Headset Dilemma (Sennheiser Vs David Clark)

Normally if you asked me about headsets, I’d tell you go directly to Sennheiser, when it comes to closed monitoring of sound, they’re the best.   Use a pair of HD-25’s and any definition you had of a good set of headphones for monitoring sound (particularly with VERY HIGH background noise) will be shattered.

If you look at commercial aviation (airliners), you can see much of the HD-25 in Sennheisers’ range of commercial aviation headsets (e.g. HMEC 26).

When it comes to General Aviation, I’ll admit to being a bit shocked.   At the General Aviation level, David Clark is pretty much the standard.

I’ve worn them, I’ve looked at their technical details  and generally done what I guess a lot of first time aviation headset buying people will go through:  Spending a lot of time trying to work out which way to go.

As you’d expect online lots of people have very polar views on who is best and why….but it’s vaguely fair to say the H10-13.4 or H10-60 are the Passive favourites of the David Clark camp.   For Sennheiser it’s the HME 110.

The HME 110 is the same as the 100, the difference is simply:  Black caps, softer pads and the head cushion has been made softer – so technically the same thing, but for the black caps alone I’m ignoring the HME 100’s.

David Clark:  The Pro’s.

  1. Largely the Industry Standard
  2. More compact design relative to the HME 110, with emphasis on the radius of the microphone arm is on & the size of the mic. wind screen
  3. A military product look of robustness.

…and to be honest, then I start to struggle.

Sennheiser: The Pro’s

  1. Arguably slightly better Noise Reduction Rating 24dB [David Clarks: 22-23dB]
  2. Much better headphone frequency response range (45 – 15,000Hz) [David Clarks typical response range of 200-5,500Hz]
  3. Better Microphone response range (200-5,500Hz) [David Clarks (H10-13.4) is 300Hz–3.5KHz]
  4. Lower Weight (350g), roughly 25% less than the David Clark models [DC’s 10-60: 623 grams / H10-13.4: 467 grams]
  5. Warranty…….I’ve heard a lot of people talk about spare parts for David Clarks, true.   Sennheiser’s response would appear to be:  “Spare parts?  You won’t be needing those, have a 10 year warranty on us”).

Human speech is 60-7,000Hz range, as such for best reproduction you want something that has a frequency response at least twice this range (Can you see where Sennheiser is going with it’s frequency responses yet).   Anything that can’t respond to this range will be dependant on picking up the harmonics of the original frequency…….so in theory if you put out a sound around 60Hz, the DC’s will only pickup the 4th harmonic of that sound.

That’s the theory anyway, I have v.good hearing – how good it is at top and low end frequencies while a Cessna’s engine is roaring in the background is another question.

Sennheiser size

I think the best video of the HME 110 in use I’ve seen is this, you can see what I mean about the radius of the mic boom arm, relative to other headsets.

The last bit is my only concern, but having watched a few other videos (and also the fact it’s not stopping the above video user operate  a massive camera), I’m starting to be less worried.

Other videos of Sennheiser & DC’s in use

HME 110, side view in use.

HME 110 & DC’s in use in the same plane

HME 400 or 460 and David Clarks in use in same plane

……next lesson is in a couple of days, so I’m gonna have to resolve this dilemma pretty soon and order one or the other!

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