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Inflexibility: TelyHD, Biscotti & Microphones

This is a semi-rant on a somewhat common theme for me, getting the best audio quality. In pondering these two new video calling devices from Tely Labs and Biscotti one thing stands out as unfortunate…they both rely exclusively upon an array of microphones built into their respective device. I find this to be short-sighted and unnecessarily inflexible.

Consider of you will the sample video that Jim Courtney recorded speaking with a gentleman from Tely Labs. The video quality is good. The audio quality is good…but it could be a lot better.

At both ends of the call there’s considerable room tone. In particular you can clearly hear that the conference room at Tely Labs is a simple drywall box. It sounds boomy and reverberant.

As I have described elsewhere, I find that the use of a speakerphone is always a last resort. It’s really only appropriate when you have a group of people collected for a call. To use a speakerphone when the call is just on-to-one is to permit the ambient noise and nature of the room to have undue influence in the audio quality.

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Reader Feedback On The Sennheiser DW Pro2

It’s truly a bloggers dream when readers are very engaged. When someone goes to the trouble of leaving a comment, especially asking a question, I always try to provide a response.

Some questions seem to leap beyond the confines of the comment trail on the post that inspired them. This was the case when BillH left a comment after my post on the case for using a headset in the home office.

Bill’s situation provided an array of questions. Some of his concerns may be unique, but most seemed like they might impact anyone. There were so many possible solutions to be considered.

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Affordable Cordless Mobility In The Home Office

Obi-Hai-S12-KX-TSC11-trio-300sqEarlier this week Bill left a comment asking for a recommendation about a phone and cordless headset combination. His requirements seem quite sensible and he expresses some frustration with his existing gear. His situation seems one that could be very common, so I thought it worth highlighting before trying to make some recommendations.

Here’s his comment in full:

Sorry for bringing back an old thread – but am hoping you might have some advice. I am a home office worker & spend a lot of time on the phone with colleagues & customers. I’m not using a speakerphone – but I am currently using a Plantronics S12 headset & Panasonic KX-TSC11 phone connected to an OBi110 for both POTS and VOIP capability. The audio quality is just “ok”, and the S12 creates an annoying hum when I raise the microphone volume.

I would like to upgrade to a better (binaural, over the head, no little buds sticking into my ear) headset, preferably DECT to enable me to stand and move about a bit while on calls (is DECT a safe bet for call quality & consistency?). Also it would be convenient to have a built-in answering machine if the quality is very good.

The *paramount* concern is that my voice quality sound loud & clear to callers. I would also like the devices to be wideband-capable (realizing this only affects VOIP).

Do you have any suggestions for a phone/headset combination for this scenario? Thanks very much in advance!

Bill’s existing gear bears examination. With just a few minutes of Googling I found that the Panasonic KX-TSC11 is a very basic analog phone. They’re available for around $45 and have only one analog POTS connection. Panasonic refers to it as an “Integrated Telephone System” which seems a bit puzzling to me. It’s a bit like calling a pen a “fully manual correspondence creation system.” It’s an entry-level analog phone.

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Review: Sennheiser DW Pro2 Cordless Headset

sennheiser-dw-pro2-and-Polycom-phones-250As 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!

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Can You Hear Me Now? Headset vs Speakerphone In The Home Office

Headset vs Speakerphone Every time you make or receive a phone call it’s for a reason; there’s a point to be made, something to be communicated. Communicating effectively is critically important in business.

Anything that helps to make your message more clearly gives an advantage. Inversely, anything that makes it more difficult to communicate is, in reality, a threat to your business. This principle should be your guide as you select equipment for your small office or home office.

When considering home office telephony the technologically inclined often get bogged down in debate about the use of traditional phone service vs various forms of IP telephony. This is a big issue, with many complexities to be considered. However, there is a simpler issue that can have a dramatic impact on the enhancing your ability to communicate clearly; do you have a good headset?

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Plantronics Voyager Pro UC: Model Designations

Several people have been in touch regarding my recent review of the Plantronics Voyager Pro UC Bluetooth headset. It seems that they would like to purchase the device but want to be certain that they are selecting the appropriate model. After all, why pay for the wideband capable model if you only application will be with a cell phone? Conversely, if you really want wideband capability you’d better get the Plantronics Voyager Pro UC V2.

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