We recently brought in a Philips SpeechOne to the office to get some hands on experience with it (reading manuals can only do so much ☺️) and to test with various applications we support. Plus we’ve also had an increase in clients looking for wireless dictation options. Mostly for use with Dragon or SayIt but also for other applications as well.
Over the years we’ve never really found a great wireless headset option that had good recognition quality and reliability. We do have a number of Plantronic Savi-Gos in the field which are similar to the Dragon Wireless Headsets. We have some users who are really happy with them but for the most part they haven’t had the best response. Poor battery life, poor recognition quality, connectivity issues. We tried a few different brands in the past such as VXI but found that they were kind of bulky and we didn’t get the best sound quality from them either. Because of that, we never offered any wireless headset options for dictation. We do have the Philips SpeechMike Premium Air which is a fantastic wireless microphone. It does eliminate the cord but it’s not a headset.
The Philips SpeechOne Wireless Dictation Headset
Philips recently released a product that fills that gap. The Philips SpeechOne Wireless dictation headset. It really is the most advanced wireless dictation headset available right now. Here are some of the key features of the SpeechOne;
- High quality and durable design
- High quality decoupled microphone for crystal-clear recordings
- Triple layer noise-reduction filter to reduce background noise in recordings
- Wireless charging base station. (80% charge after 60 minutes when connected to computer USB). You can also charge the headset directly with MicroUSB.
- External Record Status light. This shows you if your microphone is recording or not. A very handy feature for wireless users.
- Built in volume and record toggle switch on headset
- Available remote
- Two comfortable (Yes, they are comfortable) headband styles designed for extended use. (Behind the ear or over head)
- Ability to connect a Philips USB Foot Control to the base for hands free operation
- Up to 12 Hours of recording time. Yes, that’s right. 12 hours on a single charge!
So. Needless to say this is a fantastic wireless dictation microphone. I’m going to go through how to get started with the SpeechOne;
Getting Started with the SpeechOne
- 6500 and 6800 include a wired remote
- The 6800 also includes SpeechExec Pro Dictate 11.5 (2 year subscription)
Once you have unboxed everything, it’s time to get it setup. It is recommended that you charge the device for two hours before using it. We will do that but let’s get it setup and configured first, then let it charge.
First, let’s install the Philips SpeechControl application. We will use this to apply the latest firmware available. If you are using the SpeechOne with Dragon, you will need this application to control it. you can download the latest version of Philips SpeechControl here. Once that’s downloaded, go ahead and install it. When the installation is done, check the Launch Application checkbox and click Finish.
Second, let’s connect the base station to your computer. On the back of the dock there are two MicroUSB ports, one that says 5V DC and one that has the USB logo. Make sure to connect to the USB port on the base then connect the other end to your computer. Once that’s connected, place the SpeechOne headset on the base station. Connect the external record indicator light to the port on the back labelled Light. At the bottom of the light there is a magnet you can use to attach to a metal surface. If you have a PSM6500 or PSM6800 you will also have a wired remote you can use to control applications. If you have this and want to use it, connect to the RC port.
Third (optional but recommended) , launch the SpeechControl application. It’s most likely running in the system tray. Right click on it and select “Open Device Control Center” When the window is active, click the i button to the left of the Device dropdown. This will tell you what version of firmware the device has. Once you have that, go to our Firmware page and check if there is a newer version available. If there is, download it. Now, from the Philips SpeechControl application, click the Device tab and then click the Firmware Upgrade tab, click Import, select the file you downloaded. After that, the Upgrade button should be enabled. Click that to update the firmware. DO NOT INTERRUPT THE PROCESS. You most likely will brick the headset.
Fourth. While we are in the SpeechControl application, let’s review some of the device settings available. On the Device tab again, click the Advanced settings. You can get more details on the settings in the SpeechControl Help file but here is a quick run through:
- Sleep Mode Timer: This is the amount of time until the device goes into low power mode. Note that this may cause issues with some applications that require a consistent connect so you may need to disable this
- Power Off Timer: This sets how long after an idle period to power off the device. This is good for battery life but don’t set too short. The default is 10 hours, which seems a lit excessive but configure as you see fit
- Disconnect USB: This setting defines how long the device needs to be out of wireless range before disconnecting the device from the computer. What this means is that if you walk out of your office for something and leave the wireless range, the USB will remain active for this amount of time before disconnecting. If you use multiple exam rooms you may want to set this to immediately if you pair with another Air Bridge or Dock. If you frequently leave your office or exam room but come back, you may want to set this longer.
If you make any changes, be sure to click the Upload button to save the settings to the device.
Fifth. Decide on which headset band you want to use. There’s no real way to tell, just try them both. I find that I prefer the behind the ear band but if I’m wearing my glasses it doesn’t sit very well. A little note on changing the bands: To disconnect the microphone from the band you need to pull it apart. It is quite snug you can then connect it to the ear band. Now one thing that shows the quality, in my opinion, is that magnetic ear cushions. No fiddling with getting them on. They literally just snap in place.
Finally. You’re “Almost” ready to go. You really should charge the device now for 2 hours. This is supposed to condition the battery. Considering the cost of the unit I do recommend following this to ensure you get the most out of the battery. Once it is charged you’re ready to roll.
Some Notes Using SpeechOne with Common Applications
SpeechExec Pro Dictate:
There isn’t much to say here. Everything work exactly as you’d expect it in SpeechExec Pro Dictate. Once you have started a dictation, you can press the headset button to turn recording on and then press again to turn it off. When in record, the base station record button turns red, the remote record light turns red (If you have one) and the external record light turns red. When you turn off record, the base station light turns off and the remote red light turns off but the external light remains on for 5 seconds before turning green. Not sure why but that happens in all applications. When I figure it out I’ll post why here.
SpeechOne isn’t officially supported by nVoq but it does work pretty much as expected. You do NOT want the SpeechControl software running as it may conflict with SayIt and SpeechOne operation. You can’t really do any configuration and the indicator lights do NOT work while in record. You do have to hold either the headset button (don’t do this….), hold the base station record (not that bad) or hold the remote button record. (Recommended). Because of this if you are using the SpeechOne with SayIt, I recommend the PSM6500 model.
For SpeechOne to work with Dragon you need to have the Philips SpeechControl software running. (You actually don’t but that’s for another article). When you install Philips SpeechControl, it will launch at startup by default and be ready to use with Dragon. You will need to add it as a microphone, or input source. It will show as a SpeechMike III. You’ll then want to run the audio wizard to set the level. To turn the mic on, you can press the base station record, the remove record button or the headset. Note that I had some inconsistent results with the external record light when using the headset button to turn the mic on and off but the microphone worked as expected. As with using with SpeechExec pro, there is a 5 second delay for the external record light to turn green when turning record off.
You’re now ready to go. The price tag can seem steep for a wireless headset but the additional features do make it worth investing in. You can use it in conjunction with the AirBridge to use in multiple locations as well. Also remember that you’ll get support directly from us if you run into any issues.
During my testing I was switching between computers and plugging things in and unplugging and then I had an issue with my SpeechOne not working. It was connected but the microphone wasn’t working nor was any sound playing through the earpiece. I did some normal troubleshooting to see if it was an application issue or a computer issue but it wasn’t. To correct this, I ended up resetting my connection to the base station by doing the following;
- Turn off the headset by holding down the headset button until you see the green LED turn off
- Disconnect the base station from the computer
- Reconnect the base station to the computer
- Place the SpeechOne on the base station for 4 seconds.
After doing that everything was back to normal. I’m pretty sure this was my fault having been plugging things in and unplugging, moving around etc… but if you run into this issue. Give these stops a try.