Skype Freetalk wireless headset does not work properly for me

June 02, 2008

I wanted to buy a wireless headset. And not just a Bluetooth one-ear tiny thing, but a proper headset with two earpads and boom mike. Looked like the Freetalk headset was exactly what I needed, so I bought it.

The first experiences were great. I really liked the form factor, i.e physical form of it. The instructions, initial charging and setup were straightforward. “Great,” I thought.

But the trouble started when I actually tried to use it. On my Mac, no less. It works really great for listening and the playback sound quality is excellent. But the microphone simply does not work on a Mac. It does capture some sort of signal, but it is quiet and very crappy. Reading the Skype gear blog comments and forum, others seem to have the same problem.

I tried it out under Windows with Parallels. Funnily, the mic functioning seems to be different there, and it captures a better signal in Windows. I don’t understand what’s going on here – how can drivers influence the signal capture? I thought most of the logic is on hardware side? But booting to Parallels for a call is not realistic for me, and in any case, there’s something up with my Parallels setup so I’ll use Skype on Mac only.

In any case, I bought this headset to use it with a Mac. The microphone does not work as expected. Maybe there is some setting to tweak somewhere, but the Skype site or bundled instructions aren’t helping me here.

Unless something comes up over the next days (like do I have to tweak my Mac sound settings somehow to get it work better? And don’t tell me about recording volume settings in System Preferences, as this was the first thing I tried :) ), I’ll probably end up returning this to the store.

There are a few more short points.

Anyone, please let me know if there’s something I can try on my Mac to get the mic working properly. I tried to search on the forums and web a bit, but didn’t find anything.

Another question is, are there any wireless headsets that actually work with Mac? I don’t want a Bluetooth one-ear thing. I want an actual stereo headset, probably with boom mike. Freetalk was almost it.

UPDATE: Skype has acknowledged the problem. As seen in the comments below, this seems to be a Leopard-only problem. Which doesn’t fix my personal situation, but it’s good to hear that they (Skype and the manufacturer) are developing an understanding of what’s going on. I hope that the new headset driver comes out soon.