If you want to establish when speech recognition first appeared, you could argue it was when Thomas Edison created the phonograph in 1877. In reality, if we are talking about speech recognition as we understand it today, it came much later. However, finding the best mics for speech recognition wasn’t an issue until quite recently.
The first systems were not as recent as you might think and were designed in 1952 but only to work with numbers. Very basic, of course, but it could recognize a voice repeating numbers.
IBM made Big Advances
Ten years after that, IBM put a lot of effort and expense into developing the computational linguistics department of their computer science operation. That came up with a basic answer they called the Shoebox. At the time, it was a revolution; it could understand and respond to sixteen words in English. For some, the “War of the Worlds” had arrived.
A dramatic increase in computer power and understanding of artificial intelligence has made this now part of everyday life. We have reached a situation today where science and capability are on a par with human performance. Google has broken through the threshold that was set at 95% accuracy.
What is the Key Element?
The software that is designed and operates speech recognition requires something to make it work. It needs an excellent quality of sound. The demands on the microphones are therefore very high.
They must not only create a reproduction of the highest quality. But they also need to be able to suppress the natural ambient noises generated in a workplace. For it to work well, the demands are high. So, let’s take a look at some of the best voice recognition mics currently on the market and find the perfect one for you.
Top 8 Best Mics for Speech Recognition to Purchase in 2021 Reviews
1 Shure WH20XLR Dynamic Headset Microphone – Best Wired Headset Mic for Speech Recognition
Let’s start with a company that needs no introduction to anyone who knows anything about microphones. The first name on many people’s lips would be Shure.
Rugged but lightweight
It is built with a typical rugged Shure quality, but it is also lightweight, weighing only three and a half ounces. It is a dynamic mic that has a Cardioid pattern. That allows it to concentrate on the source of your voice and removes unwanted external noise.
It has an extra-strong cable that will resist damage. The cable is about four feet long. As this is a wired mic, you will have to stay close to your computer. All told, it’s one of the most durable speech recognition microphones on the market.
Dictation needs to be accurate, and for that, the sound collection has to be spot-on. Not everyone’s voice is the same. Therefore, there need to be built-in vocal corrections to ensure the reproduction has high quality.
This is achieved with a presence peak and a low-frequency roll-off. This means that the sound captured will be clear and accurate. Special attention here is given to the mids and higher frequencies because that is where the voice resides in the frequency range. This makes it is a mic that is excellent for speech recognition.
The frequency range is 50Hz – 15kHz. The sound is smooth and comparable to the highest-quality hand-held mics. One of the best hands-free speech recognition mics; it works well. Featuring a comfortable elasticated headband and a collapsible boom.
- Rugged but lightweight build with an elasticated headband.
- Excellent quality sound reproduction with built-in voice adjustment features.
- Wired, so you need to be near your computer.
2 Dictaphone Nuance PowerMic II – Most Versatile Mic for Speech Recognition
Nuance is a multinational software company. They are based near Boston, Massachusetts, and provide artificial intelligence and speech recognition solutions. They merged with their main competitor, Scansoft, in 2005.
Easy to use
This is an easy-to-use system that connects via USB and operates as a plug-and-play installation. Controls are practical and are very visible, placed on the top of the handset. It has ten programmable options that give you complete control over your dictation requirements. One important added feature is the track-point control and the left and right mouse button.
An integrated interface
The Nuance PowerMic II is fully integrated for all Nuance speech recognition software. And is the preferred speech recognition microphone for medical practitioner software. This is especially applicable for Dragon Medical Practice Editions 1 and 2.
It has a tethered design with a USB connection that links directly to a laptop or computer. The connecting cable is about nine feet in length, so it gives you plenty of room. This helps any medical staff and gives them simple and direct thumb-controlled operations for dictation, review, and editing.
It relieves the burden of having to constantly shift between a mic and a keyboard. If you choose to use the mic while it is in its cradle, that can be set up. Although, you will have to stay fairly close to it to get a decent reproduction. It is a high-quality mic that has a very low noise factor. Not the cheapest option you will find but a quality product.
- Fully integrated with all Nuance software.
- Easy to operate with good features and functions.
- Some might find it expensive.
3 KLIM Rhapsody Desktop USB Microphone – Most Compatible Mic for Speech Recognition
The purpose of microphones where speech is delivered is simple. You want the person or the hardware you are speaking with to hear you clearly. That means a sharp and accurate transmission of the voice without background noise. And one of the big assets of this mic is that it delivers high-quality sound.
Plug and Play
You do not need extra drivers, PC accessories, or software to operate it, just plug it in. It is compatible with Mac OSX, Windows, Linux and also works on PS4 for gamers. As a result, it’s one of the easiest to use mics for speech recognition you can buy.
It has been given a very stable base that is durable, and so you don’t need to find or buy a mic stand. As it is a wired connection, you will have to stay quite close to your computer or another device. The cable for connection is about four feet long. Adequate when seated at a desk.
Conference Calls and Speech Recognition
It has a high-performance level when working with Speech Recognition software such as Cortana, Google Docs Voice, and Dragon Natural Speak. But it also functions well for use with Skype or other conference call software. However, it is very sensitive. You will have to ensure there is as little background noise around you as possible.
It has some RGB lights on the base. That might be fun for gamers but unlikely to impress those that are using it for serious work duties. It is limited in its functions to a certain extent. But if all you want is a basic mic that has speech recognition hooked up to your computer, it works well. Set at a very cost-effective price.
- Has decent voice reproduction.
- Easy to use, plug and play system at cheap cost.
- The mic can be very sensitive.
4 Nuance 0POWM2N-004 PowerMic – Best Overall Value Mic for Speech Recognition
Back to another product from Nuance, and this model is not dissimilar to the previous item we looked at.
Designed for Physicians
This PowerMic 11 has enhanced the productivity of physicians and other users. That is its core aim. It gives them easy control of speech recognition as well as standard dictation.
When you are working in such vital areas, where accuracy is important, your equipment needs to function well. Nuance is proud of the quality that their products offer in such important roles.
Easy to use
This mic will give you simple thumb controls that allow you to navigate the system on your PC. You can control voice recordings, select fields, and reports and edit where necessary. You also have a mouse capability that is built into the mic. This allows you to complete the functions without the need to move between microphone and keyboard.
It’s a unidirectional mic that collects your voice and eliminates sound from the sides and the rear. It also has effective noise cancellation, therefore, allowing you to produce clear, uninterrupted speech.
Plug and Play
It is a plug-and-play system that requires no extra drivers or software. It comes with a USB cable that has a length of about nine feet. Not the cheapest but a speech recognition mic that is highly rated and is easily one of the Best Mics for Speech Recognition.
- Packed with excellent features and controls.
- Easy to use using simple thumb-controls.
- Will be expensive for some.
5 Philips SpeechMike Premium Air Wireless Dictation USB Microphone – Best Wireless Mic for Speech Recognition
Now we move a little further upmarket price-wise with this mic from Philips. This is a mic that performs as you would hope it might. Recordings give you a sound like they have been recorded using a mic many times the price.
The speech recognition uses this quality to produce near-perfect accuracy through the software. It has a free-floating mic that is a design that separates the mic away from the device to reduce any unwanted noise.
It is wireless but doesn’t use Bluetooth. It has a special “Lossless” technology. That allows you to move around without interfering with the operation. It also provides a superior transfer of your dictation into the software without even the smallest delays.
Easy to Use
Nicely designed for holding, the control buttons are all neatly positioned to make them easy to access and use. For doctors who use Dragon medical speech recognition, it will speed up operation and workflow.
If you want to configure and personalize the function of the button to suit yourself, this is possible. While it may be easy, your setup does take some patience to get the best from it.
One of its huge assets is battery life. A full charge should give you about twenty hours of use. To charge, you just place it in the charging dock. No cables between phone and dock are required. A more expensive model, but a quality product with excellent features.
- Nice design with plenty of features easily controlled from the handset.
- Great battery life with “Lossless” technology.
- Will be expensive for some.
6 Sennheiser MB Pro 2 – Best Sounding Mic for Speech Recognition
If you are looking for quality microphones, you usually do not have to look too much further than Sennheiser. This German company has for many years provided some of the best microphones for professional and other use. If you need a mic, then Sennheiser should be one of the first companies you look at.
Impressive Noise Cancellation
Are you someone who works in what can be a noisy environment? If so, you will need as much background noise eliminated as possible. This is a mic that will deliver that.
It has eight levels of sound reduction. That will allow your voice to penetrate and be clear in just about any situation. You will find your speech is produced clearly and with using less effort for projection. The result is one of the best noise canceling mics for speech recognition on the market.
It is a mic that is designed with a very comfortable padded headband that is fully adjustable. This allows a secure fit. The boom arm is also adjustable, allowing you to get exactly the right mic position.
When you take Sennheiser’s knowledge of how to build great mics. And then combine that with the excellence of the headphones; you know you are getting something special. That is what they have done here.
They use in the design many of the technologies that apply to their high-level equipment. All of this means crystal clear communication between you and your listener. That includes the speakers in the earcups having neodymium magnets.
The battery life is quite good, giving you up to 15 hours of usage from a single charge. The unit operates with Bluetooth or USB and has a good range of up to 80 feet. Considering the quality of the speech recognition and the build quality, the price point is very competitive.
- Excellent Sennheiser quality.
- Impressive noise Reduction features built-in.
- Some may not want a headset.
7 MAIRDI USB Telephone Headset with Microphone – Best Budget Mic for Speech Recognition
This is a voice recognition mic and headset that is very much a budget option. Nevertheless, it still has plenty of features.
It is basically a telephone headset with a USB connection. It has a built-in unidirectional mic with adequate noise reduction. This will go quite a long way to canceling out unwanted ambient noise.
The reduction in background noise then allows precise and clear voice collection. A necessary prerequisite for efficient voice recognition. Likewise, the speaker gives you wide-band high definition audio, and it has anti-acoustic shock features to protect your hearing.
It is stable and designed to be comfortable. The ear cushions are soft, and it has an adjustable headband. This allows you to get a comfortable fit no matter what your head size. It has a gooseneck fitting with a rotation of 330 degrees.
It is made using stainless steel for the headband and decent quality plastics. The cord is reinforced with Kevlar that protects it against accidental damage.
Variety of uses
It is a basic system but is suitable for home and small business use. It is compatible with most Mac and Windows operating systems. Decent value for money at a competitive price point.
- Well-built unit with a comfortable headset and gooseneck fitting for the mic.
- Some may need a higher-quality microphone.
8 Buddy Desktop Mini 7G USB Mic for Speech Recognition – Best USB Mic for Speech Recognition
To complete my look at Speech Recognition microphones, I will take a look at the Buddy Desktop Mini. The name sounds a bit like it might not be that serious, but it is a good system.
It has a very stylish design that is pleasing to the eye, but that is also very functional. The Desktop Mini 7G is what it says it is. A mic designed to work from a desktop with your computer or laptop.
It has a USB connection straight into your computer. It is a plug-and-play system, so there is no need for drivers or extra software. But please note though that it does not work with Windows 8 or 8.1.
It has what is known as Filtered Audio Technology for collecting voice sounds. That is a system that increases the quality of the speech.
Designed for Voice
It has been designed specifically for voice applications. Therefore, it gives you enhanced accuracy and works well with speech recognition software and applications. The quality of the voice reproduction increases its performance when used in dictation and transcription.
But it goes further than that. Operating smoothly with Google Talk, Skype, and other packages where the spoken word is important.
It measures only 3.54 by 2.36 and stands 10.63 inches tall. With the base being so compact, it will not take up too much space on your desk. The boom arm means that it has a good area for adjustment.
- Stylish-looking design.
- Designed specifically for Voice applications.
- Not portable.
Best Mics for Speech Recognition Buying Guide
You will find that most of the specs for these mics are reasonably similar. There are, of course, higher specs that will cost more. But the big decision you need to think about is whether you need it to be portable.
“To Move or Not to Move” is the question
There is a considerable difference in price between those that are mobile and those that need a fixed position. The mobile mics are suited to more specific operations. The mics used in one place, on a computer desk, are usually used for other applications.
If you opt for the mobile option, you should check the battery life of the unit. You don’t want it running out too quickly.
If you are going for the mic that is static on a desk and connected to a computer, do you need a headset? If your usage involves a conversation, then you probably will. It’s worth looking at the headset options with a view to how comfortable they are.
The more expensive mics come with built-in features that allow you to search and edit your work. This may be important. Some also allow you to pull up previous documents. In some situations in the work environment, these options will be essential.
Looking for a Great Microphone?
We have a nice selection to choose from. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Live Vocal Mics, the Best Interview Microphones, the Best Computer Microphones, the Best Cheap Microphone Under $50, and the Best Microphones For Recording Vocals you can buy in 2021.
Also, take a look at our detailed reviews of the Best iOS Microphones, the Best External Microphones For iPhone, the Best External Android Microphones, the Best Lavalier Microphones, the Best Wireless Microphones, the Best USB Microphones, and the Best Microphones For YouTube currently on the market.
What are the Best Mics for Speech Recognition?
If I am going to use speech recognition, then it is likely I will need to move around. I would also need decent battery life. Therefore, I would choose the…
A high-quality system with good battery life. My choice as the Best Mic for Speech Recognition.
Until next time, let yourself be heard.