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Jan 19, 2010

A Superb, Low-Noise, Inexpensive Headset for PC Use

by J. Robert Burgoyne — last modified Jan 20, 2010 12:40 AM
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Are you disappointed with the audio quality of analog PC headsets? I'm quite picky about sound quality and always looking for something better. I've used many different PC headsets over the years, and today I have a new favorite headset for audio clarity — and it's only $35!


Recently I read an article that advocated using USB headsets (not analog) for improved audio clarity and lower background noise levels during Skype calls, WebEx, recording audio directly to the PC, etc. The idea makes sense — it's difficult to remove all the electrical white noise generated by a PC if you use an analog microphone, so use a USB based headphone instead to improve the audio quality and reduce noise. 

My headset search brought me to the Plantronics MX500i headset, currently ~$35 from A photo of the headset and a photo of its USB interface are shown below. 

As is True Blade's custom, we first bought a single headset for testing. My partner Eric verified that the headset was good and had clear audio. I then bought my own MX500i and it arrived today. 

Once I set up my MX500i tonight, I promptly made a Skype call to Asia (from New York City) and it was the clearest PC based audio I've ever experienced. The sound was really that good. 

This headset's design is a bit unusual, with the bulk of the headset resting under the ear, not on top of your ear. That seems odd, but so be it. I can't say it's the most comfortable headset I've ever used, but as of now, I own a new headset with the clearest PC based audio I've ever experienced. Recommended. 

Bravo, Plantronics and NewEgg!

Photos of the Plantronics MX500i USB Headset and its USB Adapter