Sunday, 24 August 2008

Microphones: the Sennheiser ME3

I rarely type anything by hand now. Instead I use Dragon Naturally Speaking and dictate everything straight into my computer.

When I first used Dragon I used the headset which came in the box with the software. Despite all my efforts, my work was full of mistakes. Eventually I realised it was the headset: it introduced errors into my dictation because the quality of the sound it transmitted was too poor for Dragon to interpret effectively. It was also uncomfortable, and so I couldn’t wear it for long without ending up with a headache and sore ears.

After a bit of research I discovered the Sennheiser ME3 headset. It was developed for use on-stage and so does not have an ear-piece, just a microphone: it’s very lightweight and comfortable (even if you wear glasses, like I do), and it’s very easy to adjust to fit. It has a plastic-coated, metal frame which rests on the top of your ears and goes around the back of your head, with a flexible arm for the microphone which allows you to position it correctly at the side of your mouth; and a soft Velcro strap which holds it close to the back of your head (only I prefer to use mine without it, as I have a notoriously large head).

Just by using the Sennheiser ME3 with Dragon and a USB sound-pod (I’ll cover sound-pods later in a separate piece) rather than using your computer's inbuilt sound-card, you’ll get wonderful accuracy from Dragon.

The Sennheiser headset isn’t cheap: it costs around $150 US or £100 UK, but the improved productivity that it leads to means that it pays for itself within a few weeks if, like me, you depend on Dragon to work.

There are several suppliers: I’d suggest that you look first at KnowBrainer or eMicrophones if you’re in America, or IT Speaking if you’re buying in the UK. KnowBrainer has a good discussion forum too, where you can get lots of help with the program.

5 comments:

Gondal-girl said...

sounds like electrickery to me! Seriously, must look into it in Australia...have been thinking in investing in an Asus Eee pc ( one of those tiny white laptops) just to utilise time/work ( have you heard anything good about them)?

Jane Smith said...

Hello, GG! How are you?

I've seen the tiny Asus PCs: they're gorgeous. But I don't know how good they are... I think Matt Curran might use one--I've been threatening to swipe it if I get the chance: I don't live too far from him so it's a possibility!

I do have a digital recorder (Olympus DS4000, I think) that I use with my Sennheiser headset when I walk the dogs, and get very good results from that when Dragon transcripts it.

Gadgets. Mmmmmmm.

Gondal-girl said...

well if you hear anything by Friday do let me know, that is when I shall submit my visa card to the purchase of one.

How are you going with your project?

Me, editing time. Writing by hand is one thing, but editing, yuk like trying to read bird poo ( for lack of a better description) though that says more about my handwriting....

Jane Smith said...

Why don't you go and ask Matt what he thinks of his Asus?

http://macmillannewwriterpart2.blogspot.com/

He mentions his in his posts from July 17 and June 9, but sadly I think he's onto me...!

Gondal-girl said...

Hi Jane - thanks for the tips, Matt was great, bought myself an Asus eee pc 1000, hopefully we will be very happy together....

did you know Wordsworth dictated all to his sister Dorothy? I think Dorothy is a good bane for your Olympus recorder!

now I just have to not look like a wanker when using my new equipment in public...