Altec Lansing AHS302USB Headset Review


What?s in the Box?

The first thing we notice out of the box is the cool little USB dongle that the headset and mic jacks plug into. This scores immediate points for people like me who are tired of going to the back of their rig to plug and unplug peripherals like microphones and headphones. We were able to get up and running with very little fuss. After connecting the analog inputs from the headset to the dongle, Windows XP recognized the new hardware with no problem ? no need for any drivers or any headaches. (Unfortunately for Mac OSX users I was never able to get the USB dongle to work properly ? another reason to stay with your PC!)

Altec Lansing AHS302i Headset USB Dongle

This headset had basic controls along the length of the wire that helped you dial in volume and microphone level. The AHS302usb contains a simple analog dial that adjusts the volume very quickly and smoothly. Along the side of the volume control is a microphone adjustment that allows you to change the level of microphone from ?low? to ?high? to ?mute?. While it is nice that there are controls for the microphone, I really didn?t see the real-world use for ever setting the microphone level to ?low?. During our use with this headset, we kept the mic level at high and used either the computers ?rec level? or the application set up to adjust recording levels.

Altec Lansing AHS302i Headset Review

This headset has a ?behind-the-head? fit, much like the Logitech Precision Pro, but the difference here is that Altec Lansing built this set for comfort. It has a very comfortable fit due to the padding around the drivers that made the fit very comfortable. Like a lot of stereo headsets, they sort of fit around the top of your ear securing them to your head. (If you have big head like me, they?ll never come off!) This headset was quite comfortable and I was able to wear them for long periods of time.

When using Skype and MSN Talk, users were able to hear me loud and clear with no crackling or muffled sounds transmitted. It was interesting though that when using the USB dongle connected to the computer, the voice transmission quality was much cleaner and sharper than using the analog connectors of my computer?s sound card (SoundBlaster Live! card). I think it?s obvious that the analog-to-digital signal processor for this headset greatly improves the sound quality in transmissions.

We tested the effectiveness of the noise cancellation built into the microphone and found that even with a fairly noisy background on our end, the listener could hear us well. The microphone boom is flexible and molds to different positions and angles for ideal placement by your face. If the ambient noise in the room was like a radio or TV on in the background, the noise cancellation/rejection system of the AHS302usb did very well. We never experienced any type of clipping or chopping of speech when using the Altec Lansing set.

During our testing, users of the Altec Lansing AHS302usb headset were able to go an entire day with the headset on listening to music and chatting with no discomfort at all. Apparently, the ?leatherette? ear pads are not only stylish, but do their job in keeping the user comfortable. If you wear glasses, you should not have a problem with this set (as opposed to the Logitech?s reviewed earlier).

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