Home > e-languages, hardware, headphones > A few thoughts on headphones for the language lab

A few thoughts on headphones for the language lab

  1. Analog (3.5mm connector): the traditional way; still cheaper.
  2. Digital (USB connector): comes with its own soundcard – potentially better compatibility, especially with software form the same vendor (digital audio labs)
    1. Sanako SLH-07 has long connectors that stick out too much for our purposes. Students have broken them open inadvertently with their backrests of their chairs. But you can defuse this risk with a simple male-female USB extension cord (disadvantages: extra cost, extra layer of items to be managed and extra connection that can break…)
      1. Sometimes there is (intermittent or permanent) static on startup – must be some driver loading error. Restart the computer.
    2. Sans SHS-100 (for the Sony Virtuoso) have short connectors. I have only briefly tested a Sony headset, seemed fine.
    3. For any USB headset, I recommend having the built-in analog audio card that comes with the computer disabled (normally done in the BIOS). Again: more options means here more failure points and more confusion and distraction from language learning.
  3. For either analog or digital:
    1. Less is more. Volume control and mute are available through software. duplicate that, and you multiply potential for error, confusion and troubleshooting. Also, what is not there, cannot break.
    2. Light headsets may be fashionable, but, in a shared “lab”environment, what about
      1. sound insulation in a , now that the cubicles are long gone (outside of professional interpreter facilities)?
      2. ruggedness? I recommend buying headsets that have as few movable parts as possible, especially not the microphone boom: short circuits will ensue in no time (case in point: Sanako and Sony have zero moving parts)
    3. connect your headsets on the rear – out of the way and out of reach (and secured, cable-tied: to avert theft, but also “troubleshooting” by troublemakers).
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