As mentioned earlier I’m already familiar with wearing earbuds that completely occlude the ear canal. Both the Sony MDR-NC10’s and Etymotic ER-6i’s fit this way. I find that both are comfortable even for long term music listening. While not quite as comfortable as those other two, the .Audio 480 is reasonably comfortable. I found that I had to use the largest of the soft rubber tips to get a good fit. Even then the ear buds did not seal as quite well as my trusty Etymotic headset.
That said this was the only headset that I’ve been carrying for the past couple of months, and a major blessing when I found myself seated in front of a couple loud, chatty young girls on a flight from PHX to IAH. I was able to load up a couple of podcasts and suppress their mindless banter for the duration.
Since the 480 that I received is simply an analog headset to the PC there is little or no setup. The device was instantly recognized by the host platform. I’m using two hosts with the .Audio 480: an HP8510p laptop and an HP Mini 2140 net book. Outside of setting some audio levels it worked perfectly in both cases.
There is another version of the headset that comes with a USB audio interface. The headset itself is the same. The USB audio adapter merely provides a means of connecting to the host platform in the event that it doesn’t have analog audio interfaces. In the past I’ve used such USB audio interfaces in conjunction with a headset when recording screencast tutorials on server class PCs.
My laptop bag and luggage normally contains a number of gadgets and related accessories, including a Sony MD-EX150 whisperlite wired headset for my cell phone, a Blackberry 8100 (aka Pearl.) Alas, the Sony headset, with a single 2.5mm plug, doesn’t work with either my laptop or net book. This is where the Plantronics headset fits into my plans. It also marks the first time that I have carried a headset specifically for VoIP use.
As it lives in my laptop bag I primarily use the 480 while traveling, although I did use it a little around the house just after the holidays. Thus my wife was able to see that I appreciated her insight into my VoIP mania.
NOTE TO ALL GOOD HUSBANDS: Using a noise reducing headset in the presence of one’s spouse is not necessarily wise as it can block spousal attempts at conversation. This can only be forgiven when the aforesaid headset was a gift and your appreciation is expressed in your enthusiastic use of the gift — having said this perhaps only using it once in your spouses presence to express gratitude is the best course of action … if you value your familial bliss.