The headset is a versatile piece of equipment which comes in a huge number of styles, sizes and shapes and uses. Bluetooth headsets, for example are about two inches long and clip directly onto the ear, while gaming headsets are sometimes the same size and shape as headphones, but with a microphone arm. The parts that make up a headset are fairly standard, with some changes depending on style.
A key component of a headset is the small speaker used to transmit the sound from the other person. These are typically the same speakers found in headphones. Bluetooth headsets tend to have speakers similar to the in-ear style, while some gaming sets have over-the-ear speakers.
The other key component of a headset is the microphone. Without it, the device cannot transmit your speech to the other person or players. On a gaming headset, this is typically attached to a boom, which you can position in front of your mouth to best pick up the sound--some booms are flexible with a wire you can bend to shape, others are rigid. On a Bluetooth headset, the microphone is at the tip.
Bluetooth devices function by clipping themselves to your ear with an ear-shaped clip attached to the underside of the device. Gaming or telephone headsets, on the other hand, have the same behind-the-head or over-the-head beam structure found on a typical headset. There are some telephone headsets, such as those provided with the iPhone, which lack this because they use the earbud-style headphones.
The wiring on a headset serves two purposes: transmitting sound to and from the speakers and microphone, and transferring power to those devices. Except for Bluetooth headsets, where the power comes from an on-board battery, and the information is transferred wirelessly through the Bluetooth chip in your phone and the headset. At the end of the wires is either a proprietary jack, or a simple 3.5 mm headphone and microphone jack.
Not all headsets have a button device, but many gaming headsets have at least one. This activates the mute function, or for some is a "push to talk" function. Most Bluetooth devices include at least three: two control the volume on the device, and the third is a multi-use button. The multi-use button typically powers on the device, answers calls, or activates voice dialing.
- Photo Credit headset image by Dron from Fotolia.com audio-set, bluetooth image by Andrey Chmelyov from Fotolia.com headphone image by Gabees from Fotolia.com