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Andrea Electronics USB Headset (NC-181VM)

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Sixwheels View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sixwheels Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Andrea Electronics USB Headset (NC-181VM)
    Posted: 02/Feb/2012 at 12:28pm
I recently purchased the microphone mentioned in the subject line, and I have a few questions about its use. The first thing that I noticed about this microphone is that when noise cancellation is turned on, the accuracy decreases dramatically. Is this normal? Second, at what level should I keep the microphone boost? The default value seems to be 15 decibels, and granted, I don't know much about these things, but that seems quite loud.
I would also love to know what the preferred volume input, and signal to noise ratio might be for this particular headset.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mmarkoe_admin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/Feb/2012 at 1:59pm
The NC-181VM and its brethern (NC-185, NC-181 VM USB and NC-185 VM USB) are only recommended for casual speech recognition users and for use in only a quiet environment. On our web page for the 181-VM we state:
"The Andrea NC-181 VM headset microphone replaces the NC-91 and is great for chatting, VOIP and computer gaming." Also, it says, "The NC181 VM microphone is OK for Speech Recognition in a quiet environment," not exactly a ringing endorsement.
 
When you say noise canceling turned on what do you mean? Are you using the Andrea PureAudio software? If so, do not use. No boost (AGC) is necessary or recommended as that is an artificial boost not a true amplification boost. If you are using Dragon, simply run the Audio Setup Wizard. This will set the volume correctly. If using WSR, you should see only one or two bars in the Speech Bar's microphone meter. Audio in Windows 7 is poorly controlled. That is why we built a Tune Microphone feature into the WSRToolkit. Once you set the volume/SNR level in the WSRToolkit, it will stay set unless you use the Setup Microphone feature or another program that uses audio, like Skype.
 
Marty
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sixwheels Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/Feb/2012 at 8:24pm
Hello, Marty,
So what you're saying is that I chose the wrong microphone again? I can't seem to catch a break. :-(
 
If I go to recording devices, and double click this microphone, there is a tab called Microphone Enhancements. Within that area is a small check box for turning the noise canceling off, or on. That is also where the decibel slider is. I went ahead and disabled both.
 
There was no PureAudio software, but there was something called Audio Commander. I went ahead and removed that since it seemed superfluous.
 
I certainly hope I can get this microphone to work. I am at my wits end to find something that will work within my environment.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mmarkoe_admin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/Feb/2012 at 9:07pm
James,
 
I just tried calling you. My intent was to take back the NC-181 VM and exchange it for a better microphone. While calling I looked up your purchase record and only saw a purchase of the WSRToolkit. If it was purchased under a different name, e-mail the order information and we will try to help you out.
 
PureAudio software is the new version of Audio Commander. I still do not think that will help. Try using the Tune Microphone function in WSRToolkit v2. Try setting the Volume to 20 and SNR to 10 to start. Try dictating and if you only see one or two bars as you talk, then you are good. If not, adjust the numbers up or down. Also, make sure the microphone element is about 1/2 to 1 inch from the corner of your mouth.
 
Marty
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sixwheels Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/Feb/2012 at 2:15pm
Hello, Marty,
 
I'm sorry I missed your call last night, I can't really answer the phone that late, but I really appreciate your willingness to try and help me out. You are right, I did not purchase this microphone from you guys, but I knew you would have some insights into how best to use this microphone with the WSRtoolkit. And, of course, how to adjust the microphone settings themselves. :-)
 
I have adjusted everything the way you suggested, so it will try it for awhile, and let you know whether it's working, or not.
 
Take care,
 
Jim
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sixwheels Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/Feb/2012 at 2:04pm
I continue to try different things to get the accuracy up. I now have the volume setting at 40, and the SNR at 30. Apparently, without the microphone boost, it requires higher numbers.
Jim
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mmarkoe_admin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/Feb/2012 at 3:41pm
Originally posted by Sixwheels

I continue to try different things to get the accuracy up. I now have the volume setting at 40, and the SNR at 30. Apparently, without the microphone boost, it requires higher numbers.
You should always avoid using boost (AGC) as that is a digital enhancement that dirties the signal. We usually find a SNR works best about 1/2 the Volume setting. If 40/30 is working for you that is all that is important. Remember not to run Setup Microphone or use another program that sets the volume.
 
Marty
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sixwheels Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/Feb/2012 at 6:31pm
Thanks for all this great information, Marty. I need to ask you something I've been meaning to ask for awhile, but never got around to it. I've owned my computer for about three years, and it has never had a soundcard in it. Does that make a difference? I mean, will I get better results with a soundcard installed? Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mmarkoe_admin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/Feb/2012 at 6:44pm
Originally posted by Sixwheels

I've owned my computer for about three years, and it has never had a soundcard in it. Does that make a difference? I mean, will I get better results with a soundcard installed? Smile
USB audio assures the highest quality audio input.
 
Make sure to use a rear USB port as front USB ports can introduce electronic noise from within the computer enclosure into the audio stream and distort the audio. Poor accuracy will ensue.
 
Marty
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sixwheels Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/Feb/2012 at 9:27pm
Interesting, my microphone is plugged into a hub that is attached to a rear port. I'm guessing that's not good enough? Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mmarkoe_admin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/Feb/2012 at 10:26pm
Originally posted by Sixwheels

Interesting, my microphone is plugged into a hub that is attached to a rear port. I'm guessing that's not good enough? Smile
Ah ha!!! Hubs are a no no. Connect to a rear USB port on a desktop (any port on a notebook) and you should improve audio signal input.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sixwheels Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/Feb/2012 at 6:22pm
Goodness, switching the port has had surprising effects! I can't believe I've been doing this wrong the entire timeā€¦ All the time I've wasted trying to get these various microphones to hear me properly, and each and every one of them plugged into that ridiculous hub. :-(
Hopefully, this is the beginning of a new era for me. I've only made two corrections in the paragraphs that I have placed here, so I'm already starting to feel a little happier. :-)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mmarkoe_admin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/Feb/2012 at 11:00am
Sixwheels,
> All the time I've wasted trying to get these various microphones to hear me properly, and
> each and every one of them plugged into that ridiculous hub. :-(
 
We realize you tried to save a few dollars by purchasing your microphone from an unknown vendor. It is the way of the world today. I will do it myself if the item being ordered is something I am familiar with or know someone to call on should help be needed. However, many things I purchase I will pay a little bit more for in order to have expertise. Yesterday I ordered a new trigger mechanism for a rifle. I paid $20.00 more for it after reading poor reviews of the less expensive vendor.
 
When a customer calls to say they are receiving poor accuracy with a new microphone, we have a series of about 10 questions. After ensuring the microphone is recognized by Windows or the Mac, we check for On/mute switch, proper cable connections and then ask what USB port is being used. Your problem would have been solved in about 2 minutes.
 
Marty
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sixwheels Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/Feb/2012 at 11:41am
Well, it wasn't really an unknown vendor. I bought this microphone from Amazon, but I get your point. I did, however, purchase the Buddy microphone from EMicrophones, and fiddled around with it for more than a year, closer to two, and no one ever mentioned anything about hubs being a negative.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mmarkoe_admin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/Feb/2012 at 12:02pm
Originally posted by Sixwheels

Well, it wasn't really an unknown vendor. I bought this microphone from Amazon,
I did not know Amazon had speech recognition/microphone specialists? What advice did they give you when you had problems? Smile
 
Marty
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sixwheels Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/Feb/2012 at 1:23pm
If I had asked them, I'm sure it would've been the same advice they always give, "please return that and buy something else." Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Quote antihadron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/Feb/2012 at 5:26pm
Man, this conversation thread had me rolling on the floor.

  I'll have to try the USB hub trick on a few that I have setup here.  I have one plugged into a 4-port hub that's part of a monitor.

You're awesome Marty!

Cheers,

Nathaniel
http://www.thevoicesoftware.com
(Check out the CloudTop)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mmarkoe_admin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/Feb/2012 at 9:42pm
Originally posted by antihadron

I'll have to try the USB hub trick on a few that I have setup here.  I have one plugged into a 4-port hub that's part of a monitor.
Nathaniel
http://www.thevoicesoftware.com
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Simple test is to make a short 5 second recording. If you hear obvious electronic noise in the playback, time to move to a dedicated USB port.
 
Marty
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