Our Training Makes The Difference!

February 2006  






Employment - No Hands? No Problem! See the article about Renee Griffith, CEO and others at Zephyr-TEC in the current issue of Ability Magazine. Visit Ability Magazine's web site to order your copy!

For speech recognition or digital dictation,
handheld microphones have a lot to offer.

Handheld microphones have come a long way over the last 10 years and gained tremendous popularity among users of speech recognition, like Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and digital dictation software, like WinScribe.

They are very popular with professionals who dictate to their PCs, particularly in the medical and legal professions. They are lightweight (3 oz. for one brand), durable, programmable, ergonomically designed, and come with a variety of controls (slide switch, buttons). Most have a built-in trackball or an interface to control the mouse on the PC.

There are two main manufacturers of handheld microphones, Philips in Austria and Grundig in Germany. The SpeechMike™ made by Philips is the most well known in the US and has several new models that have just come out. The DigtaPro™ series of handhelds, made by Grundig, is very popular and well known in Europe and Grundig has recently started a campaign to make the US aware of its sleek and competitive line of handheld microphones.

The Philips SpeechMike™ Series

  • SpeechMike Classic USB with slide switch available with two different slide switch configurations (Philips or International)
  • SpeechMike Pro USB with buttons to operate record, play, etc.
  • Built-in laser trackball for control of PC Mouse (both models)
  • SpeechMike Barcode available with either a slide switch (no trackball) or buttons (with trackball) and a built-in barcode reader
  • See the complete comparison chart of the Philips line of products at www.zephyr-tec.com/pdfs/philipscompare.pdf.

The Grundig DigtaPro™ Series

  • Sleek, lightweight design (3 oz) that is very appealing and functional
  • DigtaPro Classic USB model has a slide switch available with two different configurations (April 2006) and no trackball
  • DigtaPro USB model is identical to the Classic with the added feature of the Track Point (trackball) control offering infinite and variable control of PC mouse
  • “International” version of both models is expected in April and will have the more traditional US slide controls of record/stop/play/rewind with the programmable buttons used for other functions
  • For more on Grundig’s microphones, go to
    www.zephyr-tec.com/pdfs/DigtaPro840.pdf and www.zephyr-tec.com/pdfs/DigtaProMic840Classic.pdf

The most appealing feature of handheld microphones is the very fact that they are “handheld” versus having to wear a headset/microphone or dictate to a boom microphone. The handheld stays at your desk, available whenever you want to dictate. Handhelds are lightweight enough (3 to 6.75 oz) to take along for dictation to a laptop or tablet PC for convenient, mobile, location-based dictation.

Another poplar feature of handhelds is that they allow for one-handed control of both dictation and the PC, including software programs running on the PC. Philips uses a laser trackball and Grundig uses a pressure variable “joystick” called a Track Point. PC control devices are controlled by your right or left thumb. Both Philips and Grundig advertise that their handheld microphones can be used by either right-hand- or left-hand-dominant individuals.

Pricing ranges from $259 for non-barcode handheld microphones up to $1100 for those with barcode readers.

Be sure you consider the following when investigating your options:

  • Do you want a slide switch interface for record, stop, play, and rewind as your primary control interface?
  • Or would you prefer a button control interface where you will press buttons to record, stop, play, and rewind?
  • Do you want a PC mouse control device built into your handheld microphone?
  • Do you want programmable buttons for compatibility with other applications?
  • Do you plan on, or do you currently use bar code scanning technology? If so, both Philips and Grundig have bar code solutions available with their handhelds.
    There’s a lot to think about and we hope this article helped clarify some points. With the many features available on handheld microphones, it can be confusing. Let us help you make the right choice. If you are thinking of purchasing a handheld microphone, please contact us with your questions toll-free at 877-493-7497, info@zephyr-tec.com or visit our website at www.zephyr-tec.com.




See the complete comparison chart of the Philips line of products at

Transcription AID is a great new product for small office settings where other employees can perform NaturallySpeaking dictation corrections. For example, for doctors or lawyers whose time is limited and in high demand, this product removes the burden of correcting NaturallySpeaking misrecognitions from the person dictating. With Transcription AID, foot pedals are used to control the playback of the dictation so the corrections can be made by hand while still improving the author’s voice profile.

Here is how it works:

Transcription AID installs on the PC of the person making the corrections—we will call this person the “correctionist.” The software controls foot pedals which play, rewind, or fast forward the dictation’s audio file while highlighting the words on the screen for the correctionist. When the correctionist hears the playback play something that does not match the text Transcription AID has displayed, the correctionist hits the rewind pedal which launches the Spell Box. From the Spell Box, the correctionist can click the correct word or manually type it in. Once the correctionist clicks “Okay,” the text is changed in the document and the improvement is made to the voice profile.

Transcription AID also works with audio files from most of the major digital recording devices. We tested it with the Olympus DS 4000. After completing the dictation, the dictator places the entire recorder into a cradle which hot syncs with the computer and downloads the audio file to the computer. The software can be set up to either automatically email the (encrypted) audio file to the correctionist, OR to save it to a networked location the correctionist monitors for new jobs.

This transcription solution is ideal for a small office with one or two authors dictating and one or two correctionists. Importantly for medical providers, it provides a HIPPA-compliant solution. Transcription AID works well for people who work in different locations over a network, as the compressed audio file can be downloaded in one office and saved to another. If you would like to see a demonstration of NaturallySpeaking, Transcription AID, or the Olympus DS 4000, contact Zephyr-TEC for an online live demonstration.

In Salado, Texas a surgeon was using Dragon NaturallySpeaking Version 6. The surgeon averaged at least 1.5 to 2 hours of dictation per day – from original dictation to standard paragraphs. He was correcting his own misrecognitions and was wondering what improvements had been incorporated into DNS Version 8.

Needless to say Version 8 immediately got the doctor’s attention. The doctor had become quite busy and was looking to save time on transcription so he could spend more time with patients.

With that in mind, he investigated the Transcription AID solution. The doctor stopped correcting his own misrecognitions and had his assistant, using Transcription AID with the foot pedal, complete his transcription, proofing corrections and bringing his dictation to final signature stage, all while updating his voice files for improved dictation accuracy.

From experience, the doctor knew that not having to correct his own misrecognitions, even when they were minimal, would save him time and certainly save more of his time as he got busier in the future. However, he also wanted his assistant to be reassured that Transcription AID was truly easy to use.

The doctor had Transcription AID installed and had a copy of his Dragon profile and speech files installed on his assistant’s computer. After a few introductory training sessions, the assistant stated and states today that Transcription AID is not only easy to use, it is definitely much easier compared to traditional and less technologically advanced transcription methods. The combination of Dragon NaturallySpeaking Medical and Transcription AID makes both of their jobs easier and more efficient, saving not only time, but money as well.

Both the doctor and his assistant are quite happy with Transcription AID and the doctor has freed up some valuable time. Today, the assistant spends about 15 to 20 minutes helping with and finishing off the doctor’s dictation.

Authored by T. Bolick

Zephyr-TEC NOTE: This solution is also perfect for lawyers and professionals who dictate with Dragon!

Specify User File Backup Location

Dragon NaturallySpeaking automatically backs up your user files every five saves (you can configure this frequency in the options). However, you can specify where these backup copies should be made. You do this through the Administrative Settings choice on the Tools menu, BUT you must have closed all users first (NaturallySpeaking menu > Close User). When no users are open, you can select Administrative Settings on the Tools menu; at the bottom of that screen, you see Backup Location for Speech Files. Click the Change button to specify a different location. Now the automatic backups will go to the new location. (Note: Because you have to close your user profile, you can't do this by voice.)




Zephyr-TEC has personnel located in the San Francisco Bay Area,
Los Angeles/Southern California, Phoenix area, Las Vegas, and Seattle

Northern California: 800-822-1816
So. California, Arizona, & Nevada: 877-493-7497
Washington: 888-540-5999
General Email: info@zephyr-tec.com
Web: www.zephyr-tec.com


©2006 Zephyr-TEC Corp. All Rights Reserved.