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Computer Headsets

If you regularly use your built-in PC’s speakers and microphone for webinars, listening to music and videos, making video calls like Skype or Google Hangouts, or using applications like VoIP softphones, you undoubtedly are aware of the below-average quality of the sound and how disruptive it is for the rest of your office having to listen to everything. With the addition of computer headsets, you will greatly improve your audio quality and enjoy a more comfortable, private listening experience from your PC. With many businesses moving to VoIP phone systems, a headset is required for daily communication, as your telephone is removed from your desk.


If you're not familiar with VoIP, it's the most popular current application for computer headsets. With VoIP, your traditional desk phone is replaced with a program on your computer that looks and acts like a telephone. Put simply, you're able to use a USB headset and talk through your computer, saving hundreds, if not thousands of dollars each month on long distance charges and hardware maintenance. As internet connections have become faster and more stable, companies have opted to forgo the traditional phone system, with physical hardware in a closet or computer room, and instead use software hosted on servers (putting them into the cloud) to act as the phone system.


Some computer headsets are corded for basic operations, giving the user the ability to be hands-free while writing or typing. With wireless models, you also gain the ability to roam freely while you talk, allowing you to accomplish much more while on calls. With most current applications, USB headsets are preferred for ease of installation, being plug-n-play and having the ability to download and update USB headset drivers as needed. Older dual 3.5mm headsets that plug into a computer's sound board are also available, but less popular because they lack the ability to be updated.


Need help?  See our Computer Headset Comparison Chart
 


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Computer Headsets

With VoIP headsets, it's important to consider quality products, because this greatly affects how you sound to your customers, as well as the perception of professionalism you portray. If a client constantly asks you to speak louder, or you need to ask for information to be repeated, you will lose customer confidence. Also, you may well take down inaccurate addresses or model numbers, leading to incorrect shipments and unhappy customers. For VoIP headsets, it is important for you to make sure you have a true microphone that is positioned next to your mouth. It may look cool in the movies when a small earpiece is worn with no mic, and the secret agents can still hear each other clearly...but that's Hollywood!

Beware of microphones built into the cords, which is common among inexpensive USB headsets. With a cord mic, your callers will hear your voice fade in and out every time you turn your head, and that becomes very distracting to your caller. With a fixed microphone, the mic moves with you, keeping the volume constant and clear. Also, with USB softphone headsets, it’s much more user-friendly to have the volume and mute buttons on the cord for easy and convenient adjustments. Without inline volume controls, you will be forced to mouse into your computer settings each time you need to make a volume adjustment. Impossible? No, but definitely inconvenient.

Another critical element with VoIP and USB computer headsets is to make sure the microphone is noise canceling. A noise-canceling microphone will cut down on background noise, so your caller hears you clearly without hearing distracting noises from your office. It also reduces the amount of bandwidth you need when talking, because it's not sending extra background noise over your connection. Your company's bandwidth is the amount of traffic coming and going on your Internet connection. It must fit within your monthly allotment, and exceeding that amount will cause lagging and choppy calls.

When considering your options, the first decision will be wearing style. Do you want a headset that fits over your ear or one that uses a headband that fits over your head? Generally, over-the-ear models are lighter in weight, work well in average-to-quiet environments, and will be less noticeable if you regularly have face-to-face conversations with clients or customers. With a headband, you will find the speaker is larger, giving you better sound quality and better separation from noise around you, making it work well in quiet-to-loud environments. It will also be slightly heavier, with a more secure fit.