Why Buy a VoIP Headset?
The primary purpose of a VoIP headset is to provide the audio quality of headphones with the convenience of a hands-free communication device, allowing you to type or take notes while you chat over the internet. This makes VoIP headsets ideal for call centers and businesses where softphone applications and unified communication services are the primary form of communication with employees and customers. They are also the primary device for telecommuters who work from home but need to stay in contact with people at work.
The Plantronics Blackwire 700, Plantronics .Audio 995 and Jabra UC Voice 750 are great examples of VoIP headsets because they have the best audio quality and the comfort features that make these headsets you can wear all day. If you’re interested in learning more, you can read articles on VoIP headsets in our learning center.
Audio quality is paramount. This applies to both the speaker and the microphone. You need your VoIP calls to be clear and your music to be full and rich. In addition, the microphone should have the frequency response range and the noise cancellation technology to make sure that your caller hears you and not your office. Finally, the headset should have features that make it easy to use and the comfort to wear all day long.
Speaker Audio Performance The speaker’s ability to reproduce sound is at the core of what makes a good VoIP headset. This begins with the speaker’s frequency response range – the range of audio wavelengths that a speaker is capable of reproducing, measured in hertz. The best USB headsets have a frequency range that can produce bass frequencies as low as 18Hz and frequencies as high as 22kHz.
You should also consider a UC headset with acoustic shock protection. While the technology may differ from headset to headset, the idea is the same – a sort of internal circuit breaker that suppresses against potentially dangerous spikes in the decibel level. These acoustic spikes can range from feedback to pops caused by the USB connection. People who wear VoIP headsets for much of the day are particularly susceptible to acoustic shock and can experience symptoms such as tinnitus, headaches, nausea and permanent hearing damage.
The best VoIP headsets have a frequency response range of 20Hz to 16kHz. This wide of a frequency response range makes it ideal for most voice applications like speech-to-text software, podcasts and VoIP calling. This is because it reaches the full range of the human voice. Many UC headsets are only optimized for VoIP calling, which uses a wideband frequency of 100Hz to 7kHz.
The best VoIP headsets have the volume and call controls on the earpiece instead of the cord. This makes the headset easier to use because you don’t have to search the length of the cord for the controls every time you want to answer a call or turn up the volume. In addition, your VoIP headset should be optimized for unified communication services and softphone services like Lync, Cisco and Skype.
In addition, the headband should be padded to ease the vertical pressure. Even the lightest headsets can cause the top of your head to feel sore after hours of use. If you have a sensitive head or you want to avoid messing up your hair, some headsets have different wearing styles, such as the neckband or ear hook. The neckband style wraps around the back of your head while the ear hook is reserved for mono headsets that fit onto one ear with a hook for stability.
With more and more of the world’s communication moving to online formats, you want a VoIP headset that enhances your online communication experience instead of discouraging it. This requires a great audio experience, features that are easy to use and comfort that lasts all day.
The Plantronics brand has been associated with the manufacturing and creation of some of the best headsets since the 1960s. When Neil Armstrong uttered those famous words on the moon, “That’s one small step for man – one giant leap for mankind,” he did so through a Plantronics headset. While the Plantronics Blackwire 700 series hasn’t been to the moon and back, it has the all-day comfort, versatile connectivity and audio quality to make it one of the best VoIP headsets.
Protecting your ears is also important. Extended use of headphones can cause ear fatigue, especially if you listen to music or audio at high decibels. To protect your ears, the Blackwire 700 series USB headset has the SoundGuard technology. This limits the overall volume to 118 decibels. It also detects and dampens sudden acoustic bursts. These bursts can come in the form of pops caused by electronic overload passing through the USB connection, or as overjoyed screams of family members while on Skype.
The Blackwire’s microphone has a frequency response range of 100Hz to 8kHz. This range reaches well beyond the minimum requirements for wideband audio, making it ideal for VoIP calling. It’s also good for recording audio notes or podcasts. In addition, using this microphone with speech-to-text software allows you to dictate your notes into an editable text format.
One of the reasons the Plantronics Blackwire 700 is the best USB headset is it combines the reliability of a corded connection with the versatility of wireless. It connects to your computer via USB port so you can Skype or play online games. However, it also connects to your phone or other A2DP devices with Bluetooth. This means you can use the VoIP headset to make mobile phone calls and stream music.
Of course, you don’t actually need the controls to answer a call. The Blackwire, like many other Plantronics devices, has smart technology that answers a call when you put on the headset and hangs up when you take it off. In addition, the plug-and-play feature means that you don’t have to worry about installing software just to operate the headset. You only have to plug it into your computer. The Bluetooth connection is equally easy to set up.
If you often make extended calls, you need a headset that’s comfortable to wear for long periods. Comfort begins with the ear pad design. The design of this headset is on-ear instead of closed-ear. Closed-ear is preferred because it puts the pressure around the ear. The on-ear design puts the pressure on the ear, which can cause ears to get sore after long chatting sessions. In addition, the closed-ear design offers a better audio experience because it doesn’t allow much external sound to interfere with the listening.
Plantronics has one of the best support systems for UC headsets. Blackwire 700 series headsets come with 24/7 support and a two-year warranty. In addition, if you want to learn more, there are community forums, a knowledgebase and an extensive glossary of terms to help you understand your product and troubleshoot any potential issues that you come across.
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The best VoIP headsets provide headphone quality audio with everything you listen to – music, movies, podcasts, games and VoIP calls. VoIP headsets also need to be easy to operate and comfortable to wear for hours at a time. With a wireless option, a thick headband pad and a closed-ear design featuring speakers that have a wide frequency response, the Plantronics .Audio 995 earns a top spot in our reviews.
There are ten .Audio models available in the series – 995, 955, 655 DSP, 648, 628, 626 DSP, 478, 400 DSP, 355 and 326. The major differences between each of these models are wearing style and comfort features. The 995 headset is the top end model with the best audio and best features. The only type of model missing from this series is a mono headset. Each headset comes in stereo, which is the best choice for audio quality. However, some offices prefer mono headsets because the open ear allows employees to respond to people who need their attention in person.
The Plantronics .Audio 995’s microphone has one of the best frequency response ranges. It can capture frequencies as low as 100Hz and as high as 10kHz. This frequency range is 3kHz over the maximum wideband audio for VoIP calling. This means that you’ll get a natural voice tone for calls and better voice quality for speech-to-text software.
One of the best features of the Plantronics .Audio series is the wireless 995 headset. The .Audio 995 uses a Wi-Fi USB adapter that connects the headset to your computer. This wireless freedom means that you can wander around your home or office while you’re on a VoIP call. Not only does this give you the freedom to roam, but it also eliminates the hassle of a cord that can tangle and catch under office chairs.
While most UC headsets only control volume and call functions, the .Audio 995, .Audio 655 DSP and .Audio 355 have controls that will control your audio tracks. This means that you can skip, play, pause and rewind your music directly from the headset.
Fortunately, the .Audio 995, 665 DSP and 355 models use a closed-ear, or circumaural design. This design closes around the ear, which places the pressure against your head. You can wear headsets with this design for hours without ear soreness because there is nothing pressing against your ears. In addition, the circumaural design adds to the audio quality because it lets less external noise reach your ear. Also, the headband pads are thick, which greatly softens the pressure of the headset over the span of the day.
The Plantronics .Audio 995 is one of the best VoIP headsets because it offers great audio for both you and your caller. It doesn’t matter if you’re listening to music or on Skype with an overseas business partner, the speakers have the frequency response range for the best audio reproduction. In addition, the wireless option and the on-ear controls that allow you to control your music tracks make this one of the easiest headsets to use. The only flaw is the absence of an acoustic shock protection system.
Jabra UC Voice 750
Highest Speaker Frequency Response Lowest Speaker Frequency Response Highest Microphone Frequency Response Lowest Microphone Frequency Response
There are two models available with each model in the series – mono and stereo. The stereo option is the far better choice for an all-around quality listening experience for both VoIP calling and other audio because it provides depth to the sound. However, stereo headsets can cause you to become unaware of your surroundings. Mono headsets, which only have one earpiece, are often the preferred choice for office environments where you need to have an open ear available to co-workers or clients.