Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

David Clark DC PRO-X Headset

With a retro design and superb performance, the DC PRO-X sets a new standard

I wondered how David Clark could achieve such good noise reduction and great sound using an on-ear design. One would think this would be difficult because of the lack of seal around the ear. David Clark does it by sampling noise with both an internal and external microphone on each ear. Then, using two distinct inversion circuits, matches the two noise sources, effectively blocking them. They call this "Hybrid Electric Noise Cancelling Technology" (ENC). Whatever it's called, it works.
The Pro-X...has a sweet spot in the mid- and upper-mid range frequencies.
Once inside the cockpit, my attention turned to the slim control module. It's powered by two AA batteries that give the headset about 50 hours of ANR stamina. David Clark installed dual voice coil drivers, so when the batteries fail, the headset continues to work and will still provide passive noise attenuation, a feature now pretty standard on most ANR headsets. A light on the module pulses red when batteries are low.

Of course, the headset is fully Bluetooth-enabled, so you can pair it to your cell phone or music player without wires. I did just that, and pairing is a 30-second non-event. Once connected, the sound is seamless from device to device.

There's a mono/stereo switch, and a nice auto shut-off feature that you can turn ON or OFF. When set ON, the unit turns off automatically after five minutes if either the audio panel or intercom is turned off, you disconnect the headset from the intercom or your cell phone call ends. One minor complaint I have about the PRO-X has to do with the volume buttons. They're digital, and so you have no way of knowing if one side is higher or lower than the other. Mechanical sliders would be my choice for future models.

The market will determine if pilots can buy into the on-ear design of the PRO-X. As with any headset purchase, the key to avoiding buyer's regret is to wear the headset for at least an hour in the cockpit. Wearers will find the comfort of this headset hard to beat with anything but an in-ear unit. With a list price of $637, the "bang-for-your-buck" factor is impressive. The PRO-X is superb on every front. Between the sound, feel, comfort and design of this new headset, I would place the PRO-X at the top of my list. circuit. When we land at KPBI, we may be the smallest thing on the ramp, but we're also definitely the cutest. The Gulfstream IV pilots always check out our classic V-tail.


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