Headsets and Microphones

Which speech recognition microphone is right for you?

Are you new to speech recognition software? Do you have the new Windows Vista operating system and wonder which microphone you should use with the included speech recognition capabilities? Have you out-grown the microphone that came with your copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking?

A point to note: Of all the steps you can take to optimise your accuracy, the most important one is to enunciate clearly. Even the best microphone will lead to poor recognition if you don't speak clearly. If you are unhappy with your current accuracy, strongly think about your dictation style. (source: Speech Recognition Solutions).

The following is a simple overview of commonly used microphones and accessories used with speech recognition software.

VXI Parrott 10-3 Plug & Play Headset

The VXI Parrott is a Plug & Play headset which covers one ear. It includes a very high quality noise-cancelling microphone.

The flexible gooseneck microphone boom will "memorise" its position so that you don't have to fuss with adjustments.

The Parrott 10-3 connects directly to your computer's sound card with two 3.5mm plugs.
Image of VXI Parrott headset

Image: Speech Centre

VXI Parrott 60V-10 Headset Telephone Switching System

The Parrott 60V10 allows you to alternate between talking on the telephone and dictating to your computer with the simple push of a button.
The 60V switch includes a "clickless" mute button, continuous receive volume control, a handset/headset toggle switch. The 60V-10 unit covers one ear so that you can stay aware of what is going on around you.
Image of telephone switch

Image: Speech Centre

Speech Amplifiers

Some individuals lose the ability to project their voice loud enough for others to hear them very well, especially when they are the telephone. Often the person on the end of the call just needs to turn their volume up However, even this is not enough in some cases. The only answer is for some form of voice amplification device or a telephone which offers speech-out amplification. BT.com do a 'Big Button 100' phone, which claims to offer 'speech out' volume capability (see page 8 of the user guide). Dedicated speech amplification devices appear to be few and far between, but some examples are described below

Mini Voiceamp (Toby-Churchill)

The Mini Voice Amp is portableand lightweight, allowing you to speak out whenever you want. It features a discreetly designed lightweight head-worn microphone.

The volume adjustment gives you control over your voice, making it perfect for use in a number of personal or professional settings. There are additional microphones available, including a throat mic.

More information about Voiceamp . . .
Mini Voiceamp

image of mini voiceamp

Freiburg Speech Amplifier (QED)

  • Acoustically amplifies a whisper (oesophagus speech) up to about 15 dB.
  • Oral communication made possible via the lightweight amplifier and choice of microphones.
  • Choice of microphone: handheld; headset;ear-clip boom; orlapel-clip.
  • Voice Amplifier has socket for connection to a telephone amplifier; external active amplifier box.
  • Two batteries supplied: one to be used, the other to be kept on charge, to provide continuous power.

More information about the Freiburg . . .
Freiburg Speech Amplifier

Image of Freiburg speech amplifier


Chattervox caims to boost your volume by as much as 18 decibels. It consists of a rechargeable portable amplifier and speaker unit along with a headset microphone. You charge the ChatterVox overnight with the included charger, put on the portable amplifier and headset, plug the headset into the amplifier and adjust the volume switch.

More information about Chattervox . . .


Screenshot of Chattervox

Falck 1003 (Toby-Churchill)

The Falck 1003 model has a plug-in socket to allow the microphone to be changed to suit the user's requirements. Available together with a headset microphone or a lapel microphone.

The Headset is designed for hands-free use for when the user needs to use their hands, for example teaching, or where the user has some weakness of the hands due to their medical condition.

More information about Falck 1003 . . .
Falck 1003

Image of Falck 1003

VXI Talkpro Xpress Headset for Speech Recognition

Andrea ANC 700 and ANC 750 Headset

Sennheiser M3 Headset - How to wear it

Boom EarHook Headset

Plantronics H171 Duo Pro headsets

VXi Talk Pro USB 100 headset

Buddy Desktop, Buddy Flamingo and Buddy Gooseneck

More about the Buddy, Desktop and Gooseneck:

The Buddy Desktop, Buddy Flamingo and Buddy Gooseneck
all have a strong output signal. This means they be kept at an
optimum distance of 3-6" from one's mouth. You must face the
microphone when speaking. Depending on the background
noise levels, you can experiment with using this at greater
distances. Just redo the Audio Setup when the distance to the
microphone element and your mouth change significantly.

(Source: YouTube)

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