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What is a Computer Headset?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 16, 2024
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A computer headset is a device that connects to a computer for communication and media purposes; it features headphones at the very least, or a combination of headphones and a microphone. It may connect wirelessly to a computer, or may be wired through a USB port or a standard headphone jack. Computer headsets vary in features and quality, but can be used for many different purposes.

The most basic use for a computer headset is to use it to listen to music or watch videos online, if it is not possible to play sounds through traditional computer speakers. Headsets are helpful for filtering out surrounding noise, such as while trying to work or while traveling on an airplane. Many people enjoy watching movies on their computers while traveling, and for this it is necessary to use a computer headset. There are many different designs of headphones; some are designed to fit in the ear, while others may rest on top of the ears with a band that goes over the head.

A computer headset may also be used for an online game. Many games now allow players to communicate with one another while they are playing through the use of Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP. To use this feature, it will be necessary to choose a headset with a microphone as well as headphones. The microphone may be hidden, and built into the earpieces, or it may be a separate piece that rests near the jaw.

Computer headsets with microphones and headphones are also used by people communicating on VoIP for purposes other than gaming. VoIP is frequently used for conversations between people who live in different countries, because it is typically much cheaper than to make a traditional phone call. In addition, many businesses and call centers provide computer headsets for their employees, so that their hands are free to type and use a mouse.

Keep in mind that voice and sound quality tend to go hand in hand with price. Those who are using a computer headset for phone conversations may be satisfied with a less expensive headset with average sound quality, but those who want to use a computer headset for listening to music, movies, or video games might want a pricier headset with better sound quality. Wireless or wired headsets are largely a matter of personal preference. Keep in mind that if one wants to be able to use a computer headset with other devices, such as an MP3 player, units with a standard headphone jack may be preferable over those that connect via USB.

Computer headsets may be purchased online or in most electronics stores. It may be helpful to search online for reviews of headsets before purchasing one. Customers tend to be very honest about their experiences, and it will be able to give a clearer picture of user satisfaction with sound and voice quality when using the headset.

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Discussion Comments

By Terrificli — On Nov 29, 2014

@Markerrag -- You need a headset if you want to do two-way, voice communications. That could mean you're playing games online with friends (for example) and need to keep the audio and voice separate.

The problem with a mic is that it can pick up external noise such as sound effects in a game and cause nasty, squealing feedback in a lot of instances. You avoid those problems quite well with headphones, and that is why they are preferred for voice communications.

By Markerrag — On Nov 29, 2014

Why bother with one of these when you can get a great microphone that doesn't cost quite as much as a really good headset? Besides, a microphone is a lot more flexible. What if you want to record vocals and instruments for music, for example?

You can pick up vocals on a headset, but not acoustic instruments. You need a microphone for that.

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