The Best Noise-Cancelling Microphone Headset

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How To Get Crystal Clear Skype or VOIP calls on your PC

In Summary: I picked the Logitech Stereo H650e as the best noise-canceling microphone headset.

It was a pragmatic choice. Its noise-canceling technology kills background noise without overly affecting the richness of your voice.

I love the flat tangle-free cable and the large inline control buttons. The headphones were pretty good for listening to music and excelled on voice too.

While you can find better-sounding mic noise reduction the H650e wins on price and convenience. Most people will find it great for Skype or other VOIP calls.

It was top because:​

  • Kills background noise
  • Keeps your own voice sounding natural and rich
  • Nice comfortable phones for listening to music
  • Simple to just plug in and use

For those perfectionists that want the cleanest audio for skype I recommend the Blue Yeti USB Microphone.

With noise-cancelling software was the best sounding microphone for Skype. I provide a tutorial on how to do this but because of complicated setup and extra costs it’s not the most straightforward solution.

It is, however, an excellent choice for people that want the very best since you can also use active noise cancelling headphones.

Noise Cancelling Technology Video Test for 4 PC and Laptop Devices

To help you hear the differences between noise cancelling headsets I made this audio test in a noisy environment to see how well some different devices performed.

Be sure to checkout 9 mins and 25 seconds when I apply the software noise reduction to the Blue Tiki. It’s quite remarkable. Also 13 mins and 31 seconds to hear the same noise reduction on the Blue Yeti. You probably won’t believe that it’s recording in the same noisy environment that you hear at the start of the video but it is I promise!

​You can also hear the Logitech H650e at 45 seconds. The audio tests will explain the differences better than words ever could.

The test features the Logitech H650e vs the Jabra UC Voice 550 MS DUO vs The Blue Tiki vs The Blue Yeti.

Why You Should Trust Me

I’m a continuous traveler and I carry my office in my backpack.

I haven’t had a fixed line telephone for years!

I often work a lot out of Starbucks or airport lounges. I’ve worked from the front seat of my car parked next to a busy road.

It’s important for me that I can chat with my web marketing clients no matter where I am in the world.

I need the audio quality of my Skype calls to be just as good as a landline or cell phone call.

I can’t afford my clients having an unprofessional phone call experience.

Who Is This For?

TravelingLight.com is mainly a travel website so I have highlighted the best travel Skype mic solutions.

For people who work in fixed locations acoustic treatment can often be a better solution to background noise.

If you’re currently using the built in mic on your laptop then your going to see a massive improvement using a usb headset with microphone.

Even a cheap pc headset will be an upgrade. If you already have a pc headset with microphone but it’s causing you pain then you’ll find our recommended skype headsets comfortable and less distracting.

If you have background noise then a noise cancelling phone headset will make your calls clearer and more professional.

How I picked & tested

I tried out many USB headsets for computers.I spent many hours trying to discover the best noise-cancelling microphone headset.

I tried headsets and earbuds, ear plugs, headphones and usb mics. I tried everything!

I read every review and listened to every audio test I could get my hands on.

And then I conducted my own audio test recordings.

I analysed the key features that microphone headsets or VOIP microphones should have.

Noise cancelling sound quality was weighted most heavily but other features like volume and mute controls, comfort, durability and suitability for listening to music was considered.

Logitech Stereo H650e

The Logitech H650e is an awesome noise cancelling microphone headset and it deservedly wins the nomination as our top pick.

This is Logitech’s business offering. It’s a usb headset.

Comfortable over long periods. Decent little carry bag. The flat cable will go a long way to stopping the cable getting tangled.

Good for listening to music. Decent bass. Much better than earphones but not as good as dedicated headphones for music.

The eq response is great for listening to vocals. The ear pads sit on top of the ear and don’t offer a great deal of sound isolation. These are not noise-cancelling headphones.

  • Kills background noise
  • Keeps your own voice sounding natural and rich
  • Nice comfortable phones for listening to music
  • Simple to just plug in and use

Jabra UC Voice 550

The headphones on the Jabra UC Voice 550 don’t have the bass response of my top pick the Logitech H650e.

They sound quite thin and they don’t really do a great job for listening to music.

They sit on the ear and don’t do a lot for noise cancelling for you.

The noise-cancelling mic does a decent job reducing the background noise for the other party but I didn’t like how it left my voice sounding thin. It seems the noise reduction algorithm is affecting my voice as well as the background noise.

The inline buttons are small and fiddly.

If you are not too fussy and can’t get hold of the Logitech H650e then the Jabra UC VOICE 550 would do a job in a pinch…

But otherwise I’d choose the Logitech over the Jabra any day of the week.

  • Decent Job Noise Cancelling
  • Fiddly buttons
  • Voice sounded thin.

Blue Yeti

The Blue Yeti USB Microphone with noise cancelling software was the best sounding microphone for Skype. But because of complicated setup and extra costs it’s not the most straightforward solution. It is, however, an excellent choice for people that want the very best since you can use active noise-cancelling headphones.

A good usb mic combined with real-time audio processing gets the best results but the setup is not for the faint-hearted.

The processing power in your laptop is a lot greater than any DSP built into a cheap pc headet.

While it’s not the a pc headset a usb microphone can give you the best noise cancelling microphone on the market.

As a traveller the Bue Yeti is a large and heavy mic. But without the heavy stand it’s actually quite light. I’ve found I can always create a makeshift stand using a mug.

While I wouldn’t use the Yeti in a coffee shop I use it in the car or in hotel rooms. I find the use of the virtual audio cable and real time effects gives me much greater control.

I now travel with both the Tiki and the Yeti in my backpack. I use the Tiki when I’m out and about in coffee shops and the Yeti back at the hotel.

The reason you might not bother with this approach is the hassle factor. While it will get you the best results it might not be worth the hassle.

If I am off grid I certainly don’t want to waste my battery life running all these extra programs. And I don’t want to take a noise profile of every place i find myself in.

If however I find myself living in an AirBnB next to a train line then I can use this method to specifically hone in on the problem train sounds and remove them from my audio.

It also takes quite a lot of know how to set this up so it’s not for everyone. If you are technically minded and don’t mind messing about with software then you might find it worthwhile.

  • Crystal clear noise reduction
  • Great audio quality
  • Choose your own headphones
  • Complicated to setup software noise reduction
  • Uses pc processing power
  • Need to launch software before making calls.

Noise Cancelling 101

Understanding How Proximity Effects Sound

What type of noise are you trying to cancel? Some types if noise can be flitered out easily. With other types of noise it’s best to try avoiding it hitting the microphone at all.

When the microphone is close to your mouth then you can turn down the volume and hence the background noise is also turned down.

If you are in video chat you might not want to have a usb microphone visible on your screen. Or you might be ok with that.

Two Ears or One?

Two. Unless you have good reason.

Headphones with 2 earphones will block out more background sound for you and help you hear the caller better.

Clearing Up Noise Cancellation

Take note. There is a difference between noise cancelling headphones and noise cancelling microphones.

Noise cancelling headphones seek to remove background noise for the listener. They improve the audio quality for you.

Noise cancelling microphones seek to remove background noise for the person on the other end of the line. They try to isolate your voice and improve the call quality for the other guy.

The best noise-cancelling headsets for telephone calls will use twin noise cancelling microphones.

Bluetooth or USB?

The reason I stay away from Bluetooth is simple. I don’t like needing to charge devices and I don’t like carrying any extra chargers in my backpack.

If you use a wireless headset you are less likely to pick up the annoying noise the cable rubbing against your collar every time you turn your head. Your mic will be less likely to pick up this too.

Separate USB Microphone or Headset?

One of the benefits of a headset is that you can move your head but the mic remains the same distance from your mouth.

The best audio quality will come from a separate usb mic like an Blue Yeti. If you are not taking calls in a noisey environment then this is the way to go.

If you are taking calls in a noisy place then you need some type of microphone noise cancellation.

The Blue Tiki in conjunction with standard headphones or if you want to push the boat out a good pair of noise cancelling headphones.

What I love about this setup is that i can sit in starbucks and not look like a dork with a usb headset.

Also the headphone quality is as good as you want. For isolation you can use chunky overear headphone or for portability you can use earbuds. Or even some noise cancelling earbuds.

How To Add Live Noise Cancelling To Your Microphone With Software

This is an advanced technique that uses software to add real-time effects to the audio signal.

If you would like to try this out then I suggest watching these 2 videos:

Here some of the tools I used to do real time noise cancellation on my laptop.

Different Scenarios Where Noise Cancelling Might Be Used

The Best Noise-Cancelling Microphone For Car

The noise problems in the car are likely to be traffic noise or air friction if you are moving.

If you are moving a headset is likely going to be best.

If you are stationary then you’ll get on fine with a separate mic solution.

The Best Noise-Cancelling Microphone For Gaming

Gaming headsets tend not to have noise cancelling mics. The market is very different.

If you are doing commentries on youtube then I recommend you check out usb microphones.

The Best Noise-Cancelling Microphone For Laptop, Mac or Pc

That’s really what this article has been all about.

Go back to the start ))​

Phone Noise Cancellation For Android Phones or iPhones

For phone you can consider bluetooth solutions.

But don’t forget… your Android phone has noise cancellation built in.

Setting > Device > Call > Tick Noise Reduction

That’s the end of the post

I hope you’ve learned a bit about noise-canceling headset and it helps you find a product that works for you. If you have any headset recommendations then please leave a comment!

5 thoughts on “The Best Noise-Cancelling Microphone Headset”

    • Yeah, noise canceling reduces steady sounds like the hum of a refrigerator or a fan blowing. It might dull down dogs barking a little but the sound wouldn’t be canceled out.

  1. This is a fantastic article! I really appreciate your video, testing out the different microphones and headsets. I think I’m going to go with a microphone instead of a headset because of the benefits that you’ve mentioned.

  2. Hello! I have a Logitech H390 that I use for a one-to-one online teaching platform. How does it compare to the H690e? I want improved noise-cancelling capabilities for the microphone. It costs more, so one would think that means it would do the trick, but is it more worth investing in even pricier equipment if the difference between the 390 and 690 is not that much?

    • Hi Kate

      Sorry I’ve not tested the H390 so I couldn’t say. My guess would be not a massive difference as I’ve heard good things about the noise cancelling on the H390.

      Most of the headsets canceled out noise to similar degrees it was more a case of which ones best preserved the natural sound of your voice while doing it.

      There was a huge difference in quality using a USB microphone and some software on the computer to remove the background noise but it was kinda tricky to setup 🙂 Personally, if I was teaching online regularly I would go down the USB mic route but I know it’s not for everyone.

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