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Guide To Getting The Best Office Headset

There are a lot of headset options to choose from – at last count we carried over a hundred models from six manufacturers. The iphone life 600 is, in my opinion, the best general purpose, best value, and best sounding headset in the price range.

But with all the options you might be worried about choosing the “best.” What that exactly is is hard to say. Some of the most popular cheap headsets are some of the worst to work with and sound like crap. On the flip side, some of the more expensive headsets have terrible build quality.

Best Office Headset

Plantronics CS530 Office Wireless Headset

Plantronics CS530 Office Wireless Headset


Jabra Motion Office Bluetooth Headset with Touch Screen

Jabra Motion Office Bluetooth Headset with Touch Screen


LUXMO Bluetooth Stereo Headset w/Noise Cancelling. Lightweight and Foldable. Great for Office use

LUXMO Bluetooth Stereo Headset w/Noise Cancelling. Lightweight and Foldable. Great for Office use


COOSII Bluetooth Headphones Wireless

COOSII Bluetooth Headphones Wireless


TaoTronics Trucker Bluetooth Headset with Microphone, Wireless Cell Phone Headset

TaoTronics Trucker Bluetooth Headset with Microphone, Wireless Cell Phone Headset


If you were to consider a pair of swim trunks from Wal-Mart what is your plan on finding at a price similar to a pair of headphones from there? You plan on picking up a pair of headphones at Wal-Mart, heading home, and spending a couple of hours putting them together rather than simply laying them out on your floor?

That’s right – you see where this is going. The Wal-Mart headsets are going to be the cheapest. They’re built by (and for) unsophisticated speakers. If we were to go that route we would be left with two choices – cheap plastic or plastic heeled overcast. In either case you are going to be disappointed. I mean, if we wanted cheap or plastic it would be a lot easier to go to the Wal-Mart store.

I suppose we could go with the poorly made and easily guessed as well as cheap $50 pair of headphones from Radio Shack. But I don’t trust their quality either.

Thesis

So, the purpose of this guide is to tell you how to find the best headset for your money. With this information you should be able to get a good quality headset at a good price.

Before we get started I want to explain a bit about my opinion of the current state of the loudspeaker design industry. I think we are at our very best right now, not because of the speakers themselves (I’ll get to them in a minute) but because of the extremely high level of effort being put into the improvement of the rest of the industry.

Computer chip manufacturing tools are so much more productive than ever before and the sheer number of lowered prices in the components necessary to manufacture high-performance computer processors means that all of these chips are far more common and so are the products that you’ll find, able to use them (whether they’re any good is another question).

In addition to this, headphone manufacturers are putting more and more efforts into their design and sound quality. This is no longer the case in the 1980’s where it was much more common for a $400 pair of headphones sound like crap and look like crap.

Nowadays a $4 pair of cans that sound like crap are not only common but actively being marketed as cool and sexy. On the flip side, it’s not uncommon for people to drop $1100 on a pair of headphones that don’t sound or look all that great.

I suppose this duality in the market’s perception of headphone quality is what we can refer to as the “winner’s cycle.”

Winner’s Cycle

During a winner’s cycle it is the rare listener who has any realistic idea of how their particular set of headphones sounds, or the quality of that sound. You simply don’t have the time to spend hearing all of your options and comparing them to each other. You of course know that it’s all bullshit and that your particular pair of cans sound like shit but you don’t HAVE the time to even get bothered with it.

In other words listening to your cans is something you do after you get something that you want – it’s one of the last things to consider when all you want to hear is something that’ll get you through your next break (non-linear dynamic demand represents the winner’s cycle. If you want them you have to listen to them first).

I know there are times when I’ve been dying for a pair of $5000 cans and I wish I knew just as I was putting them on that I could have saved $750 with the same result. The way I conceptualize shopping for a pair of cans is this – How bad do I want to hear something that’s $1500? How sure are you that you can get that one?

We have come to our conclusion that the audio industry’s winner’s cycle will be the strong to weak link. The headphone industry’s winner’s cycle is over and we’re in one of its weak links. The majority of the headphones we carry are now either acceptable, good, or great. This will continue to be the case.

We do not source nearly as many extremely expensive items as before but we carry a very wide variety of absolutely excellent headphones that would’ve cost you less than a single cup of coffee.

We are resourcing a few more of the really expensive stuff simply because of the unexpectedly large demand for them. With the exception of “exclusive editions” the target markets for the headphones we’ve been carrying are either nonexistent or in dire need of lots of new shoppers.

The reason that “winners” keep coming up with new ways to blow huge amounts of money on headphones is because there’s a shortage of better music being made to listen to. I mean, listen to Fluke – they make all new records, just about every year. The music is there, it’s just being ignored until now.

But at least enough of it is being made that we can find it to fill up most of the headphones that we sell. The few that we see that cost more than the headphones we already carry are either out of stock or are not being actively marketed and sold.

I believe these factors to be the explanation for the headphone market’s current strong demand. There is an endless supply of junk music being thrown at the market and more new ones being sold in a year than audio companies could make in a decade of production.

I would therefore like to draw your attention to the discussion about the three states of existence for headphones. For the time being please bear in mind that when I discuss headphones I am speaking about “everything” rather than “underwater, in space, and underwater in space.”

You might find it interesting or useful to conduct a search of the site to find out what our headphones are normally like.

Where to buy best office headsets from?

iMac laptop?

PC?

Gadget, computer, or headphone accessories?

Microphone, headphones and earphones – not the same.

Tuning fork – not good audio quality.

Tubular phonograph cartridge – bad for high range

Wireless – Bluetooth, headset and wireless phone not same

Tubular monophonic cartridge – poor sound quality.

Please understand that the three lists are not specifically organized to help you easily navigate the site. Rather, they are a historical record of the point of view of those of you who’ve read the site for a period of time.

Know your Stuff

Understanding the state of things in the headphone industry

This is a very useful page to read. Labels on your headphones are an important part of selecting a good set of cans, but understanding how they work and how they affect sound quality helps even further.

Some people are content to grab a pair of $50 headphones at the store, toss them in a computer case, and let them loose on a piece of crappy music. This advice is valid. Others make concerted efforts to truly understand the nature of what they’re hearing and employ listening strategies like “time alignment,” which is a subject very near and dear to our hearts here at Music Soup.

We also tend to have a lot of different pair of headphones, but we tend to be quite advanced in buying them. We buy open-back headphones and closed-back headphones, ones with fancy twist-to-fit cables, and ones with two cables.

Now the only time we ever listen to our headphones is when we want to listen to a new headphone or headphones. We do not listen to them all day long. The purpose of this is to make sure that we’re using as little energy as possible, instead of using way too much, and to make sure that we don’t use headphones as a crutch for not being able to hear properly.

The one time we leave our cans on is when that headphone is being used for a purpose external to music listening. For example, when I use my headphones as alarms, I get up at the same time, but I still listen to my headphones at that time. I use headphones for this purpose, what I call “blindfold listening,” because wearing headphones does exactly the same thing it does in the real world – serve as an effective mask to keep out external noise and non-music noise.

This is why it is actually possible to improve your hearing through the use of headphones.

The one place we wear our headphones all the time is at the computer. We use our cans on the computer to watch movies, or talk to people at the computer, and we use them for music while we’re working.

When we do this, we most often wear headphones on our head. We feel that listening with headphones on the ear is better than listening with headphones on the ear canal. We like the sound, and we’re not sure that it needs to be any better, so we have the self control to use headphones on our head, rather than headphones in the ear. We try to keep our focus on the music not the headphones.

We don’t like to use burn-in as a test. For example, we use our headphones for listening while we’re eating. Another time we use them is for watching TV, and another for listening to music. We only have one headphone per person, which we usually rotate on a weekly basis. So we prefer not to use burning in, to better test our style in actual use.

Yes, we recommend that you try get some kind of headphone stand so you can have your cans on there while on the computer, and in your car or home theater system.

What is Special about Office Headsets?

Office headphones (also called “earbud headphones”) are good to use for music in a business environment in which you need a sound isolation device. They are often used in a very loud office environment in which it’s not safe to play music as loud as an individual would want to play it to enjoy the music.

What is the Best Microphone and Headset to Use?

USB headsets often have a better mic than the ones that ship with many headphones, but otherwise they’re similar in type and feel and (usually) very similar in performance.

The only difference that I’ve ever found between the two is that the Sweet water rig is easier to use because of being able to attach a mic to the headset without a lot of ancillary nonsense, while the USB headsets have some “studio quality” quality that’s just not worth the extra expense.

The main thing that I’ve seen that makes a USB headset good is if the person has a computer that’s recent enough and has good sound quality. In fact, most of the really good USB headsets are somewhat recent. The reason is that people simply don’t like to deal with adding a USB headset to a computer that might not handle the DSP output of a USB headset, and if that’s the case, then the quality of the sound on the USB headset can’t be that much better than the sound on the computer.

The USB headsets with sound cards built in that weren’t very good at first are even more irritating than the ones with sound cards that have to have a driver installed on the computer. I’ve had them both ways, and I’ve never seen a cheap USB headset that I liked. The really good ones are only very good.

I use the same headphones for everything except my loudspeakers, and I don’t like them for all of my tasks. In general, we own a lot of headphones and get the most use from them. I think that the quality of the enclosure, the parts used, and the build quality are not important when you’re getting great sound.

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