Admittedly, time is money. Some could also argue that time is the most precious thing in life. Therefore, we need to utilize our time more economically. Dictation software can help you spend your working hours more efficiently, capture ideas fluently, and improve your productivity. Instead of sitting in front of your computer for hours on end and typing all day long, you could simply get yourself a good microphone for dictation.
Types of Microphones
Mics used for dictation can be categorized into 4 main groups: USB, wireless, handheld, and table-mounted microphones.
Wireless mics can be further classified as either Bluetooth or DECT – with each option having its pros and cons.
Table-mounted mics sit on desks and capture all the sounds in a room. They’re the cheapest form of audio input out there.
The most commonly used type is the USB microphone. You plug it into your PC’s USB port and it picks up sounds and transfers it digitally to your computer. Most USB mics don’t require additional software to operate.
Essential Features for Microphones for Dictation
To find the best microphone, or compare mics, you need to consider some elements. Here are some features you should look for when choosing a microphone for dictation.
How precisely does the microphone pick up your voice and convert it to text? With a good microphone, you don’t have to constantly repeat yourself while dictating. Therefore, it is important to check out a microphone’s sensitivity level to ensure it recognizes your voice without any issues.
• Noise Cancellation
When picking up a dictation microphone, consider its polar pattern. A good, unidirectional, dictation mic will actively block out background noise so that it does not affect your dictation works. Unidirectional mics are designed to block sound originating from their rear and sides, effectively picking up the main source of a sound.
• Compatibility with Dictation Software
You should pick a microphone compatible with your operating software as well as most dictation software.
The most popular dictation computer programs include Google’s speech-to-text software, PowerScribe, Yeti recording software, SpeechMagic, and Dragon Dictate.
In this article, we will look at 6 microphones I’ve found to work well for dictation. I’ll describe their features, functionality, and some of their cons.
Top 6 Microphones for Dictation
This is a portable, easy-to-use microphone that utilizes condenser cardioid tech to filter out unwanted noises and capture your voice clearly. It comes packed with 2 elastic suspensions, two mics, and a windshield.
You don’t have to worry about echoes and internal vibrations when using this mic – it works on a high voice sampling range and frequency. Additionally, it can sustain up to 140dB of high sound pressure levels. The microphone bypasses frequencies lower than 250HZ, which is an effective way of pickup up the main sound. These features will enable you to improve the quality of your dictation.
The Beyerdynamic MC930 runs on phantom power, hence it can be used for live applications when there’s no power in your house or office.
One disadvantage of this microphone is that it is not small enough for some applications.
This noise-canceling mic is perfect for dictation. It includes a headphone that allows you to listen while you dictate. Also, it comes with a 3.5mm jack and USB connectors. It is compatible with laptops, phones, tablets, and any other device you’d use as a receiver.
Powered by Neodymium speakers, this mic’s headphones offer a flexible boom arm amount that allows you to place the microphone at a perfect distance from your mouth.
The Sennheiser SC 75 works with most speech recognition software. It picks up audio clearly while giving you plenty of noise isolation.
The downside to this mic is that it slips to the bigger size. You may have to adjust it from time to time to find the perfect fit for your head.
Here’s a lightweight, handheld mic designed with a thumb-control feature for navigating, dictating, reviewing, and editing.
It has a robust build that makes it perfect for long-term dictation and transcription applications. It sports an ergonomic design that allows you to relax as you dictate. This mic supports USB connectivity, which is essential for PC applications.
Since this is a plug-and-play type of device, you don’t need to be tech-savvy to use it.
The Nuance Powermic III has a wide frequency response range – 20Hz to 16 kHz. It provides better accuracy than many other built-in mics we have in the market today. It is compatible with the Windows OS, PowerScribe®, SpeechMagic®, and Dragon Professional dictation software. You can get it with either a 3-foot cord or a 9-foot cord.
If you don’t set it correctly, the mic might switch on/off intermittently. You will have to unplug and plug the cord if the mic switches off mid-dictation.
Constructed with strong materials, this microphone is perfect for most audio recording environments. It has a steel mesh grille that protects it from wear and tear, making it resistant to rough handling.
This condenser mic has 3 capsules offering 4 recording patterns: omnidirectional, bidirectional, cardioid, and stereo. It also supports XLR and USB connectors. I prefer using one output cable at a time for clear audio pickup.
On its body, the Blue 1976 Yeti has a ‘volume control’ and ‘mute’ button you can use to adjust sound levels and mute the sound, respectively.
This USB mic generates a digital resolution of up to 24-bit/192kHz. When combined with a good XLR output, this mic yields high-quality sound recording.
Although the microphone contains technologically-advanced features, it is easy to assemble and use.
The Blue Yeti Pro is compatible with iOS and Windows computers. It also works well with top recording software such as VB-Audio Voicemeeter, Presonus Studio One, and Audacity.
The unfortunate bit about using this mic is that it has a delicate USB cable. You may have to buy an extra cable just in case you break the one that comes with the microphone.
This compact USB mic is relatively smaller compared to the other microphones on this list. However, it still offers great performance, as it has outstanding features and a design that enhances its portability. The features on this mic include a 3-foot long mini USB cable, an in-built screen, a peak LED, and a 3.5mm jack output.
You can use it on your desktop setups as well as your laptop. It is flexible enough to be mounted on a desk articulated arm holder, a tripod, a desktop monitor, and on a laptop screen.
What I like most about the Samso Go Mic is that I can select between the omnidirectional and cardioid pickup patterns. This feature makes it the ideal microphone for dictation with software like Audacity and Dragon Pro Individual. It is also compatible with iOS and Android devices.
The cardioid mode on this mic works well in a quiet environment but picks up some background noise. Even with this pitfall, I still found it to be pretty accurate at picking up my voice and accentuating it for my audio recording software.
If you’re looking for a desktop mic to use for hobbies like voice-over recording, singing, and podcasting, you may want to give this microphone a try.
This is an ergonomic microphone optimized to capture your voice accurately. As a plug-and-play product, it is easy to use. Also, it sits comfortably on your head, offering you the comfort you need during dictation. It has a 4-pin female connector, XLR, and a plug option you can use for your smartphone.
Since it is a wired mic, you have to be close to your PC when using it.
This microphone features a rugged, lightweight build that makes it easy to use on your phone when walking or even dancing. It utilizes a cardioid pickup pattern that allows you to block out surrounding noises.
I noticed it was hard to speak to a large audience using this mic because the highest volume setting isn’t high enough. However, as long as you use it for dictation, you don’t have to worry about the volume.
There comes a time when dictation is the easiest and most convenient way to get the job done. For dictation purposes, you want to use an in-directional microphone. This type of microphone minimizes background noise interference while you are speaking or taking notes. Expensive, high-quality microphones may not be necessarily what you need when taking notes on your computer, as they may not be compatible with your PC. You should look for a mic designed for dictation. You also need a good speech recognition program to go with your preferred microphone.
Out of the 6 mics I have reviewed here, my favorite pick is the Blue 1976 Yeti Pro. It is a condenser microphone I can use for dictation and so much more. It is compatible with popular audio recording software and computer operating system. The microphone captures audio clearly. Hence, I don’t have to repeat myself every time I’m trying to convert my speech to text. Thanks to its build, my Blue Yeti Pro has withstood the test of time.
Hopefully, this article has given you invaluable insight into some of the best microphones to consider when looking for a dictation solution.