How to convert headphones into headset?
October 6, 2020 8:52 AM   Subscribe

What can I buy to turn my over-ear headphones into a headset to improve my audio quality on zoom calls?

I have these headphones link.

I've seen addons like this link which is the sort of thing I'm looking for. Would they work with my headset? Can you recommend any that can be purchased in Europe?

I don't want the mic to be on permanently, because I also use my headphones when I'm out and about. Thanks for your recommendations!
posted by Braeburn to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
The default recommendation for wireless these days appears to be the ModMic.

But... do you want the mic to be wireless? Do you have a Mac (which can reduce your options, especially for wireless) or PC? Do you have a budget?
posted by caek at 9:05 AM on October 6, 2020

I’m with caek, it’s hard to say without more specifics on your use case. The modmic is the best direct answer to your request, but if it were me, I’d look into getting a new headset that has a removable or flip-up mic. Another alternative would be a fixed mic, I’ve had success with the Samson Go Mic. It really comes down to price, whether you love your current headset, whether you must have wireless, and what your environment is like.
posted by Pacrand at 11:45 AM on October 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

If your sound quality issue is one of background noise, you can use (free for 100 minutes/week, $ after that) or Nvidia's RTX Voice (only if you have an Nvidia graphics gard, RTX or newer) both of which use 'AI' machine learning to cancel out backgound noise.

I use the app and it's amazing, I've used it on speakerphone with the laundry and dishwasher going (it's a small condo, I cannot escape them) while construction with heavy machinery went on across the street and the people on the other end of the line heard only my voice.

You may also find this of use: Best USB Microphone from Wirecutter
posted by tiamat at 3:42 PM on October 6, 2020

Understand also if you need/want to hear your own voice it's very difficult to avoid delays when using separate digital devices. Doesn't take much, just a few milliseconds difference.

I ran into this when setting up a remote learning station for my child. Trying to tie together piano, guitar, computer and mic inputs made it a real challenge avoiding delays. Eventually the only reliable solution was to use an external mixing board (a Yamaha MGP16X). That'd be overkill for your situation though, as you don't need multiple external sources.

I agree with the recommendation to just get a headset that has the features you want already integrated.
posted by wkearney99 at 3:52 PM on October 6, 2020

In this previous ask we talked about the VModa boom pro. Would depend on what you were plugging it into. Works fine on my Mac.
posted by advicepig at 3:55 PM on October 6, 2020

Another vote for buying a separate headset with built-in mic. Although you end up juggling two headsets, I think it will be cheaper and more reliable than an add-on approach. (That's what I did; $35 US for these.) Or get a separate USB mic, as tiamat suggested.
posted by pmurray63 at 7:41 PM on October 6, 2020

I have been using the Antlion ModMic in this capacity for some number of years. There's a small magnetic mount that you stick to the headphone, and the mic itself snaps to that. It's a corded device with a cable clip so that you can run the wire alongside your headphone wire. These days I rarely pop the mic off and the headset is more or less permanently cabled to one of my computers, but when I actually went places it was pretty trivial to disentangle the arrangement so I could abscond with my headphones to go somewhere else.

Note that this option leaves you with two plugs to contend with: the headphone itself and a separate plug for the mic. With laptops or mobile devices this can be a problem as many of them expect a single TRRS plug for both mic and headphone. If that's the case for you, you'll be wanting to couple the addition of a ModMic with a bit of a dongle to combine the phones and mic to TRRS.
posted by majick at 8:50 AM on October 7, 2020

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