Someone asked recently for a quick rundown of the new headset I’ve been using, the Plantronics Audio 470, a foldable USB headset:
In reality, it’s not a full USB headset: instead, it ships with a little USB dongle that does you hook the headphone and mic plugs into. I actually like this setup a lot since it means I can use the headset with normal, analog jacks, or as a USB connection. Unlike my older, larger Plantronics headset, the USB dongle is quite small and manageable.
The sound quality has been good so far – I’ve used it on several podcasts and for Skype many times. Click here for a short recording test using the head-set. Also, you always want mute and volume controls on your headset, which this one has. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have mic volume, which I always like to think I like having, but then I just jam it up all the way and adjust the input volume on my computer, so maybe it doesn’t really matter.
While sound quality is a “must have,” even more important is the portability. I travel pretty much weekly for work and am always lugging around my laptop bag so I wanted something small enough to carry around “just in case” I needed to record a podcast with good quality sound – running back to your hotel room to pick up “the good headset” isn’t often an option in the cavernous convention centers I’m at, let alone when the hotel is a car-ride away.
This headset’s portability has been good so far. It wraps up pretty tightly:
As with all portable gizmos, the manufacture missed the boat on shipping a small, custom made, hard-case with the headset to protect it. I’m worried that something bad will happen to the headset after a year or so of banging around in my laptop bag next to my MacBookPro, USB hard-drive, and generally getting jammed under airplane seats, in cars, and used as a foot-rest. So far its light plastic frame has withstood the crushing though.
People will often complain about long cords on headsets, but as I tend to walk around while on the phone – or Skype – I like having as long a wire as possible. You just have a little extra wrapping to do.
Overall, if you want a portable headset, I’d say get this one. The price is about $50 depending on where you get it, which is about as cheap as you want to go for a headset that’s not crap. If it broke tomorrow, I’d certainly buy one again. It’s solved my need to always have a good headset for podcasting on-hand and the quality is great.