Sidetone (hearing yourself) with David Clark headsets?

Sidetone (hearing yourself) with David Clark headsets?

Postby N38SG » Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:40 am

I recently completed my first PE flight and loved it. However, I'm having a hard time figuring out sidetone (the ability to hear myself in my headset as I speak)

I'm using my David Clarks I normally use for IRL flying, connected to my PC via an adapter I got from sportys that uses two 3.5mm jacks. The passive noise cancelling on the DCs is good enough that I can't hear myself at all. The mic works fine but not being able to hear myself is a little distracting. I researched the problem a bit and found a few general solutions, including a few from posts on this forum. There is a windows 10 setting in the "Sound" menu called "listen to this device". This gives me sidetone but with a very slight delay that makes it impossible to speak normally. I've seen that, via the same menu, with some purpose-built gaming headsets and microphones there is a setting in the 'Playback' device tab that allows you to adjust the microphone's levels via the speaker's settings. However, I don't have this option with my DCs. I did read that you can get a purpose-built aviation intercom, but I'd rather avoid that. I played around with my motherboard's sound software, more windows settings, and various variations on how I'm plugging the adapter in to no avail.

I know that I'll probably be able to solve this if I get some kind of gaming headset- I've seen a few recommendations here and elsewhere. But before I do that, I have a very specific question: is there anybody here using aviation headsets (DC or others) connected via an adapter that have been able to get sidetone working? I can't help but think there's some setting I'm missing, or some simple configuration software I can use to get Windows to recognize the mic and headset as one unit, and thus get delay-free sidetone working via the 'Sound' menu.

To clarify, I did see a good number of posts on this forum regarding sidetone in general, and regarding getting real-world aviaiton headsets working, but I haven't been able to find any posts asking about this specific issue.
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Re: Sidetone (hearing yourself) with David Clark headsets?

Postby Keith Smith » Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:55 am

Short of an intercom, which you are aware of, but would rather not use, or a gaming headset (same deal), I don't know of another reliable solution.

FWIW, I flew for 8 of the last 9 years without sidetone. We're very used to sidetone because of how intercoms operate (you obviously need to know when you're speaking loudly enough to break the squelch noise gate)...however, if you're talkig about PTT operation, then you don't really need audio confirmation through sidetone. My current gaming headset (TurtleBeach Elite Atlas Aero) has it, and it's a nice confirmation that the mic is working, but once that's established, I really don't need it.
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Re: Sidetone (hearing yourself) with David Clark headsets?

Postby Tim Krajcar » Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:35 pm

You will absolutely need to add an intercom if you want zero-latency sidetone in your DCs. There's not going to be any other setting or anything, so save the time looking :) The latency is caused by the round-trip through the computer's audio interface and digitization, so you need something upstream of that, such as an intercom or wiring in the headset itself on gaming headsets, etc to avoid the latency.
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