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  #1  
Old 09-11-2016, 05:55 PM
cmac2012's Avatar
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Effective microphone function on PC

Has anyone experienced a microphone on their PC that was worth a damn? My typing ability is temporarily impaired so I bought the number 12 version of Dragon naturally speaking. I failed the microphone quality test. I deleted the current microphone and downloaded some highly rated, supposedly, software - Realtek High Def Audio Driver. It's horrible. Doesn't work worth a damn.

FWIW, my PC is a Win7, 64 bit Acer. Has been a pretty good machine all in all.

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  #2  
Old 09-11-2016, 10:30 PM
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Realtek is only a driver, if your actual mic is terrible then it won't do any better. I've had this mic (but generic cheaper brand) for a couple years and consistently get comments on how clear the sound is:

Andrea (C1-1019800-1) SoundMAX Superbeam Array Microphone - 3.5 mm Connector https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D48XSIQ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_MlH1xbSD4ZNSC


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  #3  
Old 09-12-2016, 12:51 AM
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I would just buy a headset or standalone mic. I can't imagine that a lot of effort goes into the mics built into computers these days.


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  #4  
Old 09-12-2016, 02:53 AM
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I'm sorry, I didn't include enough of the details. I first tried out the Microsoft installed voice to text. Didn't work well - I was using my iPhone ear piece/mic. So I bought the Dragon setup, in part because it comes with a headset. That's what I was using when I failed the mic test. The earphone part works great but I tried a test recording with the installed recorder feature and that's what sounded weak.

After doing some study, I concluded that the stock sound driver was probably crap, this in part because the operating system had been reloaded by a tech I found after it seized up with spam and couldn't solve it. But there was no operating system restore CD included with it so he used something else, maybe not even a pc system as the new one didn't have a touchpad disabling feature.

Anyone, I dumped the audio driver, or the microphone part anyway and loaded the Realtek. The mic is even worse now, or rather whatever signal it is that the computer receives and turns into audio memory.

There is clearly a lot about this stuff that I don't get.
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  #5  
Old 09-12-2016, 09:59 AM
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There are some system settings within Windows that affect how a microphone is handled.

I went through this recently with an analog microphone, and had to adjust both "level" and "boost" to make things work.

If you go Googling for 'Windows microphone configuration', you'll be able to find some detailed instructions.
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  #6  
Old 09-12-2016, 10:25 AM
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Audio-Technics AZ2020 with a USB plug is what a lot of professionals use at home. The studio mics cost $7000 but for home use with Dragon this seems to be a popular option. Your machine is not a 64 track mixing board, or whatever those things are called, so the AZ2020 will deliver all the sound quality you need.

And make sure to get a breath screen to filter out the 'pop' from your breath. These are just flat round screens that fit in front of your mic and usually cost less than $20.

And I don't use Dragon but those that do tell me there is a learning curve on the part of the program. You have to work with it a bit but when it catches on it works great.
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  #7  
Old 09-12-2016, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmac2012 View Post
Didn't work well - I was using my iPhone ear piece/mic. So I bought the Dragon setup, in part because it comes with a headset.
The iPhone headset comes with a 4-position 3.5mm plug. It can NOT just be plugged into the headphone or mic jack of a PC and expected to work. You need an adapter that breaks out the 4-position plug to separate headphone and mic plugs.

Does the Dragon headset have a distinct headphone and mic connector, is is USB, what? Make sure you're not using your computer's internal mic and that whatever you plug in is actually working!
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  #8  
Old 09-13-2016, 12:34 AM
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if you aren't getting much signal into the software, with a headset mic plugged in - chances are that the computer/dragons is trying to get audio off of the internal microphone (especially if levels look low), and you are only talking into the mic on the headset.
Look for a setting in Dragon that lets you select which microphone to listen to. Usually it will be a drop-down called something like "audio source".

I've never heard of bad audio quality from a microphone audio driver - I'd be surprised if that was the final culprit.

-JcG
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  #9  
Old 09-13-2016, 05:20 PM
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Some good advice here, I'll work on it. One thing that has frustrated me is how little help I get from the dragon software. The menu that Angel spoke of is something I haven't seen. I found a few people online complaining bitterly about how difficult it is, or can be sometimes anyway, to install Dragon's software. The same people say it's pretty good when it works but they wonder why they get so much grief on the install. I read that and thought "amen brother."
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  #10  
Old 09-14-2016, 01:48 PM
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Another angle I'm thinking to try, my reading has it that USB microphones have their own soundcard action internally. I found one on craigslist for 10 bucks, it's from some rock band software game or something, but it's made by Logitech.

I sorta hate to buy parts willy-nilly, OTOH I want this thing to work. Could be worth the money to me. I have a few moneymaking possibilities from keyboard work at home. I had rotator cuff surgery on my good arm, my right arm, and I want to make some money. This is some sobering stuff. False modesty aside, I am one fast typing mofo, normally. I can use my fingers but general mobility is poor and my typing sucks at this point.

Right now I'm using voice to text on my iPhone, emailing it to myself, and then cutting and pasting on my computer. Even with the shuffling around, way faster than one-handed typing.
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  #11  
Old 09-18-2016, 04:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spdrun View Post
The iPhone headset comes with a 4-position 3.5mm plug. It can NOT just be plugged into the headphone or mic jack of a PC and expected to work. You need an adapter that breaks out the 4-position plug to separate headphone and mic plugs.

Does the Dragon headset have a distinct headphone and mic connector, is is USB, what? Make sure you're not using your computer's internal mic and that whatever you plug in is actually working!
My current PC has the single Jack set up, the sort that has the speaker and headphones in the same line for headset use. The headset that came with Dragon had two lines, two jacks but it also came with a reverse splitter that you plug into the single jack to use on PCs like mine.

The good news is I solved the problem, sort of unusual, but it works. I bought a USB microphone, it's made by Logitech but was made for a program called Rockstar. Found it on craigslist for 10 bucks. I had read online that USB mics have their own sound card type circuitry built in and luckily for me, it does work. In fact I'm composing this on Dragon right now. It's not bad. I may use it some even after my hand/arm heals up and I can type normally again.

Being a carpenter/woodworker type guy, I fashioned a nifty little mic stand out of wood. It's actually a bit nicer than a headset as it's sensitive enough to mount about a foot from my face and pick up the dialogue perfectly.
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  #12  
Old 09-18-2016, 12:08 PM
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Evidently you solve the issue, but fwiw, I came across the following site when researching essentially the same question for one of my customers....

Nuance

Can't go very far off the rails if you use directly supported equipment.

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