The year 2020 drastically changed the way that we go about our everyday lives, and one of the most prominent and long-lasting examples of this is the mass shift into working remotely. Doing work at home instead of going into the office also means online meetings instead of in-person ones, and with this comes the need for good technology in order for these meetings to be efficient and effective. The ability to hear your coworkers, as well as their ability to hear you is a very important aspect of these meetings, and this requires either one of two things: a reliable headset or headphones with a microphone. So what is better: a headset or headphones with a mic for online meetings? Below I will discuss the differences between the two options, aspects of each to consider, and what questions to ask yourself when deciding on which to use for your online meetings.
What is Better: A Headset or Headphones with Mic For Online Meetings? The Difference Between Headsets and Headphones With a Microphone
It is important to first understand the difference between headsets and headphones with a mic. In essence, headsets are simply headphones with a microphone attached. They do the job of both but are just one piece of technology, which means that presumably, they are that much easier to buy. Headsets are more flexible in the fact that you can move around while using them and they still work the same. The best headsets for online meetings tend to differ depending on personal preferences. Typically, these are over-the-ear headphones with a band on top of your head and a mic coming around to your mouth on one side.
Headphones with a mic, on the other hand, would be a two item purchase. There are many different types of both. Different styles of headphones are over-the-ear, wireless, earbuds, and more. Usually headphones are used solely for listening. However, some headphones with newer technology, such as the Apple Airpods, also contain a microphone and therefore act as if they are headsets. For the separate microphone, there are many types that are made to plug into your computer to make them easy to use for online meetings, and there are also versions that do not need to be plugged into your device.
When considering the quality of the microphone in headsets vs ones that stand alone, the pros of separate microphones tend to outweigh their cons, however, it all depends on personal preference and priorities. While buying a separate microphone in addition to headphones may be more expensive, the sound quality of separate mics are typically much better than that of headsets. This is because the microphones on headsets tend to be unidirectional, meaning that they only pick up audio from one direction. This may lead to problems where you have to adjust your microphone often and test the sound before using it in a professional setting.
While neither are too complicated to set up and use, in terms of operation headsets are usually easier to use. Generally, all you need to do is plug them into your computer and then you are all set. There are also newer versions with bluetooth that can connect wirelessly to your devices.
Using headphones along with a microphone just takes a few more steps. You may need to connect your headphones to your computer either by bluetooth or wire. You then will need to either plug your microphone into your computer, or set it up through bluetooth or in a way separate from your computer depending on the type you decide to buy.
What is Important for You?
Everyone has their own work environment for online meetings at the moment whether that be in a noisy household, apartment, or office. In any case, when deciding on what audio gear to get you must consider what is most important for you. Many headphones and some headsets offer noise-canceling features, which may factor into your decision. Additionally, you may want to think about your price range, as headsets do tend to be the cheaper option. You can also consider if you will be using these devices for other activities.
In conclusion, both headsets and headphones with a separate microphone are suitable options for online meetings, it just depends on what aspects of them are most important to you. If affordability is the most important, then I recommend looking into headsets for your online meetings. If you care more about the quality, then it would be best for you to look into headphones and separate microphones. Additionally, the best headphones for laptops may differ from the best for desktops. Having either a headset or headphones with a microphone can really improve your online meetings. As our society is moving more heavily towards remote work, either option would be a very smart investment for online meetings and work in the future.
By India Blythe