Speech Recognition microphones
Speech Recognition microphones

Speech Recognition microphones

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One of the questions we get asked most frequently at Sound Business Systems is  “Which is the best microphone?”

The answer is that there isn’t one. Everybody has different needs, and a microphone that works well for one person may perform badly for someone else.

Questions you should ask yourself when looking for a headset or microphone include:

  • What environment will I be working in?
    • Will it be noisy?
  • Deskbased or mobile office?
    • How important is portability and mobility to me?
  • Do I require one headset for multiple tasks?
  • What microphone features do I require?
  • Is durability important to me?

Mic-In or USB

Microphones connect to your computer in two ways:

  1. Directly to your computers sound-card via the Mic-In port. The nice thing about these microphones is that they can also be used with other hardware such as Digital Voice Recorders.
  2. Through a USB port. The big advantage with this is that the sound processing is carried out by the microphone, not the soundcard in the PC.
    This means that you don’t need to worry about the quality of the PC soundcard, and also that you can use your microphone in different computers with consistent results.
  3. Using a USB microphone adaptor. This basically converts a Mic-In microphone into a USB microphone, and essentially gives you the best of both worlds.

Types of Microphones


Headsets are the best option for use with speech recognition software, because once in position, the microphone does not move relative to your mouth. 
This guarantees consistency in the recording volume level, which is critical for good results. They also offer much better noise cancellation than other options.
For this reason, a headset should always be your first choice.

Desktop & Handheld

These microphones are great for people who either cannot or prefer not to wear a headset. Because they are designed to work at a distance they are much more affected by background noise than a headset.


Wireless microphones use one / two or a combination of different technologies; DECT & Bluetooth.

DECT is the technology used in the typical home cordless phone. It has a long range and gives a very good quality signal. DECT headsets usually have some sort of docking station which acts as a charger and connects to the PC.
They are typically more expensive than their Bluetooth cousins, but much easier to setup and use.

Bluetooth headsets have a much shorter range, and up until recently didn’t consistently produce good results with speech recognition applications. Fortunately this is no longer the case, and we are now seeing some good quality solutions available.  
Bluetooth headsets can either communicate directly with your PC (if it has the capability), or via a small USB dongle. The absence of a docking station means they are a more portable solution than DECT microphones.



Remember – a good quality microphone is essential to maximise speech recognition accuracy, and the model typically supplied with your software may be less than ideal.

All prices listed in New Zealand dollars excluding 15.00% GST
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