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Good sound quality has a direct impact on the success of any meeting and event, and yet it is too often overlooked. Being able to hear the speaker loud and clear, is not just a matter of comfort for listeners but also a prerequisite for interpretation. So one of the key tools that you should consider using to improve your sound quality is a quality headset.

In this article, we'll show you what makes a good headset and how to pick one.

Designed to improve sound quality

Truth be told, the interpreting community has tackled the topic of headsets more than the events industry - because historically, in-person events, where speakers use stand-alone mics, have been much more common than online or hybrid ones. However, the growing demand for the latter event types calls for a review of the headset as a required tool for anyone actively participating in hybrid or online events.   

 

It is within the interpreting industry that we easily find different players listing the best headsets but the criteria they use to determine those varies. For example, The International Association of Conference Interpreters Technical and Health Committee has released a recommended list of devices from different manufacturers indicating the compliance of their headphones and microphones with ISO PAS 24019 / ISO 20109, which set the standards for simultaneous interpreting delivery platforms. On the other hand, RSI platforms such as Interprefy, also have gathered feedback from over 200 headsets tested in the RSI environment.

The good news is that no matter the list, there are some aspects everyone seems to agree on when deciding what makes a headset good. 

So, what makes a good headset?

Here are some characteristics that all active participants in multilingual events should consider when choosing a headset: 

  • Wired headset, not wireless

    Using wired headsets will ensure glitch-free transmission, providing the peace of mind that your headset doesn't lose connection. Imagine delivering a speech or interpreting and running out of battery halfway through it... There are enough unpredictable things that can happen during an event, no need to add extra worry. 

  • Noise-canceling system

    Nothing makes someone lose attention and interest in a speech like hearing disturbing and annoying sounds, such as builders outside or a dog barking in the distance. As the noise cancellation feature uses components to block the ambient noise, it effectively improves sound quality too. 
  • Acoustic sound protection

    Particularly useful when the speaker doesn't have a noise-canceling microphone - or doesn't wear one at all - and you have to put up with all types of noises. Also recommended if you wear a headset for many hours a day to ease the strain on your hearing.

  • Good sound output

    If you can't use a tabletop mic, the headset should also ideally have a boom mic that can be moved so that it can be well placed in front of the mouth and prioritize the voice over background noise. 

  • Comfortable 

    Luckily, we are spoilt for choice: double, single-sided, or bone conduction headsets... whatever makes you feel comfortable as long as they are USB or jack-connected to the computer. 

Conclusion

The lack of tabletop microphones in hybrid and virtual events is jeopardizing sound quality and ultimately the user's experience. Headsets, if correctly used by all active participants and not only by interpreters, are a quick fix to improve sound quality and the overall event experience. 

Are you planning a multilingual event?

At Interprefy, we provide the world’s leading cloud-based RSI platform that enables interpreters to work from anywhere, anytime, and without specialized equipment. Interprefy is easy to set up and use, and it’s scalable and flexiblemaking it suitable for any on-site, online, or hybrid event.

Additionally, Interprefy professional services help you take care of your event's preparation with training for interpreters and speakers, technical remote support, and much more. 

Take a look at our latest ebook that aims to help you find the right RSI solution to fit your event.

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Patricia Magaz

Written by Patricia Magaz

Patricia Magaz is a Technical Writer and Content Specialist at Interprefy. Born in Spain, Patricia holds a Masters degree in Translation & Conference Interpreting and has over 10 years' experience designing and creating content for international companies.