My Crazy Nexxtech USB Headset

I’ve been using a cheap Nexxtech-brand USB headset with my MacBook for several years now. I bought it at The Source (née Radio Shack) for under $20.00 and I like it: it’s light, the microphone boom swoops out of the way for plain headphone-only use, and the Mac recognizes it without problems.

There’s one vexing problem with the headset, though: when I use it on VOIP calls (with the excellent Telephone application), after 52 minutes (exactly, every time), it starts distorting the microphone output (headphone input continues to work without issue) and the party on the other end of the line reports that I “sound like the Borg.”

While this “feature” is excellent for limiting conference calls to 52 minutes in length, and while the simple solution to it would be to replace the headset, I’m curious about the root cause.

I recall Leo Laporte mentioning something about a USB chipset in headsets that had this kind of issue, but I haven’t been able to find the reference.

Any thoughts? (And any recommendations for a lightweight under-$100 USB headset to replace this one with?)


Johnny Rukavina's picture
Johnny Rukavina on January 14, 2011 - 18:08 Permalink

Please don’t replace it. The 52 minute conference call is ideal, and the transition to Borg is always comedy gold for the rest of the meeting attendees.

Oliver's picture
Oliver on January 15, 2011 - 07:59 Permalink

Do you have power preferences, by any chance, that change after 52 minutes of non-use, and do you know what power “privileges” (or whatever they’re called) the USB port you’re using has?

Dan Misener's picture
Dan Misener on January 15, 2011 - 23:34 Permalink

Sorry, Peter. I don’t have any USB headset recommendations. I just had to chime in and second your Telephone recommendation. It’s just plain terrific, especially when compared to the ungodly UI so many other softphone apps.

Oh, what I wouldn’t give for an iOS version of Telephone.