New Gear: Grandstream’s HT812 Analog Terminal Adapter

In the earliest days of consumer VoIP services the venerable Cisco ATA-186 was the way to connect a traditional analog telephone to one of those new-fangled Vonage accounts and save some loot. It didn’t take too long before our strategy evolved from an analog terminal adapter (ATA) plus a an analog phone or a cordless phone, to SIP desk phones and SIP/DECT cordless phones.

As such, it’s been years since an ATA held any interest at all…until last week. Last week I received a couple of notices about a new pair of ATA’s from Grandstream, the HT802 and HT812.

Grandstream HT812

The first thing I saw was a promotional email from VoIP Supply for the HT812. It described the HT812 as a two-port FXS with a built-in router and Gigabit Ethernet.

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Evaluating USB Headsets for Interpreters

This is admittedly a deep dive into a niche topic. It stems from work done for ZipDX, but is more technical than most audiences can stand. Nonetheless, those of you who frequent these waters may find it interesting.

plantronics-blackwire-c320-usb-headset.jpgWhy Do This?

One of the more fascinating aspects of my work at ZipDX involves the interpreters engaged in the use of our multilingual conference capability. These people, who are located all over the globe, are simply fascinating people. They have incredible skills with languages, and finely tuned sensitivity to the nuance of cross-cultural communication. It’s positively inspirational to hear them at work, and very gratifying to support them in their work.

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Deal Alert: Logitech H820e Cordless Headset

logitech-wireless-headset-dual-h820erightLong have I harped on the merits of a headset in business communication. I also like to move around while on longer calls, which makes a cordless headset very attractive. While I do appreciate the finer qualities of my Sennheiser DW Pro 2, I also accept that it’s a costly beast. So that ability to recommend a less costly option is also appealing.

Today Daily Steals is offering the dual-earpiece version of Logitech H820e DECT cordless headset for just $79. That’s down from $199 MSRP. It is currently listed on Amazon at around $161.

This is a DECT based headset that connects to a computer via USB 2.0. Thus it can be used with any soft client you can name, including; Blink, Bria, GotoMeeting, Hangouts, Jitsi, Lync, Skype, etc.

It’s wideband-capable and has a battery life that will likely outlast your voice. The cordless range, reported as up to 100m, should be more than adequate.

Some might prefer the single ear model to this dual-ear version, but at this price why be picky. The dual-ear version is still in mono, but better at isolating the user from noisy surroundings.

The product being offered is “recertified”, with a 90 day warranty. The deal is only valid through to the end of this afternoon.

Update: this deal has been extended and now seems to be running through to June 2nd.

Mobile HDVoice; A Post In Three Acts

Act 1: The Future – Sprint To Offer HDVoice Nationwide in July

iPhone-SprintSprint,  the nation’s number #3 mobile carrier, has announced nationwide rollout of HDVoice in early July. At present they have just a few test markets HDVoice enabled. While some met the announcement with enthusiasm, HDVoice observer Doug Mohney has taken a justifiable wait-and-see approach to this news as Sprint has made such promises more than once in recent years.

Ever curious, I thought it worth looking into what kind of HD Voice-capable devices they would be offering. The list of twenty handsets seems quite comprehensive. That bodes well for customers someday actually getting to experience HDVoice.

Just as significantly, the HD Voice capable handsets was easy to identify. The company lists “HD Voice” as a key feature that can be used to search through the entirety of their handset offering. Thus new customers can easily reference this feature while in the process of selecting their new handset.

That brings me to…

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Questioning New Dimensions In Conference Audio

Headset vs Conference PhoneI’ve long had a fascination with spatial audio processing. This was in part why Voxeet caught my attention when the service initially launched. It was over a year before we were able to have them appear on VUC #471 on January 10th.

From that session you may recall that Voxeet offers a binaural conference service. Participants join a conference using a PC smart phone application. They use a stereo headset allowing the client application to provide placement of the individual participants within a controlled sound stage.

Voxeet is interesting. However, it’s not exactly clear what aspect of the service is most compelling. At point of launch they used the Speex audio codec, which allows wideband audio (aka HDVoice.)

In the recent v2 release their PC client has been moved to a WebRTC foundation, leveraging Opus. I’ve done a quick analysis of their updated online demo. Newly fitted with American voices where there were once French accents, it presents 16 KHz usable audio path, suggesting a 32 KHz sample rate. It certainly sounds very good.

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Deal Alert: Plantronics Savor M1100 BT Headset

savor_m1100_cThis morning’s email reveals that Daily Steals is offering the Plantronics Savor M1100 BT headset for a rather modest $20. While not a device that I’ve tried myself the M1100 was well reviewed by TMC back in 2012 when it first shipped.

The review includes a good deal of technical detail about its capabilities. The fact that it supports wideband audio and A2DP are key features in my realm.

Plantronics own page for the product indicates that it’s been discontinued. After 18 months that completely to be expected. If you need a BT headset, it’s hard to see how you could go wrong with this M1100 for a paltry $20.