What is a Boomless Headset?

Boomless Headsets

Microphone Boom Headset on Dummy

A Boomless Headset (also called a boomfree headset) is a headset where a microphone boom is not necessary in front of a person's mouth in order to record speech. Boomless headsets do away with the microphone boom and thus are forming a new generation of headsets which no longer need boom extensions.

You can see in the image to the right the microphone boom. The microphone boom is the extension coming out of the left earcup that goes all the way to the front of the user's mouth. Under the foam, right in front of the mouth, is the microphone that the user speaks into, which records the speech the user talks. This is how a typical headset works, one which utilizes boom technology.

A boomless headset doesn't need this boom extension. A user puts the headset on and there is no piece that has to extend to the front of the person's mouth. You may ask then, how does it record? Where are the microphones? And these are good questions. The microphones are in the speaker earcups. A user talks directly forward, the same way he would with a boom microphone headset, and the microphones in the earcups, both left and right, record his speech from the sides.

This gives boomless headsets tremendous advantages over headsets that use booms, which have many disadvantages. For one thing, the boom microphone is usually the easiest part of a headset to break, as it's a flexible piece that if mishandled can break off or snap from the boom swivel. Another disadvantage is that the user must continually manually adjust the boom to the front of his mouth in order to get proper recording. This position is usually about one inch from the user's mouth. If a user positions the boom farther away than this, his voice may be too distant, creating low microphone output. If he positions the boom too close, the microphone may produce distortion or breath-popping. This is usually seen as an annoyance, which are why boomless headsets may be the next rave. The boomless headsets make talking more natural. Since the user doesn't have to have a microphone boom in front of his mouth always, he can just talk, with even being able to eat and drink, without any manual adjustments necessary. And the user doesn't have to appear as a "telephone operator" with a boom extending to the front of his mouth.

Andrea Electronics is a leading developer of this technology and they have produce 2 boomless headsets which was released in 2011. One is an earbud headset, the SB-205, and the other is a "headphone" headset, the SB-405. They both function on array microphone technology.

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