Can anyone recommend a good NON-noise-canceling headset for work?

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I have a friend who needs a better headset than the junk her work gave her to work from home with. She complains it's just uncomfortable...hurts the top of her head. She's tried everything to make the supplied one work, even wrapping a sock around the top of it. It must go. I gave her a gaming headset to try out to see if comfort was really the big factor. She likes it. It's a HyperX Cloud headset (whichever one is specifically designed for Xbox. It's not the Cloud II, and I don't think it's the Core, but I'm not sure exactly). Her only complaint with it is that the noise-canceling aspect of it really bothers her. She wants to be able to hear her surroundings, and I have to agree after discussing it with her and finding out why it's a big deal. Connection type doesn't matter, it can be a 3.5mm or USB. A mute button isn't even required, her work software has it's own. Looks don't matter either. It can be gaming-oriented or office-oriented.

That said, does anyone know of a good quality headset that is at least tolerable regarding all of the following, and prioritzed in order:

NON-noise-canceling (reasonably), comfortable, mic clarity, sound.

That's it. She's really not picky. I only know gaming stuff, and all of it is noise-canceling. Budget is probably $100, but that's flexible, and obviously the lower the better.

Random thought as I'm typing this...does HyperX sell different earcups that aren't noise canceling? That would solve the issue also.

Thanks in advance for any input.
 

wwillson

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I will admit that I'm a headset geek and have lost count how many headsets I have tried over the years. Since I'm on the phone so much for work, I get very annoyed at people who talk on their cell speakerphone or use a headset with no boom mic. I tell them, "could you pick your phone up please, you sound very distorted", because they do. To me there is no excuse to not have a good headset that is designed for good sound quality on calls. With wideband codecs and a good headset, everyone should have a rich and creamy sound on conference calls.

For me dual ear headsets are the only way to go. Your brain hears much better when both ears are hearing the call. The absolute best headset I've ever used is the Plantronics 4220, which has now been replaced with the Poly 4320. The noise cancelling mic is so good, that I can stand beside a running diesel engine and the far end can't hear it.

[edit] One thing I forgot to mention about the 4220 is that it has real sidetone! Remember the good old days where your analog headset that was wired to your phone handset cord had sidetone? It's so much easier to talk when you can hear yourself though the sidetone. The 4220 is the only modern wireless headset I've used that has sidetone, this is a huge plus.

My $.02
 
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I do a lot of remote work, zoom/Teams meetings, etc. I've found Apple Airpods to work the best and be the most comfortable/durable. Expensive yes, but I've been using mine daily for 2 years now.
 
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The Telex aviation headsets are a classic design. Simple foam earpads, noise cancelling mike. No problem wearing them for 12 hours.

They do make ones for Phone use.

ph36.jpg
 
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I have the Plantronics Savi 8220. I’m not sure it’s noise canceling but I really like it and the mic is great and only picking up my voice and no background sounds. I think they are a few hundred bucks if I remember correctly.
 
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I will admit that I'm a headset geek and have lost count how many headsets I have tried over the years. Since I'm on the phone so much for work, I get very annoyed at people who talk on their cell speakerphone or use a headset with no boom mic. I tell them, "could you pick your phone up please, you sound very distorted", because they do. To me there is no excuse to not have a good headset that is designed for good sound quality on calls. With wideband codecs and a good headset, everyone should have a rich and creamy sound on conference calls.

For me dual ear headsets are the only way to go. Your brain hears much better when both ears are hearing the call. The absolute best headset I've ever used is the Plantronics 4220, which has now been replaced with the Poly 4320. The noise cancelling mic is so good, that I can stand beside a running diesel engine and the far end can't hear it.

My $.02

I have the Plantronics headset, and also have gone through MANY headsets, and consider myself an amateur audiophile. It has been my favorite to date, and I have not had the urge to look in almost a year.
 
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Another vote for Poly (formerly Plantronics) here. I use a W8200B, which is a mono headset, although there is a stereo option in the same series. The point @wwillson made about mono vs. stereo is certainly valid. In my case, I chose mono to avoid isolating myself in the office, but if I were at home on Zoom calls all day or didn't need to connect with my coworkers in person, I would have gone stereo.

The 8200 series is probably overkill for your friend, and is way out of the suggested budget, but it looks like Poly's site lists wired options. Determining how the mics, comfort, and audio stack up will require some research unless someone here has direct experience.
 
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Sennheiser. I received a set for Christmas four or five years ago and they have great sound and are comfortable for wearing for long stretches.
 

wwillson

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I've found Apple Airpods to work the best and be the most comfortable/durable. Expensive yes, but I've been using mine daily for 2 years now.
They are lightweight and you can hear the far end really well, but the audio the far end is hearing is awful. I work with several people who use them and they always sound like they are in an underwater echo chamber.
 

wwillson

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I have the Plantronics headset, and also have gone through MANY headsets, and consider myself an amateur audiophile. It has been my favorite to date, and I have not had the urge to look in almost a year.
I also have Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II noise cancelling headsets that I wear on airplanes. When I listen to music on the Bose and the Plantronics 4220, the Bose can't hold a candle to the 4220 for music sound quality in both high and low frequency sound, it's not even close.
 
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Sennheiser. I received a set for Christmas four or five years ago and they have great sound and are comfortable for wearing for long stretches.
Which one? There's like 20 Sennheisers.

does HyperX sell different earcups that aren't noise canceling? That would solve the issue also.
You can get foam instead of leather pads that will help, but the cups will still be closed-back, so I don't think it will be enough.

My first thought was Audio-Technica ADG1. It's an AD900x with a microphone. (note: not the AG1 that is closed-back.) They're full-size but light for full-size, but they are auto-adjusting for size and there's a good chance they will be too loose on her head unless she has a man-size head.

You can add a third-party mic to any headphone. Don't necessarily have to only look at headsets and "gaming" headphones. Can get a stick-on thing for a mic, can zipties a mic to the headphone if you want, or use a lapel clip-on one. Or get something like a V-moda Boompro mic $25 that adds a mic though only works on headphones with a detachable cable. There's cheaper brands of that.

I have dozens of nice headphones but only a few headsets/"gaming" headphones with mics.

Her borrowed HyperX is nice overall but if it's not for music then it's bigger (and more importantly heavier) than she needs. But then if she gets on-ear size then the pads will sit on her ears all day and maybe she'd prefer bigger earpads typically on full-size headphones that would sit around her ears but not touch her ears. The less time she has to wear them during the day, the less on-ear or weight matters, of course.
 
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She might like something small and very light like JVC HAS-160. There's numerous different model numbers over the years for basically the same headphone. Might be able to get an older version for closer to $10 instead of $20. And if she hates it not much is lost. It's closed-back, on-ear, but are very light and sound decent enough. And being small, maybe she'd be able to hear her surroundings fine, or wear them slightly off-center of her ear to let more environment noise in. Monoprice sells a similar headphone for $15 that is a little heavier and sounds a little better and is uglier.

Samson SR850 and its similar clones are very light for being mostly full-size, and the price is good, and they sound great for the price, but they are only semi-open. So I don't know if she'd be able to hear as much environment as she'd like. Something like the ADG1x is so open that the sound is louder on the outside than the inside. Good for hearing your surroundings, bad for using in the middle of the night with other people on the same floor. So, kind of depends how open she wants.
 
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She will love these, best part is you can buy them at any store, Target, Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, anyplace. Incredible battery life before recharging, like 36 hours of play time. If she doesnt like them, nothing lost, return them, no issues, but she wont return them.

LIGHT WEIGHT, comfortable and the best part amazing sound for the price, OH, lets not forget ROCK solid Bluetooth range.
Wife and I used these a long time, also bought a set for my adult daughter who felt the same way about them. We dont use them much anymore only because we got into bluetooth ear buds. (Apple Air Pods, Bose Quiet Comfort, Bose SportBuds and 1 Jaybird Vista 2) The last three all serve a purpose for me, my wife only uses the AirPods Pro I got her. Im just telling use to confirm, she will like the sound of the Sony over the ear headphones.

Anyway, here is the model and they are sold almost anywhere = https://electronics.sony.com/audio/headphones/all-headphones/p/whch510-b

You can check reviews online, we all know there are a lot of fakes but check Crutchfield and Target, really any of them, there are also just about 20,000 reviews for these on Amazon. Im not big on reviews but if your good you can see the weak points and good points of many products, for $60 I think these cant be beat.

///and of course after I post all this I see she is just looking for wired headphones? If so, these are only bluetooth.
 
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Forgot to mention how great the range is on the Plantronics Savi 8220. It works anywhere in our 14,000 SF office which is a really nice feature.
 

wwillson

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Forgot to mention how great the range is on the Plantronics Savi 8220. It works anywhere in our 14,000 SF office which is a really nice feature.
Plantronics 4220 is the same. Bluetooth 5 has the same range as DECT 6 and possibly sounds better. If you get a headset, do not even consider it if it doesn't have Bluetooth 5 period.
 
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What about earbuds, I use apple earpods with 3.5mm that used to come with iphones, they are $18 on amazon and at walmart.
 

wwillson

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What about earbuds, I use apple earpods with 3.5mm that used to come with iphones, they are $18 on amazon and at walmart.
My opinion is that they sound good, but the microphone in the cord drags on your shirt and is annoying to the far end. The cord is also a big detractor for me, give me wireless or nothing.
 
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The free corded EarPods on older iPhones are wonderful. The on sale for $89 typically basic wireless AirPods are wonderful for my ears/freedom to stand up and move. Comfort is subjective to your ear however sound quality is amazing. Even TV broadcasts reporters use in a pinch.
 

OilMagnate

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Thank you everyone for your input. I actually took a chance on something weird and had very low expectations. It ended up working *shockingly* well. So well that one of her co-workers bought one also. I ended up getting her the Gamestop house brand (Atrix) mono headset. Sounds pretty good, mic is beyond impressive for the price, it's reversible (can wear on left ear or right), and quite comfortable also. Best of all, she can still hear her surroundings. Complete win. The icing on the cake was getting it on clearance at GameStop while they were running their sale that takes an additional 50% off clearance prices. The headset cost her a whopping $4.48 plus tax, and was just a couple dollars to add a 2-year warranty. Well under $10 out the door. Highly recommended for anyone working from home that doesn't want noise-canceling.

 
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