[sf-lug] headset for PC (Re: headset for VOIP with ubuntu)

Michael Paoli Michael.Paoli at cal.berkeley.edu
Sat Nov 15 20:44:23 PST 2008

> Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2008 15:04:34 -0800
> From: "Christian Einfeldt" <einfeldt at gmail.com>
> Subject: headset for VOIP with ubuntu
> To: "Linux user Group" <sf-lug at linuxmafia.com>

> Anyone have any suggestions as to which headset would work best with VOIP,
> specifically skype?  I prefer to use Free Software VOIP, but most people use
> skype.  Does anyone here use a decent headset with Ubuntu Gutsy?  I have not
> yet had time to upgrade to Hardy or Intrepid because it always takes a day
> or two for me to get all my config settings right again after I change an
> OS.  So I am going to hang onto Gutsy for as long as I can.

Headset, VOIP, and Ubuntu are relatively independent and unrelated
issues.  All one really needs here is a good basic hardware solution
that meets certain criteria.

First of all, like POTS, for VOIP, we're still generally talking
monophonic.  Typical non-ancient PC type computer will have two jacks -
one stereo for headset/speakers, and one for microphone (mono + power).

For telephony type application (including VOIP), one typically wants to
use headset or the like, to avoid all the nasty speakerphone type
issues (unless one's microphone(s) will all be muted).  So, ... if one
already has a set of headphones or the like (or such, and suitable
adapter) that can be used with the computer, those are generally fine
for the listening end ... but may not be so convenient, as they
typically won't include a microphone, and for monophonic telephony
applications, one typically wants only one ear listening to
telephone/VOIP - leaving the other ear free.

So, yes, sure, one can find and buy headset more designed for VOIP and
the like on computer ... but another solution, there's already a very
large variety of quite similar devices available - cellular hands free
headsets.  Only one wee issue or two to take care of though - different
plug setup, and - as far as I know, just one ... maybe two now? -
vendor(s) that wire their cellular phone headset jacks up different
just because they can (and we're talking just among physically
compatible 2.5 mm jacks).  So, if one has (or wants to get) one of the
more standard cellular headsets, one just needs to pick up a little
adapter, and then one is set (and has the added benefit of being able
to use the same headset on both cellular and for computer VOIP).  I
bought one such adapter from Radio Shack (I think it was their part
number #42-2428) some years back (they were discontinuing that model at
the time - they may have replaced it with something similar - or likely
same basic type of adapter can be obtained elsewhere ... yes, ... looks
like equivalent adapter is available from many sources).

Also, if one shops around (e.g. flea market, and other vendors), one
can find good quality cellular hands free headsets for quite economical
price (e.g. about $6.00 USD - nice, brand new, simple plastic bag and
tag, ... just like the cellular stores sell for about $20.00 USD in the
plastic encasement from hell packaging).

Other random thought - if one is going to frequently use the headset
for long periods of time (e.g. hours or more at a stretch), don't skimp
on quality - get yourself a *good* headset.  But (much) higher price
doesn't always strictly correlate to quality.  If one's going to use it
*lots*, do your homework - and if feasible, try it out for at least a
bit (and preferably longer) first (e.g. find a quality dealer/retailer
with a sane return policy).

There may also exist adapters that go between POTS 4P4C headset and the
more common 2.5mm cellular (and perhaps even vice versa), and maybe
even direct from POTS 4P4C headset to PC, so, with suitable adapter(s),
the full range of the more compatible POTS 4P4C headsets may also be

So, anyway, I think I got both my "cellular*" hands free headset, plus
adapter so I can use it on computer, for less than the typical retail
for either a "computer" headset or cellular headset alone.

*I actually use it primarily on a small POTS phone I have that has a
standard "cellular" 2.5 mm jack rather than that more typical POTS 4P4C

"2.5mm Mobile Headset To PC Converter" OR "190-0652"
Radio Shack 6" Multimedia Headset Y-Cable Catalog # 42-2428

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