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Thread: Wow! The Bluetooth Forum! This has got to be fun!

  1. #1
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    Wow! The Bluetooth Forum! This has got to be fun!

    This is an aspect of HoFo I haven't ventured into yet, and by the looks of things not many are doing/using it anymore.

    But, I had occasion to attempt to revive an old (2009) Plantronics Voyager 520. I used this device extensively back when first purchased while driving around in a company vehicle on a job I was on then. Seemed to work well according to people on the other end.

    This model had no digital noise cancellation processing (that I'm aware of), but had some level of conventional mic placement (or maybe one additional mic) or venting to (probably) to make it more directional and thus cut down on noise.

    From a background in performance audio (live sound and production), one thing I know for sure is, the best way to ensure a good starting point for what you're trying to pick up, is to have your mic close to the sound source. Which no typical Bluetooth headset (other than those by Blue Parrot, or any others with a boom mic that gets the mic up close to the corner of the mouth) has available, by design (short boom - long distance between mic and mouth). So they're all operating with a deficiency right from the get-go.

    At that time I also had two of these wired Jabra headsets (that mounted in the ear, with short mic booms) that the company had available for technicians from the VZW dealer servicing our accounts (free stuff off the sales floor display pegs). We had a boatload of Blackberry 7200s or something along those lines. The receive audio on those headsets was really in the mud (something in the design filtered out frequencies that contribute to intelligibility; upper mids and highs). But the talk audio was pretty stellar, which I've recently confirmed.

    I have carried my old Plantronics unit around for years, only using it once in a great while. I don't have a lot of voice phone traffic, and have a low budget cellular existence. PAYGO on PPC - FTW!

    But a couple weeks ago I fished it out of soft drawstring bag it's in, which resides in a bag I carry, and found the ear loop piece had become two pieces! I guess it needed a more rigid case. Unusable now in this state.

    It also further back in time had lost the chromed plastic cover that comprises the one and only control button (on/off, volume up/down. It cracked from the little use I'd given it). Leaving a tiny but still usable metal stud that is part of the switch mounted to a circuit board. I can live with it.

    I was able to get the ear loop back together using super glue gel, and after a pretty long charge period (still have the original charger and stand), it seems to work fine.

    In all this time I started down the rabbit hole of watching YouTube video reviews of various models of communication-oriented Bluetooth headsets, old and new.

    Also looked at how to fully replace the ear loop on the Voyager 520. Everything's available on eBay!

    And while searching around for this and that I found a deal on a refurb (listed as "restored") Voyager 5200 for $34 on the Walmart website. I was familiar with the model progression or evolution of the better Plantronics products, especially after seeing comparison reviews on YT. I decided to pick it up, and it has been with me for about a week now.

    I'm checking out the viability of using the Google Voice app at home on a cell with a headset of some type, for primary phone calling, once the Obi thing (purportedly) gets eliminated or loses support.

    And I've gotten a voice recording app from the Play Store that allows recording headsets (not all do), and have recorded samples from all my potential call mics: The phone itself, the old Plantronics 520, the newer Poly 5200, the wired Jabra set, and even audio from a Skullcandy Ink'd (with mic) set. Man, all of these sound great (in a quiet environment), while each having their own audio signatures. The old 520 has a very solid communications focused frequency response. I like the sound of them all, frankly (in this recorded context). I would talk with myself in a heartbeat, and love the audio!

    And I can see how the Poly/Plantronics 5200 has such a well deserved reputation for sound quality. Very good sounding, both talk and listen. Things do manifest differently once you're out in a car or other noisy surroundings, but my raw listening tests pretty much reinforced what the video reviews have brought out.

    I'm not too picky about fit. My ears are fairly accommodating.

    One good source for comparison reviews on YouTube is Headet Advisor. They pit two or more devices against each other and have noise sources going on and off. Kind of entertaining for geeks. Seemingly unbiased. There are quite a few others as well.

    So that's a kick I've been on for a while. But like a lot of simple solutions and DIY things with cell/smart phones, the market has shifted to you (if you're a high-end phone user) using wireless music-oriented headsets for most things, or jumping into your newer-model car with it's own Bluetooth setup with or without Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. But which has the better sound? Muah-ha-ha!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by whacker View Post
    ...I'm checking out the viability of using the Google Voice app at home on a cell with a headset of some type, for primary phone calling, once the Obi thing (purportedly) gets eliminated or loses support.
    I have done this. It works well for Wifi calling with the GV app. It's almost a sure thing that the Obi will stop working with GV at some point in the not too distant future. I got a Mee H6D trucker style Bluetooth headset. It was ~$50 at HSN. I also have a Callez with a cord. The Mee has some noise cancellation, but I have not tried it with road noise. The Callez doesn't seem to have much noise cancellation, but that doesn't matter around the house. Both have ok phone quality sound both ways. Neither is any good for music.

    Of course, GV Wifi calling will work without a headset, but I can't stand holding a phone to my ear for long.

    When I was looking for the Bluetooth one I got the impression that the $20 cheap Chinese one were just junk.

    I prefer the trucker style with one ear speaker and a boom mic. I can't stand having anything wrapped around my ear with glasses or sticking in my earhole.

    ...or jumping into your newer-model car with it's own Bluetooth setup with or without Android Auto or Apple CarPlay....
    My state is no handheld phone use while driving. I have this in my 2013 Toyota. My phone automatically connects to it when I start the car. It works ok, but I avoid phone calls while driving so there is not much use of it.

  3. #3
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    I've never heard of either of those headset brands. For home use you really shouldn't need much in the way of noise suppression in the mic/talk audio; but it should be pleasing to the recipient. Even battery life shouldn't be too critical in the home, unless you're working there as phone support or something; long hours w/lots of calls.

    One additional thing I discovered was that eBay has an incredible selection of used and refurbished Plantronics products, like the 5200 for less than $50, and probably any other model you can think of, high end to low. No need to ever buy one at full price, unless you've got a thing about new stuff. And five bucks can get you a three year warranty on it.

    Additional: On an impulse I did a search for Bluetooth headsets shaped like a phone handset. You know, the full-sized old school style. There are tons of them! One of my main beefs about losing the Obi is losing the use of my connected wired phones. But with this discovery I now see that if desired I can keep that "feel" of device if wanted, without the house's wiring and phones. That is funny. I'll have to pull them out at some point, it looks like. So staying with GV hosted on a smartphone, I can go either hands-free with a headset or if nostalgic find one of those types of handsets and wallow in the past (it'll also negate the "wearing" of anything).
    Last edited by whacker; 09-04-2022 at 04:10 PM.

  4. #4
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    When I need a great phone call experience my Blue Parrot 350 hasn't let me down in it seems a lifetime .
    Under normal circumstances I just use my Aftershock Open Move. It does ok at blocking wind noise and normal outdoor noise but not so great at blocking actual wind blocking or loud noises .
    I still have my old Plantronics 520 plus a gazillion others from Jabra , Moto , Jawbone , and others .

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