Sunday, September 2, 2012

Headset Review: David Clark H10-13.4

     I'm really starting to fly more often now that I am close to my first solo flight. Because of this, I thought it was time for me to get my first headset. David Clark is known for their comfortable, quiet, and durable headsets. To go along with it, the buyer gets a great 5 year warranty. So, I decided upon a David Clark H10-13.4 Passive Aviation Headset.

     I ordered the headset from Amazon for $300 and received it through PilotMall. It came to my house in perfect condition, and it seemed to not have taken any damage during shipping.

The box the headset came in(which was inside another, larger box)

  Before going any further, let's look at the features that this headset from David Clark has to offer:

  • Super Soft, Double Foam Head Pad
  • New Comfort gel, undercut ear seals
  • Certified Noise Reduction Rating - 23 dB
  • Reduced headband force
  • Universal Flex Boom for perfect microphone placement
  • Exclusive M-7A, advanced noise-cancelling microphone
  • Low-profile volume control knob with detent settings
  • Molded cord assembly made to exceptional pull and flex standards
  • 5-year Guarantee
  • FAA TSO Approved C57 Cat. B and C58a
  • Exceeds RTCA/DO-214 Standards
  • Weight (without cords): 16.5 oz.
     Obviously, this headset has a lot to offer. It's light, comfortable, quiet, and it definitely has a strong construction to it. When you take it out of the box, you know right away that it was built to last. The metal frame is sturdy, yet provides a very low clamping force on the sides of your head. It is a well known complaint from many pilots that with some headsets, the clamping force can cause a lot of discomfort during long flights. This headset is definitely an exception to that.

The David Clark H10-13.4 itself

     Along with the frame of the headset itself, the cords have a durable feel to them. They are flexible, yet they are thick and give me the feeling that they can take a lot of abuse. As seen in the image above, they are dual plugs that should be compatible with virtually any general aviation airplane out there.

Side of ear cup, featuring volume control knob

     This headset is the Mono version from David Clark. So, it features a single volume control knob on one ear cup. David Clark's Stereo version of this headset, the H10-13S, features a volume control knob on both ear cups. In flight, it is very simple to adjust the volume as needed without having to fiddle with any complicated controls or buttons. 

Top Down view of the headset 

     In the image above, you see the whole headset from a different angle. On top, you see the "Super Soft, Double Foam Head Pad." I can say, it really is comfortable and doesn't get too hot on your head. The gel ear seals can also be seen. I think these are David Clark's secret to creating such a tight seal to reduce noise. Both of these features create a very comfortable experience while flying for long durations. This stands true even if you are wearing glasses. No pilot wants to be distracted with an uncomfortable headset when they are trying to keep focus on the flying itself.
     I guess now you want my personal opinion about this headset. Well, with this being my first headset that I have purchased, I cannot really compare it to anything else. But, I can promise you that David Clark does not lie to you about the quality of their products. They have such a well respected and famous name for a reason. 

Rating Overall

I can only take off a half of a star for one reason. It is not an Active Noise Reduction(ANR) headset. It does not have that quality of noise cancelling. You are definitely going to get a lot out of the money you are paying for this. But, it is only a passive headset.  The David Clark H10-13.4 really is a comfortable and well built headset for the money. But, please remember one thing. This is a passive headset that you are paying for. Do not expect the same noise reduction as a Bose A20 or Lightspeed Zulu.

Overall, I would not hesitate a second to recommend this headset to any General Aviation pilot out there with a budget. For $300, you are getting a lot of headset for a great price. If you are not on a budget or if you fly very often, go for an ANR headset from Bose or Lightspeed.

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