How Do I Choose the Best Microphone for Speech Recognition?

Alex Newth

A microphone for speech recognition allows people to dictate to computers, but there are several options and considerations to weigh before choosing the right microphone. Noise resistance is important for a microphone for speech recognition, especially in noisy environments, because it may otherwise pick up outside conversations. Choosing between a universal serial bus (USB) and an analog microphone can be tough, because each has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on the computer. Getting a wired or wireless speech recognition microphone is usually a matter of preference, but some professionals may need a wireless microphone. Buttons may be offered on the microphone to make control much easier, but also this pushes up the microphone’s price.

Computer programs have the ability to transcribe spoken words to written text.
Computer programs have the ability to transcribe spoken words to written text.

If someone is trying to dictate to a computer in a noisy office, then it is possible that outside conversations will bleed into the dictation and lead to poor results. Getting a microphone for speech recognition with noise resistance will ensure that only the user’s voice is recorded and not the background voices. At the same time, if the user will be dictating in quiet environments, it may be cheaper to forego this feature.

A headset microphone with noise resistance may be ideal for individuals who work in noisy environments.
A headset microphone with noise resistance may be ideal for individuals who work in noisy environments.

A microphone for speech recognition can be connected to the computer by either a USB port or the sound card, in which case it's known as an analog microphone. A USB microphone is usually best if the user has a poor sound card, because the USB use will increase the quality of the dictation. If the sound card is new and high quality, then an analog microphone will generally deliver better dictation, though not all computers come with a direct sound card connection port.

Both wired and wireless microphone models are available on the market, and each one suits a different purpose. A wired microphone for speech recognition is best for users who will remain stationary; a wireless microphone allows the user to move around, but it must be charged every few hours. Some professionals, such as doctors, will need a wireless microphone so they can dictate while working.

Some microphone units come with buttons a person can use to control how the dictation is going. For example, there may be buttons to stop recording, to move backward in the dictation or to even move the mouse on the computer screen while dictating. This allows the user to control the dictation from afar, but getting a microphone with a control panel may cost more and may not be convenient for a user who just wants a simple microphone.

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