I've started talking a lot more over VoIP. The microphone on my MacBook Air is basic, but serviceable - so I thought I'd treat myself to a new mic headset. I went with the HP Premium Digital Headset from Amazon.
The headset is USB - and worked instantly with Ubuntu Linux:
It even has a dedicated "mute" button to cut off the microphone. Handy when on a conference call.
The only problem was, the stereo was reversed! Testing the left speaker played a sound through the right, and vice versa. Not a huge problem for VoIP or music - but I'd rather it worked correctly if I'm ever playing games or watching movies.
Before I started diving into the arcane Linux files which control such things, I thought I'd check to see if anyone else had this problem. They had, as this thread on HP forums shows.
Basically, the microphone is reversible - you can flip it over, turn the headset around, and the mic is on the other side of your face. When the mic is rotated, it hits a microswitch which flips the stereo sound.
Rather than implement this properly, HP have gone for a system where all you need to do to flip the stereo is click the switch once.
So, to get the correct stereo orientation, all you need to do is lift the mic vertically until you hear the click and then lower the microphone back to its original position.
For a shade under £20, it's decent enough headset. The volume control and mute button are nice additions. The USB cable is about 2m long - which is long enough to be useful without getting tangled all the time.