I’ve been tinkering with Raspberry Pi for some while. It’s fun little platform. I’m actually awaiting the delivery of an Asus Tinker board so that I can explore the use of such an SBC that’s capable of UHD video output.
Back then, there was nothing like the Pi, so I used a Soekris Net 4801. Being Intel-based, it could run a lightweight Linux-based OS and regular Asterisk distro. I used Astlinux, which was brand new at the time.
Everything old is new again. Except me, of course.
Of course, all this was before the now ubiquitous Raspberry Pi was released. It makes sense that someone would try that low-cost SBC as a host for Asterisk. However, there hasn’t been much hardware support for that effort until recently.
Today I read that SwitchPi is now offering modular and multi-port FXO/FXS interfaces, as well as a GSM interface.
OAK8X base module (4 onboard Asterisk FXO channels) $130
OAK8X base module with 8 channels (8 Asterisk channels, 4 FXO plus 4FXS) $180
OAK8X base module with 8 channels (8 Asterisk channels, 8 FXO) $180
A Polycom VVX-600 and Sennheiser DW Pro2 headset are my workaday tools of choice. They have been for years. Polycom VVX remains best-in- class. The DW Pro 2 gives me hands-free flexibility and cordless mobility, sufficient to reach the coffee machine, which is clearly a critical issue.
This pair addressed my quest for practical tools leveraging HDVoice. They explain why I’ve not put much effort into reviews of new desk phones in recent years. The matter has been largely settled hereabouts.
However, they not perfect. There’s room for improvement. In particular, the advent of WebRTC brought a tide of Opus-capable services that would benefit from full-bandwidth audio. The 16 KHz sampling required to support G.722 was great in 2010, but nearly a decade down the road it seems more than a little limiting.
Being in the conferencing business, I’m on the phone a lot during the course of my working life. Most of my phone calling happens via a pair of dear friends; my Polycom VVX-600 and a Sennheiser DW Pro 2 DECT headset. This pair has proven itself in literally years of office use. They’re simply tremendous.
In fact, they’re so good together that my mobile phone was something of an afterthought. I only used it after hours, or when someone called me at that number. That someone was most typically my wife. Stella always calls my mobile. She never calls my desk.
A good headset, preferably one with a boom-mounted microphone, takes the acoustics of the room completely out-of-play. It eliminates any possibility of noise, echo, or reverberance, delivering your message as clear as possible to your audience.
No amount of engineering wizardry can make up for sub-optimal microphone placement. Period.
Conference phones and speaker phones simply cannot deliver a comparable experience. You always trade quality of audience experience for your own convenience.
Yes, a headset…When you care enough to sound your very best.