The Boom Noise Canceling Headset
Very stylish in
appearance, and very effective in operation, The Boom
miraculously cancels out background noise and enables you to
make calls in even the noisiest of environments.
Compare/contrast this with our review of the
This amazing device solves four
needs for cell phone users.
Firstly, it is a high quality
headset that can be used for greater safety or convenience - for
example, when you're driving.
Secondly, it enables you to use
your phone in a 'high noise' environment - you can speak
quietly, even when you're surrounded by loud sounds, and still
be heard clearly by the person you're speaking with.
Thirdly, you can have a private
conversation in a public place - simply speak in a very low
voice into The Boom and the people around you won't hear what
you're saying, even though the person at the other end of the
phone will hear you perfectly normally.
Fourthly, it keeps the phone
away from your head and reduces your exposure to the radiation
that some experts believe may be harmful.
What You Get
The Boom comes carefully
protected in a well padded box. Two different adapters to fit
most cell phones - a four ring connector for Nokia phones and a
three ring connector for most other phones.
If you need a different type
of adapter (eg a flat adapter for a Siemens phone), this will be
sent to you free of charge.
In addition, three
replaceable windshields are also included, a 'Quick Start'
guide, a manual and a one year warranty form. There is no need
to register for the warranty coverage, and the unit does not
need batteries to operate.
The Boom headset is in two
main pieces that are joined together by magnets, making it easy
to separate and rejoin them any number of times. One piece is
the ear mounting clip, and the second piece is the actual ear
piece speaker, the boom arm, and microphone.
Not shown in the picture
above is the connecting cord that runs from the earpiece down to
a lapel clip and then to a connector. The cord length is short,
but not too short, and is probably exactly right so as to avoid
unnecessary lengths of cord getting in the way.
Everything is made from some
type of semi-flexible material, so you can bend it all to fit
the physiology of your own ear and head. The boom arm tilts and
swivels and also can go up and down on the vertical post to
which it is mounted, giving considerable flexibility to ensure
that the earpiece and microphone can be correctly located for
almost any size and shape of user.
The piece sticking out the
back of the ear mounting clip is not an antenna. It is a support
'counterbalance' that presses lightly against the side of your
head, giving the headset some stability.
The headset weights about
0.7 ounces. This sounds very light, but it feels quite heavy,
especially because much of its weight is at the end of the rigid
boom (the microphone assembly). The headset can wobble a bit on
your head, and at first it feels insecure, but this is more an
illusion than a reality. I have worn my headset for several
hours, including a vigorous outdoors hike and bending over and
assuming other strange positions, without having the headset
The headset can be worn on
either ear, simply by flipping over the earclip/boom connector.
At $150 - more than the cost
of many cell phones, and twenty times the cost of the cheapest
discounted headsets, you'll have high expectations for how well
this headset should work for you.
I used my headset for
several days with both my
and also my Motorola V66i. I had some strange problems when
using it with my 3650 - sometimes there was an added echo of my
voice in the earpiece, and sometimes the sound of the caller's
voice was distorted. The manufacturer advised that this is a
known issue that has been resolved in the latest build level,
and is replacing my earlier unit with a new one accordingly.
The sound quality through
the Motorola V66i was always consistently good.
And, at all times, the
person I was speaking with could hear me clearly and distinctly.
Now for the amazing element
of this headset, and the reason you'd spend $150 to purchase it
rather than a regular headset - its performance in high noise
I surrounded myself with
several different noise sources, making a confused jumble of
different sounds in the background, and spoke to several people
in test calls, switching between using the phone by itself,
using the phone with a regular Sony headset, and with The Boom.
I found myself unconsciously wanting to speak loudly - so as to
hear myself! - but forced myself to speak at the same volume as
I would in a quiet room, and as if the other person was beside
me, rather than at the other end of the phone. This was
I spoke at the same volume
in all three situations, but the people I was testing with
always accused me of speaking more loudly when I was using The
Boom and of turning down the noise volume. This was not so - it
was merely the amazing effectiveness of The Boom at work. When
speaking so quietly that I felt uncomfortable (because of the
noise around me) the person at the other end of the phone could
hear me perfectly clearly, and the noise around me was not
nearly so bothersome to them as it was to me.
Clearly, The Boom works
exactly as advertised. And, in the next section, you have a
chance to hear it for yourself.
Hear it for Yourself!
Here is an incredible
example of The Boom actually being used. You can hear the before
and after comparison of what a conversation sounds like in a
Try this example out (you'll
of course need speakers on your PC) and then you're sure to be
sold on the effectiveness of this headset.
How it Works
The unit has two
microphones. The mouthpiece is designed so that all your voice
sounds go into one microphone, which also hears some of the
ambient noises around you. The second microphone is positioned
so that it picks up all the ambient noise but none of your
Electronics within the unit
'subtract' the ambient noise that the second microphone has
detected from the mix of noise and voice that the first
microphone has picked up. The net result then is a signal that
is almost completely voice only, with most of the ambient noise
Like most headsets, it has
no volume control, but of course this is not necessary - you can
use the volume control on the phone to adjust the sound level in
One notable omission,
however, is a 'control' button. Many of the better headsets have
a button somewhere on them. You can press this button to answer
an incoming call, or to activate the phone's voice command
capability so as to place calls, or for various other functions,
depending on the make/model of your phone. It is disappointing
that this $150 headset doesn't have this convenient feature
which can be found on some of the very cheapest headsets.
The manufacturer advises
that they do have cordsets with a control button that is
compatible with Nokia phones, and they'll ship one of those free
on request. They said that compatibility problems made it
impractical to come up with some type of universal control
button that would work with all other headsets.
It seems to be important to
keep the microphone close to your mouth - they recommend within
one inch. Of course, the closer it is to your mouth, the bigger
the relative difference it detects between your voice and the
The counterbalance arm that
sticks up behind your ear makes it difficult to use the Boom
while wearing a cap/hat.
When not wearing the
headset, it is difficult to stuff it into a pocket to carry it
around - it takes up more space than a normal micro sized
headset, and the bendable parts of course get bent and need to
be re-bent into the shape that best suits you. It did take me a
while to become proficient at quickly putting the headset on and
taking it off again, but now this is almost automatic, so having
to rebend parts of it each time doesn't bother me at all.
The Boom can also be used as
a headset with a regular telephone as well. If you're in a noisy
office, this might be very helpful. You can order adapters for,
eg, Plantronics headset units, and these are sold for $15 each.
After an hour or two of
continually wearing The Boom, my ear became a bit uncomfortable
and I needed to remove it for a break.
Summary and Recommendation
At $150, this headset is not cheap,
and also feels more heavy and cumbersome than most other
headsets. Accordingly, few people will choose to purchase it as
an 'ordinary' headset for ordinary usage.
But if you're wanting a
headset that you can use in a noisy environment, or if you want
to be able to speak very quietly into your phone for greater
privacy in any environment, then this headset is definitely your
It is sold through
Pro Travel Gear (the same people that created the wonderful
headphones), and if you enter the code 'travelinsider' (without
the quotes) into their coupon box, you'll get a 5% discount.
They also offer a 30 day return policy (15% restocking fee)
which makes it easy for you to realistically try the headset
Everyone should use a
headset with their cellphone, whenever possible. Whether you
need The Boom, or an ordinary headset, is your choice, but do
ensure you have a headset of some type.
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5 Dec 2003, last update
28 Nov 2012
You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.