Products & Innovation
The latest ANR headset from David Clark packs a lot into a small package, but still has the potential to be one of the best on the market.
According to headset manufacturer David Clark, they assume full responsibility for the quality and performance of their products. That being the case, the company is responsible for giving general aviation an active noise reduction (ANR) headset that is one of the most comfortable, compact and easy to use on the market.
The DC ONE-X is the perfect meld of technology and simplicity, providing high-performance without getting over-sophisticated all the while maintaining the two characteristics that David Clark has built its reputation on: wearability and durability.
At first grasp with the David Clark DC ONE-X review, the headset seems to be lacking substance: it is small, light and folds up to a size not much larger than the average stereo earphones. The central processing unit (CPU) is also smaller than those generally encountered on A N R headsets.
However, the David Clark DC ONE-X has achieved this level of compactness not by skimping on substance, but by clever design and astute selection of materials.
At a mere 0.318 kg, the new DC comes in under the Lightspeed Zulu 2 at 0.416 kg and easily accounts for their own venerable H10-13.4, which weighs 0,467 kg.
A few grams may not seem much, but the difference will be significant at the end of a four-hour flight.
The ear cups are smaller and the headband is made of a light but rugged metal alloy. There is a certain genius in the ear cup design.
They are attached to a suspension-type system that uses a spring in the pivot to provide clamping force rather than using the properties of the headband metal.
Just below this pivot point on the DC ONE-X headset is a swivel that enables the ear cups to rotate side-to-side, meaning they can adjust to the contours of your head.
Size can be adjusted via a sliding ratchet mechanism in the headband.
DC headset has also resisted angling the ear cups backward to match the shape of the standard human ear, which condemns the mic boom to always be on the left.
This is not a problem with the David Clark DC ONE-X ANR, which means the mic boom can be reversed for right-seat pilots or those that have their jacks on their right instead of their left.
Absent are sweat-collecting rubber ear seals, replaced by leatherette material covering memory foam. This combination is very good with glasses and matches the head contours very well.
They also have a certain plushness about them, and we all could use a touch more "plush" in our lives.
Attached to the base of the headband is the cushion, which is a story in itself made of "Outlast" fabric, it not only keeps your head from contacting the headband, but also acts like a heat exchanger to increase comfort.
Thermocules™ within the cushion absorb and store excess heat, keeping your head cooler and reducing sweat build-up. When conditions change, the heat is released back into you head, which means your head is warmed in winter and cooled in summer.
Of course comfort with any aircraft headset is important, but the real reason you are considering an ANR headset is because you want greater clarity of communication and less of a roar in your ears. A DC ONE-X unit from David Clark will certainly deliver you that!
The ANR is a hybrid system delivered via an internal mic and an external mic, so noise is collected from both locations and counter-noise generated to cancel it out. The result is radio and intercom traffic that is clear as a mountain stream; as good as any you will find in any comparative headsets.
Connected in mid-cord is the CPU. There has been a trend of late towards larger CPUs on ANR headsets, but staying with the ethos of light and compact, the DC ONE-X unit is in no way bulky. The buttons on the fascia are large and easy to use, and there are only four of them: power, volume left, volume right and Bluetooth.
This David Clark headset links to phones and other devices for input, which is muted when radio traffic comes in if desired. The CPU can also go into "dark mode", which is the ability to shut down the LED lights at night so they don't interfere with your night vision.
"we all could use a touch more 'plush' in our lives"
The CPU runs on two AAs, which the manufacturer says should give you 50 hours constant use. But the DC ONE-X is not perfect, and the fault within this design lies in fixing the CPU. David Clark gives you a clip and bracket for the CPU for attaching to things such as a seatbelt, pants belt or slid over a document pocket. That clip is plastic, which might not display the ruggedness of the rest of the headset.
The other problem is the cord length between the plug and the CPU: it's just too short. We trialled the DC ONE-X in a Piper Warrior, and could secure the CPU only by sliding the clip between the window sill and the upholstery. Due to the cord length, the clip couldn't reach the seat belt or anywhere else.
But all up, the DC ONE-X fulfils many of the criteria on a pilot's wish-list for a good headset that gives excellent performance in clarity, comfort, durability and functionality.
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