So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Plantronics .Audio DSP 400
A headset designed for voice, music and games.
- Foldable, portable, light, adjustable microphone, USB sound card for DSP, in-line volume controls
- Largely plastic build, ear cups are hot and tend to get uncomfortable, distortion at high volumes
Plantronics' .Audio DSP 400 is definitely worth a look if you're a heavy user of voice chat on your computer and it performs pretty well for regular music listening as well. The design won't suit everyone and the ear-cups tend to heat your ears, but sound quality is impressive.
Price$ 99.00 (AUD)
Featuring a folding design and boasting DSP digital audio, the Plantronics .Audio DSP 400 is a headset designed for listening to voice, music and games on your PC. Though it's very portable, its construction won't be to everyone's taste and the ear-cups leave your ears hot and uncomfortable.
The design of the Plantronics .Audio DSP 400 is excellent. The headphones fold in half and are therefore easily thrown into a bag or suitcase. The headset is extremely light as it's largely made of gloss black plastic. Though all foldable parts feel well constructed, the light plastic build won't appeal to everyone and it does tend to cheapen the overall look and feel.
The Plantronics .Audio DSP 400's padded ear-cups are comfortable enough, but your ears tend to heat up very quickly when using them. Thankfully, the headband is comfortable and doesn't dig into the top of your head like many other headsets.
The headset comes packaged with a USB sound card, though you can use the regular analog headphone jack connection if you wish. For music listening we definitely recommend using the USB jack, which simply plugs into a spare USB port on your PC.
Although sound quality for music is fair, you will still get better quality from a dedicated pair of headphones. The Plantronics .Audio DSP 400 is light on bass and the headphones tend to distort at higher volume levels. Sound is crisp and clear, though, and the soundstage is surprisingly balanced.
The Plantronics .Audio DSP 400 really comes into its own for voice applications. We tested the headset with the latest version of Skype and also had a number of voice chats over Windows Live Messenger. The microphone worked well, with few complaints regarding outgoing audio quality. The microphone can be rotated and extended to bring it as close as possible to your mouth.
The Plantronics .Audio DSP 400 also includes in-line volume controls, along with a mute slider; the cord also has a handy shirt clip. The long cord is a godsend if you wish to sit well away from your PC, though the wires quickly become a tangled mess.
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