Decent all-purpose wired headset
March 16, 2021 11:50 PM   Subscribe

I need a new general-purpose headset for calls and music. It needs to be over-the-ear and wired -- if it's smaller, it will disappear. No noise cancellation since I will probably walk around outside with it some for walk and calls. I don't intend on buying separate headphones for music, so I don't want music to sound too tinny, but let's not assume I'm a huge audiophile. Recommendations?
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College to Technology (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you want USB or a headphone jack? If you're walking around outside I guess it's a headphone jack. A colleague swore by his Turtle Beach gaming headset for running virtual meetings, but this wirecutter link seems to think there are more comfortable (or better-for-the-price) options available. They range from $35-$100; they have an open-back recommendation from Audio-Technica for $90 that might be better for hearing outside stuff.

If you're thinking "I could've google this, what I'm actually looking for is personal recommendations," I have fallen victim to the absence of headphone jacks. I have a pair of bluetooth headphones that my spouse has adopted, and I have a USB Jabra headset (stereo speakers and a plastic boom mic) that I use almost all day, almost every day. It's a Jabra Evolve 20, and they're around $50; they gave them to us at the office when they took away everyone's desk phones.
posted by adekllny at 5:58 AM on March 17, 2021

I can't imagine wearing any of those gaming headphones while walking around outside.

On the Wirecutter front, their picks for best wired usb headset includes the latest version Jabra model that adekllny is referring to. That is the line of products that my company gives out to everyone as a default headset. It has two pieces...a usb dongle that plugs into your PC that gives you volume control, mute and call pickup/hangup...and a headphone that plugs into the dongle via standard 3.5mm plug.

The boom mic does swivel up and sorta blends into the headband so it wouldn't look too ridiculous to walk around using this to listen to audio but I don't think I have ever seen anyone do that.
posted by mmascolino at 6:39 AM on March 17, 2021

I do have some tips for searching. I also look for headphones that aren't noise cancelling / isolating and it's really difficult to search for these, because every model seems to advertise their noise cancelling features! Sometimes it helps to look for "ambient noise headphones" or lists of products meant for people cycling or running outside. These came up as a suggestion and I think they fit your criteria, but I haven't personally tried them.
posted by beyond_pink at 6:55 AM on March 17, 2021

I have the Jabra Evolve 40, which are the ones recommended in the Wirecutter link above. They are what we got at work when we moved away from desk phones, and I liked them so much that I bought a set to use at home as well. I don't listen to much music on them, but I don't think they sound tinny at all. I mostly use them for calls, both work and personal, and then listening to podcasts and white noise as a background while I work. They are definitely not noise canceling, which is occasionally an issue - if there is something really loud (i.e. my printer doing its cleaning cycle) it can drown out the call. As noted in the Wirecutter review, they can have issues with breathing noises, but I find if you position the mic down by your chin instead of in front of your mouth, that takes care of it.
posted by Sabby at 7:20 AM on March 17, 2021

Best answer: I know exactly what you need... Koss Porta Pro X.

It's light, portable AND foldable, has a microphone (!), and it's NOT wimpy when it comes to sound. AND it's affordable.
posted by kschang at 1:15 PM on March 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

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