Use Headsets for best sound quality:
A USB headset with boom mic is the best way to go, especially at a noisy desk. Among those, we have found:
- Sennheiser SC60 is a solid mic at a reasonable price (~ $50 USD). In testing it did well at avoiding sibilance (hissing noises when you speak "s"), and had a short range pick-up to avoid letting too much background noise in.
- Plantronics headsets are also very good, though they may be more expensive. Their best models include the C325-M and C725-M. Other good options from Plantronics include the C520, C520-M, C320-M, C720, C320, and C325 models. Although corded headsets are preferred, they also offer the Bluetooth wireless Voyager Focus UC model B825. This model should only be used with the Plantronics-supplied BT600 USB-to-Bluetooth dongle device.
- Jabra BIZ 2400 Duo is their top of the line headset. Other good models are the Evolve 40 UC, UC Voice 750 Duo, UC Voice 550 Duo, BIZ 2300 Duo, BIZ 2400 II Duo, Evolve 30 Stereo.
- Logitech H650e (stereo version)
- Microsoft LX2000 and LX3000
- Be careful when using a bargain / generic headset ( under $30 USD). They tend to have a low quality speaker/ mic and don't produce great sound quality.
Stand-up USB mics work well in quiet environment:
With a fixed desktop (or laptop) in a relatively quiet area, a USB stand mic can do well:
- Microphones from Blue, like the Blue Snowball
- Two products from Shure work very well: the MV5 (~ $100 USD) and the MV51 (~ $200 USD). With both iOS and USB connectivity, both are freestanding mics that have headphone output built in, and come with microUSB cables for both USB (Type A) and Lightning.
- One Caveat with a dedicated USB mic: Some have a headphone jack on the back, and users have to be careful to select the proper speaker device if they are using something like laptop speakers instead of the headset jack on the mic.
Some ear-buds can present challenges:
- The "tiny mic dangling on the cord" frequently doesn't work too well. “Scraping” noises can be heard as the mic is rubbing on shirt collars, for instance.
- Ear-buds designed for Apple products don't always work well on a Windows PC (Dell and Lenovo). “Static” noise could be introduced.
Be careful when using Bluetooth-connected mics:
- For instance, Apple "AirPods" (cordless ear-buds) can lose audio if the battery runs out, the RF/wireless link gets disconnected due to interference, or other device pairing issues are seen. Microphone might also be inadvertently muted by an unintended gesture/action.