back to article Logitech Zone Vibe 125: Weightless comfort on the ears that won't break the bank

Logitech has lined up another headset to tap into the continuing trend for remote and hybrid working: the Zone Vibe 125. The Vibe 125 is a curious beast, mostly hidden away on Logitech's own site but available from the likes of Amazon and Dell for around £120 ($146), which pits it against some serious competitors. Logitech …

  1. Filippo Silver badge

    Question. Suppose I'm using this to play online games. This means I'm listening to high-quality audio, and I'm also using the mic.

    With most Bluetooth devices, this appears to be impossible: as soon as you switch on the mic, the device switches to the Bluetooth "hands-free" profile, designed for phone calls. Which means that the audio quality drops a lot and you no longer get stereo. I'm not an audiophile, not even close, but even I can tell the difference - suddenly, the game sounds like, well, like a good phone call.

    This can be easily tested by starting some good quality music with no application using the mic, and then starting any application that uses the mic. The music quality will drop massively.

    If the Zone Vibe 125 is used via Bluetooth, does it exhibit this problem?

    If it does, does the problem go away if used via USB?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      That sounds a profile/setup issue rather something inherent in Bluetooth itself. I suspect you might be able work around it with a mute function.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        That's what I thought at first. But it turns out that the Bluetooth SIG haven't created a profile for headphones to receive high quality, buffered stereo whilst transmitting low latency audio from the mic. A 3rd party created a workaround, but I don't know how many headphones (or even OSs and software) support it.

    2. Ali Dodd

      Bluetooth in windows is terrible

      Bluetooth in windows doesn't support proper stereo, it's a god awful implementation. I tried Bluetooth headphones for connectivity in video conferencing and they are the pits. Have to use a decent wireless set with it's own dongle or you get hideous sound, no matter what you spend on the headphones.

      1. Natalie Gritpants Jr Silver badge

        Re: Bluetooth in windows is terrible

        I disable the Bluetooth headset device, so it uses the headphone device. For calls, I just use the inbuilt laptop mic, and then I can have background music playing that doesn't get fed back into the video conf.

    3. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Hiya Filippo!

      It appears that by design voice comms over Bluetooth transmit and receive at same bandwidth and with no packet resending to minimise latency. Audio quality takes a bit hit. Not useful for you.

      So, it turns out that a company hacked a workaround on a different codec and called it FastStream. You might have some joy seeking (and then reading reviews of, naturally) headphones that have FastStream.

      Lots of geeky details about Bluetooth codecs, snarky tone, background, tests and testing tools here:

      https://habr.com/en/post/456182/

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Upon further reading:

        To get high quality stereo audio *and* microphone over Bluetooth, you most likely need a special a dongle and compatible headphones. The Amazon reviews for the Creative BT-W2 dongle appear positive, especially from people in Filippo's position. It might be possible to achieve the same with your existing hardware if it's not too old and you can find a suitable driver.

        This BT dongle isn't proprietary as such (it appears it just implements some newer codecs and modifications) and thus similar dongles are available from other brands. YMMV.

        Good luck.

        1. Filippo Silver badge

          Thanks for the valuable information!

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Upon yet more further reading, it appears that the 'EPOS | Sennheiser' headphones that @iron mentioned may also fit your bill - but do read reviews first. Apparently EPOS were already a Swedish gaming audio brand when they took on Sennheiser's branding.

          They have headsets that promise quality stereo audio and microphone. These too come with their own USB dongle - and will require drivers and software to be installed.

          A dedicated dongle seems to be the common denominator across wireless gaming headsets.

    4. iron Silver badge

      Buy EPOS (Sennheiser) they will sound better, have 5x the battery life (yes, really) and only cost £60 more. And they don't suffer the issue you mentioned because they don't use Bluetooth.

    5. Piro Silver badge

      I doubt that can be fixed. It happens on all headsets I've encountered. Cabled is the way.

  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Comfort?

    it's perhaps subjective, but the soft, over-ear speakers

    are bloody uncomfortable if you wear glasses!

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Comfort?

      Charlie's point seems reasonable, and not put in an unfriendly way... so what have I missed?

      Are the downvoters trying to tell him that he just hasn't found the right headphones? Or that his spectacle arms must be too big? Or that they think he just has weird ears?

      1. malfeasance

        Re: Comfort?

        Almost certainly alluding to the fact that their experience doesn't match his, and because of reasons, he must be wrong, because we are a homogenous lived experience now, big tech tells us so.

        (I've already demonstrated that by referring to Charlie as a he, when I don't know them)

        Headphone style is a weird one, the people that swear by over-ear headphones probably don't suffer from (or at least aren't bothered by it).

        - Having to wear glasses like Charlie (and myself).

        - Getting really hot ears from the over-earness of the headphones. Personally, I haven't found a pair of over-ear headphones that I can wear for longer than 30 minutes.

        - On ears are better, but still not great

        I get on with in-ears quite well, and from a "mobile headset" point of view I'm a big fan of the Bose QC earbuds, and the Sony WF-1000MX3 (or MX4) in-ears. 2 pairs because if you go on a flight longer than 6 hours...

        However, from a usability point of view, earbuds are pointless in an office environment because the pickup from the mic broadcasts everything (by office environment, my home office is 2 person, and when you're both on calls it doesn't end well).

        If it's purely for remote working then I would go for the aeroshokz/aftershokz opencomm, bone conductors with mic.

        It's in the same price range as these, I can wear them all day, I can hear the doorbell when the postman comes, and for me, the mic is on the correct side of my face (I sit to the right, which means the mic hanging off the left ear makes a difference in sound pickup)

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Comfort?

          I wouldn't mind buds if I could be sure they wouldn't fall out and get lost while cycling. I have some Sony with external drivers, for which I could finally source replacement caps at a reasonable price, for cycling. And just normal ones with 15 hour battery life for the train, plane etc.

          Fortunately I don't need a headset in the office because all the ones I've tried pressed the ear against the arm(s) of my glasses. :-/

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Comfort?

      Not for me. I wear glasses, and over-the-ear headphones are my audio device of choice.

      They're not uncomfortable at all.

      I have huge lugholes, so earphones just fall in and are never seen again. Seriously, they hit my eardrums and they still don't seal the hole. I have to get the triple-mushroom style and cut off the smallest one.

    3. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Comfort?

      I find on-the-ear headphone crush my ear against the arms of my spectacles, so over-the-ear is much more comfortable.

      Although for work I do just use an Anker S3 speakerphonethingy - does the job beautifully, although not an option unless you're willing to share your calls with everybody in the room.

  3. Natalie Gritpants Jr Silver badge

    The computer running the Nostromo is called a MU/TH/UR 6000.

  4. AlanSh

    My Sony WH XM1000 headphones connect via Bluetooth and provide excellent sound and stereo.

  5. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Less

    From my experience Logitech products have been steadily going downhill. They look cheap and certainly not worth £120.

    Now if you managed to save £120, you could save £120 again and buy proper headphones like WH-1000XM4 or get earlier models for little less.

  6. Potemkine! Silver badge

    The mic can be flipped down from the left speaker

    Headphones should be designed to be 'reversible', so the user can choose the hand, right or left, to use to flip the mic.

  7. Dave 126 Silver badge

    > The charging cable has a USB-A connector, although Logitech thoughtfully includes a USB-A to USB-C adapter in the box.

    Is the first cable USB A Male to USB A Female (just a USB A extension cable), and the second cable a short USB A Male to USB C Female?

    Or, is the first cable USB A Male to USB C Male, and the adaptor is USB A Female to USB C Male - for the purposes of charging from a USB C port?

  8. Dave 126 Silver badge

    According to Logitech's blurb on Amazon, the noise cancelling feature is applied to the headset's microphones (as is common practice on mobile phone microphones), not its earphones.

    This concurs with the reviewer's observation that *he* couldn't hear the difference. The person on the other end of his call likely could, though.

  9. WhereAmI?

    QC

    Bose QuietComfort - now you're talking! Originally bought a set of s/h QC15s off ebay and was utterly amazed at the noise cancelling. The downside was that when the battery died, so did the headphones. So, while on a trip to the good old US of A, I picked up a set of new QC25s as they were a bit cheaper than back in the Emerald Isle and they didn't have the dead battery problem. They were superseded by a set of QC35s received as a birthday present about three years ago. They now have many hundreds of hours of gaming behind them and still manage to look almost new. They also can't be beat for shutting out the sound of jet engines on a long flight. I did try a set of Sennheiser Momentums (??) but couldn't get on with the on-ear format.

    Pretty useless for work mind - no microphone!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: QC

      I bought the microphone lead for the QC25's and it's useless: no noise cancelling on the mic whatsoever and auto-gain means that when you stop talking the office background noise is amplified to maximum and fed to all the people on the call. Utterly, utterly useless and heaven only knows what Bose were thinking.

  10. Jan K.

    ".. the battery cannot be easily swapped out."

    And there I lost all interest.

    Looking for eventually replacing my trusty old Sennheisers, but nowadays batteries are "integrated", non-replaceable or as above.

    I need some 30 hours uptime, so can't accept any battery issues...

    Sigh.

  11. iron Silver badge

    Total crap

    20 hours listening time? ROFL What a piece of crap.

    My EPOS (Sennheiser) wireless headset gets 100 hours between charges and only cost £180.

    1. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: Total crap

      My wired Sennheisers have almost infinite listening/conferencing time and only cost ~€60

  12. darklord

    overear for short times

    Sweaty earholes arent my thing, on ear are fine but generally rubbish i do have some nice hi fi headphones from Sennheiser (also my headset choice) and a awesome set of Grados. Yes they sound good but after an hour or two i find it gets a bit sweaty behind the ears.

    Only downside I see is remembering to charge the damn things every other day if you want full freedom.

    Shame we cant have bluetooth for work else id look at a pair

  13. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    @Richard Speed - Nice photo! :)

    Are it's lithium ion batteries user replaceable? That's what I hate about wireless headphones - unless they use mass produced and easy to buy lithium ion battery packs or cells of a generic form factor, you're out of luck in a handful of years (if you're lucky) after which it becomes landfill... adding to mountains of e-waste destroying us all. Does Logitech install sabotageware, to prevent repairs as Bosch (to) do in their ebike batteries? This class of product and it's ilk, is just fast-fashionable tech. My 20 year old mp3 player died last year, but because it used a bog standard lithium battery pack which was cheap to buy on AliExpress, and easy to solder in, it lives a little longer. It's a truly terrible mp3 player, but remains useful in my shed's background music to enhance interest in gardening activity sound system (Vamp amped old speakers with cheap generic lithium batteries). Things don't get dug, unless I hear things I dig. I can't wait for sodium ion batteries to become available.

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