EPOS manufactures of audio solutions for business and gaming. They held their business audio launch remotely via Microsoft Teams. Putting their money where their mouth is, they supplied one of their Adapt 560 headsets for me to use for the launch.
Australian entrepreneur Mark Bouris was joined by a panel of guests to discuss the rapidly changing way the world is doing business and the importance of high-quality audio. The panel discussed how recent changes to the workplace and the prevalence of home-working has increased the need for robust remote communication systems.
Epos commissioned a report that discusses the cost to businesses of bad audio. The suggests that ‘what' is the most expensive word in business, and covers a few points that will be familiar to a lot of us suddenly thrust into the world of remote teleconferencing and virtual meetings.
From the Epos report:
“...the average audio solution end user loses 29 minutes per week due to poor sound quality on voice calls. For businesses, the cumulative cost of this wasted time is huge. It is also compounded by other expensive issues that can be caused by poor communication - critical instructions being missed or misunderstood is one example. Negative customer experiences that impact company reputation is another. A fifth of end users have experienced dissatisfied clients due to poor sound quality.
Epos has four product lines aimed at enterprise users. The Impact range is aimed more for traditional telephony use. Adapt headsets are for all-round use be it video conferencing or simply playing music while you work. Expand speakerphones are designed for collaborative conferencing between teams or with clients. Lastly, the Epos Sennheiser Command headset is designed for ATC (air traffic control) and C3 (command, control and communication) use.
The Adapt 560 headset provided by Epos is a Bluetooth headset with a USB dongle for use with a PC. The Adapt 563 kit comes complete with a soft case to stow the headset. The headset itself is a lot more discreet than the Epos Sennheiser gaming headsets, giving off a corporate vibe.
As well as the USB dongle the pack contains a USB cable for charging the headset. Epos state that you should expect around 46 hours of use between charges, the charging time being 3 hours 40 minutes.
The headset can be updated and controlled using the free Epos Connect PC application. The software allows users to configure the headset, check the status and access softphone functions.
I found the headset very comfortable to wear for long periods. The earcups sit on your ears rather than right over the ears, which means that you can hear what's going on around you. The foam cups have a stylish leatherette finish. The headband is expandable and very sturdy; it can probably handle a fair bit of punishment. On the right side is a small boom mic that can be raised to mute or lowered to talk. There are buttons for switching the headset on and off, taking calls and switching on the active noise cancelling. Being a small headset, the buttons are also very small, making them a bit fiddly to use. I found myself pressing the wrong buttons all the time, even switching the headset off by mistake. With use, though, I'm sure you'd get over this issue.
The Adapt 560's active noise cancelling is the headset's biggest feature and very important if you work in a loud environment. Switching the feature on eliminates background noise, like quiet conversations and PC fan noise, but won't stop you from hearing loud noises. I've used better ANC headsets, but they had huge earcups completely insulating by ears. The 560 still does a good job, though.
The headset is Microsoft Teams certified, and it performed very well during the remote launch, with voices crisp and clear. I tested it with Spotify and the headset's 20-20,000 Hz frequency response made the music sound full and undistorted. Whilst not really a gaming headset, the Adapt 560 also worked well with the new Microsoft Flight Simulator.
With more and more important business being done remotely as opposed to face-to-face, it's important to use professional equipment to ensure meetings go as smooth as possible. The Epos Sennheiser Adapt 560 is a discreet and robust headset, perfect for this new way of working.