Last Christmas my wife got me one of Plantronics .Audio 480 headsets. I’d seen this model of headset offered for a while, and since I’ve used noise reducing headphones for listening to music for many years, the idea of a similar approach to a VoIP headset was intriguing. She knew that I was searching out a wideband capable SIP soft phone and thought that a suitably capable headset might enhance my traveling arsenal.
My earlier experience with noise reducing headsets started with the venerable Sony MDR-NC10…which I simply loved, and had several sets over the years. I found them both comfortable to wear and very effective. The concept of soft rubber-tipped ear buds that form a noise blocking seal into the ear canal was simply brilliant.
Plantronics .Audio 480 headset with accessories & carrying case
Plantronics .Audio 480s are in some ways very similar as they have soft replaceable tips that seal into the ear canal. The headset comes with four set of tips, three different sizes of soft rubber tips and one set of foam tips. Between these you’re sure to find a set that fits well while remaining comfortable.
I must admit I’ve always preferred telephone headsets that have a boom-mounted microphone. Cell phone style headsets with the mic in a lump on the cord have never impressed me. Nor have those where the mic is mounted in the earpiece.
On one side of the headset you’ll find a soft plastic tab that fits into the ridges of the outer ear. This serves to keep the headset positioned at a fixed angle and allows you to have a microphone boom that will stay at the desired vertical position near the mouth.
The microphone is mounted at the end of a stiff yet bendable metal boom that is rooted into the base of the left side ear bud. The boom is rooted at the base of the left ear bud in a ring which allows the boom to easily move vertically up or down. In fact, while using the headset to listen to music I simply flipped the boom up so that the mic was positioned well out of the way near the top of my head. I found this both convenient and practical. It kept people from thinking me daft at me for wearing a phone headset a long while, but not actually being on the phone.
While the mic might be boom-mounted there is still a significant line-lump in the headset cord. This metal tube holds a sliding volume control and a mic mute switch. There are two other small metalic tubes inline with the cord. These protect the points where the left and right earbud wires joint the main line, and also where the mic and headset feeds split near the laptop end of the cord. The cord length is short, implying that the headset is intended for use with a laptop positioned directly in front of the user.
The headset and its accessories come packaged with a rectangular leather-like carrying case with magnetic closures. This has proven handy for keeping the unit from becoming a tangled mess in my laptop bag. I initially worried that the magnetic closure might impact some of the contents of my bag. My frequent flier cards have magnetic data stripes, but so far none have been impacted by sharing my bag with the Plantronics headset.