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The Differences Between Analog and USB Computer Headset Connections

Analog / USB connection

• All Plantronics computer headset now have the USB / Analog adapter, allowing for use both ways.

• The analog to USB adapter is not sold separately, nor is it offered separately from Plantronics. However, this interface need not be brand specific, so You can probably get it from an electronics retailer (Best Buy, etc.).

Analog vs. USB

• The USB connection is a universal interface (universal serial bus), that will provide the same sound quality on any computer.

• The sound card connections (2 analog 3.5 connectors) will vary depending on the quality of the user’s sound card.

• USB is usually recommended since the level of sound quality is more predictably consistent.

• The analog interface is not compatible with Macs.

• Occasionally, the analog interface does not work with some PC sound cards.

• All troubleshooting steps are the same for USB / Analog headsets. (See Featured Item 7.0 “Computer Headsets” for common troubleshoots).

What is USB?

A Universal Serial Bus is a serial bus standard to connect devices to a host computer. USB ports allow many peripherals (devices like mice, keyboards, PDAs, gamepads, scanners, digital cameras, printers, headsets, etc) to be connected using a single standardized interface socket. They also improve plug-and-play capabilities by allowing devices to be connected and disconnected (hot-swapped) without rebooting the computer or turning off the device. USB ports also provide power to low-consumption devices, bypassing AC / DCA connections. USB connections allow many devices to be used without requiring manufacturer-specific individual device drivers to be installed.

USB is intended to replace all serial and parallel ports. For many peripherals USB has become the standard connection method.

What is a Sound Card?

A Sound Card is a computer expansion card that facilitates the input and output of audio to/from a computer under control of computer programs. Typical uses include providing the audio component for multimedia applications such as music composition, editing video or audio, presentation / education, and entertainment. Many computers have sound cards built in, while others require additional expansion cards to provide for audio capability. Sound cards usually featured a digital-to-analog converter, that converts recorded or generated digital data into an analog format for output to an amplifier, headphones, or other devices using a 3.5mm connector.

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Kyle Newgent wearing a Leitner office headset

Kyle Newgent
Headset Blogger