How to Select Headsets
Headsets are designed to hold earphones to a user’s head for radio or telephone communications. They include transducers and a transmitter, and are designed to receive audible signals from a source such as a portable media player or audio amplifier. Often, headsets are bundled with microphones for two-way communication. The main benefit of headsets is that they let users listen privately, and make it easier to hear in noisy environments.
Types of Headsets
The GlobalSpec SpecSearch database provides information about four major categories of headsets: wired, wireless, over-the-ear, and in-ear.
- Wired headsets transmit audible signal via wires or cords and are suitable for applications in which the wearer remains seated, or has a range of motion that does not exceed the length of the wire or cord.
- Wireless headsets do not receive signals via wires or cord, but rather via radio frequency (RF) or other wireless communications. They are often used in applications where the wearer is mobile (such as in a warehouse), or when wires or cords could restrict the user’s motion.
- Over-the-ear headsets are designed to be worn over the ear and not inserted into the ear canal. Often, buyers select these products because of their comfort.
- Microphone included headsets include a microphone for two-way communications.
Other, more specialized types of headsets are also available. Examples include circumaural and supra-aural devices, earphones and ear buds, in-ear monitors (IEM), and canalphones.
- Circumaural headsets have pads that go around the ears. They are usually very large and very comfortable. This is the type of headset typically used in recording studios.
- Supra-aural headsets have pads that fit the tops of the ears.
- Ear buds or earphones are small headsets that are placed directly outside of the ear canal, but without fully enveloping it.
- Canalphones are ear buds that sit directly inside the ear canal.
Headset and Microphone Specifications
Headset buyers should consider product specifications such as sound pressure level (SPL), nominal input power, impedance, frequency response, dynamic range, and weight. If the headset includes a microphone, then buyers should also consider the frequency response, dynamic range, microphone sensitivity, and impedance. Typically, sound pressure level and dynamic response are given in decibels (dB).