Best Mics for Speech Recognition – Writers, Transcribers, Note-Takers

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Looking for the best microphone for speech recognition?

Some of us thought that by now we would be flying around in our cars. Instead, techies everywhere are still out here screaming at our computer screens wondering why our voice recognition software refuses to understand what we’re saying.

You’re going to have to wait a while before you need a pilot’s license to get to work.

However, if you use any manner of voice-to-text, either personally or professionally, we have good news for you — when you’re ready to take your dictation game to the next level, all you need is the right microphone. And we found the best products online for you.

No matter what you do for a living, your time is precious. Speech recognition is an awesome time-saver on one hand because you simply speak, and it does the typing for you. On the other hand, you immediately lose that time again when you have to go back and edit all the inevitable mistakes.

So, today, you’re going to learn about the best mics available right now for speech recognition. No matter what size your budget might be, or if you’re rolling with Windows 10, OSX, or even a phone, there is certainly going to be a mic on this list for you.

Shure WH20

The Shure WH20 is our Top Pick because it’s voice-recognition technology is unbeatable, and because it fits so comfortably.

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Our top pick for the best speech recognition mic is the Shure WH20. This ergonomic microphone sits comfortably on your head and it is easy to use — you simply plug it in and go!

It’s optimized to capture your voice flawlessly. This mic is perfect for anyone who wants a product with maximum sound quality that also leaves you hands-free.

11 Best Mics For Speech Recognition

Editor’s PickBrand
Top PickShure WH20
Runner UpSennheiser SC 75 USB MS
Best Budget PickAndrea C1-1022600
Best Handheld MicNuance Dictaphone PowerMic 2
Best Desktop MicSound Tech GN USB 2
Best Budget USB MicFifine Condenser

Our Top Pick: Shure WH20

Shure WH20

The Shure WH20 is our Top Pick because it’s voice-recognition technology is unbeatable, and because it fits so comfortably.

Check The Price on Amazon

If you need a mic to capture your voice effortlessly without fail, you’re going to want our top choice today — the Shure WH20.

And no matter what you’re using as a receiver, there is a Shure WH20 that will work for you, which brings us to some advice. If you order this mic online, you will see three different options — XRL, a 4-pin female connector, and a 1/4-inch plug that will work with your phone.

Please make sure you order the mic with the connector that will work with your equipment.

The Shure WH20 is a wired product, so if you have it attached to a laptop, obviously you have to stay close. However, if you use your phone as a receiver, with this mic, even a dancer can dictate her memoir while she works on the barre.

You might be surprised at how well, and how securely, this mic fits!

As far as description are concerned, the Shure WH20 is a rugged, lightweight piece of equipment. The mic tech is pretty standard… a cardioid pickup pattern picks up your voice and tunes out noises coming from around you.

It also features on-board low-frequency roll-off and presence peak. This means that captured sound will be crystal clear, with beautiful mids and highs.

This also tends to make dictation more accurate. All things considered, this mic is a dream if you’re working with speech recognition software! It really couldn’t be better.

Shure WH20 Key features:

  • Dynamic microphone
  • Hum sensitivity: 38.4 dB
  • Cable length: 1.22-meters (4′)
  • Frequency response: 50Hz – 15kHz
  • Extra-strong cable resists breakage
  • Polar pattern: cardioid (omnidirectional)
  • Super lightweight only 98 grams (3.5 oz)
  • Microphone boom collapses for easy storage
  • Comparable to high-quality handheld microphones
  • Optional XRL, 1/4-inch, and 4-pin female connectors

Runner Up: Sennheiser SC 75 USB MS

Sennheiser SC 75 USB MS

The Sennheiser SC 75 USB mic is great because it is super easy to use and includes headphones! The noise-canceling nature of this device can also help you to keep your focus on track!

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Our second top choice of the best microphone for speech recognition is the Sennheiser SC 75 USB MS. If you like to listen while you dictate (or block out surrounding noise), you’re going to love this quality set because it includes headphones.

The special Sennheiser noise-canceling technology means your audio will remain crystal-clear.

And no matter what you’re using as a receiver, whether it’s a phone, laptop, tablet, or another device, you’re covered. The Sennheiser SC 75 USB MS comes with both USB connectors as well as a 3.5mm jack.

Where description are concerned, this particular mic has you covered.

The headphones are powered by Neodymium speakers, and the boom arm mount is flexible, allowing you to place the mic the perfect distance from your mouth every time.

Actually designed for Skype, this device tends to work really well for speech recognition. Not only does it give you plenty of noise isolation, it also picks up audio clearly.

All things considered, this is one of the top headsets in the game if speech recognition is what you need to master.

Sennheiser SC 75 Key Features:

  • Two-year warranty
  • Weight: 130g (4.59oz)
  • Connects through USB or 3.5mm jack
  • Comes with a protective carrying case
  • Movable boom arm for ease of use
  • Frequency response: 150Hz – 6,800kHz
  • Choose between leather or foam ear protectors
  • Wideband sound guarantees a natural listening experience
  • Uses a neodymium speaker for crystal clear sound experience
  • Sennheiser Activeguard® protects your ears against audio clipping
  • Noise-canceling microphone completely blocks out background noise
  • Detachable cord with in-line control panel (answer calls, turn up the volume, mute, and

Best Budget Pick: Andrea C1-1022600

Andrea C1-1022600

The Andrea C1-1033600 is perfect for anyone recording on a budget. The mic and headphone combo together is affordable and does it all!

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If you have a smaller budget than you would like, we have several products that will work for you today.

Out of those, our top choice is the Andrea Electronics C1-1022600-1 model NC-85. This microphone-headphones combo costs less than $50, and it has everything you’re going to need to get the job done.

As far as description are concerned, this headset is actually a pretty attractive bet for the price.

It’s a high-fidelity USB wired headset that gives you quality stereo sound through the headphones, powered by 40mm speakers with CD quality bass. But it also gives you on-board controls, including an in-line digital volume and mute control.

It is reversible, so you can have your mic on the left or the right side. It also folds flat for easy storage, and comes equipped with ‘Andrea noise cancellation microphone technology.’
This means that it has a high voice recognition industry rating.

And perhaps best of all… it requires no additional software. It is a plug-and-play device, right out of the box.

Andrea Electronics Key Features:

  • Works with Windows 10 as well as Mac
  • Reversible for use on your right or left side
  • In-line volume, mute, and power controls
  • Proprietary microphone with a noise-canceling windsock
  • Adjustable stainless steel headband folds down for easy storage
  • Extra-long 8-foot cable included with external USB plug and sound card
  • Pro-Flex adjustable wire boom ensures maximum comfort and efficiency

Best Handheld Microphone: Nuance Dictaphone PowerMic II

Nuance Dictaphone PowerMic II

The Nuance Dictaphone PowerMic II is the best in handheld options with crystal-clear speech recognition!

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The next option on our list is hands-down the best handheld dictation microphone on the market — the Nuance Dictaphone PowerMic II.

If you have the budget for it, and you want full control of your power to dictate audio flawlessly, this microphone is the one.

This high-quality unidirectional microphone works with Windows 10 as well as Citrix.

These products are serious about quality, though, so to run them properly, your computer’s CPU must be at least a Pentium III and your USB must be 1.1 or higher.

The Nuance gives you full dictation control literally in the palm of your hand.

It is not only Dragon Medical, but also Powerscribe Compatible. Other programs this mic will work with include SpeechMagic, Radwhere, Enterprise Speech system, Enterprise Work Station, and others.

Not surprisingly, this mic is used a lot by medical professionals, for responding to notes or for generating orders.

If there is a downside to this device, it is that you can’t wear it on your head. But for applications where wearing a headset would just not work… this could be a fantastic alternative.

Nuance Dictaphone PowerMic II Key Features:

  • Plug-and-play
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 16kHz
  • High-quality microphone blocks out noise
  • Compatible with Dragon and Powerscribe applications
  • Works seamlessly with Dragon including hotkeys to save you even more time
  • Full functionality in the palm of your hand (edit your document using only your thumb)

Best desktop microphone: Sound Tech GN-USB-2

Sound Tech GN USB 2

The Sound Tech GN USB 2 mic is a perfect alternative if you don’t want a headset or a handheld mic. Not only is it great for dictation and speech-recognition, but it also has a sturdy base, and works like a charm!

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If a headset isn’t your jam, don’t worry, you don’t need to wear your microphone to capture your speech accurately.

You can just as easily use one of these Sound Tech GN-USB-2 microphones, and it will still save you a ton of time.

This product’s permanently polarized hyper-cardioid polar pattern ensures crisp sound quality, and noise-canceling tech means you will save a ton of time when you edit your work.

As far as description go, the GN-USB-2 is actually pretty cool.

You get a 16 inch adjustable gooseneck stand that will help you to position the mic perfectly. It’s a plug and play device, so it is super easy to use.

The on-board mic is a hypercardioid condenser, meaning that it is highly focused on the area it is pointed at.

This is good news if you dictate in a busy office, because it will tend to pick up only your audio, while rejecting sounds coming from the sides and rear.

The base is solid and heavy-duty. The mic is also super-intuitive in the sense that it goes along with what your computer is doing. If you plug in your mic and open up Discord… guess what? Your mic will probably be on and ready to help you chat!

It also, however, has a reputation for working well with all kinds of speech recognition software… including Dragon Professional and others.

Sound Tech GN-USB-2 Key Features:

  • Max SPL: 138db
  • Signal/noise ratio: 65dB
  • Phantom power supply
  • Detachable cable included
  • Plug-and-play capabilities
  • 16-inch adjustable boom arm
  • Comes with a weighted base
  • Frequency response: 40Hz – 16KHz

Best budget USB microphone: Fifine Condenser

Fifine K669B
The Fifine Condenser Mic is completely plug and play for laptops and computers. Durable, affordable, and easy to use... it’s a no-brainer!
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For those of you on a tight budget that are using a laptop or computer, the Fifine USB Condenser Recording Microphone could be an excellent choice for use with speech recognition software.

Let’s talk about why!

First off, this is a plug-and-play USB powered Condenser microphone. This means that it won’t require an interface, phantom power, or anything else to work. You just plug it in and go!

The cardioid polar pattern on the Fifine Condenser helps to capture vocals smoothly and effortlessly. Of course, there are condenser mics out there in higher price brackets that will make your voice sound better… but in terms of speech recognition, this mic crushes it!

It can be used on Mac or PC computers, no drivers or software required.

The rugged case is constructed of metal. It comes with a small tripod stand to make positioning easy. It is best known as being an inexpensive mic to get you started in creative projects such as podcasting, YouTubing, voice acting, recording, etc.

But one little known fact about the Fifine is that it is actually a baller mic for speech recognition!

Fifine Condenser Microphone Key Features:

  • Plug-and-play
  • Includes tripod
  • Solid metal housing
  • Costs less than $50
  • Volume control buttons
  • Extra-long 5.9-foot cable
  • Cardioid condenser microphone ideal for speech recognition

Other Mics We Reviewed

Shure WH20

The Shure WH20 is our Top Pick because it’s voice-recognition technology is unbeatable, and because it fits so comfortably.

Check The Price on Amazon

We know there are other fish in the sea, and tons of other mics out there. In the next section, you’ll see some mics that we still loved, but that didn’t quite make it to the top of our list.

Some of these are awesome alternatives, though, and they are still worth a look!

Audio-Technica PRO 8HEcW
The next mic on our list is an excellent option if you're a musician or anyone who likes to stay on-the-move.
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This Audio-Technica PRO 8HEcW headset doesn’t come with headphones, but has two comfy pads to help hold it in place.

One thing to keep in mind: products like this one come with an XRL connector. You’ll need an interface to make this work with your computer!

Key Features:

  • Low-visibility headband designed for ultimate comfort
  • Hi-ENERGY neodymium element for superior sound quality
  • Flexible boom arm so you can wear it on the right or left side
  • The hyper-cardioid polar pattern ensures efficient voice capture
Sennheiser SC 30 USB

If you need a headset, but you find that you need a little more flexibility with what you can hear, this Sennheiser SC 30 USB microphone is what you want.

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With a headphone on one side only, you can easily switch back and forth between what you’re listening to and what’s happening in front of you.

Key features:

  • Flexible boom arm
  • Two-year warranty
  • Noise-canceling technology
  • Easy plug-and-play connectivity
  • Sennheiser HD neodymium-powered sound
MAIRDI USB Headset

If you spend many hours using your microphones, perhaps the MAIRDI USB Headset is what you want.

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MAIRDI designed this headset with your comfort in mind. This product comes with a noise-canceling microphone in combination with the HD quality sound in the headphones.

Key Features:

  • Two-year warranty
  • Made for supreme comfort
  • In-line volume and mute controls
  • Plug-and-play — no drivers needed
  • Noise-canceling mic and HD headphones are perfect in loud environments
Mpow 071 USB Headset

If you like to use your phone to capture your voice, or you want the option, the Mpow 071 USB Headset could be the product you’re looking for.

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This headset comes with both USB and a 3.5mm jack so you can switch back and forth from Windows 10 to your Android device with ease.

Key Features:

  • Flexible boom arm
  • Rotatable ear cuffs for easy storage
  • Unidirectional noise-canceling microphone
  • Convenient in-line volume, power, and mute buttons
  • Padded memory foam ear protection for extra comfort
  • Multiple connectors make it ideal for computers, phones, and tablets
Klim Talk

If you’re balling on a budget, and you want a product that will sit on your desk as well as plug directly into your computer, for less than $30, you can get this Klim Talk USB Microphone.

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If you’re using Windows 10or OSX; and you like saving both time and money; this could be the microphone you need.

Key Features:

  • Plug-and-play connectivity
  • Compatible with most devices
  • Works with Windows, Windows 10, and Mac
  • On/off button located conveniently on the base
  • A patented audio filter ensures this product captures nothing but your speech

Frequently Asked Questions

Shure WH20

The Shure WH20 is our Top Pick because it’s voice-recognition technology is unbeatable, and because it fits so comfortably.

Check The Price on Amazon

What is the Best Speech Recognition Software?
The best speech recognition software on the market right now is Dragon Naturally Speaking. If you work on a mobile platform, Dragon Anywhere is the best option.

However, if you need a free version, Google (for Android), Siri (for iOS), and Cortana (for Windows) are all top performers.

What Headsets Are Compatible with Dragon Naturally Speaking?
Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software is compatible with most microphones on the market right now.

However, experts recommend that you do not use products with BlueTooth technology for accurate speech recognition. The connection can cause the audio quality to decrease, which will cost you time. If you want to check your product, go to Nuance’s support page for more information.

What Will You Do with All This Extra Time?
Now that you can see that there are some quality products out there to help you change your speech recognition game, it’s time to decide what you’re going to do with all that extra time you have on your hands.

We can’t help you figure that out, but with microphones like these, saving time and money are a given.

Conclusion

Voice recognition technology is relatively new to us, even those who consider themselves tech-savvy. New mics with newer, fancier voice tech keep coming out… though it can be difficult to figure out what works and what doesn’t!

That’s where this list comes in! From our Top Pick, the Shure WH20, for its comfort and usability, to our Budget Pick, Andrea C1-1022600, for its sweet price point… you’ll see a speech recognition mic on this list for every occasion.

So for your next streaming, podcasting, or gaming project, stop yelling at your mic… and instead, just go with a mic that listens to you the first time!