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Mini-Review: Sennheiser SDW5000 DECT Cordless Headset

For the longest time I used the Sennheiser DW Pro2 DECT Cordless Headset with my Polycom VVX desk phone. They seemed a natural pairing. The Sennheiser having been originally recommended to me by an acquaintance at Polycom.

Looking back, my review of the DW Pro 2 was written way back in 2011! I used it a staggering long time. It was that good! In fact, I replaced its battery twice over the years. While it was a originally costly device, it was a very good investment.

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The DW Pro 2 remains available, but in 2018 Sennheiser introduced newer models, the SDW5000 Series (pictured above.) I was immediately interested in these as they claimed to support a new, super-wideband mode, supporting audio up to 12 KHz.

Just this week I realized that I’ve been using the SDW5016 as my daily driver for over two years. Further, it has met my every need, but I have yet to share my experience with it. In writing this, I aim to correct that oversight.

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Sennheiser’s New SDW-5000 DECT Cordless Headsets

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.

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Living With the Tech: The Sennheiser DW Pro2 DECT Headset Five Years On

It’s not often that I can say that I’ve been using a single device daily for over five years. The Sennheiser DW Pro2 DECT headset, which I reviewed in 2011, tops that very short list.

Sennheiser DW Pro 2 & Clients

This past week I’ve paid a little special attention to the headset. It’s long been connected to the Polycom phone on my desk. It’s been witness to my transition from a Polycom SoundPoint IP650, to a VVX-500, and onward to a VVX-600. It’s also connected to my desktop computer.

In general, the DW Pro 2 is still performing well. I have noted some curious things about it over time, including a couple new things just in recent weeks.

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How-To: A Non-Bluetooth Wireless Headset for a Mobile Phone

Nexus 5 & Logitech H820eA few days back someone over at the DSL Reports VoIP Forum posed a question. Along with expressing some frustration with Bluetooth headsets, they asked how they might use a wireless headset that was not based upon Bluetooth with a mobile phone?

That is a curious question. I certainly understand that people can be frustrated with Bluetooth headsets. It’s something that I have suffered now and then.

Class 2 Bluetooth, which is limited to 2.5 mW radiated power, is the most common variety. It’s supposed to deliver a 10 foot range. That’s fine when a mobile phone is in your pocket, but inadequate when it’s on your desk and you need to refill your coffee.

Class 1 Bluetooth kicks the RF power up to 100mW, aiming to allow you to wander up to 100 feet from the host device. Unfortunately, to achieve this freedom to roam, both the host and the headset must be class 1 devices. AFAIK, no mobile phone has ever had a class 1 Bluetooth radio.

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A Microphone Deep Dive: Part 1 – Frequency Response

Last week, in response to Chris Koehncke’s blog post, I set about creating a couple of sample recordings to support my belief that a headset trumps a laptop’s built-in microphone. Along the way I came to a couple of realizations, or perhaps I should say remembrances, of things that I hadn’t thought about in a long while. There are numerous subtleties to the matter of microphones.

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Microphones, like most things, are built to address specific applications. There are microphones for recording studios. Microphones for stage performers. Microphones for board rooms. Microphones for mobile phones. Even a microphone for that cheesy tape recorder that you bought at Radio Shack back in the 1980’s when it was still a great gadget shop.

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