Dragon Dictate + Bluetooth. Just need a better mic?
September 20, 2011 7:40 AM   Subscribe

Can I use any Bluetooth ear piece with my new Dragon Dictate software?

I just bought the Dragon Dictate software and LOVE it. I spent all night configuring the vocabulary with the USB headset.

But now I want to be mobile. I can't get it to recognize my crappy ($12, Microcenter) little Bluetooth headset. Is this something that I just need to get a better headset or is it that I have to buy the one they have on their site? At $139.00 I would really rather not.

The input levels on the computer itself are ok, the Bluetooth is being recognized, but the voice and mic tests don't work with the one I have.

I am assuming that the one I am trying to use is just too weak and too far away from my mouth. Am I on the right track?

btw: Did this post with the software. This is good stuff.
posted by Tchad to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Best answer: I tried a couple of headsets with a Mac and wasn't able to get them to work: the dictate software refused to admit they were usable audio devices. In the end, I just bought the one they recommend (the Plantronics Calisto) off eBay and used that with the included Bluetooth dongle. That seems to be the easiest way, although it does mean another piece of tech to carry around.
posted by baggers at 12:57 PM on September 20, 2011

Response by poster: I was afraid of that. I have been trying to get a couple of different ones to work with no luck, the OS won't even recognize them. OK. off to Ebay I go. Thanks!

As an aside, the voice recognition people have a sense of humor at Nuance. I was dictating:
"and then I thought: 'blah, blah, blah"
which it relayed as:
"and then I thought of Bob Loblaw"
posted by Tchad at 9:53 PM on September 20, 2011

Response by poster: If anybody else stumbles across this and wants to know what the deal is, here is what I have been able to glean from a couple of days of research and google:

1. Nuance, the company that makes Dragon Dictate for Mac, somehow sets it up so that you have to use a dongle with your USB headset if you want to go wireless. It does not let you directly use a USB headset to your computer's bluetooth.

2. Even when you buy a Calisto Pro USB dongle headset, it may or may not work with your Mac. There are tons of threads on both the Nuance site and the Plantronics site about the set not working with an iMac running OS 10.6 that has one of the newer processors. It works fine on my other Mac - an old G4 running 10.4.11 I pulled out to test the dongle and my friend's MacBook Pro running 10.7.

3. When/if you call Plantronics, they will tell you, essentially: "Too bad for you, not our problem" and direct you to Nuance or Apple. When you call either of them looking for fixes or drivers, they will send you back to Plantronics.

4. There is a work-around that is working really well on my new iMac:
  1. Download and install Line In and Soundflower.
  2. Connect your headset to the computer's Bluetooth connection without the dongle.
  3. Open Sound Preferences.
  4. Select your headset for both the Input and Output as the headset. (That way you can hear the computer if you have set it to speak to you or you are listening to music &c.)
  5. Open Line In (You will be using it a lot, so you may as well set it to stay in the dock.)
  6. When you open Line In, a window will pop up that gives you options of "Input From" and "Output To".
    1. You want to set the Input from your headset.
    2. You want to set the Output to "Soundflower". I am using the 16 channel setting because it works. This is so rigged up that I don't want to try the 2 Channel and ruin things.
  7. When you set up the profile in Dictate, you will then choose "Soundflower" in the list of microphone inputs. You should then be able to trick it into thinking that it is a valid (to them) device. Make sure you are selecting the same one (either 16 or 2) that you selected as the output in Line Out.
There is a debate about there being a different dongle for the headset that may be more powerful (or whatever... I can problem solve but am fairly tech-ignorant). I am going to call Plantronics tomorrow to see if the "BUA200" will work. The dongle that it usually comes with is a BUA100. Some have said that it does.

You may have to reset the mic every time you turn it on. I have had to do it a couple of times, but I don't know if that is a function of having turned it off or if it is because I unknowingly reset something.

The Calisto isn't bad. Not as good as a corded mic, but it works well enough while I walk around my work-room. I tried it with a regular Bluetooth headset (jawbone?) and a smaller Butterfly one and neither did very well.

A lot of work and time spent finding the fix, but mostly worth it just for the software.
posted by Tchad at 2:34 PM on September 26, 2011

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