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haertig 01-07-2013 03:24 PM

Need recommendation: Good headset for VOIP calls
 
I am looking for a simple, preferably inexpensive headset for voice chatting. I don't need stereo, high quality, gaming options, etc. Just a simple "telephone quality" headset. Preferably something that only has one speaker so the other ear is left uncovered. I hope to find one constructed at a quality level such that echo cancellation can be disabled in the voice chat software (to lower system resource usage). Needs to have two 3.5mm plugs - one for the mic, one for the speaker - to use with a standard computer soundcard. I hope to find something less than $20 -$25 per headset, if possible.

Any suggestions or recommendations? I found one that might be OK on Amazon, does anyone have experience with the specific model below?

http://www.amazon.com/Koss-Speech-Re...I2K0GXO3W4PI1N

I will be using these headsets with Mumble/Murmur (low resource usage), not a full-featured VOIP client like Skype, Ekiga, Jitsi, etc.

Thanks!

macemoneta 01-08-2013 07:54 AM

We've been using these, for watching videos, VoIP, and cell phone use (they have a built-in microphone). They sound great have a long (20+ hour) battery life, and they are Bluetooth wireless. Only $23.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...=ikross+ikbt18

TB0ne 01-12-2013 11:14 AM

Agree totally...I use a different bluetooth headset with my laptop/skype, and love it. Much better than dragging wires around your desk when talking, and the quality is just fine.

I'm using KDE with pulseaudio, and it was easy to set up, once you get the headset paired. I go into the Kmixer application->Settings->Audio Setup. Click on Communication in the left hand pane. You'll see your headset on the list...move it up to the top section. Why? Well...if you start a call on 'speaker phone' with your mic/speakers, and want to go private.....just turn on your headset. Once it's detected, pulseaudio will grab the highest priority device, and switch the call to it automatically. Turn it off...and it goes back.

It'll work regardless, but you may have to have it turned on/selected when you start your VOIP call...it's easier to do it automatically.

haertig 01-13-2013 08:30 PM

I am really looking for an old-school plug-in headset. One end of these voice chats will be my parents ... 80+ years old. I think things like "pairing" and even "charging the battery" might be tough for them to comprehend/remember. And their computer does not currently have bluetooth capabilities, so I would have to install some hardware (it would be above their computer expertise level to do that, even a USB plug-in is iffy since I'd have to do all the configuring, driver loading, etc. remotely). Unfortunately, I am a two day drive away from them. Plus, I am setting up this voice chat for use while we are playing Scrabble against each other on the computer (over the internet), so we're not going to be wandering around the room where a wireless headset would be of benefit.

Thanks for the suggestions thus far. I may end up getting a wireless headset for myself, but not for my parents.

TB0ne 01-14-2013 08:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by haertig (Post 4869356)
I am really looking for an old-school plug-in headset. One end of these voice chats will be my parents ... 80+ years old. I think things like "pairing" and even "charging the battery" might be tough for them to comprehend/remember. And their computer does not currently have bluetooth capabilities, so I would have to install some hardware (it would be above their computer expertise level to do that, even a USB plug-in is iffy since I'd have to do all the configuring, driver loading, etc. remotely). Unfortunately, I am a two day drive away from them. Plus, I am setting up this voice chat for use while we are playing Scrabble against each other on the computer (over the internet), so we're not going to be wandering around the room where a wireless headset would be of benefit.

Thanks for the suggestions thus far. I may end up getting a wireless headset for myself, but not for my parents.

Ahh..you didn't mention that at first.

Two things to consider: if they have a sound card/speakers in their computer, it probably has separate mic/headphone jacks. Each plug on a headset would go into a different port...and they're the same size. Might be confusing, but there are options:
http://www.amazon.com/eForCity-SKYPE...r+voip+headset

Personally, I'd go for a USB solution, since it's ONE plug, and it only fits in one way:
http://www.amazon.com/GN1900-Monarau...r+voip+headset

And really, if they're that befuddled by simple things like charging a battery...perhaps just speakers/mic (a 'speakerphone' setup) would be easier, since it could all just sit there, ready all the time.

haertig 01-14-2013 10:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TB0ne (Post 4869651)
Ahh..you didn't mention that at first.

You're right, sorry about that. I also didn't mention some other stuff.

We are talking a low end computer. So I want to lower resource usage as much as possible. My initial though was just to go with a separate mic, since speakers are already installed. But that would require echo suppression to be enabled in the software, which is a big resource hog. So, in theory, with a decently designed headset, echo suppression could be disabled to lower resource usage. The headset would have to be designed so that the mic does not pick up sound from the headphones, which might mean a fully enclosed headset, a unidirectional mic, or just plain "good headset design". Also, too cheaply designed headsets can occassionally suffer from crosstalk from unshielded speaker and mic conductors that run down the same cord, causing an echo-like problem.

Ok, now I think I've covered everything I *should have* covered in my initial post! Sorry for being too brief in my initial description.

haertig 01-14-2013 10:15 AM

p.s. - I didn't omit things from my initial post because of stupidity, although it could be argued that I am indeed stupid! I didn't want my post to be overly long and complex. I really didn't expect to get too many responses on headsets, and I feared that nobody on this planet would have reviewed different headsets at the level I am asking about (turn off echo cancellation, etc.) So I tried to keep it simpler and my plan was to deduce the quality of headset that might be recommended by reading between the lines of how people might describe theirs.

My parents aren't really stupid either. They know how to charge a battery. It's just that this will not be used terribly often, and I can envision that when it's needed, the battery might not have gotten charged routinely. I have this same problem myself for rarely used things - like the bluetooth headset for my cellphone. I use that once every six months or so, and it's always dead when I go to use it!

So much for my original "keep the post simple" plan...

TB0ne 01-14-2013 01:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by haertig (Post 4869724)
You're right, sorry about that. I also didn't mention some other stuff.

We are talking a low end computer. So I want to lower resource usage as much as possible. My initial though was just to go with a separate mic, since speakers are already installed. But that would require echo suppression to be enabled in the software, which is a big resource hog. So, in theory, with a decently designed headset, echo suppression could be disabled to lower resource usage. The headset would have to be designed so that the mic does not pick up sound from the headphones, which might mean a fully enclosed headset, a unidirectional mic, or just plain "good headset design". Also, too cheaply designed headsets can occassionally suffer from crosstalk from unshielded speaker and mic conductors that run down the same cord, causing an echo-like problem.

Ok, now I think I've covered everything I *should have* covered in my initial post! Sorry for being too brief in my initial description.

No worries...happens to us all. If it was me, I'd just *TRY* an external mic w/speakers first, just to see how it sounds. It may be the location of the speakers in relation to the mic, and the position of the speaker(s), will be ok, even without echo canceling.

The USB headset w/boom mic would certainly fit the bill for you, and it's not pricey.


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