Evolution of the Plantronics Supra headset

I wanted to share my thoughts and knowledge about the widely popular Supra headset from Plantronics.  Having been in this business for over 25 years I think I have a pretty cool perspective .

1983 brought us the StarSet Supra headset. Originally this “over the head” style headset was available in Nutmeg Brown and had to be matched to your telephone (as did the amplifier). In order to receive the proper headset you needed to know if the microphone element in your handset was carbon, dynamic or electret.

StarSet Supra Brown

1990 was a major leap in several areas. The Supra was now matched to the M10 “universal” amplifier and now the same headset/amplifier could be matched to any telephone!

H61N M10 amplifier

This Supra headset (models included the H51, H51N, H61and H61N) became the bestselling headsets in Plantronics history! As times changed the Supra was destined for a makeover.

This paved the way for the SupraPlus and the HW SupraPlus (high bandwidth version). This product is still being sold today and is the most popular headset sold. Coming very soon is the HW510 (called Encore but I am pretty sure it will be the replacement of the SupraPlus line)

HW251                                              HW510

HW251N HW510N

Now, an interesting thing of note is that if you explore the colors of the Plantronics headsets they follow a similar pattern in the color schemes for Avaya telephones. During the time of the Nutmeg Brown and Sand White headsets Avaya (ATT) had the 1A2 key phones which were off white and brown (fake wood panel) trim. Along came the Merlin phones and now Plantronics had black headsets. Continue this a little further and you will see Avaya telephones moving to a medium gray finish. What do you know, so did Plantronics headsets (SupraPlus, Encore, TriStar). Now we see the newest Avaya telephones done in a dark charcoal gray and, alas, the newest Plantronics headsets are very dark gray.

I am not sure if this is just a coincidence or planned, but just an observation.


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