V-moda boom mic

Don’t buy a gaming or work headset: use this instead

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I’ve written about my favorite PS5 wireless headsets and gave my recommendations for those who prefer to have wireless functionality with their headset. The problem is that they are generally a bit expensive, and you probably wouldn’t use them for anything non gaming related. Sure, you maybe could use one on your PC for conference calls, but because the ones I recommended are designed for gaming they don’t play well with phones.

If you’re willing to deal with a wire from your headphones to your controller then you can do what I’m about to describe and save a lot of money!

Here’s what you need:

  • Over ear headphones that have a 3.5mm headphone jack. Be careful here as some newer headphones have no jacks (looking at your Airpods Max)
  • A separate boom mic, such as this V-Moda boom mic that I use:
V-moda boom mic
Image credit: V-Moda.com

That’s it! The boom mic is just a mic that plugs into your headphone jack on your headphones turning into a fully functioning headset. This is how I do all of my gaming and conference calls for work. The upside is that I don’t need a separate headset for gaming and use one that I already have.  I share a space so having gadgets laying around everywhere isn’t ideal! The only thing that is annoying is that I can’t find anything besides the V-Moda currently. The demand on this has driven the price up a bit. I had an actual identical dupe of this that I bought on Amazon but it seems to not be available anymore.

v-moda boom mic with headphones
Look how happy he is! Image credit: V-Moda

You may already have a headset that this would work for, but if your shopping a new one here are some things to consider:

  • Wired vs Wireless: If you’re only using them for gaming and combining with a boom mic, you don’t need them to be wireless. The Philips I mention below are wired and require no power to use except for what’s supplied by the 3.5mm jack. I mention this because some wireless headphones, such as the Sony XM3/XM4 (amazing by the way), give better audio when they are powered on even when wired with a boom mic. In other words, they aren’t really made to be used without internal power. It’s nice having a pair of headphones that never needs to be charged! However, if you also want a wireless headset for other things you can kill two birds with one stone by combining them with a separate mic. 
  • Sound Quality: I generally like a well mixed range, with pronounced mids and highs and without too much bass. Don’t get me wrong, I love bass, but I find that a lot of manufacturers overdo this. The PS5 actually has a built in equalizer so this negates the issue a bit (Xbox only has this for their headset), but it’s good to start from a place of good balanced audio, and there’s something to be said for not having to fiddle with settings.
  • Clamping strength. I have a huge head, and a lot of headphones give me headaches unfortunately. Rtings.com has a lot of info on this. You can also try and stretch your headphones if you end up with a pair that are a little tight: simply stretch them over a stack of books, just don’t overdo it and break them.x
  • How is the noise isolation? Consider if you want noise canceling, or if you want to hear your surroundings in case someone needs something in the office, your phone rings, etc. In my opinion, I don’t really want the noise cancelling as I prefer to hear my surroundings. BUT it’s nice to have for if I was on a flight or something. So if I get noise canceling it has to have an on/off toggle
  • Battery life (wireless only): It’s nice to not have to charge between too few play sessions. The range can be large, from just a few hours up to 30 hours.
  • Comfort: close cousin to clamping strength, different headphones can have wider bands, bigger cans, softer material, and lots of things that can make headphones more comfortable. I don’t love Bose, but I can appreciate how comfortable some of their models are.

I have the Philips SHP9500 HiFi open ear headphones (no wireless models available):

Philips SHP9500 HiFi model
Image credit: Philips USA

These are the most comfortable headphones I’ve used (I have a big head so lots of headphones hurt me) and have AMAZING sound per many audiophiles, but have basically zero noise isolation. In fact not only will you hear everything in your surroundings people will hear what you’re listening to. This is the trade off of open ear design, so watch out if you play them too loud in a call or game; ex if I’m in a lobby playing music loudly and my mic is on people in the lobby might hear it through my mic. Shoutout to this video that convinced me to get them, some profanity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aipXii-qWiQ ) The big downside is that they aren’t wireless, so I sometimes feel like I wish I had another wireless pair of headphones. Between having my PowerBeat Pros and these, and a pair of MPow headphones that I don’t like anymore, adding in another pair seems ridiculous.  However, I use these wired as my Zoom headphones for work. While the cushions are quite large in diameter, I find that because they don’t stick out from my head a huge amount that they don’t look as strange as some other headphones do. The minimalist branding and color usage makes these look work appropriate, and I can vouch that no one has made fun of me for wearing it during calls. 

I’ll add some headphone recommendations later on, but for now if you have a pair already that has a 3.5mm jack and no headset then definitely consider a boom mic such as the V-moda and save yourself a bit of money! 

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