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Back in 2003 Skype released their Super Wideband Audio codec which was supposed to be a lot better than all other audio codecs. (better sound less bandwidth.) And they give it away with a royalty free license. So Logitech started making headsets to support it, and Valve added it to the steam friends voice chat and TF2 voice chat.

I can't find it listed as a feature on headsets or sound cards from other brands. Do they support it? Aren't audio codecs just software? Do I really need to buy a specific headset to make use of this codec? and if so, why aren't more manufacturers supporting this codec?

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Do I really need to buy a specific headset to make use of this codec?

You don't need a new headset!

As you said, a codec is just there to transcode audio and decode it back to an uncompressed form. What this codec might do better than others is get better quality at a given bit rate. Not more, not less.

Given that human speech only uses a tiny bit of the audible frequency range (300 Hz to 3 kHz), but even the cheapest headphones support frequencies from below 100 Hz to 18 or even 20 kHz, you will most probably not hear a difference at all.

The only point here is that the software or the system you connect the headset to needs to support encoding/decoding with this codec.

Note: There might be a need to buy a new headphone/headset if the included microphone is cheap and of bad quality, because otherwise you can't make use of a good codec anyway. Maybe that's what the Logitech headset does. But apart from that, it's marketing, I guess.

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