New in Dragon Dictate 3 for the Mac is the Transcription feature. This allows you to record your voice when you are away from your Mac in digital format. That recording can later be loaded into Dragon Dictate 3 and a transcript of your words will be produced. This is uber new on the Mac platform, Windows users roll your eyes now, as they have had this functionality for some years.
What are the best digital voice recorders to use with Dragon Dictate 3 for Mac?
Nuance have not officially “certified” digital voice recorders for use with Dragon Dictate 3. This is a break from tradition as Nuance do have a full list of certified digital voice recorders, digital dictaphones and microphones for its Windows equivalent (NaturallySpeaking) and for the its older discontinued MacSpeech Scribe product. Instead with Dragon Dictate 3 the focus is more on the audio file formats that are produced by the voice recorders, this is key. In fact if you look at the Dragon Dictate 3 Voice Recorder Edition they actually bundle a very low range Philips Voice Tracer which can record in .wav format with the software. The best voice recorder depends on your dictation style. Supported audio formats for transcription in Dragon Dictate 3 are:
Digital Voice Recorder/Note Taker or Digital Dictaphone?
Voice recorders come in two distinct categories, digital note takers and digital dictaphones. Note takers are really designed for recording interviews, meetings and maybe personal voice notes. You press record, chat away for a while and when you press stop a distinct audio file is created. Digital dictaphones on the other hand emulate the older style analog tape dictaphones. They are typically designed for one person speaking, usually those that dictate letters or notes which is common in the legal and medical profession. With a digital dictaphone you are able to stop recording regularly (perhaps to take a phone call, grab a coffee or gather some notes or thoughts) then rewind, hear what you just said and continue recording (as if you just rewound a tape). People looking at voice recognition technology are more akin to the dictaphone style of dictation. Click here for an earlier blog post – What Is The Difference Between A Dictaphone and a Digital Note Take?
Digital voice recorders and note takers are fairly inexpensive compared to digital dictaphones … but what price functionality. If you are used to a dictaphone or that style of dictation buying a cheap note taker that can’t rewind/review your audio will cause stress, trust me.
What Digital Notetaker/Voice Recorder Do You Recommend For Use With Dragon Dictate 3?
Key is the audio recording format. Just about all digital voice recorders can record in .wma (Windows Media Audio) and .mp3, audio formats we are all used to . Also becoming popular in many voice recorders is .wav format which tends to be an uncompressed audio format sometimes referred to as PCM (Pulse Code Modulation). Uncompressed .wav files produce very high quality recordings and as they are uncompressed these audio files are large in size when compared to the compressed .mp3/.wma formats. If you are looking for a digital voice recorder/note taker we suggest looking at either:
Both excellent recorders with fantastic microphones which can record in PCM .wav format compatible with Dragon Dictate 3’s transcription feature.
I Need A Digital Dictaphone For My Style Of Dictation, What Do You Recommend For Use With Dragon Dictate 3?
Any of the Olympus Pro digital dictaphone range will suit. There are currently three in the range, DS-2500, DS-3400 and DS-7000. All record exactly the same audio quality, as you go up the chain you get more features. For example:
- DS-2500 (approx. AU$349. US$329, £220) requires you to look after the battery and you manually connect to your Mac via USB. Control of dictation via push buttons.
- DS-3500 (approx. AU$499, US$479, £320) requires you to look after the battery and you manually connect to your Mac via USB. Optional dock if you want one. Can also record meetings and interviews as well as one person dictation. Control of dictation via toggle buttons.
- DS-7000 (approx. AU$649, US$629, £420) has rechargeable batteries and comes with a recharging dock which doubles as a USB connector, no need to fiddle with cables or batteries. Control of dictation via a slider switch.
All three recorders will record by default in a format called .ds2 which is the second eveolution of the Digital Speech Standard or DSS audio file format. Although not compatible with Dragon Dictate 3’s required audio formats the Mac software supplied by Olympus, called DSS PLayer Plus v7, can convert .ds2 to .aif format. Please note there is a minor issue with this currently which we have a workaround for while Olympus update their software – click here for more info.
I Live On The Cutting Edge, There Must Be A Voice Recorder App Right?
Yes there is, Nuance themselves have written it and it is called Dragon Recorder . It emulates a digital voice recorder/note taker and not a dictaphone so again think about your style of dictation. But for FREE it is an excellent addition to everyones iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch for recording pretty much anything or your voice if you plan to use it with Dragon Dictate 3. Audio recorded on an iPhone is ok quality wise, not as good as the audio you would pick up with a recorder such as the WS-812 or LS-3 but hey it’s in your pocket and ready to use. Just remember, no background noise, only dictate in very quiet places and speak clearly and concisely. This is true of all recording devices, not just the app, when you plan to use your recorded voice with speech recognition software.
Anything I haven’t covered or if you have more questions please leave a comment.