We seem to be blessed here in Australia, we have an excellent distributor for Nuance’s Dragon Dictate who has been into voice recognition on the Mac since day 1. Because of this we have five combinations of Dragon Dictate and microphone to choose from. The bundles and their RRP pricing are:
Nuance Dragon Dictate 2.0
+ Plantronics DSP 610 USB Headset & Mic [B3010-MS] – RRP $249.95 incl. GST
+ MacMice MicFlex Desktop Mic [B3015-MS] – RRP $249.95 incl. GST
+ Parrott VXI USB Headset & Mic [B3020-MS] – RRP $399.95 incl. GST
+ Plantronics Calisto Bluetooth Mic [B3040-MS] RRP $349.95 incl. GST
+ RevoLabs xTag Wireless Mic [B3030-MS] RRP $589.00 incl. GST
The software in each box is exactly the same, the only difference is the microphone. So what is the difference between the mics and which one should you choose?
Plantronics DSP 610 USB Headset & Mic
Plantronics are very well known in the headset/mic world so anything from them is going to be good. The DSP-610, also known as the .Audio 610) is the headset which is included in the “standard” Dragon Dictate package. This is what would be your entry level headset and mic, it is Nuance certified and is very good. The mic is noise cancelling, which is what you need for voice recognition and the mic is on an adjustable boom for easy adjustment. Don’t be put off that this is the cheapest headset, it is still excellent. Click to see the DSP 610 on the Plantronics website.
A very cool addition to any Mac users desk is the FlexMic. No headset here, just a high quality mic on the end of a flexible boom which can be easily positioned wherever you want it. Perfect for those that do not need a headset.
The Parrott VXI TalkPro
The Parrott VXI noise cancelling mic and headset is a step up from the entry level Plantronics DSP610. It is a physically tougher headset and mic so will withstand the test of time longer than a well used DSP610. This is the headset that I personally use and love it. Click to see the TalkPro VXI on the Parrott website.
Plantronics Calisto Bluetooth Wireless Headset & Mic
A very popular option is this bluetooth headset from Plantronics called the Calisto. Preferred by many as it fits comfortably over your ear and frees your desk from the cables you get with the above headsets. This is not your usual off the shelf Calisto, it comes with a special noise cancelling USB dongle, essential for high quality voice input to the speech recognition software. Please don’t be tempted to import a Calisto or grab one off eBay as the off the shelves do not have the dongle. Click to see the Plantronics Calisto website.
RevoLabs xTag Wireless Mic
This is the creme de la creme of wireless mics, the RevoLabs xTag. As the RevoLabs tag line says, “hear every word” which is exactly what Dragon Dictate will do if you go for this, the most pricey, mic option for your Dragon Dictate. USB chargeable, this little wireless mic is for the serious user with plenty of cash. Click to see the RevoLabs xTag website.
So there you have it, a quick look at the Dragon Dictate mic bundles. Everyone is different and has their own prefences; on the head mics, over the ear mics, standalone mics and wireless mics. I have been using my Parrott VXI happily with no problems for the last couple of years but I do have to admit the cable can be a pain sometimes. If I was to start again I would probably go with the Plantronics Calisto just because of the lack of desk real estate that it takes up.
Remember, all the mics above are not just restricted for use with Dragon Dictate. They can all be used with Skype, iChat and Facetime and the Plantronics Calisto can also be used with your iPhone.