*PRODUCT REVIEW* Heil Quiet Phones


For radio operators who appreciate crisp, clear audio RX, noise cancelling products have arguably been the greatest gift ever to the hobby.

imagesNow that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but those radio enthusiasts fortunate enough to have experienced their well publicised benefits will tell you that the often excessive price tags are undoubtedly worth every cent!

Not only does this type of useful technology make QSO’s with weak stations possible by eliminating harsh background noise and enabling you to pull out low signals, but it also makes the hobby much more pleasurable because of it.

4595Just as it’s helpful to use a good quality speaker system in the shack, it’s also important to own a pair of good headphones – particularly if you operate in a home QTH with excessive kid or XYL background noise like I do or enjoy the occasional DXpedition or field day adventure on the side.

Enter Heil’s Quiet Phone, marketed as an active noise cancelling headset, and, providing you can forgive some of the design faults noted by a few overseas hams, you’ve got yourself a winner.


images (1)With all the hoo-ha of Asian fishing boats and fizzing band harmonics, working on HF can often be an extremely frustrating experience. 

As all 11m DXers will testify, added noise from computers, fridges, air conditioners, televisions, Foxtel TV top boxes, passing trucks, fans and even fluorescent lights, can buzz right through ordinary headphones, interfering with the pleasure of a fulfilling DX experience – not to mention giving you one whopper of a headache.

Lucky I was then to have picked up a pair of Heil Quiet Phones a short time ago, direct from Heil Sound Ltd in the States, to see if they were in fact as useful as I had heard.

Like the product statement claims, the Heil Quiet Phones do cancel out annoying ambient noise, leaving clear, high quality audio. 

“How’s this achieved?” you might ask. “Is it just a gimmick?”

For the tech heads, this unique technology uses two small mics placed deep inside the headset that listen to the outside as well as the radio noise. 

On the left earpiece, there’s a slide switch to turn the noise cancellation ‘ON’ or ‘OFF’ while a green LED above the switch indicates that it’s ‘ON’.

Conveniently, a switch on the left earpiece allows you to operate with ‘noise cancel’ or ‘no cancelling’. 

Be prepared to be bowled over, however, when you flip the switch to the cancel feature as it gives a totally different perspective to typical headphone listening. 

So much in fact that I never realised how much background noise I was settling for in the past through use of standard headphones.


Retailing for about $150AUS, Heil’s Quiet Phones operate on a single AA cell battery for about 30 hours, providing high fidelity and dual channel sound-with or without the active noise cancellation.

255a5b8947ad7f289949ef9565d4691dUnlike some popular headphone models on the modern day market, they’re lightweight and fairly comfortable to wear and fit easily into an optional leatherette carrying bag which is recommended too if you intend on keeping the gear in good nick and flogging it off at a later time on eBay when the MKII version hits the shelves! 

The adjustable headband, too, makes it basically one size fits all.

On the negative side, the padded ear covers, in my opinion, aren’t angled well to cover all of your ears and this can be a real problem if you’ve got Dumbo ears like my mate 43DA124 John

Like most users, I’d prefer that they were designed to fully enclose the ear rather than sit on top, but that’s a matter of personal preference and doesn’t detract from their performance at all.

HEILsound-PRO-SET quiet phone

Heil ad (2)As I said before, I’ve only owned the Heil Quiet Phones for only a short time and am yet to experience any problems with them.  But even though I’m no synthetic materials expert, the plastic used appears to be pretty fragile. 

A mate of mine who purchased the headphones about 12 months ago is not a big fan of the headset’s structural soundness either. 

As pedantic as he is with his radio equipment, the plastic headband has now cracked open in a couple of places where the metal headband strap fits into the right headphone body, and then again at the swivel joint of the headphone.

One way of overcoming this issue would be to transplant the electric components of this headphone into a more robust headset – something I would certainly consider if I encountered the same problems. 

Then again, like all Heil products, the Quiet Phones come with a warrantee and friendly follow up service so I’d probably ask for a refund!


351ENVxTIn summary, Heil’s Quiet Phones are very successful in reducing the low-frequency ambient noise presented to the ear. 

This reduces computer, power supply and fan noise and other sounds from the transceiver, plus incidental noise outside the shack, making RX on HF in particular much more satisfying.

If you’re looking for a pair of headphones to make your DXing easier or wanting to upgrade your current model, and the noise cancelling characteristics of the Heil Quiet Phones interest you, then I can recommend this product as one worth trying.


  • Frequency Range 20 – 20,000 Hz
  • Nominal Input 40 mW
  • Active cancellation 50 – 1200Hz
  • Active Cancellation peak – 20 dB at 150 Hz – 400 Hz
  • Weight 128 grams
  • Power one AA 1.5 battery
  • Battery life 50 hours nominal

For more information on the Heil Quiet Phones, visit https://heilsound.com .

73 de Darren