To get good performance from your speech recognition software it is important to have a computer that is powerful enough. The following is recommended as a minimum:
Operating System Windows XP
|Recommended||Intel dual or quad core processor e.g. Intel Core 2 Duo or Quad with speed of 2 GHz or faster, or equivalent||2 GB|
|Optimum— for best performance||New generation Intel processor e.g. i5 or i7, or equivalent||3.25 GB|
Operating System Windows Vista and Windows 7
|Recommended||Intel dual or quad core processor e.g. Intel Core 2 Duo or Quad with speed of 2 GHz or faster, or equivalent||4 GB|
|Optimum— for best performance||New generation Intel processor e.g. i5 or i7, or equivalent||8 GB|
Ideally, your computer specs will exceed these. The soundcard also needs to be adequate. If you need to upgrade the soundcard, you could consider either Creative Labs SoundBlaster Live or Audigy, or alternatively purchasing an external soundcard (also called a USB pod or USB adaptor or Translator) that plugs into the USB port. If your software is performing well with a high level of recognition accuracy, then you can assume that your equipment is adequate. The audio check will indicate whether the quality of sound input is adequate (say “Check Audio Settings”). If you pass the audio check, this indicates that your microphone and soundcard are performing adequately.
The microphone is an important piece of equipment. Features to look for in a microphone are a headset with noise-cancelling properties and an adjustable mouthpiece boom, to ensure it can be positioned correctly. One recommended microphone is the Parrott VXI TalkPro Express headset. If you use the telephone a lot, you might be interested in a dual telephony/PC microphone that allows you to use the one headset and switch between telephone and speech recognition easily. These microphones can work well with speech recognition software. However, if you are purchasing a dual telephony/PC microphone it is important to ask the retailer about technical support, as these can be difficult to set up.
Caution is urged with use of wireless microphones as they rarely equal the performance of a wired headset when used for speech recognition.
While single licences of Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional come with a suitable microphone, the one included with the Preferred edition is not optimal, and it is therefore wise to upgrade to a better microphone to ensure good recognition.
Retailers of microphones and USB pods suitable for use with speech recognition software are:
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