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Noise-Reduction Bluetooth Headsets 2: Plantronics Voyager PRO

Compared to the Aliph Jawbone (see previous post) and other in-ear Bluetooth headsets, the Plantronics Voyager PRO is a very different beast. It's an over-ear design, with the electronics in a pod that rests behind the ear, and a boom microphone. Instead of a tiny unit that uses the earpiece to keep the unit in place, the Voyager PRO hangs on the ear, with the earpiece nestling gently in the outside of the ear canal.

The behind-the-ear pod is actually larger than some other headsets, but has room for the power button, distinct volume controls, and a standard micro-USB charging connector. There's also a call control button at the base of the boom. The boom extends some 2 1/2 inches to get the dual microphones closer to your voice. It also has both stainless steel and acoustic fabric windscreens as barriers to wind noise.

Plantronics then packs the pod with its next-generation AudioIQ active digital signal processing technology to remove ambient noise and wind while still maintaining the natural sound of your speaking voice. The inbound audio quality also is improved with an adaptive 20-band equalizer and automatic sound level adjustment based on the environment noise.

The result is very impressive noise reduction. Both the incoming and outgoing voices were quite clear, even in noisy environment, with a little hiss. This is especially tricky, since the earpiece is not particularly secure in the ear, and therefore does not provide much passive noise reduction.

So the Voyager PRO may seem an ungainly design -- not very sexy or sleek or colorful (at 17.5 grams, compared to 10 for the Jawbone Prime). Even so, Plantronics reports that its predecessor, the Voyager 510, has continued to be very popular. And while it's obviously not the best choice for jogging or action sports, the over-ear design and strong noise reduction can be very comfortable for extended use in more stable environments, like around the office or when driving.

The Plantronics Voyager PRO is available for around $99, or $84 street.

See my Audio Accessories Gallery for details and related products.

    Find the Plantronics Voyager PRO headset on Amazon.com

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