1January22, 2012Introduction:While preparing to review the new SpeechWare 3-in-1, it occurred to methat the most effective...
2practical. Back then, the couple of wired headset microphone choicesavailable to us were more than adequate.In 1996, Natu...
3microphones, followed by our recommendations (rating them from1stthrough 5thplace).Pros& ConsSpeechware3-in-1 Pros:MSRP: ...
4Built-in exclusive audio filtering USB soundcardExtremely accurate up to 24 inches(that’s no typo)but can beutilized at e...
5Currently requires sending the unit to Canada for service and warrantyrepairsLimited (2 to 5 inch) microphone range (9 to...
6Perfect for digital recorders when recording seminarsAccurate to within 3 feet and can be used from as far away as 4Gun s...
7This microphone’s unwieldy length makes it difficult to utilize as adesktop microphone because it was primarily designed ...
8cold dead fingers” to quote someone, none of us will ever forget... Theywisely elected to let me keep it 2nd Place ~ Sen...
9Previous Reviews:If you would like to see some of our previous reviews check out the following:KnowBrainer TableMike Face...
10Lunis Orcutt - Developer of KnowBrainer 2011and founder of KnowBrainerSpeech Recognition Forums (the worlds largest spee...
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Desktop Microphone Review - Battle of the_desktop_microphones

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Desktop Microphone Comparison including the Buddy DesktopMic 7G and the SpeechWare TableMike.If you would like to learn more about these products visit http://www.themicrophonestore.com/ or call 615-884-4558

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Desktop Microphone Review - Battle of the_desktop_microphones

  1. 1. 1January22, 2012Introduction:While preparing to review the new SpeechWare 3-in-1, it occurred to methat the most effective way to do so would be in the context of the top ratedspeech microphones.The following reviewconsists of 3 parts:(1) My personal take on the evolution of speech recognitionmicrophones(2) A general consensus of 12 of the world’s leading speech recognitionexperts on the pros and cons of what we believe to be the top 5desktop microphones (TableMikes)(3) My personal assessment of what the numbers meanIf you wish to skip past the brief microphone history, click Pros and Cons. Ifyouwish to skip further ahead to myconclusions,clickrecommendations.Note that while only one of these microphones could achieve the 1stplaceoverall rating, each is still an excellent choice for speech recognition.Evolution of Speech Recognition MicrophonesWhen we first began using DragonDictate speech recognition software in the1980’s it seemed to be incredibly impressive technology. Never minding thevery deliberate pause after each and every word, we waited with baitedbreath to see another (hopefully correct) word miraculously appear on oursomewhat blurry little screens.It was fun! It was frustrating! It was not veryTABLEMIKE FACE-OFFSpeechWare Desktop,Sennheiser MD 431 II, Buddy Desktop DSP, OlympusME 31&Audix
  2. 2. 2practical. Back then, the couple of wired headset microphone choicesavailable to us were more than adequate.In 1996, NaturallySpeaking continuous speech recognition was released.Withthe emergence of this new technology, we had a viable tool forprofessional as well as personal use. That being the case, we neededmicrophones designed to better utilize this increasingly more sophisticatedsoftware. Microphone manufacturers responded. Theydesignedwirelesssystems. They designedcombination headset microphones that couldadditionally be usedwith cell phones, landlines and even hydrauliclifterswhichpicked up our handsets for us. While noise canceling andaccuracy continued to improve, ultimately many of usstill were not happywith our headset microphones, finding them to beratherinconvenient and/oruncomfortable. Physicians and other professionals were often forced to donand then remove their headsetsevery few minutes, between patients orclients. Other end users,needing to take verbal notes while talking on thephone, put their callers on hold, which wasbothinefficient andimpolite. Whilehandheld microphones such as the Philips SpeechMike Airnow allowconcurrent use of both a microphone and a telephone, they don’t solve allproblems for all end users. Some of us simply need to keep both hands free.Fortunately, microphone manufacturers have also been busily designing highquality desktop microphones.A desktop microphone just might be your best option if:You find headset microphones to be uncomfortableYou like to listen to music through high fidelity headphones whileworkingYou are physically disabledYou are self-conscious about wearing a headset in front of othersYou don’t need to be wirelessYou NEED to keep both hands freeYou dislike having to continuously don and remove your headsetYou take the time to arrange your hair just the way you like it andTHAT IS HOW YOU WANT TO KEEP IT!Below is a general consensus of 12of the worlds top speech recognitionexperts on the pros and cons of what they believe to be the top 5 desktop
  3. 3. 3microphones, followed by our recommendations (rating them from1stthrough 5thplace).Pros& ConsSpeechware3-in-1 Pros:MSRP: $279Accuracy: 100%Noise Cancellation: 9 out of 10Overall Rating: 10 out of 10100% AccuracyBelgian engineering (think Mercedes)The most accurate desktop microphone we have testedNEW "De Clicking" algorithm (2nd-generation exclusive) ~ The"DeClicking" algorithm filters out keystroke taps, table thumps etc.(clicking) from reaching NaturallySpeakingRecipient of Nuances highest (5 Dragon “Best of Class”) ratingDetachable microphone boomfor easier storage and transportUnusually highnoise cancellationfor desktop microphoneEnd-user Programmable On/Off/ momentary switchIncludes an option to bypass the built-in gooseneck microphone with aheadset microphone (for working in noisier environments) whichallows you to use the base as a noise filtering USB soundcard.The only desktop microphone that can be preset to turn on whenbooting your computer. This can be especially important to thephysically disabled.Includes headphone jack and volume controlsThe 1st microphone to include separate specialized settings for speechrecognition mode and VoIP/Skype modeSpeech recognition mode includes a specialized Adaptive NoiseCanceling algorithm1st desktop microphone to include Automatic Gain ControlOnly desktop microphone to feature 2 dedicated volume controls forsoundplaybackOnly desktop microphone to feature a dedicated mic sensitivity controlto reject unwanted background noise
  4. 4. 4Built-in exclusive audio filtering USB soundcardExtremely accurate up to 24 inches(that’s no typo)but can beutilized at even further distances thanks to the built-in Automatic GainControl featureThe upcoming 6-in-1 unit (due to be released in early April of 2012)additionally adds a foot pedal option to toggle the microphone on andoff, playback speaker and an extra USB port.The upcoming 9-in-1 unit (due to be released in early May of 2012)additionally adds a 2nd USB port, telescoping (adjustable) gooseneck,SD card reader and a programmable button to control otherapplications.2 year manufacturer warrantySpeechWare 3-in-1 Cons:Slightly more expensive than competitive unitsBuddy Desktop DSP Pros:MSRP: $170Accuracy: 98%Noise Cancellation: 7 out of 10Overall Rating: 8 out of 10Note that we did not include other types of Buddy microphones, such as the BuddyGooseneck and Buddy Flamingo, in our testing because they incorporate the samemicrophone element (without a base).98% Accuracy with new integrated7GUSB soundcardBuilt-in noise filtering USB soundcardIncludes microphone mute buttonAccurate up to 8 inches awayExcellent price value1 year manufacturer warrantyBuddy Desktop& Buddy Desktop DSPCons:
  5. 5. 5Currently requires sending the unit to Canada for service and warrantyrepairsLimited (2 to 5 inch) microphone range (9 to 11 inches with the BuddyDesktop DSP)Audix USB 12 Pros:MSRP: $179Accuracy: 97%Noise Cancellation: 6 out of 10Overall Rating: 6 out of 10Lowest priced USB desktop microphoneHeadphone jack for optional sound outSimilar accuracy to the higher-priced discontinued Buddy Desktop 6GButton can be programmed to work as an on-off switch or push to talkSmallest footprint of any desktop microphone, requiring the leastamount of table space1 year manufacturer warrantyAudix USB 12 Cons:Not quite as accurate as the new Buddy 7G which has replaced the 6GWe experienced some unwanted pops and plosives when dictatingwithin the limited 2 inch range.We were able to remedy this byspeaking off to the side of the microphone.This microphone had a limited 2 inch range, but was actually slightlymore accurate from within 1 inch. This concerned us.We found the 12 inch boom to be a little shorter than we would like insome situations.We do not like membrane buttons at all. We prefer a true hardwarebutton with more of a click feel like the other desktop microphones.Olympus ME31 Pros:MSRP: $200Accuracy: 97%Noise Cancellation: 7 out of 10Overall Rating: 8 out of 10
  6. 6. 6Perfect for digital recorders when recording seminarsAccurate to within 3 feet and can be used from as far away as 4Gun style long-distance directional pickup patternVery small footprint; similar to the Audix1 year manufacturer warrantyOlympus ME31 Cons:No built-in USB soundcardSlightly high priced for a microphone with no built-in USB soundcardNo actual noise cancellation but because this microphone is highlydirectional, it marginally rejects sound from the sides and backThis microphone should only be used in a quiet environment and mayoccasionally pick up keyboard key clicksSennheiser MD 431 II Pros:MSRP: $675Accuracy:100%Noise Cancellation: 10 out of 10Overall Rating: 10 out of 10Note: The Sennheiser MD 431 II is not really a desktop microphone but we includedit in this comparison because of its popularity and the fact that is commonly usedas a desktop speech recognition microphone.100% AccuracyStunning noise cancellation (Super cardioid microphone elementworks great for rejecting unwanted sound)Includes on/off slider switch1 year manufacturer warrantySennheiser MD 431 II Cons:Roughly triple the price of the competitionLimited 2 to 3 inch range
  7. 7. 7This microphone’s unwieldy length makes it difficult to utilize as adesktop microphone because it was primarily designed forvocalists/musiciansConclusions:1st Place ~ SpeechWare 3-in-1, 6-in-1 and 9-in-1 (Click to See)The 3-in-1 simply blew our socks off (along with the competition) withdevastating accuracy from within 21 inches, and was quite usable from asfar away as 40 inches! The 3-in-1 introduces several new technologies builtinto the worlds only speech recognition microphone that contains a circuitboard with amenities like de-clicking (specialized filters that preventNaturallySpeaking from hearing chair squeaks, keystrokes, lip smacks andcoffee cup clinks) along with specialized NaturallySpeaking 11 algorithms forhigher accuracy. This microphone additionally includes a bypass setting sothat you can use it for podcasts, VoIP applications or earlier versions ofNaturallySpeaking/DragonDictate.We also fell in love with the additional perks which include the option to addan external headset microphone, headphones, volume controls and a noisefiltering USB soundcard. The MD 431 II was unbeatable from 2 to 3 inchesbut if you spend a significant amount of time dictating, it is all butimpossible to comfortably maintain a 2 inch distance from your microphoneover any given period of time. Most of us are working with larger monitors,taking phone calls, sorting or referring to papers, and dealing withinterruptions and distractions of various sorts. We like to lean back in ourchairs. We turn. We fidget. We stretch. Because of the extended range ofthe 3-in-1 microphone, we have found nothing to match its accuracy whendictating beyond 3 inches. Additional manufacturer information available atwww.TableMike.comThis review was dictated with the SpeechWare 3-in-1 microphone and by thetime I finished testing, I made the SpeechWare 3-in-1 my personalmicrophone of choice. I informed the fine folks at SpeechWare that the onlyway they would get back their3-in-1 prototype was if they “pried it from my
  8. 8. 8cold dead fingers” to quote someone, none of us will ever forget... Theywisely elected to let me keep it 2nd Place ~ Sennheiser MD 431 II (Click to See)This microphone is the measuring stick used against all other microphones.From within 2 inches, no microphone we have ever tested is more accurateor more noise canceling. The Sennheiser was significantly more noisecanceling than any other desktop microphone. However, negative aspectsinclude a sticker shock price tag of $500 (MAP pricing), unwieldy length forpositioning as a desktop microphone and the limited 2 inch range (requiringusers to lock their bodies into one position over long periods of time). Youcan optionally purchase a swing-arm for this microphone, allowing you tochange positions, but that increases the price even more. Although this isthe most noise canceling and accurate desktop microphone weve evertested, the 3 negative aspects dropped it down to 4th place. Additionalmanufacturer information available at www.sennheiserusa.com3rd Place ~ Buddy Desktop 7GDSP(Click to See)What can we say other than this is the classic desktop microphone that allother manufacturers mimic, and it has recently been improved with the 7GUSB soundcard and the introduction of a new process called FilteredAudio(exclusive to the DSP model) . We felt this was a great microphone andcontinue to carry it on our website because of the price (only slightly higherthan the Audix USB 12) and quality. Additional manufacturer informationavailable at www.insyncspeech.com4th Place ~ Olympus ME31(Click to See)This is a great microphone with good accuracy for long distance dictation ofup to 4 feet and quite accurate within 3 feet. If you need long-distance, thisis your best choice but the noise canceling aspects and price lower thismicrophone to 5th place. Additional manufacturer information available atwww.olympusamerica.com5th Place ~ Audix USB 12(Nothing to See)Although this is a reasonable speech recognition microphone, it is onlyincluded in the “top 6” because of the lower price.We personally didnt feelthe slightly lower price justified offering it on our website, considering howmuch better the other units scored. Additional manufacturer informationavailable at www.audixusa.com
  9. 9. 9Previous Reviews:If you would like to see some of our previous reviews check out the following:KnowBrainer TableMike Face-OffKnowBrainer Handheld Microphone Face-OffKnowBrainer Headset Microphone Face-OffKnowBrainer Telephone Microphone Face-OffKnowBrainer Digital Recorder Face-OffKnowBrainer Wireless Microphone Face-OffKnowBrainer USB Soundcard Face-Off (coming soon)Current Gold Standards:The following is a list of microphones that we consider to be #1 in theirmicrophone categories we:Best Wireless Microphone = Samson Airline 77Best Combo Telephone Wireless Microphone = Jabra Pro 9470Best Handheld USB Microphone = Dictaphone PowerMic IIBest USB TableMike = SpeechWare 3-in-1 / SpeechWare 6-in-1Best Wired Headset Microphone = Audio-Technica Pro 8HEmWBest Bluetooth “like” Wireless Microphone = Plantronics Savi 440*Best Digital Recorder = Olympus DS-7000Best Speech Recognition Application = NaturallySpeaking 11.5&DMPE*Bluetooth Note: The Plantronics Savi 440 is not a Bluetooth microphonebut comes seemingly close by emulating the features of a Bluetoothmicrophone because it includes a completely wireless headset andwireless receiver. We do not recommend any Bluetooth microphones foruse with Dragon Medical 11, NaturallySpeaking 11, DragonDictate 2.5 orWSR because Bluetooth microphones are limited to a 4 kHz frequencyresponse while the previously mentioned speech recognition applicationscan process frequencies as high as 11 kHz. Bluetooth also suffers fromsyncing issues and thats why we no longer offer or rate Bluetoothmicrophones.
  10. 10. 10Lunis Orcutt - Developer of KnowBrainer 2011and founder of KnowBrainerSpeech Recognition Forums (the worlds largest speech recognition forum)Chat Live w/a Nuance Gold Certified Speech Recognition SolutionsProvider©KnowBrainer 1996-2012

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