Thursday, February 14, 2008

HeadsetHouse BN25:
I review a headset that I designed

OK. I admit this is weird.

It seems like a case study in conflict-of-interests, a prime example of what journalists aren’t supposed to do.

But, I’ve recommended lots of products designed and sold by others, so why shouldn’t I share the spotlight? Besides, it’s my blog, and I’m not the only one who likes this headset, and I'm "confessing" to my readers in advance, rather than being discovered by an investigative reporter after publication.

My company has sold over 1,000 of these headsets, even to someone who works for Plantronics, probably the world’s largest headset maker. He says it sounds terrific, but I won’t tell you his name because I don’t want to embarrass him.

Here’s the story of how I accidentally became a headset designer:

In my "day job," after I write four blogs each morning, I run a company that sells phones, phone systems, and phone stuff. I lost a battle with the "Big Two" headset makers, Plantronics and GN Netcom (now called Jabra.) They think that headsets with 2.5mm plugs are used only by people driving cars, so they make single-ear models to let you hear horns and sirens while you talk and drive.

I knew that lots of 2.5mm headsets are used outside of cars: some with cellphones, some with cordless phones, and more and more with wired phones in offices and homes.

If you're in a quiet spot, a single earpiece is fine. But if your home or office is less than quiet, or if you're in a train, airport or convention center, or walking down the street or standing in a park or playground, or sitting in a stadium; it's much better to hear voices with both of your ears, and knock out the noise.

I arranged for Chameleon -- one of the top headset manufacturers -- to produce a binaural model just for my company to sell.

We dictated the specs and the features.

We evaluated each prototype generation with corded, cordless and cellular phones.

The resulting comfort and sound quality are absolutely spectacular. There's nothing like it anywhere else. Even the guy from Plantronics said so.

The HeadsetHouse BN25 has a noise-canceling microphone on a long, strong, moldable boom that can be positioned close to your mouth for the strongest possible voice pick-up, with minimal background noise. (Short booms may be stylish, but they're lousy for communications unless you're in a very quiet spot.)

It's lightweight and secure; and comfortable, with or without eyeglasses. It's deluxe in sound, construction and feel; and warranted for two years.

The BN25 weighs just 2.3 ounces -- less than a small order of fries at McDonalds. It's easy to wear, all day long.

It comes with two sets of ear cushions: foam and leatherette. Wear whichever type you prefer. Or get freaky: put foam on one ear, and leatherette on the other.

The BN25 is built to be a 2.5mm headset. There's no clunky adapter or converter that can come apart or snag on something.

The microphone can be positioned on your right side or left side.

Audio Clarity Technology™ (ACT) and Acoustic Shock Protection provide premium quality sound with safety and comfort. You won't get blasted by a sudden loud sound with the BN25.

The receiver elements are extra efficient for higher volume. They'll give you an extra boost in noisy environments, and work well with phones that have low headset output, like the Panasonic KX-T7600 and KX-T7700 series.

Our Voice Trap™ noise canceling microphone is equipped with a wind screen like pilots and broadcasters use, to block Mother Nature's noises and your own heavy breathing. The microphone in the BN25 is designed to respond to the frequency range of the human voice, and reject everything else.

Each earpiece can pivot both horizontally and vertically in our new GyroFloat suspension. Each earpiece in the BN25 is free to float to match the contours of your face. It stays positioned perfectly on your ear, with very gentle pressure.

There's no cable yoke around your neck -- a single lightweight cord connects to both earpieces. The cord is half-coiled, and extends to about six feet.

The 2.5mm plug is gold plated to minimize corrosion and ensure strong signal transfer for the best possible sound. With the BN25, you'll hear voices, not crackles.

The cord has an adjustable clothing clip to help keep your headset on your head as you move around. If the cord gets caught on something, the headset won't fly away or flop on the floor.

The microphone boom on the BN25 is a strong metal gooseneck, yet it is very thin, lightweight and flexible. It's like magic. It can be molded to stay in almost any position, and will withstand thousands of bends without breaking.

The BN25 is an important piece of business equipment, built to last for a long time; it's not a throwaway from the dollar store. You'll have a "No Questions Asked," abuse or accident, two-year warranty. If it breaks, it gets fixed or replaced, quickly.

I’m very proud of this product, the first one to carry the HeadsetHouse brand name. Price is $96. Shipping is free in the USA. Even to Alaska or Hawaii. It’s available at It's also available in a monauural version for one-ear listening, for quieter environments, or safer driving.

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