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Kansas State University

Telephone accessories

Headsets

Telephone Headsets (all w/disconnecting cable) Plantronics Model Price Features
Mirage Headset H41 $62.50 over-the-ear style; earpiece rests outside the ear
Supra Headset (monaural) H51 $60 over-the-head style
Supra Headset (binaural) H61 $78 over-the-head style
Supra Headset (binaural+noise canceling) H61N special order over-the-head style
TriStar Headset H81 special order over-the-ear style; earbud earpiece
Encore Headset (monaural) H91 special order over-the-head style
DuoSet Headset (no display at showcase) H141 special order convertible style (over-the-head monaural OR over-the-ear)
Headset terminology
Headset Styles 1) over-the-head or headband style 2) over-the-ear or eyeglass style (earwrap, earhook, earloop,.etc) either with speaker external to or in the ear (eartip/earbud) 3) in-the-ear only (usually not on office headsets) 4) convertible (at least two styles possible in same headset; example: H141 DuoSet Model not at showcase booth)
Monoaural Headband style headset w/ earpiece for one ear. Switchable for left or right ear. Best for non-noisy offices and/or offices where you need to hear what is going on around you (i.e. inter-office interaction).
Binaural Headband style headset w/ earpieces for both ears. Best for noisy offices, when minimal inter-office interaction is needed, or constant phone use.
Noise canceling microphone Microphone designed to eliminate background noise (i.e., helps person on other end hear you better). Adds approx. $10-$20 cost.Normally comes with flexible booms; you have to be careful how you bend them or they can be damaged. Determine if noise canceling is really needed by placing a call to the office phone to determine its level of audible background noise. Mutually exclusive of voice tube style microphones.
Convertible Headset that converts to at least two headset styles. Employee has a choice of style with the same headset. Example: Plantronics DuoSet headset
Disconnect cable Headset cable can disconnect easily to be free of phone when not in use. Adapter cables may be required when headset used with specialty amplifiers. Plantronics' H-series headsets all have the Quick Disconnect(tm) terminating cables.
Clothes clip Comes standard on headset cords to allow slack in line so head movement does not pull headset. Clip usually slides to useful position.
Voice tube Tube-style microphone with easily replaceable, moveable tube that can be moved in and out for length adjustment and swiveled in order to position angled tip. Should end two fingers from corner of mouth for best results. To maintain sound quality, replace voice tube periodically. Several colors available.
Tone setting Bass/treble setting selection for earpiece as a specialty feature (see Encore headset) to improve sound quality.

Amplifiers and Accessories

Amplifiers and Accessories Plantronics Model Price Features
Vista Tel Headset Amplifier M12 $95
Cordless Headset Amplifier CA10 $13/mo leased w/ Lifter 900 MHz cordless; ranges up to 150 feet; built-in headset stand
Cordless Headset Amplifier and Telephone CT10 $13/mo leased w/ Lifter 900 MHz cordless; ranges up to 150 feet; 6 hrs continuous talk/80 hrs standby; built-in headset stand
Handset Lifter Accessory HL10 see CA10 and CT10
Digital One Touch Avaya $10/mo leased eliminates handset lifting
Headset PC/Tel Switcher and Amplifier MX10 special order switches between PC and telephone
Amplifier terminology
Amplifier Necessary equipment that sits between phone and headset. Sometimes integrated with a telephone. An amplifier boosts the sound coming from the phone so it is powerful enough for the headset speaker.
Mute When mute selector button pushed, caller cannot hear your end. This should be tested in the office environment so you understand how it works. You may be able to hear the caller when mute is ON.
Volume control Listen or incoming volume control adjustable on-the-fly via thumbwheel, +/- buttons, etc. Outgoing volume control methods vary and may not allow on-the-fly adjusting.
Headset/handset selection control On amplifiers, normally you must choose to use either the headset or the phone's handset by toggling the control on the amplifier. Normally easily reachable and changed. But handset has to be picked up for every call no matter what the selection unless you use a product like the One Touch.
Handset lifter accessory Mounted on office base phone to lift handset for you when separate, connected amplifier talk control is toggled. Used with cordless remote units for remote phone answering; headset rings to let you know to answer a call.
Chargeable battery Used in remote, mobile units. Rated by length of continuous talk time AND standby time. You may need extra batteries charged ahead for uninterrupted service.
Channel selector Allows channel changes for 900 MHz cordless devices when conversations bleed through.
Headset stand Provides a place to hang headset when not in use. Can help protect from damage. Usually only available with specialty units as a built-in.

Things to consider when selecting office headsets:

  • Choose a headset style-over-the-head/headband, over-the-ear/eyeglass, or convertible. If headband style, decide on monaural or binaural; monaural are most popular. In-the-ear style is less available in an office headset.
  • Is a disconnecting headset cable needed?
  • Consider earpiece features - adjustability, style, materials, replacement cushions, etc.
  • Eartip or earbud style - Are multiple sizes and materials available? Can you position in all directions?
  • Microphone features: adjustability, noise-canceling or not, replacement supplies (cushions, voice tubes, etc.) and cost, style (flexible, fixed, etc.)
  • Purchase/lease price
  • Cost of supplies (ear cushions/eartips, voice tubes, batteries, chargeable vs throwaway, cleaning products free of alcohol), etc.
  • Durability
  • Repair turnaround
  • Warranty - 2 years seems fairly common
  • Compatibility with phone system; i.e., multi-line vs single, analog vs digital. Although some equipment adapts easily to a variety of phones, K-State Telecommunications stocks equipment that will work w/ campus phones and can assist w/ special orders.
  • Speaker sound quality - in-the-ear or over-the-ear w/ eartip styles are better at delivering sound to the ear. Tone setting for bass/treble on earpiece is a specialty item.Some headsets claim to have better sound quality technology.
  • Comfort - Are all parts adjustable? Consider weight of headset. Headband style may be a bit heavier than eyeglass style headsets.
  • Sanitation - Will multiple employees share a headset? What sanitation or extra swapping supplies will be needed? What will be cost of replacement tubes, cushions, etc?
  • Amplifier power requirement - 1) phone line powers amplifier 2) batteries 3) AC adapter 4) AC adapter or batteries
  • Will it meet your ergonomic workstation needs?
  • Will headset use be heads-down (i.e. all day) use vs intermittent?
  • Will equipment be shared over multiple shifts versus dedicated to one employee?
  • Do you need a mobile solution?Will a tethered solution work if headset has a disconnect cable. Could you just use a mobile phone with a specialty headset compatible for the cordless phone?
  • What are your extra battery needs for continuous use and convenience?