Curt Brandao reviews three headsets that can serve all the auditory needs of professionals and gamers alike.
Technophile: Headsets that can help you get an earful
Logitech USB Headset H530
What it does The Logitech H530 headset connects to your Mac or PC via USB, providing surprisingly clear, undistorted sound for games, movies and VoIP calls.
How it does it Simply plug it into your computer and it works without the need to install drivers. On-ear controls allow you to mute or adjust volume levels and it has three equalizer settings that are pre-programmed for voice, music and gaming needs. It also comes with a generous 2.43-metre long cable.
Who it's for The snug, comfy ear cups and padded headband are ideal for those who want or need to use headsets for long hours every day. Although you shouldn't expect the mic to produce studio-quality sound, incoming audio is crisp and clear.
Plantronics .Audio 655
What it does The Plantronics .Audio 655 is a sturdy, general-purpose headset that delivers rich, full-spectrum sound and noise reduction for your daily digital audio needs.
How it does it Swivel-mounted, cushioned earpieces help reduce ambient noise and its adjustable over-the-head headband is strong enough to stay as tight or loose as you like. It also automatically mutes the mic when you raise the boom, which can be a handy feature.
Who it's for The .Audio 655 provides spectacular sound for a USB device and also works as a serviceable audio recorder for amateur or semi-pro podcasters or internet broadcasters. It only works with Windows computers, however, and some with big ears could find it a bit too snug.
Microsoft LifeChat LX-4000
What it does The LifeChat LX-4000 comes with a single earpiece that allows you to listen to both the virtual and real worlds simultaneously.
How it does it Although you can hear the world around you through your naked ear, the LifeChat LX-4000 offers a mic with noise-cancelling features, so you need not worry that callers on the other side will be distracted by ambient sounds.
Who it's for Multitasking office workers and small-business owners who make a lot of VoIP calls, but also need to pay equal attention to their colleagues popping in and out of their cubicles. It can plug-and-play into Windows machines, but Mac users will have to tweak their system preferences to get it going.