Friday
Apr122013

MacSpeech Dictate, and SpeechWare 9 in 1 mic

As a writer you are always looking for technological advances that make your job easier. I’m currently experimenting with dictation software and a hands-free microphone system. The software is  MacSpeech Dictate. The  hardware is the new 9 in1 TableMike from SpeechWare.

I purchased this combination because  Nuance, the makers of MacSpeech Dictate, claim the TableMike was one of the best they have tested. They gave it five stars, and MacWorld gave it 4.5 stars out of five. My goal in purchasing the system is to increase productivity. I’m a very slow typist, and because of that it takes me a great deal of time to get through a blog post. Although I’ve been using dictation software for a while, I have longed to be hands-free.  Even the lightest of headsets get heavy after a while.  Additionally, most of the Bluetooth headsets don’t have the frequency response necessary to accurately transfer speech patterns with a high degree of accuracy, and that meant  I pretty much had to stay plugged in.

I was at my attorney’s office, and he was using a SpeechWare 6 in 1 TableMike. He said  it was highly accurate and he recommend it. I immediately purchased one, (actually I purchased the 9 in 1 just because it was newer) and am using it  to create this blog post. At the moment, I’m completely hands-free.

If I was being completely honest, I would say that my accuracy rate is only about 90 to 95% (more on that later). Roughly about the same as my USB headset. However, with a little more vocal  training, I believe that will bump up into the very high 90s. With every new piece of equipment there is a learning curve. For example, I have already found that if I speak at about a 45° angle, I have much better speech recognition  than when I speak directly into the microphone. This may the because I originally recorded my profile in that position. I should also mention that Dragon Dictate allows you to perform additional reading exercises to improve accuracy. I intend to do that over the next couple of days. 

The mic itself  has an extended telescopic 19 to 24 inch boom with a flexible tip. According to the literature, it has the first industry integrated speech Equalizer and AGC circuitry for superior performance for voice applications and wide band or high-definition VoIP. It also has a built-in speaker in the base of the microphone and an integrated USB port to connect other devices  to the base. This is actually used for  a high definition WebCam with a flexible boom. This would make the product ideal for webcasting, although in my case, I would probably just use the WebCam in the Mac.  Additionally, it has a special port for an optional foot pedal control. Although again, since you can simply shut the mic off by giving a command to Dragon Dictate, I fail to see why that would be necessary.  Out-of-the-box it comes with an orange windscreen. For the life of me I have no idea why it would not be black. The manufacturer claims that it will also work quite well as an HD podcasting microphone.  Something I will be attempting in the future, so we’ll find out if that’s actually true. (Update – as I’m editing this piece, I have moved up the learning curve. I’m now experiencing about 99% accuracy and am completely hands-free. I have also tested this as a vocal mic, and the sound quality is impressive. Background noise is almost nonexistent.)  Not only can I say I like it, I can tell you that I love it. I have no idea how I lasted so long without one. This microphone has revolutionized my dictation experience.

Here’s what’s in the box.

The microphone comes with a windshield for the microphone

A telescopic boom with a flexible tip

USB shielded cable with gold plated connectors

A brochure highlighting the comparative features of the TableMike range

Warranty information

Instruction manual

It works with both Windows and Mac. I’m using Macintosh Mountain Lion software and it’s working fine.

So  if you decide you would like to give it a try, I got mine from a company called Knowbrainer. They can be found on the Internet. I have to say that they did an excellent job because I placed my order late  Monday afternoon, purchased the two day shipping option, and had my product by Wednesday. They do have the advantage  of being located in Tennessee, which happens to be a FedEx hub, if I’m not mistaken.

Over the next few days I will be utilizing the system and I will give you an update. Although, I have to say that at the moment I’m quite pleased. Once I get past the learning curve, I believe my productivity will take a giant leap forward. My goal is to write at least two books per year. Thanks to modern technology that just might be possible.

At least, that’s the way I see it:

Through a writer’s eyes,

Cliff

 

 

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