Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Voice Recognition Microphones

A while back I got tired of typing since voice recognition has matured enough to be useful. And to be clear I mean voice dictation not digital assistants like Google Now, Siri or Cortina. Those are all terrible except for setting alarms.

One of the keys to successful voice-recognition is a good microphone. If you read negative reviews I have found 90% of the time it's because of the microphone and the reviewer/user doesn't even know it. The other problem is accents. A California accent works best.

I've tried a number of microphones on my Mac with varying success but the best one has been the Sennheiser ME3Andrea Pure Audio USB Adapter and Plug Adapter for Sennheiser ME3 has really good reviews if you want something different or to read reviews. The headset that comes with the Dragon Dictate software is a piece of junk. I do still use it in a pinch but it has no noise cancellation and it isn't as sensitive as other microphones. Note that the best microphones are headsets. Anything that sits on your desk and is more convenient will not work as well. If you're looking for something that sits on your desk, I have had very good success with the Yeti Blue microphone.

The Sennheiser does have a few quirks. It fits over the back of the head and over the years. The left side has a pad. The adhesive that holds the pad to the headset is lacking in adhesiveness. It will come off in about six months and I've been too lazy to figure out a solution, but I will post about a solution once I come up with one.

There are also a couple complaints that I have. It would be nice if the headset had a normal audio plug, but it has a screw style which makes sense given what its intended purposes; on stage so it does not come off, but not very useful if you are sitting at a desk because you have to buy another adapter. Also because the microphone plug on all computers is meant for a different purpose you need to get a USB audio adapter. Once you get everything working it isn't a problem. Below I provided three links to the headset, the adapter and a USB audio adapter to make it easy. You can also buy a kit from here but it costs more. It took me a ton of research to figure this all out so hopefully it saves somebody some time.

P.S. I wrote this entire article using Dragon for Mac and only made minor updates with a keyboard after.


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