• http://www.zipdx.com David Frankel

    An exceptional post, Michael! I lecture people all the time about the quality of their telephony audio (or lack thereof). This is an issue that is not limited to home offices. Usually I am yelling at others for sounding so bad; you’ve presented the case quite tastefully and convincingly.

    Unfortunately, one of the things I frequently encounter is somebody using a headset, but it is a BAD headset. I’ll often record the audio and ask people to switch to the handset, just so I can demonstrate to them how bad they sound. I know you’ll address that in detail when you take up that topic specifically.

    • http://www.mgraves.com mjgraves

      Thanks for the comment and the kind words.

      I can recall hearing a prominent VUC contributor remarking that his office sounded like a cardboard box, or something like that, yet he could never be bothered to use a headset. I’ve always held that acting in favor of convenience over voice quality such decisions are seriously disrespectful of other parties on the call.

      Speakerphones are bad, but it just kills me when people prefer to use the built-in mic & speakers on a laptop. Even if Skype (ugh!) does excellent acoustic echo cancellation, the other parties must still contend with such participants sounding distant and drowning in room tone. I’m always surprised when people who should know better insist on proceeding in this manner.

  • Phil

    David/Michael – good to see both of you on one post! The two of you were great at helping me set up my SOHO office – much appreciated.

    Michael, what headsets do you use with your Polycom?

    • http://www.mgraves.com mjgraves

      At the present time I’m using a Sennheiser DW Pro2 DECT headset. I’ve only had it about a month. Planning on writing about it some day soon.

      • Phil

        Thanks! Look forward to it

  • Greg

    You convinced me to try a headset… not for me, but for the others on the call… I’m only dipping my toes into the water though… Found a Plantronics on buy.com for $8… gets great reviews… http://tinyurl.com/43jnww4

    • http://www.mgraves.com mjgraves

      Excellent, let us know how you like it!

  • http://www.bh.org bheiser

    Sorry for bringing back an old thread – but am hoping you might have some advice. I am a home office worker & spend a lot of time on the phone with colleagues & customers. I’m not using a speakerphone – but I am currently using a Plantronics S12 headset & Panasonic KX-TSC11 phone connected to an OBi110 for both POTS and VOIP capability. The audio quality is just “ok”, and the S12 creates an annoying hum when I raise the microphone volume.

    I would like to upgrade to a better (binaural, over the head, no little buds sticking into my ear) headset, preferably DECT to enable me to stand and move about a bit while on calls (is DECT a safe bet for call quality & consistency?). Also it would be convenient to have a built-in answering machine if the quality is very good.

    The *paramount* concern is that my voice quality sound loud & clear to callers. I would also like the devices to be wideband-capable (realizing this only affects VOIP).

    Do you have any suggestions for a phone/headset combination for this scenario? Thanks very much in advance!

    • http://www.mgraves.org mjgraves


      Excellent question! However, a proper reply to this is going to be too long to be just in the comment trail. I’ll post something specific in a couple of days.


      • http://www.bh.org bheiser

        Great – thanks!

  • warmbowski

    Hi Michael. Have you ever looked into products from a company called Revolabs? Do you know anything about them? http://revolabs.com/products/prod_line.htm

    They have a are coming out with (the website says coming soon) an interesting bluetooth product called the xTag BT. Its a bluetooth lapel mic with head phones that plug into it. It says the audio range is 80Hz to 8KHz. http://www.revolabs.com/products_wm/xtagbt.htm

    They also have a model xTag USB, which is a dect version of the same device that has a usb attached base station. It’s audio range isn’t quite as good (100Hz to 6.8KHz). It’s just under $200 on Amazon, with mixed reviews. http://amzn.to/A6QRjf

    • http://www.mgraves.org mjgraves

      I’m aware of them but not used any of their products. They seem to be focused on things just beyond the scope of my SOHO/SMB reach. My employer has a reseller in Austin TX who deals with a lot of churches. They also carry Revo Labs. So we have occasionally both worked at a regional show sponsored by that reseller.

  • Sean

    What headset would you recommend for the aastra 6755i? This phone has a RJ11 headset jack but I’m not too sure what a quality headset would be.