Microphones for Dragon
Your microphone is the single most important piece of hardware influencing the speed and performance/accuracy when using Dragon. Don't use the Dragon microphone and your built-in sound card because you think that they'll be "good enough." Thousands of people have tried this, been disappointed with the poor results they got and given up.
The microphones that come in the Dragon Box are NOT adequate for good quality speech recognition. Neither are $20-$50. microphones purchased at retailers. Most built-in sound chips are NOT adequate for good quality speech recognition! Just because your microphone/sound card passed Dragon's 'quality' test does not mean your microphone is adequate.
The importance of a good microphone
If you use a microphone that is of lesser quality, not specifically designed for use with speech recognition, is not suitable for your dictating environment (non-noise canceling vs. noise canceling), or which is difficult to positioned properly, you probably will degrade recognition accuracy, and generally impact negatively on the overall performance of speech recognition software. Aside from clear enunciation and proper dictation style, the use of microphones that are not well suited for speech recognition is the weakest link in the entire dictation (speech) to transcription (display of text) process and can significantly impact on overall accuracy and can reduce your accuracy by as much as 3% to 5% in some cases, and as much as 25% to 30% in others.
If you are serious about good speech recognition performance and accuracy, be sure that you're using a high quality, noise-canceling microphone. If you're working in a quiet environment, microphones such as the Olympus ME 31, Samson Q7, and Audix OM2 are excellent microphones for working in such environments.
However, if your work environment is even moderately noisy, or if you are being constantly disrupted by other persons, people talking, or traffic in your location, then you need a good noise-canceling microphone, such as the Sennheiser ME-3, Sennheiser MD431 II, Audix OM7, the Shure 58M-LC or Samson Airline 77 wireless microphone. When selecting a microphone, costs should not be an issue. If it is, it will cost you more in the long run than if you purchase a good high quality, noise-canceling microphone.
Even top-of-the-line, noise canceling microphones such as the Samson Airline 77 wireless microphone or the Sennheiser MD431 II (aka, Senheizer, Sennheisser) are impacted by ambient noise levels that exceed 75 dB to 85 dB. High volume background noise or speech, such as in tradeshow environments, will reduce the overall accuracy level of even these microphones, even if only slightly. It is important to remember that there is no such thing as absolute noise canceling. Even the best noise canceling microphones don't entirely eliminate background noise, they simply reduce its effect by significantly suppressing the volume of background noise and enhancing your speech input.
Best microphone for Dragon
We do not sell microphones. We only sell VoiceComputer, the best speech recognition software. So our unbiased recommendations are:
The Sennheiser ME-3 with the Andrea PureAudio USB-SA USB SoundPod is probably the best microphone on the market. It provides great accuracy and it may be the most noise-canceling microphone we have used. But, many users find the ME-3 awkward to use since it is an over-the-ear microphone.
Wireless: The Samson Airline 77 Wireless Microphone with Andrea PureAudio USB-SA USB SoundPod. Equal in performance to the Sennheiser ME-3, but more expensive since it's a wireless microphone.
SpeechWare FlexyMike Dual Ear Cardioid (2nd Gen). Provides the accuracy of the ME-3 but not the noise-canceling capabilities. It's also an over-the-ear microphone.
There are many good quality microphones that aren't quite as good as the aforementioned microphones but are less expensive and more comfortable to wear.
One example: VXI TalkPro SP1 microphone with the Andrea PureAudio USB-SA USB SoundPod
SpeechWare sells some excellent desktop microphones. They provide great accuracy and are extremely comfortable since you don't need to wear them. But, they are expensive and don't provide the best noise-canceling capabilities.
USB 3-in-1 TableMike
USB 6-in-1 TableMike
USB 9-in-1 TableMike
We do not recommend Bluetooth microphones.
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