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
- Shut down Dragon.
- Unplug the USB microphone.
- Wait about 15 seconds.
- Plug into a different USB port (which may need to install the drivers).
- Start Dragon and run a sound check.
- Failing the above, repeat the above steps except restart your computer after unplugging the USB microphone.
- 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.
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.
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.
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