How do I configure my microphone for speech analysis (EveryVoice) activities?

EveryVoice: Ease-of-use and Setup Instructions

Having a properly configured microphone and a basic understand of speech recognition is an essential part of having a valuable user experience with the activities that use Transparent Language’s EveryVoice speech analysis technology, such as Multiple Choice and Pronunciation Practice.

Topics:

  • Microphone Distance
  • Speaking Volume
  • Microphone Levels

 

Microphone Distance

Having the microphone the correct distance from your mouth will help create a positive user experience.

  • Position your microphone appropriately:
    • Headsets should position the microphone close to the mouth without touching.  The microphones in headsets are designed for this functionality.
    • Stand-alone microphones should be about 6 – 12 inches away from the user.  Too close and your “P”s and “B”s will sound poor; Too far away and your sound will echo and cause problems.
  • Keep your distance uniform:
    • When using your microphone, make sure to keep your distance the same through the whole exercise.  Moving closer to the microphone can make your signal become distorted, and moving further away can soften your signal too much.

Speaking Volume

When trying to learn a language and when trying to use speech recognition, it is very important to be aware of how you speak.

  • Speak clearly:
    • You should speak with a clear voice.  Don’t mumble or speak under your breath.  Enunciating clearly will help greatly with understanding.
    • Speak with a pace as similar to natural speech as you can.  Talking speed has a great deal to do with intelligibility.
  • Speak at an appropriate volume
    • Speaking with at an appropriate volume will help you be well understood.  Speaking too loudly is as much of a problem as speaking too quietly.  Think about your normal speaking voice as how you should be speaking.

Microphone Levels

Setting the microphone levels should be done after both microphone distance and speaking volume have been set.

  • Configure your microphone in System Settings:
    • Setting your microphone up in your computer’s audio controls will help tremendously with having a solid signal for the EveryVoice activities.
      • For Windows:
        • Right Click on the Speaker Icon at the bottom of the screen, and find the menu option “Recording Devices” and click it.
        • Find your microphone in the list of devices and click the “Properties” button.
        • Proceed to the “Listen” tab, and turn on “Monitoring for this Device” and hit the “Apply” button to listen to your own voice and monitor the quality of your input.
        • Proceed to the “Levels” tab and adjust your input volume so that when you speak clearly and at the correct distance, your input appears to peak near 75% strength.  You can monitor your input strength by re-arranging the windows so that you can see both the “Sound” window, and your microphone’s properties window.  Click “Apply” to solidify the settings you have selected.
        • Be sure to return to the “Levels” tab and disengage the “Monitoring for this Device” and click “Apply” so that the microphone is turned off when not in use, and that you don’t have an echo.

micconfig1

  • The image above is an example of a well configured microphone for the EveryVoice activities.  The user was speaking at a comfortable volume and distance, and the input peaked at the image you see here.
  • For Mac:
    • “System Preferences” should be on your task bar, which will allow you to configure your system settings.
    • Once you open “System Preferences”, under the “Hardware” section, you should find a “Sound” settings button with a speaker as an icon.  Click on the icon
    • There are three tabs; you will be looking for the “Input” tab.
    • Find your microphone in the list of devices and click on it.
    • Adjust your input volume so that when you speak clearly and at the correct distance, your input appears to peak near 75% strength.  Your changes will be automatically saved

micconfig2

        • The image above is an example of a well configured microphone for the EveryVoice activities.  The user was speaking at a comfortable volume and distance, and the input peaked at the image you see here, at approximately the 75% mark

 

  • Configure your microphone in the EveryVoice activity:
    • Now that you have established everything that you need outside of the activity, only configuring your settings inside the actual module remains.  When configuring Flash settings, monitoring of your input will automatically be enabled.
      • Mark “Allow” and “Remember” your Microphone settingsmicconfig3
      • Although you have already adjusted your system volume for your microphone, you will have to adjust it again through the Flash settings.  These settings are independent of each other, so it is important to adjust the system settings first, and then adjust the Flash settings.  Just as before, adjust your input volume so that when you speak strong and at the correct distance, your input appears to peak near 75% strength.micconfig4

The image above is an example of a well configured microphone in the Flash settings right before the activity.  The user set the volume slider and listened to their input, and made sure that the volume never peaked into the red, but was appropriately loud.  Notice that the “Reduce Echo” button is disabled.  This also may help create a positive recording experience.

 

Additional Help

With this guide, you should be able to solve most of the common issues that can occur with microphones and Transparent Language’s software.  If you have any more questions / concerns / problems, contact our Technical Support staff at: