of a wing, while the shapes and materials underline the sturdiness and technical quality of the headset. Laurenz Schaffer: “We have created a powerful, dynamic design that emphasizes performance, reliability and technical innovation of this headset.”