Unexpected VoIP Headset Sited In The Wild

plantronics-audio-480-headsetSome days I think that I’m unique in my dedication to VoIP-ish pursuits. Of course that can’t possibly be true or no-one would be reading this stuff at all. But how many people do you think are so dedicated to the matter that they wear a VoIP capable headset while travelling?

I for one have been using the Plantronics .Audio 480 for the past few months. On occasion I have deliberately used it to listen to music while on aircraft. Since it’s supposedly a noise reducing headset I thought it appropriate. But I didn’t expect the person sitting in front of me to be doing something similar!

Passenger seating ahead of me wearing a VoIP capable headset
Passenger seating ahead of me wearing a VoIP capable headset

The photo was taken clandestinely with my cell phone*. His headset has is a bulky circumnaural type. You can just make out the mic boom tilted upwards in the picture.

*The radio was off, so I could use it as an MP3 player in-flight.

  • Out of curiosity, are you using the USB version? I just had to pick up a USB headset while traveling but wow is it enormous. Need a much smaller one 🙂

    • AFAIK, the USB version is simply the analog version with a little USB audio interface dongle. At least that’s what the photos show. Mine is the analog version, and it is small. I’ll be writing more about it in the next week or two.

      I also have the .Audio 615M which is a USB connected traditional single ear headset. That is, not ear buds. It sounds very nice, but is not nearly as portable.

  • I have never understood the term “voip capable” in terms of headsets and always assumed it was marketing fluff. The codec is in the phone not the headset – so what makes some headsets voip capable and some not? Have you ever seen a headset that really wasn’t voip capable?

    Kind of like the difference between a tennis shoe and racket-ball shoe – is there really a design difference? (Do they still make a racket-ball shoe?)

    • Dave,

      I suppose you’re right in general. But many cell phone headsets are simply unsuitable for VoIP use. They’re analog and usually have wrong sort of connector for connecting to a sound card. Analog PC type headsets are ok, but you don’t see them outside of the office/home very often. That’s what surprised me about the guy on the airplane.

      Lately I’m finding that I prefer USB connected headsets. All that means is that the audio A/D and A/D are built into a line-lump in the cord. But getting the analog bits outside of the PC chassis helps the audio quality a lot, especially where low level (microphone) signals are concerned.

      PCs are electrically very noisy inside. Hence the recent popularity of high-end audio devices that are externally connected USB interfaces. I have a Lexicon Alpha that I use as a mic pre-amp sometimes.