Thursday, April 24, 2014

Easy When You Know How: USB Port Speeds for Wireless Headsets


I want to be able to use Skype and other audio applications without feedback, but also without tangled wires.

So I got a new Logitech H800 Wireless Headset. Awesome. Works with the Android and a straightstick Windows 7 platform.

But when it came to Linux: nada.

Several days of working through troubleshooting guides. Got to learn a lot about ALSA and PulseAudio. I learned about sample rates, and a zillion parameters for the various ALSA and PulseAudio configuration files.

But no matter what, I could get sound, but only as in static.

And then: tadaa!

suggests there is a difference between USB 1.1 and USB 2.0.

Now, how to test that? 

Well, the machine is the Hewlett Packard HP Touchsmart tm2t. It has three USB ports: two on the right side, one on the left. I had been using the one on the left.

The H800 connects through a tiny USB dongle that is a WIFI transceiver. I changed the dongle to the port on the right side and now it works!

Neither the user nor maintenance manuals for the tm2t describe the USB protocol for the ports and I've not found any Google information. But it clearly works on either of the two ports on the right, and not on the one on the left.


Easy when you know how.


Once past all that, the Logitech H800 is a nice piece of gear. As I said, no wires, I can listen to music while walking around or taking a nap. It seems to be good for a radius of about 15 feet of the dongle. Which is good enough to load up a long playlist and then go to bed upstairs. :-)

We've installed Skype, Ekiga, Spotify, and a host of other audio programs under Linux. All now play very happily with the H800.

There remains a motorboating problem in the VirtualBox instance of Windows 7. But since I've migrated everything I care about audio-wise to Linux, who needs Windows?

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