David Clark aviation headsets are top-of-the-line communication devices used by pilots and air traffic controllers worldwide. With crystal clear audio, noise-canceling microphones, and comfortable designs, David Clark headsets help aviation professionals communicate clearly in loud cockpit environments.
While David Clark headsets were originally designed to connect directly to aviation radios, many pilots now want to use their headsets with other audio devices like smartphones or tablets. This allows them to make calls, listen to music, or use aviation apps while still benefiting from the excellent noise reduction and audio quality provided by the headset.
Setting up a David Clark headset to work with a personal device is easy and only requires one additional cable. In this guide, I’ll walk through the step-by-step process for getting your headset connected to your phone or tablet. We’ll also cover tips for getting the best audio quality and some recommended accessories for further enhancing your aviation headset setup. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Get an Audio Adapter Cable
The first thing you need is an audio adapter cable that converts the dual general aviation plugs on your David Clark headset to a 3.5mm stereo plug. This allows you to connect directly to the headphone jack on your phone, tablet, or other device.
There are a few options available:
- David Clark GA-Audio Adapter – This cable is made by David Clark specifically for their headsets. It converts the GA plugs to a 3.5mm jack and also has an inline mic. It tends to be more expensive but offers seamless compatibility.
- Third Party Adapters – Generic adapters are available from other brands usually at a lower cost. Double check that the pins match up correctly with David Clark headsets and that it has a built-in mic.
- Make Your Own – You can make your own adapter cable if you’re handy with wiring. You’ll need to connect the microphone wires, stereo headphone wires, and ground wires correctly. This takes more work but can save money.
I recommend using the official David Clark audio adapter cable if possible. The quality and compatibility is worth the extra cost in my opinion. But the generic adapters also work fine in most cases.
Step 2: Connect the Adapter Cable to Your Headset
Once you have the appropriate audio adapter cable, connecting it to your David Clark headset is simple:
- Identify the two general aviation (GA) plugs coming from the headset. There will be one for the headphone audio and one for the microphone.
- Plug the GA plugs into their corresponding ports on the audio adapter cable. They are usually labeled and color coded.
- Make sure the connectors are fully seated and screwed in securely to ensure a proper connection.
- Route the cable so it can hang freely without pulling on the headset. Use cable clips if needed to avoid tangling.
And that’s it – your David Clark headset is now connected to the adapter cable and ready to use with your phone or tablet!
Step 3: Connect Your Device
Now you simply need to plug the 3.5mm stereo plug from the audio adapter cable into your smartphone, tablet, or other device.
- Locate the 3.5mm headphone jack on your device. This is usually on the top or bottom edge.
- Firmly plug in the 3.5mm connector from your audio cable, making sure it is fully inserted.
- If your device uses a USB-C or Lightning port instead of a headset jack, you will need an additional adapter dongle for connecting a 3.5mm plug. Make sure to get one specifically designed for headset use.
- Consult your device’s instructions if you need help locating the proper audio port. Some adjustment to volume levels or audio settings may be needed after connecting.
And that’s all there is to it! Your David Clark aviation headset should now be successfully connected to your smartphone or tablet. Now you can make VoIP calls, listen to music, or use aviation apps while enjoying the superior noise reduction of your headset.
Tips for Getting the Best Audio Quality
Here are some tips for getting the highest quality audio using your David Clark headset with a personal device:
- Use a stereo splitter – This allows you to connect both sides of your stereo headset separately for optimized stereo sound.
- Get an in-line volume control – This gives you a volume dial to easily adjust audio levels on the fly.
- Use a headphone amp – A small headphone amplifier can boost the audio signal for louder, clearer sound. Helpful for devices with weaker headphone outputs.
- Update your device’s audio drivers – Make sure your smartphone, tablet, or computer has the latest audio drivers installed for maximum compatibility.
- Adjust app and system audio settings – Fine tune app and system sound settings for optimal headphone performance. Disable any audio enhancements.
- Update your David Clark headset firmware – If there are any firmware updates for your specific David Clark model, make sure to install them.
- Clean headset and device connections – Use compressed air to clear any debris in the headset jacks and device ports to ensure clean audio transmission.
Here are some recommended accessories that can further enhance your David Clark aviation headset experience when connected to personal devices:
- Wireless adapter – This allows you to use your headset wirelessly for added mobility. Popular options are the Saramonic Blink 500 B2 or Rode Wireless GO II.
- In-line mic upgrade – Add an external mic like the Antlion Audio ModMic or Rode smartLav+ for superior voice call quality.
- Audio controller – Devices like the AirMod headset interface give you advanced controls for mic input, sidetone, and audio mixing.
- Bluetooth module – An add-on Bluetooth module like the NflightMic BT-GA syncs your headset with phones and tablets seamlessly.
- Headset bag – Protect your headset when traveling and store accessories with a dedicated headset carry bag.
- Cell phone mount – Mount your phone securely to your pilot seat within easy reach using products like the RAM X-Grip Phone Mount.
- Portable aviation radio – A handheld aviation transceiver like the Icom IC-A25NE lets you monitor frequencies while connected to your phone.
Troubleshooting Common Issues
Here are some tips for troubleshooting problems when using your aviation headset with smartphones and tablets:
No audio or weak audio:
- Check headset volume level, device volume, app volumes, and volume on any in-line controls.
- Make sure connections are securely plugged in between headset, adapter, and device.
- Try a different audio source to isolate the issue.
- Test the headset on an aviation radio to confirm functionality.
No microphone input:
- Verify connections between the mic GA plug, adapter, and device.
- Make sure mic is not muted on the device or in the app settings that you are trying to use.
- Test the mic on a radio or with voice recorder app to confirm mic is functioning.
Excessive hum or noise:
- Check for loose connections or faulty wiring.
- Try connecting to a different device to isolate the issue.
- Rule out antenna interference by turning off radios and moving devices away from plane surfaces.
- An inline ground loop noise isolator can help eliminate hum in some cases.
Issues with one ear cup:
- Swap right and left sides to determine if problem follows side.
- Wiggle connections and wiring to see if issue is intermittent.
- Rule out faulty speakers, microphones, or cabling.
Adapter cable incorrectly fits or doesn’t work:
- Double check that you have the correct adapter for your specific aviation headset model.
- Inspect pins and ports for damage or obstructions preventing full connection.
- Ensure adapter cable has microphone connection wires intact if needed.
Do I need to use an external mic for making calls?
Answer: The built-in mic on most David Clark headsets will work decently for calls, but an external mic can improve voice pickup quality significantly.
Can I use Bluetooth to connect my headset to my phone?
Answer: Yes, you can add Bluetooth functionality using various adapters and modules that sync with your headset. This allows wireless connection to Bluetooth-enabled devices.
What apps work well with an aviation headset?
Answer: Great aviation apps include ForeFlight, WingX, Garmin Pilot, FltPlan Go, and many others. You can also use any app for streaming music, podcasts, audiobooks, etc.
Do I need to keep my headset plugged into my aviation radio when using it with my phone?
Answer: No, you can disconnect it from your aviation radio when using the headset with your phone only. The GA plugs interface directly with the audio adapter cable.
Can using my headset with my phone damage it or reduce performance?
Answer: It is generally safe to use your aviation headset with phones and tablets in moderation. Just be careful of volume levels and avoid dropping your expensive aviation headset!
Connecting your David Clark aviation headset to your smartphone, tablet, or other device is simple with the right audio adapter cable. This allows you to make calls, listen to music, and use helpful apps while still taking advantage of your headset’s excellent audio quality and noise reduction.
Experiment with various accessory add-ons like wireless modules, in-line volume controls, and external mics to customize your setup. Just be cognizant of following best practices to avoid damage or interference issues when connecting your mobile to the TV wirelessly. With a few easy steps, you can start enhancing your viewing experience by seamlessly streaming content from your mobile device to the big screen!