Bose vs David Clark (for me anyway)

On October 21, 2017, in Miscellaneous, Travel, by scott

For me, it’s Bose.

Here’s a little background for those that may not have read my initial Facebook post.

The 737 can be loud in the cockpit. I have been told (unverified) that the decibel level is between 70 and 80 decibels at cruise.

For the past three years, I have been wearing a set of David Clark Pro-X headsets when I fly. They have been amazing and I highly recommend them to anyone asking about them.


Last June, I got a new prescription for my eyes and got a new pair of glasses. Life went on as normal, but I noticed a bit of pain where the temples of my new glasses pressed against my head while wearing the DC’s. This wasn’t every time, but it was every time I wore them for over four hours (trans-cons).

Fast forward to September. I figured I would give a set of Bose A20’s a try to see if that would remedy the head pain. Well, it did. They were much more comfortable with glasses (as well as without) as well as much better at quieting the flight deck environment. Almost too good!

For the first two trips I used the Bose headsets, the person with which I was working also had noise cancelling headphones, so we used the intercom. My main question with the Bose had to do with how well I could hear my co-worker while I had ANR headphones and he/she was not and we were communicating the old fashion way… by speaking very loudly.

The third trip finally gave me that opportunity! I went into this trip convinced that I was going to be returning the Bose A20’s based on the cost alone… but that isn’t happening.

On the ground on leg one, I could NOT hear the other person and had a very hard time making out what he was saying. At this point, I put on my DC’s and proceeded as normal. Three hours later, it was time to change from sunglasses to my regular glasses… and instantly the pain was present. I then plugged in the Bose and put them on my head, and WOW! the comfort was significantly better than the DC’s.

Through experimenting, I have figured out when to turn on the noise cancelling, how to hear my co-worker on the ground, and yes, I CAN hear him or her in the air if he or she just speaks at their normal cruise volume.

So, the verdict (for me at least) is that I’m keeping the Bose A20’s. Both headsets work quite well. The Bose takes the edge in comfort and audio quieting and quality. Where the DC’s shine is they are a bit cooler to wear in warmer climates, due to the fact that they are on the ear versus over the ear, but this also adds to the lesser ANR performance.

In conclusion, I would still highly recommend either the David Clark Pro-X or the Bose A20 Aviation Headsets. But for me, the Bose take the edge.


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