Headset reviews are about a dime a dozen on the internet. They’re all subjective too. Everyone’s hearing is different. Especially mine! About 50% of the hearing in my left ear is gone, not to mention a load of tinnitus. The right ear, about 20% gone, and a tad bit of tinnitus. Cause? An M2 .50 caliber machine gun, a story for another day 🙂 I’m sure I have long-term exposure damage as well, which is why it’s so important to take care of your hearing! So, my days of bumping in the trunk are (just about) done :P. So take headset reviews with a grain of salt! My main question, I wanted to solve here, was – Is it worth going from a $60 headset, to a $275 headset?
If your a new ham, your probably wondering why that shiny new transceiver you just bought sounds like doo doo. Don’t fret. I don’t think I’ve EVER heard a built in speaker sound good. For general listening, I’ll use some powered JBL LSR 305’s in the shack. Though they seem to introduce a bit more hiss into the audio. They are powered by a switching power supply, but are very well shielded inside the speaker. Have a very flat response, which is why I like them. But if your planning on doing any kind of operating, I think a good headset is an absolute must. There’s a reason why you see professional radio operators all around the world using headsets, including sportscasters, dj’s, coaches, 911 call center operators, because when communication matters most – you need the audio right where it matters most – in your ears! And vice versa – you need the audio going directly into the mic – and with a headset you get just that!
I’m no expert in audio, but I do consider myself to be an ‘audiophile’ 🙂 I like audio that sounds good, and the nature of shortwave radio requires good headphones. It’s already a noisy enough environment out there. I’ve gone through a many sets of headphones, including the ones that required really expensive amps just to be run, it’s a hobby all in itself – and it can get expensive if you don’t watch it! Below are the headphones I settled on for general music use or listening to podcasts. The Audio Technica ATH-M50’s and Vmoda Crossfade M100’s. Both excellent headphones for the price and for the audio they reproduce!
You’ve probably no doubt heard about the cheap alternative the Yamaha CM500’s. An entry level headset sold for around $50-60 that has an electret mic & closed back headphones, but they have an absolutely horrible seal around your ears, and allow lots of ambient noise to enter the ear cup. Now if you have stellar hearing, you operate in a shack that is extremely quiet, you may get away with a cheaper headset, if one things for certain, the CM500’s are plenty comfortable, well basically because they don’t seal around your head at all! But they use an electret mic, which is a little hot and can make your voice sound a smidge higher than it is. They also require bias voltage on my 590SG, apparently the bias voltage supplied by the 590SG causes distortion?
The Heil Pro 7’s come with a dynamic mic cartridge already, but I did have to purchase additional adapters for both of my radios, which come in at about $25 a piece. A lot better than Radiosport headsets @ $99 a cable! If you have multiple radios, keep that in mind!
So i’ll spend the next few weeks using both of these headsets and discovering their pros/cons. I think Winter Field Day would be a good way to ask folks what they think about each, i’ll have both headsets there for folks to use, we’ll see which one gets used more 🙂