When I passed my checkride I decided to buy another headset. After some shopping around I decided on the David Clark H10-13.4. You can read my original review about them here. Well it was time for my yearly aviation gift to myself so I starting shopping around and trying to figure out what to get. Recently I have been flying longer trips and spending more time in the cockpit. I found that my head would ache after each time I flew. Obviously long term exposure to something that hurts your head probably isn’t good for you.
So I started looking for a new headset and was able to try a few of them out at the AOPA Summit in Hartford, CT. I came across the Lightspeed Sierra and after a test fit I decided to go ahead and pick up a pair. One of the big incentives for me to purchase the headset was the trade up program. I was able to trade in my Lightspeed QFR headset for a $250 credit towards the Sierra’s $600 price. I should point out that $250 is more than I paid for the headset in the first place. They will even give you $100 for any old passive headset, as long as it works. You can find out more about the trade up program here.
After flying with them for over six hours I can safely say I won’t be going back to a passive headset. The deep engine drone is just gone and the headset itself is very comfortable. It is hard to explain the sound difference so I decided to take a recorder with me into the cockpit so you can hear it for yourself. The audio didn’t come out as perfect as I wanted it to but it should still give you an idea.
Listen to my real world audio comparison here
Sierra Vs David Clark
Just as the weather started getting warmer I noticed a pretty annoying problem. The mic boom on my Sierra would sag down with the slightest bit of down force or vibration. I flew a few times to make sure I wasn’t going crazy and sure enough as I flew the mic would move further and further from my mouth. Since I was still within my warranty period I contacted Lightspeed. They had me send it in for repair. I got it back about a week and a half later but I still had the problem. Now I was obviously very annoyed and called them again. They told me to send it in once more and they would put a rush on it. This time they added a washer and changed the boom. Problem fixed. While I would have preferred to not have any problems I was happy with their customer service and response to my problem.
What’s amusing is that I decided to listen to this while wearing my PC conversion of the H10. It was a tad disorienting for a moment, if I’m honest, because…well. Engine noise while sitting on a couch. Bit strange.
Anyhow, the Sierra doesn’t sound horrifically bad passive, so I’ll give it that, but frankly I’ve always preferred the David Clark even to the Sierra’s ANR because the DC is built like a tank — when it comes to both of my DCs, I’ve dropped them, they’ve been crammed in my backpack (which gets thrown around a lot), dropped again (and again) and they’re still always exactly the way I set them. My only real complaint with the H10 is that it does get a bit tiresome on the sides of one’s head after a few hours, but that’s to be expected with passive.
I purchased my lightspped in April 2017 and during the past year I needed to send it in for two repairs: one for one of the plugs not working and other for a high pitch squeal in one of the ear pieces. I am preparing to send it back in for a third problem of no audio in on of the ear pieces. I am glad I carry my David Clark as a backup and will never get another Lightspeed again.