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What Headest + Mic ?

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December 20, 2006 4:10:12 PM

Hi, Im trying to choose a headset, and would appreciate some feedback....

The basic aspects Im looking for are:
Quality: Comfort, Sound, Build Durability
USB connection

My uses would be:
Gaming
Music, Movies etc..
Internet chatting,VOIP, Skype etc...

Here are 3 basic models Im considering, which should also give you some idea of my budget, feel free to suggest other types of headsets which meet the budget/user requirements, and that you think compete with the 3 models Iv listed:


UK pricing

STEELSOUND 5H V2 USB
http://www.steelseries.com/products/steel_sound/steelso...
£59.64/$117.154 incl. delivery

PLANTRONICS Audio headset 550 DSP
http://www.plantronics.com/europe_union/en_GB/products/...
£56/$109.999 incl. delivery

SENNHEISER PC 155 USB
http://www.sennheiser.co.uk/uk/icm_senncom.nsf/root/500...
£65/$127.678 incl. delivery


Also, if someone could express an opinion or provide information for:
Is it possible to listen to gameplay & team chat on speakers, while using the headset mic for talking?.

More about : headest mic

December 21, 2006 3:07:57 PM

harrrummphhhh!
December 22, 2006 7:58:10 PM

I don't know much about any of those headsets. I have a $25 set that works just fine for me - I'm sure those will give superior sound and quality. If you can "test-drive" them from a local store first, it is helpful to see how comfortable they are for you to wear.

You can use just the mic and have sound come through the speakers, but that will send a lot of that noise BACK INTO your mic and it will sound crappy for everyone else. Mics are generally used with a headset for that reason.
Related resources
December 23, 2006 10:46:00 PM

The Steelpad 5H is a very good headset. A few months back I bought myself a headset, it was between that one and the Speedlink Medusa, I got the latter and I don't regret it, but both are great buys.

However I would get the normal 3.5mm jack version of either headset because USB is bad. (that is, if you have a 5.1+ soundcard/onboard)

As for your final question: yes it is possible. Just as long as you save the green jack for your speakers, you can leave the remaining channels of your headset in. Although, I don't know if it would work the same with a USB headset.

While I'm thinking about that, I'm really going to advertise the Speedlink Medusa, there is one version that comes with a very neat amplifier, a box that you can connect the 5.1 headset AND an additional 5.1 or lower speakerset on. It has a button to switch between speakers-headset. I think you can use both at the same time as well, not totally certain, but should be possible.
December 26, 2006 1:04:21 PM

I was going with the USB because I wasnt sure if I could have my speakers/headset connected at the same time?. and didnt want to phaff around at the back of the PC l every time I play online

It says 6 audio jacks so does that mean I can do it?, or is this a surround system thing?

Why would the USB sound bad, I kind of assumed that because it was more expensive and had a mini sound card built into the cable that it would sound better than my onboard, in terms of playing sound sensitive games etc..

MB Audio:
http://eu.dfi.com.tw/Product/xx_product_spec_details_r_...
Quote:
# Karajan audio module
- Realtek ALC850 8-channel AC’97 audio CODEC
- 6 audio jacks
- 1 CD-in connector
- 1 front audio connector
# True stereo line level outputs
# S/PDIF-in/out interface


Speakers Tech Info:
http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/details/GB/E...
I think these are 2.1 but I'l probably upgrade to 5.1 at some point
December 26, 2006 1:34:23 PM

Just go for a Logitech USB 350 headset. It's a lot cheaper and does the job well unless you expect your headset to perform fellatio (which it should do for the prices you've quoted)

If you step on it or something just buy a new one. I've had mine for about a year and it's still going strong after being bashed around but when it breaks I won't be out of pocket that much for a new one.....
December 26, 2006 2:30:21 PM

Well, you shouldn't go with usb headset, you should go with one that you can use with a soundcard (either on-board or not).

I would recommend you getting this one:

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=SP...

I've read some excellent reviews on it and it's also a 5.1 headset with detachable microphone. Here's are some reviews of it:

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=554&...

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Razer/Barracuda-HP1

http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/razer_barracuda_rev...
December 26, 2006 2:31:52 PM

I'd definitely recommend the Plantronics DSP 500. I've used a lot of headphones/mics and this is the only one that is comfortable enough to wear for extended periods. The sound quality is great and it's digitally enhanced via USB (no batteries needed). You can spend more, but I've always found the faux surround headphones to sound really weird and definitely not good for music. Also, the cord is like 12ft long which is great.

The Logitech USB 350 is ok (I use this one on my business laptop), but it's not as well padded as the Plantronics and the sound quality is not as good.

Edit: I just noticed above you're looking at the DSP 550s. That design look sweet and have pretty much the same insides as my 500s.
December 26, 2006 3:19:42 PM

Quote:
I was going with the USB because I wasnt sure if I could have my speakers/headset connected at the same time?. and didnt want to phaff around at the back of the PC l every time I play online

It says 6 audio jacks so does that mean I can do it?, or is this a surround system thing?

Why would the USB sound bad, I kind of assumed that because it was more expensive and had a mini sound card built into the cable that it would sound better than my onboard, in terms of playing sound sensitive games etc..
I think these are 2.1 but I'l probably upgrade to 5.1 at some point

The Speedlink Medusa I recommended comes with an amplifier box that allows you to connect both your speakers and your headset and it has a switch to change devices whenever you want (or use them together). This eliminates the need to buy a USB headset because you won't have to be changing cables at the back of your pc all the time with this box. Of course, it will need a place to sit on, but on top of your pc it couldn't do any harm.

The reason why I am against USB headsets is because the built-in sound chips are usually very cheap, just enough to get by to support 5.1 surround sound. I doubt any headset built-in soundcard is better than your onboard. Besides which, while you're putting in a lot of effort and money to buy a good headset, you might as well buy a good (cheap) Creative soundcard so you get the best out of it.

I wouldn't recommend any Razer headsets despite what the reviews are saying. Razer are known for producing fine gaming equipment but audio is not really their area. I would at least go with a brand that has a solid ground and experience in the audio industry (such as Creative, Plantronics, Sennheiser).

The reason you might not know about Speedlink is because it's a German brand, and their products might be hard to get if you live in the USA. As an alternative I would recommend the Steelpad 5H but that would mean you'd have to find another way of connecting both headset and speakers (I take it you're using 5.1+ speakers otherwise this wouldn't pose a problem). You can always get three splitters in this case and connect the pairs of front, rear and center plugs to it. Cheap but functional solution.
December 26, 2006 6:18:34 PM

Quote:
Quote:
The reason why I am against USB headsets is because the built-in sound chips are usually very cheap, just enough to get by to support 5.1 surround sound. I doubt any headset built-in soundcard is better than your onboard. Besides which, while you're putting in a lot of effort and money to buy a good headset, you might as well buy a good (cheap) Creative soundcard so you get the best out of it.


Rubbish. My 350 gives good enough sound for 99% of the people out there who are not hardcore audiophiles. It also has an excellent microphone and I never get asked to repeat anything when I'm gaming. I always come across loud and clear. I occasionally listen to music and for that it's fine. Ok so I could probably spend 2 or 3 times as much but why? I fail to see the point when the 350 is a great little headset which works very well. Sure if you're an audiophile go for a more expensive headset and soundcard combination but if you're not you can't go past most of the USB headsets around these days.
December 26, 2006 8:10:37 PM

Quote:
Quote:
The reason why I am against USB headsets is because the built-in sound chips are usually very cheap, just enough to get by to support 5.1 surround sound. I doubt any headset built-in soundcard is better than your onboard. Besides which, while you're putting in a lot of effort and money to buy a good headset, you might as well buy a good (cheap) Creative soundcard so you get the best out of it.


Rubbish. My 350 gives good enough sound for 99% of the people out there who are not hardcore audiophiles. It also has an excellent microphone and I never get asked to repeat anything when I'm gaming. I always come across loud and clear. I occasionally listen to music and for that it's fine. Ok so I could probably spend 2 or 3 times as much but why? I fail to see the point when the 350 is a great little headset which works very well. Sure if you're an audiophile go for a more expensive headset and soundcard combination but if you're not you can't go past most of the USB headsets around these days.
Since the USB headsets and the 3.5mm jack headsets are around the same price category, I fail to see why someone should pay the same for less. Of course sound is much down to personal preference, but in my experience, I've had many people that said to me their soundcard / speakers / headset produced perfect sound but as soon as I gave them better alternatives, they realised that it sounded a lot better and they didn't want to go back.

I'm giving the topic starter some options, if he doesn't want to spend the cash then I don't think he has to. I don't think it takes an audiophile to hear the difference between good, satisfying sound and great sound. It's just the question how much you're willing to spend on it. And let's not forget that an USB integrated soundcard only helps the headset; a standalone soundcard will also affect your speaker sound, take some stress off the cpu and they can cost very little ($25) with noticeable improvement.

Nothing to attack your Logitech as it probably sounds good for you and many others out there. But if there's better bang for buck, what's to lose? If the topic starter has a budget of $125, I'm recommending to him what I think would be best for that money. And your Logitech might be best for a lot less money. But the topic starter is willing to spend that little extra to get more out of his headset.
December 27, 2006 11:39:40 AM

Thanks for the feedback:

Im moving away from the idea of USB, I cant afford a decent internal sound card at the moment, but I think my onboard will be ok

I did consider the cheaper logitech headset, but came across a few posts from ppl complaining about them breaking easily, now this might just be because they are more popular therefore there are gonna be more forum posts etc..

Just to make doubly sure that I can use a jack headset with my system + speakers

The audio jacks on my 'Karajan audio module' are as follows:

Blue line-in empty
Green front r/l line-out speakers
Red mic-in empty
Yellow centre sub woofer empty
Black rear r/l empty
Grey side r/l empty

So presumably I can plug the microphone into Red mic-in and the earphones into Black rear r/l?

Can someone just confirm that 'Green front r/l' and 'Black rear r/l' are identical audio outputs(and maybe also Grey 'side r/l') and its not a surround sound thingy?

Also, what happens if I can plug everything in at the same time, how do I switch between using the speakers and using the headset

Just looking at the Medusa:
http://www.audiovisualonline.co.uk/dynamic/eshop_produc...
It says its 5.1, could I still use these with a 2.3 output, Heres some more info of my onboard sound:
Quote:
The Realtek ALC850 7.1 audio chip has appeared on many recent motherboards. This 8-channel audio codec is fully AC '97 2.3 compliant and features 16-bit 8-channel audio and auto-jack sensing with support for a full range of analog and digital IO. The Karajan Module includes both SPDIF in and out coaxial connectors on the rear IO panel. There is also an on-board SPDIF connector for an optical cable.

The ALC850 Codec provides four pairs of stereo outputs, with 5-Bit volume controls and multiple stereo and mono inputs, along with flexible mixing, and gain and mute functions. Two 50mW/20ohm headset audio amplifiers are integrated at Front-Out and Surround-Out, and both amplifiers are selectable for Front-Out, Line-In and Mic-In as a Universal Audio Jack.
December 27, 2006 8:35:58 PM

A 5.1 device like that headset or 5.1 speakers require the following jacks:

- Green for front speakers
- Black for rear speakers
- Yellow for bass channel
- Pink for microphone (headsets)

A normal speakerset with two speakers also uses the green jack. But this one is already taken up by the headset. Of course you can leave the green plug out for the speakerset, and the yellow one if you want the subwoofer on your speakers, but this is not what you want. You'll want to have the Surround Home version headset and the one you linked is not the right version. This would be the one to get: click. It has two 5.1 audio panels so you can connect speakers and headphones seperately. I don't know any other quality headset that comes with this box, so that's why I picked it and that's why I'm a fan of it. Your setup would look like this:

!