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Problems with new headset (Plantronics DPS 400)
Thread poster: Heike Behl, Ph.D.

Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:52
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Jun 17, 2007

I used to use an "ancient" Andrea headset starting with DNS 6, which was included in a similiarly ancient (never used) Voice Express version. I was very happy with the headset; it usually scored between 22-25 in the DNS quality test.
When I got a new laptop, however, this headset developed symptoms as if there were a loose connection somewhere, ie. one moment it worked fine, the next there was no sound input at all. I bought another Andrea headset (Anc 700 + USB Buddy ), which displayed the same symptoms. The problem therefore was most likely hardware related.

Now, I have yet another laptop and the Andrea Anc 700 works without technical problems. However, the quality score is usually at about 15. Since I used to get so much better scores in the past, I thought I could improve the recognition quality by trying out another headset, the Plantronics DPS 400, which has been recommended by several people, some at Proz, some at some other forums.

With the Plantronics headset, I get a quality score of 20 - still not quite up to my old "records", but much better than 15. However, the actual recognition quality is much worse than with the Andrea. Often, the first word(s) of a sentence is/are completely ignored, and it also happens that (common) words in the middle of the dictation are left out. Many times, the words understood by Dragon have hardly any similarities to the dictated ones.

Does anybody who uses this headset have any ideas what I could do to improve the recognition? Is it necessary to do the initial DNS training again with the new headset? What quality score do you usually get?

Thanks for your feedback!


Windows XP Pro, Word 2000, Trados 7.5, DNS 8 Preferred (German)

[Edited at 2007-06-17 01:21]


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:52
Member
French to English
+ ...
Points to ponder Jun 17, 2007

Heiki, I have no specific knowledge relating to DNS, but as a former sound engineer, I have a few more general observations that might possibly be of some help.

First, if you genuinely have a problem of intermittent connection, then it might be worth just taking a close look at the plugs on the two (or more) headsets. The mini jack sockets as used on headsets and computers have a sometimes surprising degree of variation between them, and by comparing them closely side by side, you may be able to see if there are tiny differences in shape or dimensions that might mean your new laptop connects more reliably with one than another (after all, the laptop socket is the only thing that has changed!) if this is a simple connector problem, then it would not be inconceivable to get the plug changed for a type that mates more reliably, or perhaps more elegantly, have a little adaptor cable made up.

On another level, it is quite likely that your new PC has a different input sensitivity than your old one; this might mean that the signal reaching the DNS is too low (or conceivably, too high) — I do not know what, if any, input sensitivity adjustment there is on the application, but if there is one, it almost certainly needs to be adjusted. If the system is preset, or perhaps 'automatic', it may still be worth checking out the microphone level setting. You can do this through Control Panel > Audio devices and the 'test microphone' wizard. This will at least make sure that the signal reaching your DNS is at an appropriate level to start off with.

Oh, I've just noticed that you are perhaps using a USB headset? In which case, my comments above about the plug are not relevant

However, that is another point; if you are using a wireless headset, it will almost certainly have some kind of 'squelch' or 'voice-operated gate' — if the various levels are not set correctly, this alone could cause the start of conversation to be cut off, just as in 'choppy' mobile (etc.) telephone calls.

I would start by going back to your original headset, and checking levels throughout — and be prepared to do the same again whenever you change headsets.



[Edited at 2007-06-17 05:52]


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Katrin Lueke  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:52
Member (2006)
English to German
settings? Jun 18, 2007

Hello Heike,

I have just bought DNS and when setting it up a few days ago, there was this menu, where I had to chose which type of headset I am using.
A "normal" headset (with cables) was the default setting, and since this is exactly what I am using, I did not change anything, therefore I do not know the other options.
Reading your post, I thought maybe your new headset is somehow different from the old one (e.g. USB), so maybe you have to change something with the settings in DNS?

Hope this helps,
best regards,
Katrin


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Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:52
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
settings OK Jun 18, 2007

Katrin Lueke wrote:

Hello Heike,

I have just bought DNS and when setting it up a few days ago, there was this menu, where I had to chose which type of headset I am using.
A "normal" headset (with cables) was the default setting, and since this is exactly what I am using, I did not change anything, therefore I do not know the other options.
Reading your post, I thought maybe your new headset is somehow different from the old one (e.g. USB), so maybe you have to change something with the settings in DNS?

Hope this helps,
best regards,
Katrin


All settings are OK, I choose the correct set (DNS displays both Normal and the name of whatever other device you have plugged in) after switching in DNS and I also go through the audio setup and pass the quality test with a score of 20. That shouldn't be the problem.


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Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:52
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
adjustments done Jun 18, 2007

Tony M wrote:
On another level, it is quite likely that your new PC has a different input sensitivity than your old one; this might mean that the signal reaching the DNS is too low (or conceivably, too high) — I do not know what, if any, input sensitivity adjustment there is on the application, but if there is one, it almost certainly needs to be adjusted. If the system is preset, or perhaps 'automatic', it may still be worth checking out the microphone level setting. You can do this through Control Panel > Audio devices and the 'test microphone' wizard. This will at least make sure that the signal reaching your DNS is at an appropriate level to start off with.


I did the "official" hardware test in Windows initially. DNS also tests and adjusts the input volume when you switch to a new input device. Besides, the quality score the Plantronics set gets in DNS is higher than that of the Andrea, so I'd expect the recognition to be better as well.


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:52
Member
French to English
+ ...
It all depends... Jun 18, 2007

Heike Behl, Ph.D. wrote:
Besides, the quality score the Plantronics set gets in DNS is higher than that of the Andrea, so I'd expect the recognition to be better as well.


I wouldn't set too much store by that! It all depends on just what criteria they use to evaluate 'quality'.

The most likely thing to be different between any 2 mics is the frequency response, and even though both may be perfectly acceptable, the difference between them might explain the poor recognition (which depends on very fine balance of spectral content, etc.) — so it probably will need 're-teaching' to listen.


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Richard Walker
Local time: 14:52
Japanese to English
Try a new profile Jun 21, 2007

The DNS quality score does not mean an awful lot. Some of the best microphones do not necessarily get the best scores. As far as I can tell, it mainly measures the signal-to-noise ratio, so if you have a microphone with heavy noise canceling, you will get a lower score even though accuracy is significantly better. Anything in the high teens or better should be enough, all else being equal.

Regardless, if you are connecting a different microphone to DNS, it is worth your while to train a new user profile. From the software's point of view, a different microphone with different audio characteristics is more or less a different voice.


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