[CentOS] how do I make my headset work

Wed Jun 10 13:10:14 UTC 2015
Lamar Owen <lowen at pari.edu>

On 06/05/2015 05:26 PM, John R Pierce wrote:
> On 6/5/2015 2:19 PM, g wrote:
>> sennheiser, klipsch, jbl, bose, Monster, beats audio.
> those are more audio/stereo headphones, and not known as makers of 
> headsets with integral microphones.    I'd delete Monster, Beats, and 
> add Sony (specifically the MDR7506) to that list :)   oh, and Grado Labs.
+50 for Sennheiser.  They make excellent pro-quality headsets, and mics, 
for that matter, such as the legendary MD 421.  I can't say about their 
prosumer or consumer gear, since if I'm going to buy Sennheiser I'm 
going to, you know, 'buy Sennheiser.'  But the HME 26 and HMDC 26 
headsets are top-rated, and cost accordingly (with tax, about $500).  I 
know of many radio stations who use Sennheiser headsets in heavy RFI 
environments (a 50KW AM with the studio co-located with the transmitter 
qualifies as 'heavy RFI') with no issue.  These are of course balanced 
output mics.  The HME is a condenser (with pro-level 48VDC phantom 
power), and the HMDC is a dynamic.  See 
for the manual.

Several companies over the years have built excellent headsets around 
the Shure SM10 and variants, but, like with the HMDC 26 above and any 
other small-diaphragm dynamic you need top-end high-gain preamps to 
effectively use them (signal level is directly proportional to diaphragm 
size).  I have an SM10, and the preamp is critical for low-noise 
performance of that mic.  You could probably get a used or NoS SM10 for 
$150 or so without any issue, but the preamp will cost at least that 
much to bring it up to a signal level your laptop can use.

For day-to-day use I use an older GE headset with a reasonable electret 
condenser mic that can be powered by consumer-grade phantom sources like 
a typical laptop mic input or devices like my Edirol R-09.  I used to 
directly record on my laptop, but I found that using the R-09 and its 
pro-grade 24-bit converters, then doing production on my CentOS laptop, 
using Harrison Mixbus, gave me far better quality than using my so-so 
laptop mic input and sound card.

Hum can come from many sources, but most PC motherboard sound cards 
aren't known for the quality of their preamps, and it would not surprise 
me if the preamps themselves are the source of the hum. Since you're 
using a desktop, you have some really nice options for audio interfaces; 
certain older MAudio Delta cards come very highly recommended; I have 
one of the Delta 1010LT cards that actually still works with Linux, and 
it has superb quality.  A source for more info on high quality audio 
interfaces can be found in multiple places, but I'd actually recommend 
you search the archives of the Rivendell broadcast station automation 
package mailing lists for recommendations; see