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Glossary of Important Headset Terms

0-9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

2.4 GHz

A newly allocated wireless frequency. In general 2.4 GHz wireless headsets are less susceptible to interference.

900 MHz

The more traditional wireless frequency. Most cordless phones are 900 MHz.

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Accessory Pack for Executive Pro Systems

The office headset Accessory Pack includes an amplifier adapter (removing the need for batteries) and a 7ft. Extension Cord for maximum reach while on the phone. Accessory packs can be purchased separately from our accessories page.


Automatic Call Distribution — A type of phone system used in professional call centers where incoming calls are routed to the different operators automatically.

Acoustic Coupler

A special seal on some headsets (notably the Plantronics M130) that allows better caller focus by blocking out unwanted sounds.


Sounds from your telephone are generally too weak to drive the speakers in a headset - the signal needs to be amplified. The Amplifier is typically a small box that sits next to your phone and provides access to volume controls etc. The Executive Pro Series brand of headsets are supplied with an amplifier, but other brands are not; the amplifier must be purchased separately.


In the context of wireless phones: Analog signals are generally not encrypted and are of limited bandwidth.
In the context of computer headsets: Analog Headsets offer connectivity to your sound card via 3.5mm jacks - in much the same way as headphones for a Walkman.

Automated Handset Lifter

Used with the Plantronics Wireless Headset System, this device allows you to answer the phone without returning to your desk to lift the receiver. The remote answering platform for the Plantronics Wireless Headset System can be purchased in our Wireless section.

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A style of headset with a band that drapes around the nape of your neck.

Biaural and Binaural

A style of headset with speakers for both ears. Typically these offer the user a greater degree of caller focus.


A new protocol developed jointly by industry leaders in many fields, including Microsoft, Plantronics, Nokia, Ericsson, IBM, 3Com and Motorola. Bluetooth is still in its infancy, but the design allows for seamless, wireless, automatic connectivity between a large number of devices. Bluetooth headsets are among the first Bluetooth devices available.

Bluetooth version 2.0

Bluetooth 2.0 is backward-compatible with 1.1. The main improvement is the introduction of an Enhanced Data Rate for both data and voice packets. This additional speed is obtained by using a different radio transmission. Other advantages are three times faster transmission speed, lower power consumption, and simplification of multi-link capabilities.

Boom Microphone

A boom microphone is a microphone that is held in a fixed position from your mouth by an arm (or boom). It has significant benefits over a fixed, desktop microphone (such as the one in your telephone when it is used in ‘speakerphone mode’) because as you move your head around, the volume that the caller hears remains constant.

BroadBass speakers

(GN Netcom headsets)
Speakers with a wide dynamic range, particularly good at reproducing the lower or bass tones. This term is used to describe some headsets by GN Netcom, that have been specifically designed to minimize the ‘tinny’ sound that cheaper headsets can be plagued with.

Busy Light

The Busy Light is an easily visible light which indicates to others when you are on the line. Great for preventing interruptions and monitoring group phone activity. Works with or without a headset. Busy Lights can be purchased separately from our accessories page.

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Call Clarity™

(Plantronics Systems)
Plantronics Call Clarity™ system uses electronic signal processing to enhance transmission and reception through innovative noise reduction techniques that result in the clearest possible calls. With Call Clarity™, the headset wearer benefits from less phone line disturbance and background room noise. For both the wearer and the listener, the Call Clarity™ system ensures less confusion as to who is speaking.


A style of speaker that covers the entire ear, blocking out all sounds. This is typically not found on headsets (apart from specialist models) but is more common on headphones.

Connector Cord

The cord that connects your base unit amplifier and your telephone.


A headset style that can be quickly reconfigured to be worn either as an over-the-head headset or alternatively as an on-the-ear model. (Please note the Plantronics DuoPro model can also be configured as a behind-the-neck headset). Examples

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(1.9 GHz Wireless Frequency)
1.9GHz DECT is a digital wireless technology which originated in Europe, but is now being adopted increasingly worldwide, for cordless telephones, wireless offices and even wireless telephone lines to the home. DECT has been designed and specified to be more compatible with other wireless technologies which can increase call clarity and security on headsets that use this standard.


In the context of wireless phones: Digital signals are less prone to interference and can be securely encrypted on the fly for greater security
In the context of computer headsets: Digital Headsets offer connectivity to your computer via the USB port. They require software (supplied) to function. The software can provide additional features (noise cancellation, frequency manipulations etc.)


Usually applied to a microphone, when it is capable of receiving sounds from only one direction.

DC Adapter

The optional amplifier adapter provides power for your amplifier and eliminates the need for batteries. Just plug it in, and forget it! Amplifier adapters can be purchased separately from our accessories page.

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Extension Cord

Our Extension Cord is a 7ft cord that gives you even more mobility while using your headset. Extension cords can be purchased separately from our accessories page.

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(Plantronics Systems)
Firefly is a feature on some Plantronics headsets, integrating an on-line indicator at the tip of the microphone boom that flashes when in use, letting other people know that you are on a call.


(Plantronics Wireless)
Flex-Grip is a design style used to help an Over-the-Ear headset fit more comfortably and securely.


(Plantronics Wireless)
FlexFit is a design style for an intraural headset that improves the stability of the microphone.

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GN Netcom

A subsidiary of GN Danavox, a Danish company. GN Netcom has over the last few years acquired many of the smaller brands of headset manufacturers, including Unex, ACS, Jabra and others.

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A number of headsets require an amplifier to function. Please be sure to verify what components the headset you're looking at requires.

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Inline Volume Control

This type of volume control is built into the headset cord so you can change the volume of your headset in a natural and efficient manner.


A style of headset that uses an Intraural speaker. Typical examples are the ear bud style of headphones.


A type of speaker that sits gently in the ear canal.

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Lift Lever

The Handset Lifter is a simple device that lifts your telephone receiver from its cradle and holds the line open while you talk. Perfect for reducing desktop clutter.

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A headset with a single speaker.

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Noise-canceling refers to a microphone design which virtually eliminates the transmission of background noise. This inexpensive option can greatly enhance the sound quality of your headset.

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(Contrast with Directional)
Usually applied to a microphone, when it is capable of receiving sounds equally from any direction.


A style of headset that hangs from the ear. Examples


The most common style of headset - with a headband that goes up and over your head. Typically available in monaural and binaural styles. 

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(Plantronics DSP Headsets)
PerSono is a software suite designed to enhance communications over VoIP softphones.


A headset manufacturer.


A range of headsets from Plantronics designed to work with specific models of phones that have a built-in amplifier. Typically Meridian and Norstar systems use this type of headset.

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Quick Adjust™

Quick Adjust refers to a telescopic microphone boom that lets you place the microphone in the optimal position for speech recognition and clarity of sound in your conversations.

Quick Disconnect

A small connector in the headset cord that allows the user to break away from a call to move around the office and reconnect without placing the caller on hold.

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Remote Answering Platform

Used with Plantronics Wireless Headset Systems, this device allows you to answer the phone without returning to your desk to lift the receiver.


(Contrast with Convertible)
A reversible headset can be worn with the speaker on either the left or right ear. The headset is designed to be easily adjustable to suit your preference.

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A German company known best for its microphones, headphones, and telephone headsets.

Sound Card

A sound card converts the digital signal your computer produces into a signal that can be played through speakers or headphones. (See Analog)

Sound Enhancement System™ (SES)

The Plantronics Sound Enhancement System lets you highlight bass or treble sounds for a fuller, richer tone. It’s used on the Plantronics Encore line of headsets.


Plantronics SoundGuard Plus™ technology, ensures that loud tones are quickly reduced and that any transient ‘pops’ are instantly capped. Most importantly, SoundGuard Plus™ ensures that the normal, human voice remains natural and unchanged, delivering face-to-face clarity of communication to the call center environment.


(Contrast with Talk-Time)
Standby is a mode of operation on a wireless (or cellular) phone that allows it to conserve power while not in use. ‘Stand By Time’ is usually the amount of time that headset system will need between charges – even if no calls are made or received.


A type of speaker that rests on the outside of the ear.

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(Contrast with Standby-Time)
The number of hours you can talk on your headset before it must be recharged.

Three-Point Fit™

(Plantronics TriStar Headset)
This Plantronics technology provides four sizes of user-selectable earbuds and an adjustable receiver arm, so the headset can be customized to your preference. The headset is in contact with your ear in three places, each can be adjusted to match the uniqueness of your ear.

Training Adapter

Our training adapter allows two headsets to connect to a single phone so supervisors can listen in with trainees. Ideal for getting new recruits up to speed as quickly as possible. Training adapters can be purchased separately from our accessories page.


A combination of design and materials that have been developed to allow the ear to breath during prolonged use, and to eliminate issues arising from long term pressure or contact on the outer ear.

Two Prong Adapter

Allows you to use a headset with your CAD COM, Key and other two-prong phone systems. Two prong adapters can be purchased separately from our accessories page.

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Voice Tube

A voice tube carries sound from your mouth to a microphone that is housed in the ear cup of a headset. This design strategy produces headsets that can be manufactured at a significantly reduced cost – a saving that is reflected in the cost to the end-user. The downside is that the microphone can not make use of Noise Canceling technologies, and is therefore less suitable for noisy environments.


Voice over Internet Protocol. This is a technology that allows you to talk to others over the internet, rather than over phone lines.

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