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The Best (and worst) Headsets for Sales Calls

I did a little spring cleaning this weekend and found 8 headsets I’ve used at one time or another for sales calls.

These calls and demos are usually held on VOIP via services like Skype, Google Hangouts, Join.me, and GoToMeeting (to name a few).

I spend a lot of time on calls as a result of running cold email campaigns on Replyify, so a good headset is critical to my job in sales for a B2B SaaS company.

The three most important factors to me when choosing a new headset are:

  1. Comfort – Wearing something several hours a day puts comfort at a premium.
  2. Convenience – Wired/Bluetooth, storage, and if it required charging.
  3. Audio Quality – I switch back and forth between calls and music throughout the day.

The Oh $h!T Moment

I realized I only paid attention to how music sounded on the headphones but never actually tested how I sounded to the other caller.

I never considered that each headset could sound drastically different and whether quality of the audio had an affect on my message and I was curious enough to conduct a quick test.  (actual recordings linked below)

Time to experiment

Depending on your internet bandwidth and the VoIP system you use, audio quality may vary.  But we’re not testing that variable in this experiment.

The only thing I want to learn is what my voice sounds like transmitted through each headset to my computer.

So, I closed the door to my office which has 15 foot high ceilings and is not acoustically treated.

Next, I sat at my desk and opened up the Audacity app on my Mac to record the direct audio input of me speaking, moving my head around and typing.  The input volume remained unchanged for each so we could get a baseline comparison regardless of your computer’s volume.

The control for this experiment is to record the same 4 sentences directly from the headset to my computer so you can hear the difference in sound quality for each headset.

Here are the eight headphones I found this weekend doing some spring cleaning.

 

The results were shocking.  I spent upwards of $300 on a good headset only to learn that it performed worse than the $12 option.

I ranked the headsets below from best to worst.  There are soundcloud links to each audio clip and a link to buy if you please.

Out of eight options, the top performer surprised the heck out of me…

Apple Ear buds standard with any iPhone

Pros: The audio is clear and there’s not much background noise in this very inexpensive option.

Cons: Uncomfortable to wear all day and playback quality for music lacks bass.

Price: ~$12  Click to buy:

Apple Genuine Earpods Headphones

Sennheiser CX 275 S Universal Mobile Headset

Pros: The sound quality of my transmitted voice and music playback are fantastic.

Cons: Ambient noise (what’s around you) doesn’t transmit through these in-ear rubber buds.

Price: ~$35  Click to buy:
Sennheiser CX 275 S Universal Mobile Headset

Altec Lansing MZX206 Headphones

Pros: The sound quality of my transmitted voice and music playback are very good.

Cons: Bulky and not the most comfortable to wear.

Price: ~$16  Click to buy:
Altec Lansing In-Ear Stereo Metal Earbuds, Black (MZX147-BLK)

Plantronics Audio 355 Multimedia Headset

Pros: The sound quality of my transmitted voice and music playback are average.

Cons: This headset sits on both ears and look more like gaming headphones than something that would work well in the office.

Price: ~$21  Click to buy:
Plantronics .Audio 355 Multimedia Headset

Bose SoundWear Companion Wireless Wearable Speaker

Pros: These sit on top of your shoulders and are an alternative if you don’t like to wear anything on your ears and the audio quality is good.

Cons: Not great if you work in a loud or busy office.

Price: ~$299  Click to buy:

Bose Soundwear Companion Wireless Wearable Speaker – Black

Bose SoundTrue Headphones

Pros: Audio quality for music is fantastic and I can wear these all day.

Cons: Transmitted audio is TERRIBLE (listen for yourself).

Price:  Discontinued by Manufacturer

stardrift Wireless Bluetooth Headset

Pros: These are getting thrown away right now.

Cons:The spoken audio quality is terrible and sounds like that awful webinar you attended last month and suspected it was pre-recorded.

Price: ~$30  Don’t Click to buy:
stardrift Wireless Bluetooth Headset

Cyber Acoustics Mono Headset

Pros: These are getting thrown away right now.

Cons: The transmitted spoken audio quality is terrible and sounds like I’m talking through a megaphone.

Price: ~$30  Don’t Click to buy:
Cyber Acoustics Mono Headset

Here’s what we learned with this experiment:

  1. Not all headsets are created equal.
  2. Copy this experiement to test the audio quality of your headset(s) new and used.
  3. I need a new headset.  Do you have a recommendation?

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