Hugh

G’day;

 

I bought an audio-technica BPHS1 headset to use with DNS 12.5 on a PC running on Windows 8.1.  I also wanted to use the headset to record podcasts, as well as to listen to music.  The salesman at the shop where I bought it, sold me a XKL-M to USB cable -- which he assured me would enable the headset mic cable to connect with a USB port on the PC.  As you are no doubt aware, this strategy bypasses the sound card and any resulting issues or loss of sound quality.

 

However, the computer would not recognize the USB cable.  I took it, and the PC, back to the retailer.  He tried using a pre-amp connected to the USB port instead of the cable, but that would not work either.

 

He then made a XKL-M to 1/8” jack converter cable which allowed the headset mic cable to plug into a 1/8” jack on the sound card instead of the USB port.  Windows would then recognize the mic and I could record sounds using Windows Sound Recorder.   However, the sound quality was not as good as would be expected from using a USB port and negates the point of using a high quality headset mic.  In any case, Dragon would still not recognize the headset mic at all.

 

My questions are:

1.  Can anyone tell me what I can do to connect the headset mic to a USB port on the PC so that it works?

2.  Can anyone tell me what, if anything, I can do to get Dragon to recognize the audio-technica headset mic so that I can use it for voice dictation?

 

Cheers,

 

Hugh

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jonwahrenberger

Hugh:

On the basis of what you write, I’m thinking you make a pretty good case that the issue is Window 8.1 and NOT the two USB devices you have tried (or the microphone).  My partner, Tony, has been gaining a lot of experience with USB devices in Window 8 and will weigh in on the situation later today.

One thing to clarify, however, is the difference between the operating system not recognizing your USB devices and Dragon not recognizing them.  I don’t know what you level of experience with Dragon is, so forgive me if this is old news to you.  It is essential when moving from an analog device to digital device (interfacing via USB) to inform Dragon of the new sound source.  This can be done in one of two ways:

1.       Adding a new source to your existing profile (preferred method since it doesn’t necessarily take much time and keeps all of the words and commands in your original profile).  This is done by navigating to Profile > Add new dictation source to current User profile.

2.       Creating a brand new user profile and selecting “USB” as the new microphone type when first starting the process

Again, Tony will be weighing in later with some information related to USB sound card issues with Windows 8.  For more information on setting up a new microphone, please visit our Microphone Set-up and Troubleshooting Guide.

I hope this is helpful.

Jon

Jon W. Wahrenberger, MD
Speech Recognition Solutions
http://www.SpeechRecSolutions.com
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Tony Fiset
Hi Hugh,

As Jon noted, I've been doing a fair bit of testing of USB audio adapters lately, but we identified the root issue as a bad device ID string in the firmware, not Windows 8/8.1.

I think your best bet would be to use the XLR to 3.5mm adapter cable that worked with the mic input on your laptop, and one of our proven USB sound adapters, either the Andrea PureAudio USB-MA or the Buddy 7G. This will give you the benefits of higher-quality ADC algorithms, sampling rates, electrical noise isolation, etc. that are necessary to get the best results with Dragon.

Your testing process was spot-on: First make sure the device is recognized in the OS and works with the standard sound recorder, then follow Jon's instructions to set up a new source (or profile, if needed) to ensure that Dragon recognizes the right input.

Cheers,
Tony
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Hugh
Thanks for your comments Jon and Tony.

Of course, I tried several times to  create both a new source and a new profile.  However, no matter what I tried, Dragon would not recognize the headset mic.

I eventually took my PC, with the headset, to the shop where I bought the headset.  Two technicians there then tried for a couple weeks to get it to work without success.  They double checked that the headset worked perfectly OK by itself when connected to other audio equipment directly via its 1/2" KXL connector.  They also double checked that the KXL-USB cable and the pre amps they tried to use to allow the mic to record via a USB port worked correctly.  They also tried using various software such as Realtec. They eventually gave up and gave me a refund for the headset. 

I wrote a summary of my experience (similar to this posting) to post at the audio-technical headset forum.  However, audio-technical blocked my post.  They said it breached their forum's guidelines.  However, I carefully read the guidelines before writing the post, and am certain that I didn't contravene any guideline.  I can only surmise that they did not want other people to become aware of the problem.

I don't understand Tony's comment that, '...we identified the root issue as a bad device ID string in the firmware,'.  What firmware are you talking about?  Does this mean the particular headset might be faulty, and that another one of the same model might work correctly? 

In any case, I am back to square one.  I am still looking for a solution.  I need a good quality, noise cancelling USB mic with a high SNR that is tuned for recording voice in order to record commercial quality podcasts.  I also need a very accurate mic that will work with Dragon Naturally speaking 12.5 without 'issues'.  I am a writer and normally spend a lot of time using voice dictation, so efficiency (accuracy) is important. 

I have an Andrea NC-185VM USB headset that I currently use with Dragon -- but with only mediocre accuracy at best.  What is more, the tone/quality of the voice sounds I can record with it is not good enough for the podcasts I need to record.

I am now ready to give up the holy grail of finding a good quality mic in a headset after my great waste of time and energy trying to get the audio-technica BPHS1 headset to work.  I would now be happy to get a separate USB mic if needs be.

Suggestions would be appreciated.

Cheers,

Hugh




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Tony Fiset
Hi Hugh,

I'm sorry you weren't able to get things working with the AT headset - I'm quite curious as to why it didn't work.

Regarding the note about the firmware, I was referring to Jon's note about the Windows 8 issue and the Andrea USB-MA. It didn't really apply to your issue.

We have consistently found that the Sennheiser ME3 is the most accurate, noise-rejecting mic available (other than the MD431, which costs more than twice as much). It was designed for stage performers, so I think you'll find it suitable for podcasting as well. The only drawback is that it does not have built-in speakers, but you can easily remedy that with a pair of ear buds (some small o-rings work nicely to bundle the cables if desired).

If you really need a headset with built-in speakers, the umeVoice product line utilizes a very good microphone element and has a range of speaker options. We are also testing a couple of new Sennheiser products that might do the trick for you.

Cheers,
Tony
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