- Headset Overview
- Full Article
Wired headsets are essential and highly affordable accessories for music-lovers and those always on-the-go. A high quality headset brings you closer to the person on the other end of the line, adds dimension and clarity to your music, and frees up your hands for a variety of other tasks.
Wired headsets are most often dual-ear devices, designed to take advantage of the direct audio connection afforded by an attached cable. This means high-quality stereo audio and hands-free talking in highly portable, light-weight designs. Single-ear mono models are also available for those looking, above all, to increase their mobility and ensure an easy, comfortable conversation.
Wired headsets come in a variety of configurations, with earphones designed to fit ears of all shapes, sizes, and comfort preferences. Built-in microphones ensure your voice comes across loud and clear--whether you're walking, driving, or simply too busy to hold on to your phone.
These days, it's increasingly rare—indeed, almost unheard of—for a cell phone to function solely as a phone. New models strive to integrate the best attributes of a host of devices—mp3 players, cameras, video game systems, and the like—into a single, comprehensive unit.
Headsets, whether wired or Bluetooth, are an increasingly important component for those looking to get the most out of their phones. A high quality headset brings you closer to the person on the other end of the line, adds dimension and clarity to your music, and frees up your hands for other tasks. Wired headsets in particular are capable of delivering extremely high-quality audio over a broad frequency spectrum, making them ideal for audiophiles on-the-go.
Below, we'll look at the full spectrum of wired headsets available to consumers, and outline the most important variations to take into consideration when making a purchase.
Stereo or Mono?:Wired headsets come in two basic configurations: one-ear (mono) and two-ear (stereo). Increasingly, one-ear designs are employing Bluetooth technology to cut out the need for wires. There are, however, a number of corded single-earpiece designs available for those without Bluetooth equipped cell phones and looking, above all, to increase their mobility.
Most corded headsets, however, are two-ear, stereo devices designed to take advantage of the direct audio connection afforded by an attached cable. While sound quality among Bluetooth devices is getting better and better, it still can't quite match the fidelity of their wired counterparts. Corded connections also eliminate the (admittedly small) amount of energy used by Bluetooth, so battery life is never a direct concern..
Headsets are, in many respects, just like conventional headphones, with the one significant addition of a small microphone. The same basic considerations that go into selecting a set of headphones, then, should apply to your choice of headset:
Comfort is a central consideration in selecting a headset, and one you shouldn't take lightly--after all, whatever model you choose is likely to sit in or around your ear for a good part of the day. Among stereo headsets, earpieces are almost always of the in-ear (commonly known as "ear-bud") variety; this style, in addition to being compact and lightweight, allows other ambient sounds to enter the ear, so you won't be deaf to your surroundings.
Ear-buds fall into two basic categories--those that rest in the outer ear (the ubiquitous white Apple earphones are a good example), and those that extend into the ear canal. The latter are somewhat better at isolating external sound, and tend to offer a more immersive listening experience; the former are, in the opinion of some, more comfortable and less intrusive. A number of other smaller variations in shape, material, and size distinguish common designs (spherical vs. conical, plastic vs. rubber, etc.), but ultimately such a choice can only be dictated by personal preference.
Among mono headsets (those with only one earpiece, in which sound is condensed into a single channel), earpieces often fit around the top of the ear. This design incorporates the microphone into the earpiece, mimicking a phone held against the ear. This design is, again, best for those seeking primarily to converse hands-free, but it also eliminates the worry of dropping an ear piece, and allows for comfortable and totally unrestricted movement.
Like conventional headphones, headsets are available at a broad range of sound qualities, with the best matching those of the highest quality dedicated ear-buds. High-end offerings feature broad frequency ranges, well-defined bass, and noise-reducing designs, as well as durable materials and casings designed to prevent wear from extended high-volume use.
Some wired headsets--particularly those offered by phone manufacturers for their own products--feature controls that allow you to perform basic functions (answering or ending calls, muting, adjusting volume) without ever removing your phone from your pocket or center console. This additional functionality only increases the convenience of a headset, and allows you to stay even more focused on the task at hand, whatever it might be.
Why wired headsets?
Wired headsets provide an affordable, highly functional way of maximizing productivity, mobility, and enjoyment in many of the tasks associated with cell phone use. Driving, walking, and multitasking all become immeasurably simpler, and music takes on new life and immediacy. Pick up one—and put down your phone—today.