17 August 2010

Finding a suitable headset.

Sometime last week, a good friend of mine, wanted me to come up with a reasonable solution, for using Skype between two parties and sent me shopping for a webcam and two headsets. She didn’t know whether her old headset was in working condition or if she’d be needing it at all and so I offered to take one of the fresh ones. I had already thought about buying one, but never came around, to actually do it. More and more friends started using Skype in the last couple of years, but I just didn’t want to talk into a built-in or external mic and hear them through speakers. I’m not a big fan of letting someone (inadvertently) in on a conversation, that’s between two people. Another reason, of course, is TeamSpeak - it would be nice to hear and talk to mates on Battle.net, while slashing through swarms of Zerg.

So there I was, getting one of the new headsets, HS-400 by Creative, out of its box. I should have known from this first step, I wouldn’t grow old using this headset, but I needed to try and stall the inevitable – an exchange at my local tech dealer. The one thing that put me off was its bail. It doesn’t go all over and around your head. It’s one of those, running around your ears and neck. Obviously I failed at examining the packaging thoroughly, but I’d give it a try anyway. After getting my ears through the loops, which is not as funny as it sounds, I was greeted with nice enough sound and mic quality for the intended use – voice chat, but after a while, the thing began to hurt my neck and ears. Being in need of wearing glasses, doesn’t particularly help with this sort of headset.

Although the HS-400 is a nice enough headset - for a very reasonable price and Creative knows, what they’re doing, since they’re in the audio-business for as long as I live – it just wasn’t for me. So I had to return it and look for a replacement.

I still didn’t want to spend a fortune, but it had to fit my head and needs as a wearer of glasses. So I ended up with the ARES² by SpeedLink, which only cost 5€ more. The comfortable earcups are not an understatement, they really are. The bail enacts just enough pressure to hold the ear-enclosing cups in place and they do not hurt me, wearing glasses, at all. Overall sound quality is really nice, nothing gets to high or too low for my taste, but I’m hardly a trained listener, so I can’t tell you if it rivals headphones for ten times the price. According to my chat partners the (not detachable) mic seems to be just as good, they’re getting my voice clear and crisp.

There is only one thing left, I wish I could get rid of. The cable. But Bluetooth Stereo-headsets are pricey and mostly come with the same neck bail, I still don’t want to wear.

Which headsets do you use?

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