Need Microphone

vbimport

#1

I want to buy desktop microphone for myself just for chat in games/programs and voice recognition should i get digital (usb) or analog one its only question left.
I heard there is much benefit from digital mic for voice recognition, but will it work as well as analog one for everyting else?


#2

You’ll have to find out for yourself. I’m guessing that it should work pretty well because I imagine USB mics are seen by the computer as a soundcard+mic rather than just a mic device.


#3

There is no such thing as a “digital” mic. Just like “digital headphones” I have seen marketed, there is no such thing. The ‘advantage’ of the usb mic’s is that the analog to digital converter [ADC] is in the device, forming a mini crappy or partial sound card of sorts. (“Digital” or “digital ready” headphones don’t even have any digital aspect whatsoever; just means ‘suitable for use with CDs’.)

Although (or because) I have experience with USB audio, I recommend against it, if convenient, for a variety of reasons, most of which I won’t mention here.

You’d probably get better results from your sound card (mic quality being equal, which it won’t be; could go either way), but it may be in an inconvenient location.

Sounds like you just need a mic, not the ability to hear. So you technically don’t need a “computer headset”, just a mic function. So here’s what I did, and you can go any way you want.

I am not a fan of the quality and price of computer headsets. But that would do the trick for you. They usually have really crappy mics, and if shopping on Amazon or whatever, I would use “voice recognition” with the search terms “computer headset”, because they usually have better mics.

I prefer telephone/cellphone headsets, and among these my favorite is the Panasonic KX-TCA60, priced as a budget headset, but favored among many who have a lot of experience with headsets. You can find them locally between $15-20 (check circuit city/compusa and office supply type of stores) and online for less. Any decent phone cellphone/ home phone headset will work for what I’m about to say, however. But ones without booms or with short booms won’t work as well. Any mic should be in front of your mouth. I prefer the Panasonic for the proper mic positioning, quality of sound, perfect mic gain, and leatherette earpiece, which doesn’t break down like foam.

Phone headsets have a 2.5mm (mini plug) TRS (tip-ring-sleeve/2 black insulators on the plug) or ‘stereo’ connector, but it’s not really stereo; one conductor is the mic, the other is the ear, the other is a ground. Computers need 3.5mm (1/8") mic and 3.5mm ear. So computer headsets have 2 plugs, not 1.

I found that I could take a 3.5mm stereo male to 2.5mm stereo female adapter (from Radio Shack or Fry’s) and slip it on my phone’s headset plug and put that into my sound blaster live value sound card’s mic input. It really sounds great. Gain is perfect, and I’m into this stuff. I haven’t figured out how to connive or where to buy an adapter which will let me adapt the phone headset as a full computer headset (CAN ANYONE HELP?), but as I said, I have acheived the mic portion, which is what is needed for voice recog. You can still use your speakers or whatever (might get echo, but you were going to have a dedicated mic anyway, it sounds).

Otherwise, you can find at newegg and Amazon and other places, “desktop” computer mics which sit there and protrude up towards your face. Have been tempted to buy one, but once I figured out my headset, I didn’t need to.

The advantage is that you can use the phone headset with your cellphone or cordless home phone (if it can accept headsets; very handy).

The adapter, which you need to do this, should be under $5. Make sure you have a good return policy for both and don’t take either out of the packaging until you have them, in case you can’t find one of them, or it doesn’t work for you.

I am assuming that you have a sound card with a stereo mic input (can’t imagine you don’t). The headset mic is mono, but a stereo receptor will pick up a signal on either channel. Again, my test card was a Creative SoundBlaster live value, pretty generic and standard.

Short of this, it’s your personal preference if a USB mic will serve you better than a computer headset. USB extension cables can be found if you play a distance from your computer, so I imagine ergonomics here are of as much importance as sound quality. But just because it’s “digital” (transmitted digitally over the usb cable; instead of analog over a mic cable with a headset, then converted to digital in the computer) doesn’t mean that the mic quality is going to be good. Digital says nothing to sound quality; think of digital answering machines.

Adding a usb mic is like adding another partial sound card to your system. I guess you don’t care what the digital resolution is of it is, as it’s just for speech, but I would.

Having 2 sound devices/mic inputs on your computer is perfectly doable but hopefully your program will give you a menu of those devices to select input from (check in your settings before you buy). If it can’t, and only takes source from the default device, you’d have to set your usb mic as the default sound recording & voice recording device (2 separate tabs in control panel; seemingly redundant), which is not hard at all [start -> settings -> control panel -> Sound and Audio Devices].


#4

Thanks for replay.
I am not looking for headset, but desktop mic i guess i stick with Logitech USB Desktop Microphone
or Cyber Acoustics CVL-1066 since theyr spec are more or less same i go with USB which should have line noise canceling instead of analog one.


#5

There actually is a benefit to USB audio devices over soundcards. And that is interference.

Depending on the hardware in your computer, there may be a fair amount of EMI inside the case, but by reverse application of the Faraday Cage concept you can imagine that it’s pretty quiet outside of the case.

By the way, I don’t think anybody really is fooled by “digital” headphones these days.


#6

Z_Unit, you’re welcome.

NRen25k, good point, but while this is technically true, in my opinion and experience with actual hardware, it will be even more likely to go the opposite way, though, when all things are considered. I admit that this does have a lot to do with how electromagnetically noisy your computer is, however. That is one reason I buy quality motherboards and components. I was very concerned about EM radiation back in the 486 days. But even with cheapo motherboards, I have found that actual componentry has far, far more to do with sound quality than physically getting your analog mic cable away from the computer. Monitors are more noisy, and these ‘stick’ mics are usually in front of monitors, but even so, nowadays monitors are good enough that sticking a mic in front of a CRT is usually not going to cause problems, at least if it’s not ‘facing’ the tube from close range. LCD’s are far more healthy… seriously.

Now, with extremely sensitive mics like large-diaphragm condensers doing ambient/sensitive sound recording, yes I wouldn’t want to be plugging directly into the comp (hence my experience with USB recording), but it still probably wouldn’t cause a problem. That’d be one nice-sounding signal still. But with the quality of these “stick” type microphones, the quality of the actual mics, how far away they are from the mouth, and the type of ADC and the resolution it runs at are all going to far outweigh the fact that the analog mic signal is not running directly into the comp.

In my experience, the actual quality of the sound card, mic, and mic placement are by far the three most important factors in sound quality, rivaling cord quality, mobo type, and even being finicky with recording resolution (a high-res recording of a crappy mic will still be a crappy recording). I have progs which visibly display the noise floor, and I can say with satisfaction that w/my comps, any gain in quality from getting the ADC away from the comp is far overshadowed by the quality of the componentry (sound card, in this case) itself. I.e. I have not had interference issues.

In fact, the one time I did have interference issues was actually using a USB audio interface. I was receiving a buzz through it by way of the computer. You see, even though that USB cable is only supposed to be transmitting digital signals, in reality there is still a conduction between the computer itself all the way to the mic. I no longer remember how I resolved the buzz, but there was some analog buzz coming from somewhere inside the computer creating the buzz which traveled all the way up the (supposedly pure digital) USB cable, out the headphones & audio out, into my stereo. I don’t know if it would have shown up in recoding, but that analog interference (buzz) definitely came through into my interface, and others experienced a similar thing. I realized then that USB audio devices aren’t so “separated” from the noisy environment of the computer as is normally assumed. It’s still connected to the computer through metal/conduction, no matter if someone says it’s theoretically impossible.

In the ‘stick’ mic’s case, the ‘sound card’ is located in the housing itself. For this user’s case (voice recog) I think mic placement is going to be the most important factor beyond anything else, followed by actual mic quality. USB vs sound card is irrelevant if all other things were equal (i.e. mic quality), but of course they’re variables.

> i go with USB which should have line
> noise canceling instead of analog one.

I’m not sure that you understand what “noise cancelling” means here. This is another term used to manipulate people like “digital headphones” (though not as bad). Note that they do not explain what “noise cancelling” means here. It probably means that “the mic is not omnidirectional”, and that “the mic is pointed at where we think your mouth will be, with maybe plastic behind it”. This is nothing glamorous and just about any type of computer mic application, headset or not, should obviously incorporate this without need to state it. People are misled to believe that there is some kind of electronic or “active” or even “digital” noise cancelling here, especially with “digital” USB mics, and that is not the case. If it had “active” noise cancelling, a somewhat exotic treatment which I’m not even convinced is available for mics (it’s available for headphones), trust me they would say it, and the device would be MUCH more expensive. So, the way they are describing “noise cancelling” here, any solution should have those aspects. (I suppose “line” noise cancelling suggests the “reverse Faraday” concept NRen2k5 addressed earlier.)

In my opinion, mic placement will be far more important, because the farther it is from your mouth, the weaker the signal will be, the more the signal will have to be amp’d, and the more ambient noises it will pick up (“noise cancelling” or not). A headset mic stays at the same location and is more controllable. I don’t know your setup, but however it is, you won’t be able to move around a lot and have the comp recognize your speech (of course, tied to the leash of a headset doesn’t help in moving around much, either). Hopefully, you won’t have to ‘lean in’ to the mic to get successful results. Voice recog progs are more fallible than human ears, which is the main reason I’m concerned. Just make sure you have a good return policy, and do update the group to let us know what your result was so we can learn. Hopefully everything will be okay, obviously.

BTW, a good way to measure EMR is to take a handheld AM radio, tune it to a clear station, and scan around your comp, monitor and components listening for interference. Another way is to take a mic itself, if you have it plugged into a preamp feeding into headphones, and “listen” to your componentry. My experience is that unattached periphs like wireless mice, CRT monitors, and wireless broadband routers (wireless devices in general) and even cable modems produce more EMI than modern decent computers. O/c, this varies case by case. But I can tell you that a wireless mouse is the noisiest damned piece of hardware I have seen since the death-ray CRT which came with my first 486.

A lot to chew on, but I’m an “audio freak” much the same way this is a home for “CD freaks”. I’ve enjoyed the discussion.


#7

This mic logitech usb mic have great sound quality, but i cant campare with analog one because my old one is really crappy. I think i’ll compare when i buy new headset.
Its sounds little quiet and i cant find if there is way to disable noise canceling or not yet, but its minor problems. Really glad with this buy.

I attached the sample