KnowBrainer Speech Recognition
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Topic Title: Dragon does not like central heating/fan starting up
Topic Summary: any recommendations
Created On: 12/08/2019 03:43 PM
Status: Post and Reply
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 Dragon does not like central heating/fan starting up   - Ag - 12/08/2019 03:43 PM  
 Dragon does not like central heating/fan starting up   - kkkwj - 12/08/2019 03:55 PM  
 Dragon does not like central heating/fan starting up   - dilligence - 12/08/2019 07:37 PM  
 Dragon does not like central heating/fan starting up   - Lunis Orcutt - 12/09/2019 12:36 AM  
 Dragon does not like central heating/fan starting up   - Ag - 11/19/2020 05:36 PM  
 Dragon does not like central heating/fan starting up   - Lunis Orcutt - 11/19/2020 07:03 PM  
 Dragon does not like central heating/fan starting up   - Scribe - 11/20/2020 11:14 AM  
 Dragon does not like central heating/fan starting up   - Ag - 12/17/2020 05:24 PM  
 Dragon does not like central heating/fan starting up   - Lunis Orcutt - 12/17/2020 11:03 PM  
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 12/08/2019 03:43 PM
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Ag
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I'm not certain if I should  post this in the Dragon "naturally speaking speech recognition"  category , or in the microphone category. I'll probably do both, since there does not seem to be a way to crosspost here the way there is in a USENET newsgroup.

 

overall, I am using Dragon quite successfully.

 

However, the weather is getting colder (and bold Orion is on the rise).

Quite often, when central heating turns on, bad things happen to Dragon. The least of which is a <???> In the results box or misrecognized text being inserted. Sometimes what appear to be random mouse clicks. Quite often Dragon and/or KnowBrainer crash.

Q: any suggestions as to how to reduce this sort of error?

At the moment, I try to turn the heat down to circa 50°F when I am at home alone working. I don't mind lower temperatures, but the females in my household dislike the cold.

I have tried blocking the air vent in my office, but it does not help. The sound still comes through the vent. Plus, HVAC people really recommend against blocking individual vents.

 

 



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DPG15.6 (also DPI 15.3) + KB, Sennheiser MB Pro 1 UC ML, BTD 800 dongle, Windows 10 Pro, MS Surface Book 3, Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU @ 1.3/1.5GHz (4 cores, 8 logical, GPU=NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 with Max-Q Design.

 12/08/2019 03:55 PM
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kkkwj
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That's too bad. I was going to suggest a directional noise-canceling mic but I see that you have a headset mic already. I read somewhere in a post by Lunis that you can turn off the auto-gain control in Dragon somehow (I should explore that if I can find that post). Sometimes if I don't say anything for a while the mic gets sensitive and can sometimes inject noise, warn of low quality, or demand a mic recalibration.

I have no idea what to say about the frequent crashes with Dragon and KB. I used to have some in the old days, but there's quite a few of us around that have few crashes any more. I can't remember the last time I had a hang or crash. But then, I usually only use Dragon and Word and Outlook, etc, when I have that kind of work to do. Then I shut it down or turn off the mic.



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 12/08/2019 07:37 PM
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dilligence
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Ag,

 

Kkkwj has a good point about the headset mic so these deviations probably are the result of another device emitting some kind of signal that interferes with your microphone input.

 

As an example, I'm currently in a temporarily home awaiting renovations to the new place and we are using a mobile phone hotspot as our internet connection. I found that placing the smartphone nearby my computer causes Dragon to show similar behavior as you described. This is due to the signaling of the hotspot setting. When it is turned off the problem is gone. All of this was not audible but when I let a program like Audacity record "silence" it actually wasn't silent at all. All kinds of popping sounds were being picked up by the microphone.

 

So it's a good idea to do some audio testing. Maybe you have a digital or smart thermostat that is the culprit? Also experiment with placing your computer in another location in the room.



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 12/09/2019 12:36 AM
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Lunis Orcutt
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The next time the blower comes on, try dictating a few words in DragonPad followed by saying play that back. We want to make certain that the problem is blower noise rather than a grounding issue or RF interference. If this is not the case, consider disabling Dragon's auto-gain feature with a hack. Just look up “auto-gain” in the Quick Tips at the top of this page for details and don't forget to run the Microphone Check which was previously ignored.



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 11/19/2020 05:36 PM
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Ag
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Update, a year later:

Winter is a-coming in again: heat and fan are turning on, big rain & wind.

All of which impact speech recognition.

In other threads I reported trying all of the things that various people have recommended about possible interference. I am reasonably certain that is not the problem. Auto Gain control off.

I have moved my office to a room with no heater vents itself (brrr...), although ductwork feeds the room above.

Yesterday I started looking for ANC (Active Noise Cancelling) headsets. ANC should be able to handle relatively constant noise. But I see Lunis dissing ANC, saying that passive technology beats it since the turn of the century. I find that hard to believe - is that still the case?

NVIDIA RTX Voice helps a lot.

However, I have noticed what the EE/DSP part of me imagines as an IIR (infinite impulse response) problem: There is a sudden rash of problem when the heater turns on, or when a rain squall passes overhead producing a sudden increase in noise. This appears to be an IIR problem, because it endures, until I exit and then restart Dragon. I.e. the burst of noise seems to produce a long-term degradation, that goes away with a restart.


IIR might also explain the sudden degradation when the contractor next door suddenly turns on a wood chipper or chainsaw, degradation that persists even after he has turned it off.

Nvidia RTX Voice voice seems to be particularly vulnerable to this, which isn't surprising since any neural net with feedback would easily exhibit IIR problems. I would not be surprised to find out people who created such nets are not aware of this basic distinction between IIR and FIR in filters. (I know quite a few of those ML people, they usually have no DSP background.)

However, I believe I have seen the same problem when I'm running the Sennheiser headset directly into Dragon, without the Nvidia RTX Voice filter.

I halfway feel that the same thing occurs even within the profile. Q is Dragon adjusting the audio model as it goes? Or perhaps it is just profile corruption, possibly caused by a burst of noise.

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DPG15.6 (also DPI 15.3) + KB, Sennheiser MB Pro 1 UC ML, BTD 800 dongle, Windows 10 Pro, MS Surface Book 3, Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU @ 1.3/1.5GHz (4 cores, 8 logical, GPU=NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 with Max-Q Design.

 11/19/2020 07:03 PM
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Lunis Orcutt
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The Audio-Technica Pro 8HEmW microphone can handle pretty much any noise short of a live gun range.

 

The Andrea Electronics ANC 700 was the bomb in the late 90s and because of their ANC patent, they had no competition. However, the Audio-Technica Pro 8HEmW and Sennheiser ME3-II are significantly more noise filtering than the ANC 700, which hasn't improved since the late 90s.

 

Electronic noise filtering has its own weaknesses, which you have noted but passive noise filtering has no moving parts (so to speak) and just works. We installed a pair of Daikin HVAC units which required drilling large holes into our log cabin walls. Our 2 installers were drilling 6 feet away from my SpeechWare 9-in-1 microphone while screaming at each other. They were only 2 feet apart. Of course the 9-in-1 microphone couldn't handle that noise level. We could barely handle that noise level. Fortunately SpeechWare TableMikes include a microphone input jack which bypasses the gooseneck microphone. All we had to do is plug in the Audio-Technica Pro 8HEmW; without even running Microphone Check. Dictation was as accurate as in a quiet environment and should easily handle your environment.

 

Assuming you are referring to the Sennheiser ME3-II, the noise issue is unlikely the microphone. It is more likely caused by electronic interference from next door. If you're using a notebook computer, just temporarily unplug from the AC outlet.

 

Noise should not cause any permanent damage to your user profile but if you're dealing with On/Off noise, you might consider disabling Dragon's auto-gain



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 11/20/2020 11:14 AM
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Scribe
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Ag,

I think you need a different microphone with better noise canceling. My desk is next to a steam radiator that hisses and often clanks in winter. My microphone - I am currently using an Addasound - doesn't pick up the noise at all. Nor have most of the microphones I have owned in the past, even a bunch of the inexpensive ones from Staples.

However, there have been two exceptions. One was a Logitech from Staples, which picked up all sorts of background noise (although I have had other microphones from that manufacturer in the past that did not). The other exception was a SpeechWare TwistMike that I own currently. It is incredibly sensitive to background noise. It even picks up the sound of the miniblinds flapping in the wind if the nearby windows are open in warm weather. It's a great, sensitive microphone, but only if you are in a very quiet place. (Now, this may be user-dependent. I have a quiet voice and therefore the microphone needs to respond to very soft dictation. Someone with a booming voice might not have the same problem, because things like blinds rattling could be too quiet for a microphone calibrated for a much louder voice to pick up.)

In sum, I think you should try one or more other microphones, because I believe you will be able to find one that does not pick up noise from your surroundings.



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 12/17/2020 05:24 PM
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Ag
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Originally posted by: Scribe Ag, I think you need a different microphone withbetter noise canceling.

 

You are probably right (and Lunis, and ... many people on this forum).

 

However, my work style involves standing up and walking around. E.g. on a treadmill desk - but lest you jump on me saying "that's it", the problems also occur when sitting down without moving.

 

(Yesterday, I was at my beach house  that has quiet  electric heating rather than loud central heating. Recognition was working fine, until the rain started. :-( )

 

I have what  seems to be the most highly recommended  wireless  headset microphone, Sennheiser MB Pro 1 UC ML, BTD 800 dongle.

 

I am reluctantly considering getting a wired mic. Probably a headset, with the long USB cord. Although if somebody told me that a desktop mic  could handle the moving around, I would go that way. BTW,  Even the built in microphone in my Surface Book 3 laptop works pretty well when I'm walking around and when  the heating is either on or off. The problem occurs when  transitioning, with a burst of noise. Especially since it seems to have an infinite impulse response.

 

A headset with a long USB cord might work, e.g. the supposedly high quality 5m (~15ft) Oculus link headset cable, Full featured USB active optical cable. USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C ro Type C.

 

The problem with short cables  is that it is far too easy to pull on the cable. E.g. I have pulled a laptop off its desk, and broken several connectors/ports. 

 

 the problem with long tables is that it is far tooo easy for them to fall to the floor and get stepped on, or, worse, get caught in the treadmill mechanism.

 

 I have seen studio setups where cables are suspended by thin  elastic ropes that connect to the ceiling,  which take up the slack so that the cord does not lie on the floor. I haven't gone shopping for these yet, or looking up DIY  sources, but if anybody seen something  I would appreciate it.

 

--

 

I have also been considering reopening my shopping around  For wireless headsets.

 

 many websites, although not  KnowBrainer, recommend the Sennheiser SD Pro 1  family over the  Sennheiser MB Pro 1 family. AFAICT  the main difference seems to be radio: SD Pro uses DECT, whereas MB Pro more portable frequency bands.    North American and European  DECT  can be incompatible, limiting travel. That would be unfortunate, although I haven't traveled in nine months or so.

 

I have also been considering concert headsets,  the sorts of headsets with a  cord from the headset to a waist radio, and a distinctly nonconsumer base station.  which are much more expensive than headsets such as the Sennheiser SD/MB Pro family,  and which certainly provide much better sound quality for the human voice overall as perceived by other humans. I have not seen many ratings for speech recognition, although I vaguely remember one of the big speech recognition sites, possibly even KnowBrainer, carrying such a  higher-end wireless headset  recommending it for speech recognition.  IIRC it was one recommended for airplane pilots.

 

Googling just now, I also see https://www.tacticalheadsets.com/ Tactical headsets, and I know that some of those are used in voice control applications. Like "detonate!"  

 

---

 

Anyway, I blew my budget for headsets last year, but may be able to go shopping again. One of the problems with my most recent headset shopping project was that I only realized about problems such as the heating system turning on a few months after I had started using the headset. I.e. too late to return. And when you're talking about 160$ headsets,  missing the return window can quickly blow my budget.

 

 Anyway, I'm  learning the hard way what things I need to consider the next time I go shopping for a headset and other equipment.  when COVID social distancing ends, I may take my laptop to a high end audio  shop that carries some of the brands, and see if thhey will let me  try them out, thus  reducing the feedback loop. Of course also have to carry a noise source, since those audio shops tend to try to have very quiet rooms for  music listening tests.

 

 

 

 



-------------------------

DPG15.6 (also DPI 15.3) + KB, Sennheiser MB Pro 1 UC ML, BTD 800 dongle, Windows 10 Pro, MS Surface Book 3, Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU @ 1.3/1.5GHz (4 cores, 8 logical, GPU=NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 with Max-Q Design.



 12/17/2020 11:03 PM
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Lunis Orcutt
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We recommend forgetting about tactical headsets. They include throat microphones that produce deplorable speech recognition results. We have tested 2 models.

The Sennheiser SD Pro1 is acceptable but the design is a bit dated. You might want to check out the Sennheiser SDW 30/60 which, in our opinion, is a step up and even includes high fidelity stereo playback. There is nothing like being put on hold and listing to high fidelity elevator music. But the MB Pro1, SD Pro1 and SDW 30 all include the same microphone element. From a speech recognition point of view they all produce the same accuracy and level of noise filtering. The Sennheiser MB Pro1 UC/ML includes medium noise filtering (decent) but not as high as you might think. Any of these microphones should be adequate in your environment but before you do anything, try disabling Dragon's auto-gain and rerunning the Microphone Check. You can disable auto-gain by removing the checkmark from Automatically adjust the microphone level as I speak in Settings/Microphones Choose Microphone.



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