USB Microphone Ceases to Work with Dragon NaturallySpeaking (Medical, Professional, Legal)

Intermittent hardware issues are one of the most difficult symptoms to troubleshoot. When using Dragon, USB microphone complications may arise for a variety of reasons. A USB microphone may operate without a problem for months or years before it ceases to function with Dragon, or it may exhibit symptoms early on in its use. Regardless, a USB microphone is the standard and best type of microphone to use with Dragon.

Examples of USB microphones could include Sennheiser microphones with a USB adapter, Philips SpeechMike and even the BW900 or DW Office Bluetooth wireless.

Some Reasons a USB microphone May Cease Functioning with Dragon

  • The microphone device, USB component or cable may be damaged or worn (inspect for obvious damage).
  • The USB port on the computer is damaged, faulty or of suspect quality (try different ports).
  • The microphone is plugged into a USB hub or extender that is not capable of transferring the signal to the computer (do not use USB hubs for microphones).
  • The microphone is plugged into the front USB port (generally speaking, USB ports on the rear of a computer are more reliable).
  • Intermittent PC power fluctuations affecting the USB port in which the microphone is plugged into (motherboard or power supply could be problematic).

USB Microphone Guidelines

Most importantly, ensure you are plugging the microphone directly INTO the computer, preferably a rear port (and not a docking station if you use one with a notebook).

Always plug the microphone into your computer BEFORE you start Dragon and do not unplug the microphone until your user profile is closed.

Once you find a USB port that works best, always plug the microphone into this port (unless you are in a situation where you need to constantly move the device to a different USB port). Windows in its infinite wisdom will often register a USB device with the name “NAME (x)” where x is a sequential number. Dragon has registered the device you are using by the name of the device at the last time you used Dragon (i.e. “NAME (-1x)” where -1x is one less than the new sequential number). This is fine, but Dragon will prompt you to run a sound check, citing that the previously used device is not currently available. Again, this is fine. Run the sound check and carry on.

Resolving USB microphone Issues

  1. Shut down Dragon.
  2. Unplug the USB microphone.
  3. Wait about 15 seconds.
  4. Plug into a different USB port (which may need to install the drivers).
  5. Start Dragon and run a sound check.
  6. Failing the above, repeat the above steps except restart your computer after unplugging the USB microphone.
  7. Failing the above, repeat the above steps except shut down your computer and unplug the computer from its power source for about half an hour after unplugging the USB microphone.

Further Troubleshooting

Is your computer capable of recognizing your microphone at all? Verify that the USB device is recognized in Sound (and audio devices) within the Control Panel.

Does your USB microphone function in another computer?

Does a different USB microphone function consistently on your current computer.

If the issue is intermittent, try recording an audio sample on your computer (Start> Accessories> Sound Recorder), manipulating the microphone cable as you do so. If there is internal damage that you cannot see, this will bring it to the surface, resulting in a recording where you will likely hear a hum or static interference.

Very rarely, but it has been known to occur, is interference from “dirty power” in a building/location. This is something that only needs to be considered if you’ve never been able to dictate well with Dragon in one specific location. Moreover, this does not cause the USB microphone to cease functioning, but results in audio interference.

Final Notation

Dragon does not simply cease transcribing for no reason. The culprit is, almost always, what I’ve mentioned at the onset of this post. Sometimes the resolution is an easy one-time fix, other times we end up playing musical USB ports until we buy a new computer.

Speakeasy Solutions Inc. may be contracted to provide support in this and other Dragon related matters. Based in Vancouver, BC, we provide speech recognition and digital dictation products and services across Canada (on site or remote). Speakeasy Solutions Inc. also provides complimentary support to some clients who purchase a complete package solution. Contact us today — we are pleased to assist you.

This entry was posted in Dragon, Microphones, Support Dragon & Mics. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to USB Microphone Ceases to Work with Dragon NaturallySpeaking (Medical, Professional, Legal)

  1. Brenda Simard says:

    I agree! Definitely is right!



  3. John weston says:

    Thank you for your excellent advice. I’m not quite sure which bit of it worked but this is the very first piece of dictation done with my new Dragon. A great relief: again my thanks.

  4. Ron Moses says:

    One thing we’re seeing often in Windows 7 is the OS installs the USB microphone as “USB Audio Device” when you first plug it in. After a reboot, the list of recording devices will show the correct name, e.g. “Jabra LINK 360.” If you create a Dragon profile or input source while Windows still has the old name on file, that’s what Dragon will call the input source as well. Then after a reboot Dragon will tell you it can no longer find “USB Audio Device” because it’s not called that anymore. So we’ve learned it’s very important to check the name of the input device when setting up a profile or source, and reboot if it doesn’t reflect the real name of the device.

  5. Todd says:

    Dragon 10.1 working well with Plantronics USB headset. I purchased a Savi 740 wireless/blue tooth for my wife (also USB). With new headset, acoustic check passed with score of 30. However, severe problems trying to use Dragon in any application- words skipped or replaced. She had to go back to her old headset with no problems. I took the same Savi and it worked well with my voice profile. Odd situation. No better after rebooting computer. I can only think to make her a new voice file and import her commands and vocabulary unless any other thoughts.

  6. Robert P. Martin says:

    I recently purchased a Dragon Bluetooth headset and started a new profile. It passed all the acoustic checks just fine and will not train. As soon as I click the train message, I get an error message that “Dragon Medical was unable to communicate with your sound system, please check that the recording device is enabled in Windows.” I had already done this and it passed through the acoustic checks.
    My Phillips SpeechMike III still works well with a well worn and repaired cord.

  7. Eugene says:

    What I have noticed is that I will set up my profile with the PoweMic II, and it works fine for a while. Then all of a sudden I will log in one day and the PowerMic is no longer listed as my input device in my profile and obviously does not work. I go into the profile and try to add it back as an input device but when I select it and click ok nothing happens. To fix this I’ve had to delete my profile entirely and start from scratch. One of the times this occurred was after a power outage in our building. Another time however I could not find any precipitating event.

    • Hi there,

      I would suggest contacting the vendor you purchased the solution from as they should be providing you with a solution to this situation such as ensuring you have the latest versions and updates. Cheers.

      • Eugene says:

        I work at a pretty large university hospital so the software is generally up to date, though any new updates I assume have to be approved by 12 committees. But in any case I don’t think I have a direct line to the vendor, I have to go through our IT people and the “delete your profile” solution is the one they came up with.