Introducing the Bose A30 Headset: A Comprehensive Review

by Alex Chang

In recent years, Bose has unveiled its latest headset model, the Bose A30. As an aviation enthusiast and AOPA pilot, I have had the opportunity to take a closer look at this innovative headset and assess its features and performance. Although the A30 may appear similar to its predecessor, the A20, it is essential to note that these two headsets are entirely different. Join me as we delve into the capabilities and advantages of the Bose A30 headset.

Design and Comfort

At first glance, the Bose A30 appears to be approximately the same weight as the A20. However, when you wear it, you immediately notice a significant difference in clamping pressure. The A30 exerts about half the clamping pressure of the A20, providing a more comfortable and lighter feel. During short flights, you might not notice a substantial difference between the two models, but it is during longer trips that the enhanced physical comfort and audio clarity of the A30 become truly noticeable.

Introducing the Bose A30 Headset: A Comprehensive Review

Extended Battery Life

One standout feature of the Bose A30 is its impressive battery life. With a battery pack that lasts for 45 hours on two AA batteries, the A30 surpasses any other aviation headset in terms of longevity. This extended battery life is especially advantageous for pilots embarking on long flights or multi-day trips, as it eliminates the need for frequent battery changes or the reliance on additional power sources.

Performance and Noise Cancellation

To thoroughly test the capabilities of the Bose A30, I used it during several flights, which served as ideal “torture tests” for this new product. My first flight was a cross-country trip in an extra aircraft, and I quickly observed the exceptional noise cancellation offered by the A30. However, I initially thought that the headset was not functioning correctly because I could hear excessive background noise. It was only after discovering the switch to adjust the active noise reduction (ANR) level that I realized the impressive control it provided. By simply increasing the ANR level, the background noise diminished, allowing me to enjoy a comfortable and quiet flight.

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For piston pilots, having maximum noise cancellation is essential, and the A30 delivers exceptional clarity in audio transmission. The microphone is also clear and enables precise communication with air traffic control (ATC) and passengers. However, it is important to note that achieving a perfect seal around the ears is crucial for optimal performance. Any disruption, such as wearing sunglasses, can compromise the ANR effectiveness and result in a sudden increase in ambient noise.

Introducing the Bose A30 Headset: A Comprehensive Review

Enhanced Audio Experience

In addition to its outstanding noise cancellation, the Bose A30 offers an exceptional audio experience. I connected the headset to XM radio in the aircraft and also tested its compatibility with my iPhone for music playback. The sound clarity was remarkable, and I even felt as though I had renowned musician Bonnie Wright sitting next to me. The A30 boasts a mixing feature that allows users to choose between uninterrupted music or a combination of music and ATC communications.

Pricing and Market Position

Undeniably, the price of the Bose A30 headset falls within the premium range. Priced at $1,250, it is approximately $50 more expensive than its predecessor, the A20. However, considering the advanced features and capabilities it offers, the A30 is positioned as a top-tier headset in the general aviation market. Additionally, the A30 is TSO’d (Technical Standard Order) for use in commercial operations, meaning it can be used by part 135 operators and airlines.

Introducing the Bose A30 Headset: A Comprehensive Review


The Bose A30 headset represents a significant leap forward in aviation headset technology. With its enhanced comfort, extended battery life, exceptional noise cancellation, and superior audio quality, the A30 offers a premium experience for pilots. While its price may be a factor for some, the A30’s outstanding features and performance make it a compelling option for aviation professionals and enthusiasts alike.

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FeatureBose A30Bose A20
Design & Comfort– Similar weight to A20- Half the clamping pressure of A20– Potentially more clamping pressure
Battery Life– 45 hours on two AA batteries– Not specified in the review
Noise Cancellation– Adjustable ANR levels- Exceptional noise cancellation– Not specified, but implied to be less effective
Audio Clarity & Experience– Exceptional audio clarity- Compatible with various audio sources- Mixing feature for music & communication– Not specified in the review
Microphone Quality– Clear and precise communication– Not specified in the review
Pricing– $1,250– Approximately $1,200
Market Position– Premium range- TSO’d for commercial use– Premium, but potentially lower tier
Use-case Suitability– Suitable for both short and long flights- Applicable for commercial operations– Possibly more suited for shorter flights
Introducing the Bose A30 Headset: A Comprehensive Review

Last Updated on November 14, 2023

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