View Full Version : headsets - which one???????

15th Apr 2003, 19:47
Hi there can anybody help me i've decided that its about time i bought a headset my instructor says that david clark ones are generally the best

what do you guys think?

also where would you suggest that i buy one from ????

I cant afford too much i was thinking of less than £300 if poss

cheers for your help


15th Apr 2003, 20:04
Hi Vikki,

David Clark H10-13.4`s are the way to go. Just about bulletproof and will last you years - for under £250.

Well worth your hard earned...available from Transair Pilots Shop.



High Wing Drifter
15th Apr 2003, 20:17
Agreed. I got me a set of 13.4s and they are as tough as old boots. However, the performance when wearing sunglasses is not so good. Even the slightest gap in the gel seal makes it sometimes hard to understand some RT transmissions.

Strangly my Oakley shades with their fat straight arms are better than aviator style glasses with very thin wire arms???

Is this a general problem or is this what ANR headsets were designed for?

15th Apr 2003, 20:34
Hi Vikki

All sound advice so far.

DC is great and very tough to beat. Hardwearing but at a price.

If I deduct (?wrongly) that you are a lady you may consider that they are the only company that do a headset which is smaller which some people find more comfy. (i.e. my wife)

Best bet would be to give a few a go or go to one of the shops (Transair/AFE/RD Aviation) and try which one fits your noddle best.

Keep it on for as long as you can stand being looked at by the other punters.


Circuit Basher
15th Apr 2003, 21:12
Vikki - assuming you're still a stude (as your profile gives no clues) and that you're headed for life as a PPL (not with short term ambitions to be a CPL / instructor), I'd suggest you buy a headset which is OK in the short term, but gives you adequate service while you find what you like / don't like about headsets as a whole.

If you decide then that you wish to go for a David Clark or some such after a few years, then demote the cheap headset to a pax set and lash out loads of dosh on a posh headset for yourself.

One option is a Cheapo £74.86 Headset (http://custom1.farnell.com/cpc/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=CPC+Catalogue&category%5Fname=&product%5Fid=AV0070166), which I've got and used as a spare / pax set for the last 3 years with no problems [honest, not advertising, BRL!!].

An alternative (of which I've also got a set) is Harry Mendelssohn HM40 £85 special (http://www.gps.co.uk/htmfiles/headsets/hm40hset.htm) - again, quite adequate for normal use and not noticably worse in performance than a DC set.

If money is no object, then the set I keep for my own use is a DC H10-40 (which I'm not sure is any longer available). Beware that David Clark sets *appear* to be more prone to incompatibility (dependant upon your avionics fit) with other makes / models. This is because of the microphone impedance, which can be resolved fairly readily by insertion of impedance matching devices. [Hope that keeps the DC lawyers off my back!!] ;)

15th Apr 2003, 21:25
Wear one that is comfortable. They all appear to do the job well enough. DCs are great and everyone seems to use them but if they don't fit your head wearing one for 2+hours can get painfull.

I've used Peltors for 10 years and never had a problem, I find them more comfortable than DCs but maybe thats just me. They also fold up nice and small in your bag and they're cheaper.

I totally agree with circuit basher on the impedance issue with DCs. Strange it only seems to happen with DCs.

15th Apr 2003, 21:28
If you DO decide to go for DC's, my 13.4's were under £200 inc vat. I've sent a PM saying where I bought them so I'm not seen to be advertising.

15th Apr 2003, 22:16
DCs for me too, I've a 13.4 and a couple of 10-40s.

I love the 13.4s but they don't feel quite as sturdy as the 10-40s, having said that...I always grab the 13.4s for myself and make others wear the '40s.

The big thing that made them comfy for me was gel ear seals. I loved them the moment I tried them on...sitting at home putting them on with the TV on marvelling how quiet the world went.

Ok..I need to get out more.:8

15th Apr 2003, 22:21
13.4s for me too, but I agree the 40s are good.

15th Apr 2003, 22:45
DC 13.4! Accept no substitute!

I bought mine 10+ years ago, have never had them serviced, treat them with normal care and they've been 100% reliable.

But £4.50 for a new 'microphone sock' is a bit much!

15th Apr 2003, 23:15
HI Vikki

However, there is a headset that I bought as my first set (currently have a DC 13.4) which I found to be very similar, with respect to both noise and weight (also have gel seals), however, I'm not sure if they are available in the UK. They are significantly cheaper than the DC's (even with postage to the UK), and might be a good option for you.




Capt BK
15th Apr 2003, 23:42
Hi Vikki,

It's purely personal choice so, as FD suggested, its best if you can to get to one of the shops and try a few on.

I personally have never found DC's that compfortable and I ended up opting for a Pilot PA 21-60 but thats just me. (I also felt that the sound was a tad clearer as well. It should also be stated that i've only been flying for a couple of years so it may well fall apart in another couple:{

Whatever you go for, treat it with care and you should get plenty of loyal service from it.:D :D

P.S. I use Pilot Warehouse for most of my supplies but have also had good service from Transair.

16th Apr 2003, 00:50
I don't know if David Clarks are "generally the best", but certainly you will see that more pilots own them than any other brand, which I suppose says something. In general, they are robust, medium-priced, and comfortable for most people (not all; try before you buy).

Personally I like the DC-13.4. I have owned one set for about three years, and last year I bought another for my wife. No problems with either set, and we have both worn them for +5hr flights.

I respect Circuit Basher's opinion, but disagree with the advice that you should buy a cheap headset with the idea of upgrading at some later date. There are few things that will detract from the pleasure of flying more than a headset with poor avionics or a poor fit. This is equally true for passengers, so the idea of passing on the cheap set to your significant other or whomever doesn't make sense to me.

I doubt that you will really know more about your headset preferences after you have X hours flying experience under your belt, so my advice would be to conduct your research now and but the best headset that you can afford. Don't be afraid to borrow or rent different types to that you can actually try them in the airplane for at least 1/2 an hour.

16th Apr 2003, 03:12
I bought my 13.4s a very long time ago, and have been delighted with them. They do suffer from the "impedance mismatch" problem, but a simple mod will fix that.

Mine were recently upgraded to ANR - which made them even more excellent. I would never go back to non-ANR now.

But if you're not sure this flying thing is for the long term, then go for a cheap pair until you've decided what you like and don't like.

Onan the Clumsy
16th Apr 2003, 03:58
No no no no

DCs are all well and good but check out the...

Lightspeed Twenty 3G

ANR with a music input and right on three hundred at current conversion rates. If you're going to be in an a/c for a long time, protect your hearing. Get ANR.

Bottle Fatigue
16th Apr 2003, 05:09
Have to add my support to DC as well.

Something else you might want to consider is the after-sales service. I have to say with DC it is excellent.

After having a fault on my H10-13.4 set (the only one I have heard of by BTW), my headset was repaired under warranty v. quickly with no quibbling.

16th Apr 2003, 05:22
For less than £150, you can buy a Peltor 8006. I can't recommend them enough. Very comfortable, very clear and with good sound insulation. That they compress into a small package is useful as you can get more into your headset bag!

As for impedance problems, my instructor uses a DC headset and we've never experienced any problems with incompatibility (in four different aircraft). I've heard that any problems can also depend on the intercom hardware as much as anything else. It seems to be very much hit-and-miss.

16th Apr 2003, 06:12
Having flown over 50 hours pax time, in lots of various machines, I've tried a fair few headsets, and have to agree, Dave Clarks I think are the best I've tried.

I looked around to buy one six months or so ago, and I wasn't expecting to get a DC for my 100 quid ish budget.

But I put a few "wanted" ads around the web (I recommend www.thehangar.co.uk), and had quite a few offers. If you do the same, I'd recommend not accepting the first offer. I nearly did, but a few weeks later, I got an offer of a Dave Clark 10.80.

This is an older model of the 13.4, and I think it's just as good. It's a bit chunkier, but like people have said, DCs are very robust.

It was definately 100 quid well spent, and it's certainly a lot better than the flying club's Peltors.

The one complaint, is it can be a bit loose, especially for aeros....does anyone know of any way of easily tightening the grip they have on the head?


16th Apr 2003, 07:26
As a frequent business traveller to the USA, and a PPL student, I too am looking for a new headset. Would it be cheaper to purchase one in the USA, or would there be warranty issues etc.
I know that I bought something here for 300 £Sterling, it would be $300 in the USA. Any advice?

16th Apr 2003, 07:38
TKF - I believe that no matter what sort of tightening you do, the headset will still shift from time to time; either that, or it will be incredibly tight and extremely uncomfortable.

You may wish to purchase one of those psuedo flying helmet things, which may people use for aeros to handle the problem that you've identified. I don't know where you would purchase these in the UK, but here are two sources in the USA:


Circuit Basher
16th Apr 2003, 16:06
MLS12D - Honest, I won't turn this into an issue(!), but the only difference noticeable between the DC H10-40 set and the £74.86 set is the fact that the jack plugs are chrome, not gold, plated. If I were to do a blind test of the 2 (comfort and performance), that is the only difference I'd notice (if I opened my eyes!). On several occasions (in an older PA28 with avionics to match ;)), when talking to ATC on my DCs I've had reports of poor readability; changed to the cheap set and got much improved signal reports.

Vikki - you may have gathered by now that headsets are a very personal thing. Make decisions according to what suits your proposed aviating profile. Like a lot of the posts on this thread, I would recommend DCs on basis of performance / comfort, but if budget is a worry, there are perfectly acceptable alternatives which will see you through your first few years of aviating. My personal preference was to buy my DCs when I was in Canada as they were a lot cheaper there, but if I'd have been UK based, then I'd have gone for the cheaper options first. The logic behind using cheaper sets for pax is partly the fact that they get less use, are a bit more prone to getting dropped / lost / trapped in sliding canopies, etc, due to inexperienced handling.

17th Apr 2003, 04:47
And I wonder if everyone would have been as helpful if VIKKI had been called RICHARD instead.............?!:hmm:

I doubt it.

Anyway, my DC's don't seem to be compatible with any other make, I used to own some Flightcom sets which were great. More comfy, more compatible and.............I stupidly threw them into a deal I did when I once sold an a/c.:yuk:

17th Apr 2003, 05:14
Hello CB - If you have found a lower cost headset that essentially duplicates DC, then by all means go for it. I like my DC 13.4s, but I am not blindly loyal and have no special allegiance to the brand. All I was saying is that it is generally a false economy to purchase a 'starter' headset with the idea of upgrading later. And I still think that pilots should be willing to shell out for decent passengers sets; they may only be used infrequently, but if you use el cheapos then your passengers won't enjoy themselves, and then for sure the spare headset(s) will be used even less frequently! It's a vicious circle.

I agree that headsets are very personal. Some people swear by DC/Peltor/Lightspeed/Flightcom/Brand X, and some swear at them. There is no one brand or model that is right for everyone.

P.S. to Monocock: sorry, I don't buy it. Personally I try to be helpful to anyone who poses a question I think I might know the answer to, and I believe everyone else does the same. Gender makes absolutely no difference (I don't know who "Vikki" is, and even if I did, she's on the other side of the Atlantic).

michael penny
17th Apr 2003, 05:50
Hi all ,I got into this one abit late also, I have a soft comm headset that has been around 25 years, granted it is not the most comfortable but it works perfectly. I"m over in Florida at the moment and treated myself to an Avcomm set at $100 very comfortable with a 5 year garentee. If you happen to have 300 pounds to spend on a headset you will get your moneys worth, D C"s are very popular. I know a few pilots who favour Peltor. Shop around, spend time in pilot shops try before you buy. Best of luck.MP

17th Apr 2003, 06:03
I thought about buying them stateside but stopped short of doing this as the price difference then (4/02) was very small.

If Customs think they are a bit to shiney to have been brought from home you have already lost your initial gain.

Same for any warranty work.


17th Apr 2003, 06:46
Steady on MLS12D, don't spin your swede over a tongue in cheek comment!


17th Apr 2003, 17:45
I'm also looking to buy a headset soon. Does anyone have experience with the Avcomm AC-747 PNR? It's £60 cheaper than the DC H10-13.4.

I will certainly be "test wearing" both sets before buying but would appreciate an operational opinion.

Thanks in advance

17th Apr 2003, 22:59
Don't know if it's of any help but I got a pair of DC H20-10 here locally in Southern Ireland for about the equivalent of £290 - I know the guys do international stuff over the web so if you want the contacts send me a PM

....just had a quick check on their web-site and allowing for the euro-sterling conversion they're offering the DC H10-13.4 at £260 and the H20-10 at £280...

Canadian Luscombe
18th Apr 2003, 11:45
Okay Monocock, no worries.:D

18th Apr 2003, 19:37

Over time, a good deal has been written about headsets on this website. I strongly suggest you use the 'search' function and you will get a wealth of information, not only from the 'Private Flying' gang but from the various professional groupings also.

Best regards,


28th Apr 2003, 22:43
Thanks for all your advice guys

i think i will do what a few of you have suggested and shop around a bit and try a few differnt types before i make a decision

cheers vikki

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