with Various and Sundry Observations Tossed In at No Extra Costs
By James Richards - K8JHR
Good transmit and receive audio is important for hearing weak stations or being involved in long nets/rag
chews. Poor audio not only make it difficult to understand what the other operator is saying, it can also cause
substantial fatigue and discomfort over time.
The selection of speakers or headphones for use with amateur radio equipment is a very subjective, personal
decision, and what works for one will not necessarily work for another. Tangible differences in personalities,
room acoustics, equalization, volume, distortion, and other variables from shack to shack, all mean the same
speaker will not sound the same in every shack. Add in the inherent and inevitable variations in our hearing,
and you have a sure fire recipe for argument over what speaker is best. Some like more bass, others more
treble, and still others want it acoustically flat or linear across the audio spectrum. Personally, I like to roll
the bass off at about 250 KHz and the treble off at about 3800 KHz, and boost the frequencies between 500
and 2500 just a little bit, as this seems to enhance speech intelligibility. Nevertheless, I have made a serious
attempt to avoid this sort of bias in evaluating and commenting on the products mentioned in this piece, so as
to be as neutral and as unbiased as I can be.
Open or Closed Earphone Receivers:
There are two types of earphone receiver:
1) Supra-aural type open air receivers, which sit flat against the ears, and provide
no amount of ambient noise attenuation;
2) Circum-aural open air receivers, which have open air sound, but have a larger earphone
pad which goes around the ears, and sits on the head and neck, and may provide
a small amount of ambient noise attenuation; and
3) Circum-aural closed cup receivers which have a larger earphone pad that goes
around the ears and sits on the head and neck, but which block ambient noise
and provide some degree of ambient noise attenuation, or or less depending
on the design.
When talking on the air, I prefer open air earphone receivers because I sound more natural and normal (to
myself) as I speak. I do not care as much if the headphones block out nearby sounds because I am typically
alone in the shack area and it is fairly quiet in my world.
I rarely recommend supra-aural (i.e., earphone pads that rest on the ear) because these often cause
discomfort by pinching or pressing the ears against the head. As a general rule, eyeglass wearers should avoid
this type of earphone receiver. Some are OK, but you want to be sure before you buy. If they have to much
clamping force, they can pinch and hurt the ears; if they have too little clamping force, they may not stay
put or place the headphone speaker element close enough to the ear canal to sound good. While I like an
open air earphone design, I usually avoid supra-aural designs.
On the other hand, not every shack is a quiet as a morgue, and one can also hear every other sound in the
shack, including cooling fans, kids, and the dog and the XYL both barking. Closed cup earphone receivers
muffle the sound of your own voice, so you don't sound natural and normal (to yourself) as yo speak. It is
analogous to putting your fingers in your ears as you speak – it sounds dull and muddled, and one tends to
speak more loudly over time. I am sure we have all witnessed some teenager singing loudly and off key to
music in his earphones, because he cannot hear himself well enough to stay on key and monitor his volume
appropriately. It can be funny to watch sometimes. I do not like that feeling when working the rig. So open
K8JHR Headset Commentary,
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air are nice to have because they don't plug up your ear like closed cup sets do. Our radios usually have a
mic monitor setting, but that still does not work the same as when using your own ears, listening naturally.
Dynamic or Electret Condenser Microphones:
Broadcast style headsets typically employ a dynamic microphone cartridge, which works well with most
amateur band transceivers, the notable exception being the modern ICOM models, for which the default
microphone type is an electret condenser capsule. Dynamic microphone cartridges do not require a constant
bias voltage, as do computer gaming headsets which utilize small, inexpensive electret condenser capsules.
Electret capsules tend to produce a significantly higher audio output (often called open signal voltage) than
dynamic cartridges. Electret condenser capsules a good match for Icom and Elecraft radios and most
computer sound cards, while the majority of ham transceivers seem set, by default, to work best with a
dynamic cartridge. Some radios, including those made by TEN-TEC, have a dedicated hardware microphone
gain pot on the circuit board, as well as a front -panel MIC GAIN pot, for adjusting microphone input volume.
A Word about Equalization:
Radio manufacturers have selected default audio settings that to an appropriately flat equalization curve for
the job and, in my opinion, no adjustment is necessary for good results. Not that one cannot not improve on
those settings for various reasons, but I feel, generally, transceiver manufacturers have been reasonably
conscientious and have made appropriate design decisions. After all... we typically use just 2800 KHz audio
and RF bandwidth, so how good does can it get?
Nevertheless there are times when one can gain some advantage adjusting the audio equalization curve on a
particular rig, relative to the speaker and microphone employed. For the purpose of this piece, my
comments will assume the usual default flat, linear EQ curve as the radio comes from the factory.
Different Strokes for Different Folks - Broadcast Quality or Gaming Headsets:
I am fortunate to be able to afford high quality broadcast studio headsets which are typically fitted with a
close-talking, high quality dynamic microphone that work well with my amateur band transceivers. These are
usually of commercial grade construction, and, unfortunately, usually bear a commercial grade price tag.
The models described below all work well, even though I may have my favorite among them. Some hams
have had good luck with aircraft headsets, but I feel these are overkill and cost way too much for what they
are and what they do, and feel the broadcast quality headsets provide excellent performance at a much lower
price point. The only advantage I can see to some of the aircraft models is the degree of passive ambient
noise attenuation, but you can obtain that with some broadcast models for substantially lower cost.
Many computer gaming headsets work well with ham transceivers. However, BUYER BEWARE! Many are
cheaply made and will not be sufficiently durable for the long haul, and may not hold up under the stress of a
contest or portable application, so be careful not to pay too much for too little. Also, many of the less
expensive gaming headsets have poor construction, lousy audio components, and typically very little, if any,
ambient noise suppression.
This is a rapidly expanding market, and many companies make low quality headsets, and charge high prices
for glitzy, fancy looking sets that are poorly made or which sound bad. It is worth it to me, but this will not
fit within every ham's budget. Many hams are pleased with the headsets made by Turtle Beach, Creative,
Logitech, SteelSeries, ASUS, and other brands. As a rule, I am not impressed with the offerings from these
companies. BeyerDynamic makes a good, well built set. As a rule, Sennheiser makes high quality gaming
headsets. The Sennheiser PC-350 is a very comfortable, great sounding choice, but costs a hefty $170 street
price. The less expensive Sennheiser models offer good value, but may not be as comfortable as the more
expensive models, because they (typically) provide supra-aural, on-ear receiver pads, and not the more
comfortable, greater noise suppressing, circum-aural ear pads. More on this later...
This style of headset typically employs an inexpensive electret condenser microphone capsule, although a
minority few models so sport a dynamic microphone cartridge. Examples of the latter include the KOSS SB40, early versions of the Yamaha CM-500, and AudioTechnica ATH-COM models.
K8JHR Headset Commentary,
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One must pay attention to audio input signal levels when using this type of headset microphone with amateur
band transceivers. Most newer transceivers provide the required 5-10v bias voltage on one pin of a front
panel 8-pin foster jack, which is necessary to charge the plate of the capsule.
This 5-10v bias voltage is not the same as 9 - 45v “phantom voltage” required by larger diaphragm
electret condenser studio microphones. Not all electret condenser microphones are created equal,
and the two major types are not alike - some require 5-10v bias voltage, and others require 9-45v
phantom voltage. Those considered in this review are of the first type, and require bias voltage,
which is typically provided on the middle “ring” of the plug or jack - typical of most computer sound
card inputs.
There are LOADS of electret condenser-based headsets that can work well with out rigs. These are computer
type headsets which typically terminate in 3.5mm stereo plugs, as they are designed and intended to mate
with computer sound cards. Gaming headsets come in many styles, varieties, and sometimes include
additional features curious to the GAMING world. After an extensive study, I conclude virtually any medium to
high quality gaming headset will suffice – with prices ranging from $10 on up to over $300. To prove the
point, In ordered 20 inexpensive headsets from various vendors on eBay.com, all costing less than $10, and I
tested them in various ways. Most made the cut.
Because electret condenser elements run much HOTTER (i.e., have a substantially higher open signal voltage)
than dynamic elements, I use a 10 dB ATTENUATOR PAD to reduce the signal level to that of a typical dynamic
microphone cartridge. Many computer headsets work great with our transceivers, but would do better with a
10 dB attenuator to place the open signal voltage (i.e., signal strength of the mic audio electric signal) within
the middle range of the transceiver. It will appear to the rig as if it were a dynamic type microphone. We
routinely transform the impedance of our antennas with a matchbox or “tuner” so the transceiver sees a 50
ohm load - why not use a transformer with our microphones so the rig sees the same input signal strength
from an electret microphone as from a dynamic microphone? This simple circuit can be purchased in the
form of a manufactured adapter, or be home brewed as a simple voltage divider using a pair of resistors.
AndreaElectronics sells such an adapter for $5: http://tinyurl.com/76s6n3y
So why bother with a 10 dB attenuator? What happens if I don't use one?
You might find your rig expects the lower open signal voltage from a dynamic microphone and you end up
overloading the audio input circuit, causing distortion and cramping the transmit AGC/ALC circuit – causing it
to do all its work in a very small range. I will make a feeble attempt to explain this: Let's say the radio has
a MIC GAIN range of 1-100%. The default MIC GAIN setting is, typically 50%, which works just fine for the
typical hand-held performance type dynamic microphone. But electret condenser capsules typically have
much higher output signal strength, so to get an appropriate input volume, you end up setting the MIC GAIN
control way down, perhaps as low as 2 or 3%. The practical result is if you set MIC GAIN lower, it will pretty
much kill the mic input entirely, and if you turn it up any higher, the transceiver ALC/AGC circuit engages full
blast full time, rather than engaging only upon audio peaks as it should. Using an attenuator, allows you to
set MIC GAIN much higher, closer to the default 50%, and allows you to enjoy the normal adjustment range
range, as you get with the usual dynamic mic.
Of course, ICOM rigs are often designed for use with an electret condenser microphone, and that is what ICOM
supplies these days. Consequently, whether or not one needs a microphone input attenuator will vary among
manufacturers and among various models. One may need an attenuator with a Yaesu, TenTec, Kenwood, or
other brand transceivers, but NOT with the ICOM or Elecraft models.
When using computer type electret condenser microphones, I employ a matching circuit that provides the 5v
bias voltage the electret condenser capsule requires (my radios supply 10 volts on one of the front panel 8pin foster jack,) and provides 10 dB attenuation of the audio signal. It would be an easy modification to
insert a switch in the audio line to switch the attenuator in or out. While the typical electret capsule is rated
work with as little as 2 v, and as much as 15v, bias voltage, my adapter circuits employ a simple two-resistor
voltage divider that reduces the 10 volts on the front panel microphone jack to approximately 5 v (equivalent
to what the typical computer sound card provides,) because I believe that provides a better overall audio
K8JHR Headset Commentary,
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In any case, you may want just such an attenuator circuit, and maybe add a switch to let you optionally switch
the attenuator in and out of the audio chain, depending on which radio your connect your computer gaming
What I Might or Might Not Buy, and Why:
I am not favorably impressed with many lines of computer headset, including, without limitation to this list,
Plantronics, Logitech, Creative, Turtle Beach, TriTTon, Steel Series, Corsair, and others (although the Corsair
and Steel Series appear better made and appear to have better audio specifications than some of the other
brands.) In contrast, I like Sennheiser headphones and headsets because they are durable, and have better
audio performance. Nevertheless, all the the brands SHOULD work acceptably well in this application. You
you pays your money, and takes your chances – but most should work fine, so you be the Judge.
There are LOADS of cheap Chinese made computer gaming headsets that have decent sound quality and these
can be purchased for as little as $5 on eBay.com. Oddly, the least expensive component is the microphone,
and generally they are of acceptable quality - it is the earphone speakers that usually prove to be the weak
link in the audio chain. Most important, the inexpensive sets often have poor construction, and the earphone
receivers often lack sufficient ambient noise attenuation, making them ill suited for use in a noisy ham shack,
with significant ambient noise from cooling fans, pets, or family members, and are definitely ill suited for use
in a noisy contest environment (except, perhaps in a CW contest where there is little talking going on.)
I purchased 20 cheap headsets on eBay.com and tested them for use at a multi-operator contest station I
sometimes play at, and while most were good enough for daily use in a single-op shack, only a few were well
suited for use in a multi-operator contest environment. It was not so much the overall sound quality, but low
construction quality and the nearly total lack of ambient noise suppression that disqualified them for this
particular application.
Note: One CAN modify some headphone receivers and obtain more passive noise attenuation by filling
the cups with wool-like fiberfill batting and by affixing self-sticking rubber pads to the inside of the
(usually) hollow plastic earphone shells. The XYL may have some left over batting from a quilting or
other sewing project and this works well to attenuate ambient noise from outside the cup, and to
deaden unwanted reverberation produced by the earphone cup, itself.
For example, the Superlux HMD-660 suffers from earphone cup reverberation one speaks into the microphone.
The vibrations travel along the microphone boom arm and “echo” or reverberate slightly in the earphone
receiver, and also vibrate back down the mic boom and adversely impacts the clarity of the microphone input.
Dampening the earphone receiver with sticky rubber pads and filling the receivers with fiberfill batting
resolves this problem admirably. Many headphones could provide substantially greater passive noise reduction
with similar modification, and it an is easy and inexpensive to do as many headphones and headsets are
constructed with screws, or clips, and not glued or hermetically sealed. Many are designed to enable one to
field replace broken parts, such as shorted or broken cables or blown speaker elements.
I am confident most headphones and headsets can be made substantially more noise canceling by performing
this simple modification – so much that I don not consider “active” noise-canceling headphones a worthwhile
option for the ham shack. Passive noise attenuation can be accomplished : a) at lower cost, b) with no
deleterious digital artifact and digital distortion, and c) with greater model selection. There is no free
lunch. Active noise cancellation is a compromise solution and cannot reduce noise without imposing some
deleterious artifact and can distort the desired audio signal. Many active noise canceling headsets reduce
some noise, while adding a measure of high frequency white noise in its place. Consequently, I am a fan of
passive noise attenuation, instead.
ASUS makes a popular wireless headset which incorporates active noise cancellation. It might incorporate
everything one is looking for in a lightweight wireless, noise canceling, headset – at a $120 typical street
price. I have not tried one yet, but it is on my list of future sets to try. I have not ordered them because I
am sufficiently pleased with my current stable of headsets, including the AudioTechnica BPHS-1, Shure SM-2,
modded Superlux HMD-660, and KOSS 3000 which sports nearly 30 dB passive noise cancellation. All of them
have sufficient passive ambient noise attenuation and have good, clear, microphones with sufficient output
signal strength to drive the transceiver. Consequently, I have no need for active noise cancellation, but this
K8JHR Headset Commentary,
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ASUS wireless headset set might fun to use because it offers reasonably high quality audio performance, has
active noise cancellation, and is WIRELESS, which could be a handy feature in a shack where we already have
too many wires and cables to trip over. You could use it as a wireless headset, even if you turn the active
noise cancellation feature off.
Superb mic and earphone speakers with
durable and attractive high quality
components - removable/replaceable cable is
durable and well made. This is a very
lightweight and comfortable headset over long
operating sessions - circumaural (around the
ear) pads are plush and soft - this is a treat to
own and use. Top drawer pro-grade headset.
Cable comes unterminated - user must add
appropriate plugs for the intended
application. Microphone is especially clear
and suited for use with amateur band
Top grade professional headset with superb
mic and earphone audio using extremely
lightweight and durable, components. Open
air speakers rest on the ear, but with
extremely low clamping force. Extremely
comfortable over long operating sessions – you
may forget you have them on. Cable comes
unterminated - user installs appropriate plugs
for his intended application. Microphone is
especially clear and suited for use with
amateur band transceivers. Audiophile grade
earphone elements. These are as good as
they come. Expensive.
Shure SM-2
Extremely durable, super comfortable with
superb dynamic microphone and high quality
earphone speakers tailored for the human
speech spectrum (i.e. limited range to 200 –
8000 KHz.) Headband has many metal
components, including stainless steel mic
boom for consistent microphone placement
and durability. Microphone is especially clear
and well suited for use with amateur band
transceivers. Used for years on television
sets, movie lots and in recording studios.
Removable/replaceable cable is extremely
durable and well made. Excellent headset.
K8JHR Headset Commentary,
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KOSS 3000
Super value - super-heavy-duty commercial
grad headset with super strong mic boom.
Excellent clear microphone and speaker audio
especially suited for use with amateur band
transceivers. Rather “hot” electret
condenser microphone output will benefit
from the 10 dB attenuator described in the
text, above. Earphone receivers provide up to
30 dB passive ambient noise reduction –
practically eliminating the sound of power
cooling fans and other ambient noise, allowing
operator to concentrate on the desired
signals. Separate L/R earphone volume
controls facilitate optimal listening volume
and stereo balance. Originally made for
Kenwood commercial radios, now sold as
inexpensive white elephants by KOSS on
eBay.com. I purchased two sets for my shack,
so that says how much I like this headset.
Shure 512
Extremely comfortable headset - with super
microphone cartridge (same mic cartridge as
Shure WH-20 and SM-2 headsets) - with single
open air earphone receiver. It appears to
have stereo earphones, but right side receiver
has no speaker – although it could easily be
modified for stereo. Microphone is clear and
especially well suited for use with amateur
radio transceivers. I use the single side
earphone in tandem with a desktop speaker –
which gives an interesting 3-D depth to
receiver audio. Not for everyone, but the mic
element, alone, is worth the cost, and can
easily mount on your favorite headphones to
convert them into a great headset. It would
be a killer combination with KOSS Pro4/AA
headphones which come with a knurled-knob
microphone mount on the left earphone
receiver. Super lightweight and extremely
durable in spite of its appearance. I have
used the Shure Model VR-250-BT headset
made from the same components for
computer speech recognition for over 15 years
with no faults.
K8JHR Headset Commentary,
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Superlux HMD-660
Inexpensive, lightweight, comfortable
headset, providing good performance and
fairly durable large, circum-aural (around the
ears) ear pads. Good dynamic microphone
with excellent wide range earphone
performance, great for music. Spring steel
headband with mostly metal parts easily
adjusted for optimal clamping force.
Microphone boom relatively lightweight
compared to the competition and may be the
weakest link. Good value for the price.
Earphone receiver cups are easily be opened
and modified to increase acoustic damping.
Some owners of this headset, and related
HMD-660 headphones, complain the earphone
receivers suffer from slight, almost inaudible
reverberation or have a hollow, plastic
overtone - especially when when speaking into
the microphone – extremely subtle, but
present nonetheless. Dampening the
earphone receivers with fiber-fill, and/or
rubber padding provides sufficient damping to
fully resolve the problem at practically no
cost, improving performance and overall
Astute observers may notice this set bears an
uncanny resemblance to the BeyerDynamic
DT-777 headphones, and many parts,
including very soft, plush BeyerDynamic ear
pads, fit both products exactly.
Model 777
TEN-TEC branded headset - looking
suspiciously like a HEIL Proset 6 - but for less
money and purportedly using a different
electret mic capsule. Durable, well built
headset with clear microphone and good wide
range earphone audio – works well with
amateur radio transceivers. Mic boom is very
heavy duty. Mic capsule may be (I guess)
housed in a removable shell for field repair.
Ear pads are circum-aural (resting around and
not on the ears) are somewhat stiff – but
durable and reasonably comfortable over long
operating sessions, provide an estimated 15
dB ambient noise reduction. TEN-TEC is
famous for excellent service after the sale.
Same microphone element as the Shure SM-2
and Shure 512 headsets. Extremely durable
and very clear microphone audio - well suited
for use with amateur radio transceivers. This
is a handy mic if you want a head-worn mic,
but do not want to headphones resting on or
over the ears -can easily be modified and
adapted to mount on various headphones to
convert a favorite headphone into a headset.
K8JHR Headset Commentary,
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WH-20 mic boom mounted to a Telex
computer microphone headband - extremely
light weight and comfortable.
WH-20 mic boom mounted to Sennheiser
HDR-130 wireless headphones. I used this
combination at my office using computer
speech recognition software – listening to
music, while dictating legal documents.
HMD-280 Pro
Heavy duty headset with good microphone
and excellent sounding earphone audio.
Lower mic output signal level than other
models. The HD-280 headphones are popular
headphone in recording studios and among
audiophiles interested in uncolored audio
response. Microphone is clear and works well
with ham band transceivers. I prefer a
slightly hotter cartridges - your mileage may
vary. Cable and some other components are
user serviceable. Headband has moderate
clamping power, but I believe can be
adjusted. Good set, but I prefer the lighter,
more comfortable, and hotter mic of AT BPHS1 and Shure SM-2, and KOSS 3000 headsets.
Eartec ProLine
Eartec has a reputation for making good
headsets, you can special order variations in
cable, connector, microphone element,
headband, and other features directly from
the factory. I contacted the factory, but did
not order, ONLY because I already have more
headsets than I need, but I expect them to be
well made and comfortable.
You may notice a remarkable resemblance to
the HEIL PRO SET... although I strongly suspect
Eartec and HEIL each use different
microphone capsules - I suspect, without
knowing, the same OEM makes the basic shell,
headband, and other parts for both product
lines. You be the Judge.
K8JHR Headset Commentary,
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Audio-technica ATH770COM
Superb computer headset - same headband
and earphone receiver shells as found on the
AT BPHS-1 professional broadcast headset.
$35 - $125
Excellent mic – Very good earphone receivers lightweight mic boom.
I found this set on eBay.com for a mere $25,
but this set typically sells for more than $100
depending on vendor, market, location, etc. worth looking for if you can get them cheap
enough. Electret condenser mic element
should have 10 dB attenuator as explained in
the text.
Extremely popular headset among hams.
Fairly durable and reasonably comfortable
over long sessions, mic and earphone
receivers both sound good on amateur band
transceivers. Low, maybe 10 dB passive noise
attenuation. Still, a good value overall.
This set appears to shave the same
construction and parts as the KOSS SB-40
headset with a $25 price bump. Early CM-500s
had a dynamic mic element, but current
iterations sport an electret condenser capsule
- Electret condenser mic element should have
10 dB attenuator as explained in the text.
KOSS SB-45 / SB-49
Excellent low cost headset - works well with
ham transceivers - very cost effective reasonably durable and comfortable over long
sessions - mic boom is sturdy and remains in
place - good quality mic and earphone
receivers - electret condenser mic element
moderately “hot” - use a 10 dB attenuator as
explained in the text, above. Hard to beat its
typical $35 street price (delivered) - eBay has
plenty of sellers at this price point. A real
bargain in my opinion. I purchased multiple
sets for a contest shack I play at. Covered by
KOSS limited Lifetime Warranty.
K8JHR Headset Commentary,
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Appears to be the same headset components
(except microphone) as Yamaha CM500,
although this model continues to use a
dynamic mic cartridge, whereas the Yamaha
CM500 now uses an electret condenser mic
capsule - reasonably durable and comfortable
over long periods of use - mic element is just
OK, provided one does not overdrive it (who
would?) Cost is a huge factor – you can
typically buy this set for less than $30
delivered from many vendors on eBay. May
be covered under KOSS limited Lifetime
Superb sounding mic and earphone receivers extremely durable headset with excellent
audio performance, but somewhat
uncomfortable as the earphone receiver cups
are a bit small compared to other headsets,
and may rest on, and not around, the ears and
this may pinch the ears over time. Your ears
may fit well inside the pads, so it is a case-bycase sort of problem. The headband has
rather strong clamping force so it may not be
as comfortable for long periods of operation
as other sets. Electret condenser mic should
have 10 dB attenuation as explained in text. I
sold this one. You might love it. Super
construction and great audio – good pick if you
find it comfortable.
$125 (+)
Sennheiser PC-350
Excellent mic and earphone audio with high
durability - excellent superb comfortable
circumaural leatherette (around the ear)
earphone pads. Outstanding computer gaming
headset with excellent mic and earphone
performance - a top shelf contender – very
comfortable over extended periods - about as
good as wired gaming headsets get. Electret
condenser mic element should have 10 dB
attenuator. Mic turns off if you raise the mic
boom arm to a vertical position. Expensive.
K8JHR Headset Commentary,
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BeyerDynamic DL-234
Extremely durable headset – acceptable
microphone and earphone audio performance
- smallish earphone receivers with plush
velour ear pads are soft, but if they end up
resting on the operator's ears instead of
around them, they may pinch and be
uncomfortable over long sessions. This is, of
course, variable among different operators.
Electret condenser mic element should have
10 dB attenuator as explained in the text. I
sold this set because it pinched my ears.
Very durable headset with outstanding mic
and earphone audio - good value for the
money. I like these for when I don't want to
use circum-aural cans. Good value for price.
Open air earphone receivers rest on the ears
and may cause minor discomfort over very
long periods of use – but the clamping force is
not such as to bother me. The PC-151 is
slightly more expensive, but uses better
larger, softer pads and should be substantially
more comfortable over long sessions. Electret
condenser mic element should have 10 dB
Sennheiser PC-151
More comfortable, with better padding on
headband and softer earphones - probably
same mic capsule as the PC-131, but probably
better earphone speaker elements than the
PC131. Durable and reasonably comfortable
over long sessions, although earphone pads do
rest on the ears, so may not be quite as
comfortable as a circumaural style
headphone, but these are very durable, and
have excellent mic and speaker audio for the
price. Electret condenser mic element should
have 10 dB attenuator. Open air earphone
receivers, so no ambient noise suppression.
$45 - $55
typical street price
K8JHR Headset Commentary,
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Laptop Microphone
$1 to $3 on eBay.com
Inexpensive microphone on flexible boom arm
provides remarkable good audio input for the
price. Intended to plugs into a 3.5 mm phone
jack on a laptop computer or gaming headset
allowing it to be optionally removed. I tested
several models and they all provided clear,
high quality audio input. One could easily add
a 3.5mm jack and cable to most consumer
headphones to convert them into a headset
for very low cost. Electret condenser mic
element should have 10 dB attenuator.
Copyright and all rights reserved
James Richards, K8JHR
K8JHR Headset Commentary,
Page 12
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