Computer headsets that combine a microphone and either single or dual earpieces are useful business tools. Headsets allow you to use your computer as a part of unified communication system, integrating telephony, collaboration and messaging. A headset also makes it easy to both listen to content through its headphones and create content through its microphone.
Analog headsets work just like separate headphone and microphones. They're mounted on a single piece, but the cord ends in two plugs. One connects to your computer's audio output and one to its audio input. Analog headsets use the audio processing system built into your computer and usually replace any other audio device you have plugged in.
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USB headsets are more complicated. They look like regular analog headsets but have a USB plug that you insert into an open USB port on your computer. Because of their connection, they bypass your computer's sound card and use their own sound processing system. This actually makes it possible for them to coexist with other sound devices on your computer.
When Analog Headsets are Better
Analog headsets have two key advantages: they are simple and usually less expensive since they plug into the standard ports on your computer and use its sound processing equipment. Analog headsets can also take advantage of any advanced sound hardware you have on your computer. While this is overkill for typical business applications, it can be very important if you work in an industry where you need very high quality sound.
When USB Headsets are Better
USB headsets also have two key benefits. First, they frequently have better sound quality than a traditional headset. Many business computers have low-quality sound systems prone to distortion and noise and, while most USB headsets do not have particularly high-quality components, they benefit from doing their digital-to-analog processing outside of your computer's case. The second is that by adding an additional sound processor to your device, you can have sound send to two places. For example, you could configure your computer to play music for your office over analog-connected speakers while sending your internet telephone calls to your USB headset.