As you may already know, I believe that a headset is an important part of a sound strategy for effective communications in the home office. In fact, I’ve used a number or cordless headsets around my home office. Most of them, like the Plantronics Savi Go and Voyager Pro UC, were Bluetooth devices that were used in two roles; in the office and with a mobile phone. This meant that in the office they were used in conjunction with a soft phone on my desktop PC.
Over time I found that I really preferred to use the wonderful dedicated SIP phone that occupied the other corner of my desk. None of my existing headsets worked with my Polycom Soundpoint IP650 or VVX-1500, the two phones that have dominated my desktop the past few years.
To gain some insight I decided to poll a few knowledgeable people about their preferred headsets. Some of their responses referenced companies and products that were known to me, but one reply was completely unexpected…Sennheiser!
I’ve known of Sennheiser since I was in school. Back then I knew them as a leading manufacturer of studio microphones and headphones. While I knew that they had professional and consumer product lines, I was not aware that they also made a considerable line of headsets for telephony applications.
One of the reasons that they suggested the DW Pro series over the slightly older DW Office are improvements made to the microphone sub-system. The DW Pro1 & DW Pro2 have a longer mic boom providing more direct pickup of the voice. They also use an improved, noise suppressing microphone design that’s better suited to use in a busy office or call center.
The DW Pro2 and DW Pro1 are siblings, the only difference being the fact that one has the DW Pro2 model has two earpieces. The headset is very comfortable to wear. This has proven very important as there have been days when it seems like I am continuously on the phone.
There are a number of adjustments on the Desktop DECT base. The one rotary adjustment is the microphone volume, which I found ideal at about 5.5 in a range from 0 to 9. There’s a three position switch that determines the nature of its integration with the desk phone. In addition a DIP switch sets various properties of the devices operation.
Some may appreciate the ability to reduce the power output of the DECT radio. Indicated as “radio range” the setting toggles between full range and short range, which is around ten yards. The low power setting minimizes the possibility of radio interference when multiple DECT systems are used in an office area.
There are also settings to disable wideband operation and limit the maximum headset volume in compliance with EU and Australian workplace safety directives.
On the headset itself there are two buttons; what the manual calls the “Link” button and the “Audio” button. The link button is used to power the headset on/off, pair it with a DECT base, and for changing hook state. The Audio button is a combination pushbutton and rocker switch. It’s used to adjust volume up/down and toggle the microphone mute state.
While the mic is muted the user hears a periodic beep in the headset, reminding you that the microphone remains muted. I understand that this is a good idea. However, in my working week there are times…for example webinars…when I keep the mic muted for extended periods. In such cases I would have appreciated the ability to disable the audible reminder.
The entire DW line is based upon DECT 6.0 wireless technology. As such it offers considerable cordless range. Sennheiser claims the cordless range to be up to 55m in an office environment, and up to 180m in free space with clear line of sight.
While I cannot confirm their claimed range I can say that it has been more than satisfactory for my needs. Satisfactory in this case means that I can leave my desk in the office/garage apartment and go all the way to the coffee machine in the house without anyone complaining about call quality. This represents a distance of about 30m including two exterior walls.
As an experiment I wandered to the very front of the property to fetch the mail even as I was on a call to a coworker. The calls quality was until I neared the front gate. The limit to its range seems to be when our house blocks the path back to the DECT base on my desk.
This brings me to the matter of battery life. Thus far the DW Pro2 has lasted at least as long as my working day. The headset clips onto the base to recharge when not in use, making it a simple matter to ensure that it’s fully charged every morning. The charge status of the headset is clearly indicated by a set of LEDs on the base. The headset fully recharges in about two hours, but a 50% charge is achieved in only 20 minutes.
Quite interestingly, the user guide very clearly states that the battery is end-user replaceable. This is a first in my experience, and perhaps indicates that the headset could have a longer service lifetime than other devices that I’ve used.