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Knowledge Base » [168401] What are the recommended audio peripherals for use with GP5?


Answer

Product or Service
StudyPlace, GatherPlace, TutorPlace
Client Software
GP5
Almost any headset that functions for sound on your computer will work with GP5.
At GatherPlace, we have tested a limited number of models and brands to date so our recommendations are limited to the few listed below.

While many of our customers use headsets with mini-plug connections, you'll note that there are no mini-plug devices listed in the recommendations. Our experience has shown that the majority of the audio issues reported by customers were directly related to the mini-plug devices for various reasons. Therefore, we no longer recommend them to ensure the best possible GatherPlace experience.

See the article, Identifying Audio Ports and Connectors for more information on the differences between the connector types.

We also do not recommend using a separate microphone and speakers for GatherPlace sessions* for the participants that will be speaking (this includes the built-in devices found in most laptops). Depending on many factors, doing so can introduce an echo into the session and can lead to a less satisfying experience than using a good quality headset or speaker phone. If the guests will be muted during the session (recommended), they can use their computer speakers to participate in the sessions and do not need to purchase a headset or speaker phone. These recommendations are primarily for hosts and frequent guests or online students.

* NOTE: None of the schools that use the GatherPlace technology allow the use of separate microphones and speakers. If you are attending one of these schools you must use a USB headset.

On a final note, all of our sales, support, QC and development staff at GatherPlace use Plantronics USB headsets for all testing, phone calls, and GatherPlace sessions.

Things to consider when selecting a headset or speaker phone
  • Does the unit have an in-line mute button and speaker volume controls, are they easy to find and operate and is the mute/un-muted state obvious when looking at the control?
  • Does the unit have noise AND echo cancellation? Noise cancellation reduces the background noise and echo cancellation is VERY important on the speaker phone models.
  • Is it going to be comfortable if you will be using it for extended periods? e.g. narrow hard plastic head band vs. a padded or rubber cushion, how well do the ear cushions fit, etc.
  • Can it be worn with the microphone on either the left or right side? (important if the cord will get in the way or runs across the workspace while wearing it)
  • Can the microphone be adjusted so it is near, but not directly in front of, your mouth? (the less expensive models may not allow the boom/stalk to be extended close enough to your mouth)
  • Is the cord long enough to reach the USB port for your current computer location/configuration?
  • Is the cord durable enough for your situation? (many of the less expensive units have very thin cords which do not stand up well when yanked, pulled, twisted and run over by the office chair)

Headsets

Price (USD)ImageModelAvailable FromComments
$30Plantronics .Audio 626, DSP PC HeadsetAmazon
  • Microphone boom length is adjustable which provides optimal placement.
  • Digital Signal Processing (DSP).
  • In-line volume and muting controls.
  • Strap goes over the top of the head.
  • Same as the .Audio 646 model below except for the head strap type.
$3031BRE9JPwVL._SL500_AA300_.jpgPlantronics .Audio 646, DSP PC HeadsetAmazon
  • Microphone boom length is adjustable which provides optimal placement.
  • Digital Signal Processing (DSP).
  • In-line volume and muting controls.
  • Strap goes behind the head.
  • Same as the .Audio 626 model above except for the head strap type.
$80Logitech 981-000068 ClearChat Wireless USB Headset - BlackAmazon
  • Wireless headset with no cords to tangle or get in the way.
  • Range is about 10 meters (33 feet).
  • Fully charged batteries last 3 - 3.5 hours.
  • Can plug charging cord in while wearing and using headset.


Speaker Phones

$11014273.jpgPhoenix Technologies Solo USB Conference MicrophoneHello Direct
  • No built-in speaker - you must plug your PC speakers into the unit.
  • Can plug a headset into the speaker port for private conversations.
  • Built-in controls include a mute button.
$14014272.jpgPhoenix Technologies Duet PCS USB Conference Speaker phoneHello Direct
  • Has a built-in speaker.
  • Can plug your PC speakers into the unit if desired or use the port for a headset.
  • Built-in controls include mute, volume up and volume down.


In general you can expect to pay $30 - $100US for USB headsets and $100 - $150US for speaker phones.