Review by Terry McDermott
Approx. £280 – 320 (excluding VAT). You do not have to pay VAT if you declare it is for your personal use. Ask the supplier for a VAT exemption form.
- No batteries. Comes with charger which provides a long charge.
- Amplifier is light.
- The amplifier provides good amplification if the headset microphone is used and is placed very close to mouth and stays in this position (not necessarily easy, see below).
- The headset has a flexible microphone which can be adjusted to bring the microphone closer to the mouth.
- The transdermal microphone – one of the two microphones supplied and which you place around your neck over the Adam’s apple area - did not pick up my voice very well at all. My voice is relatively strong for some with a voice disorder. I cannot imagine it would be any use for a person with a weak voice.
- The other microphone supplied (see the headset in the photo) is very obvious and I felt self conscious using it, particularly in areas where strangers would see me. You look a little bit like someone working in a call centre. I think this issue on its own should not be a reason for not using it since the world should get used to seeing people using voice assistance equipment. However, the other problems with this voice amplifier may mean it is not be practical to use regularly.
- I had to move the flexible microphone that comes with the headset frequently to ensure it was picking up voice. This microphone had to be very close to the mouth and would move out of position occasionally. You had to readjust the microphone back into position when this happened which became annoying.
- Feedback could occur and was very loud. It happened sometimes quite randomly – not necessarily just when microphone moved closer to amplifier box.
- Some difficulty clipping on the amplifier to my trousers with the back clip on the amplifer. It comes with a Velcro waistband which makes clip-on easier.
- If you are in a very noisy place (bar or loud restaurant), the microphone picks up background noise and this can drown-out the voice. In such settings, I found myself having to keep the headset’s microphone very close to the mouth, in fact almost in it!
- The overhead microphone strap was quite small so it was not secure on a big head like mine!
- A lapel microphone is not included. You can buy one separately from sound shops. You’ll need a very sensitive one so advice is go to a sound shop with the amplifier and try out various lapel microphones to get one that is sufficiently sensitive. However, remember that a sensitive microphone may pick up background noise in addition to your voice. It is therefore important to find a lapel microphone that can distinguish between your voice and background noise.