If you're wanting audio on your jump a frustrating issue you may face is the matter of achieving clear and loud quality (via headphones or speakers) inside your helmet during freefall. The loud noise and intense conditions both inside the plane and during freefall require a certain volume, clarity, and portability that many audio setups simply won’t provide. In this article we will walk you through some different audio setups that can keep the music or communications flowing while in freefall. The audio setup for you is going to depend on how you spend your time in the sky, so keep that in mind when looking for the right audio gear for you!
What if I want to listen to music while skydiving or parachuting?
Firstly, we'd like to make it clear that when it comes to skydiving with music we realize that there are contrasting opinions on whether it is safe or not. We'd suggest that anyone who wishes to jump with earphones in are aware of potential safety risks. We asked the guys over at outeraudio.com to make some recommendations on what one should look for when buying earphones to jump in.
Ask yourself, what is it I want to hear while skydiving? If it is music, most wireless Bluetooth headphones will work when connected to your music playing device or cell phone. There's a few styles of headphones that can fit in your helmet, but in-ear headphones will typically fit a wider range of helmets. The quality of the earphones will change between both make and model, and taking a look at an audio review website will usually make you more confident in your purchase. Many skydivers complain about the hassle of a headphone wire, and you should know that Bluetooth headphones may encounter connection difficulties under the conditions experienced when jumping, so be aware of that ahead of time and look for products which are reputed for their bluetooth connection quality. You should also be careful if you intend to use AirPods or true wireless headphones that aren’t connected to one another as they will be prone to falling out of your ears! The best way to mitigate this is by using fitness/ergonomic fit earbuds that cling to your ears.
Hearing any audio in general during freefall can be quite difficult. Between the high speeds and loud noise, you will need to either have a high volume or a really well fitting earphone which isolates outside noise well, you may even want to look into a cheap headphone amplifier if you find that you're unable to get the volume that you want from the default setup. We recommend a cheap one because headphone amps can be quite expensive, and the intense conditions you are in while skydiving may lead to you losing your amp or breaking it. If you do opt to use an amplifier, you should consider housing it away from the waist, or anywhere that is likely to have impact from an imperfect landing.
Another option for listening to music in the air while skydiving is motorcycle helmet speakers. These speakers are designed to fit inside most varieties of motorcycle helmets, so they may or may not fit your particular helmet. That being said, these speakers are created with discrete designs so that they can slip tightly inside a typical helmet. In addition to their small and thin shape, these speakers usually come with adhesive and mounting hardware so that the speakers stay snugly attached to your helmet for extended periods of time.
When looking at options, here's a few manufacturers which you can consider:
What about In-Air Communication?
The above example audio set up will work just fine for audible GPS interfacing, I recommend wired earbuds because there is simply less of a chance that your very important audio signal is lost mid-air compared to Bluetooth headphones. Using Bluetooth headphones is still a possibility of course. If you are using a device like a FlySight or another audio GPS system, a headphone amplifier may be your new best friend if you find the signal to be too quiet during noisy conditions. Many skydivers manually attach their headphones to the inside of their helmets for added stability during their descent, this could be a possibility for you as well! And it's pretty easy to create a quick DIY solution.
Canopy Relative Work relies heavily on communication. Audio signals cutting out or becoming disconnected during a jump will make this sport impossible to do because of its heavy reliance on constant communication. CRW will require very high quality in-helmet communication equipment that goes beyond your average pair of headphones and you should consult with an experienced jumper for recommendations regarding this type of communication heavy gear.
What’s the best solution for you?
Depending on your specific needs you will probably choose a different setup for your audio source in the air. Look at your current gear and what you already own and ask yourself, what you will be doing after you successfully bring your audio rig with you up into the sky? In many cases it may be as simple as buying a high quality set of bluetooth earphones that can work with your mobile device. In other cases you may want to do a little DIY work inside of your helmet to set up an audio situation where you have the best possible quality, with the most comfort possible.
Do you use any earphones or speakers inside of your helmet? Whether you're an experienced CRW jumper or just a music fanatic, leave a comment below and let us know what you use inside your helmet.