New Gaming Headset

By | May 17, 2014

So last week for my birthday, Jessica told me that I had to buy myself a present to open up in front of our oldest son.  She wants to stress the importance that all birthdays aren’t about him (he’s three).  I’d been looking at a new headset with microphone to use at the office for a few months now.  After moving offices six weeks ago, I find myself in an office that is very noisy at times, and other times absolutely silent.  Since they’re “executive suites”, the types of businesses that are in the offices around me varies.  There are a couple of realtors, and a couple of recruiters.  When they’re in the office, its loud with voices, otherwise its very quiet.  Headphones are almost mandatory to focus on writing code.

I’d been eyeing the Plantronics RIG headset.  I liked the idea of being able to plug my cell phone into it while I’ve got my headphones on and be able to use it to take those calls with the push of a button.  So, I got them.  I spent two days working with them.  There is a USB connector for the microphone and a standard PC headphone jack for the audio.  As a bonus, that I hadn’t seen in any of the reviews, there is also an optical audio input on the base.  I listened to music with them and the sound quality was quite good.  I was pretty impressed.  Audio was immersive and had good range.  I’m not an audiophile, but they outperformed any headphones I’ve owned previously.

The downside was that I could never get the microphone working.  It was recognized by Xubuntu 14.04 and PulseAudio, but I was never able to get it working.  I tried to take a phone call with them as well, and that also failed, so I think I got a set with a bad microphone.  Looking around in the forums, it seems that this isn’t an uncommon issue with this headset.

So, I returned them.  I spent just a bit more and got the Logitech G930 Gaming Headset.  Its wireless, and has three programmable G Keys.  I plugged in the cable spool and the wireless dongle, and it was instantly recognized by Xubuntu and PulseAudio.  Microphone worked, audio worked.  In short, it was truly plug and play.  Listened to some music, and the audio quality was just as good as the RIG, if not slightly better.

The G930 is a bit heavier than the RIG, but its quite comfortable.  The RIG made my ears hotter, but was actually just a bit more comfortable to wear than the G930.  Thats all personal preference, though.  They’re both adjustable and both very comfortable.

Bottom line, both headsets are good, but Plantronics in my experience seems to have a quality control issues.  I like the concept of integration with my cell phone of the RIG, but I like the wireless aspect of the G930 with no cables getting in between me and the desk or keyboard.

I only had a slight problem with the G930 under LInux, and thats the Gnome15 extensions.  I downloaded the Ubuntu 13.10 version from Russo79 and they worked just fine under 14.04.  The stock packages included in the main Ubuntu repositories didn’t.

Overall, I’m happier with the G930 than the RIG, but they’re pretty evenly matched in audio quality and comfort for my purposes.  Listening to music, phone calls, Skype and Google Hangouts.  Since I”m on Linux and not using them to game, I can’t comment on the 7.1 capabilities of the headset.

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