Monday, November 17, 2014

Headsets and things

A little while ago I wrote a blog post about replacing my Plantronics 655 headset that had recently stopped working. Well, I spent a great deal of time searching for a good replacement and eventually came to the conclusion that there aren't any good headsets out there. Every single one of them has issues. Either the headset ear cups are not large enough, or the mike doesn't work very well or worse.

Razer Kraken USB isn't too bad. I didn't like the circular earpieces. They were too small (5cm) and the wrong shape. Ears aren't circular, not sure why they were with circular ear cups. Most of the reviews complained they fit funny.

The Steel Series headsets had terrible microphones. I like Steel Series as a company. My mouse is a steel series XAI but I would be embarrassed to use such a terrible microphone.

The worst, however, was the Sennheiser headset. Sennheiser has a fantastic reputation online. So good in fact, that when I found a pair of  PC333D G4ME going for cheap I bought them right then and there. They are normally out of the price range I would spend on a headset even with the sharp discount I got them for so I was hoping they would be amazing. Nope. Crushingly disappointed. Literally. They actually crushed my head with such force I couldn't wear them.

Have you even been back to an elementary as a grown man and tried to sit down at one of those tiny desks. That's pretty much what it felt like trying to put on the PC333D G4ME. I should point out I have never had anything close to this experience before. All headsets I have ever tried fit nicely on my head with plenty of room to spare. It's starting to make me wonder: do you have to grow up with this headset? Is it like artificial cranial deformation? You start off as a toddler playing games with this headset and over time your skull changes to fit the headset?

 Picture of typical Sennheiser customer skull

I had to send the PC333D G4ME back to the online retailer with a financial penalty so that has left me grumpy.

What surprised me is that it's very hard to find a headset with ear cups that are properly circumaural. All of them seem to have ear cups that are about a centimeter too small. Except for Plantronics whose ear cups are 2 cm to small. If you're wearing a headset all day they will press on your ears and become uncomfortable.

I was also surprised that many manufactures (some not explicitly mentioned here) ship their headsets with terrible microphones. If you're gaming online this tends to only annoy other people. However, if you're trying to do digital dictation, a good microphone is important.

The one manufacturer I haven't tried is Koss. This is partly because I can't figure out where Koss products are sold in Montreal and don't want to play the online ordering lotto again. The most comfortable headphones I own are Koss. Talking to their sales staff they might have a headset with large enough ear cups. I say might because no one at the company would commit to any measurements so I am still not sure.

At the moment I'm using a new pair of  Plantronics 655. They aren't the most comfortable headset ever but they were dirt cheap, they have a good microphone and they don't crush my skull.  I'll continue to use them until I can get a decent replacement.

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