MacSpeech Dictate 1.5 Review

Macspeech dictate icon.png

It wasn’t too long ago that I reviewed MacSpeech Dictate version 1. At the time I concluded it was the best dictation application on the Mac but is still wanting against the DragonDictate on the PC.

Because MacSpeech Dictate uses the Dragon speech recognition engine, I’ve always felt it is only a question of time before MacSpeech catches up with the feature list on the more mature PC application. Recently, MacSpeech Dictate came out with version 1.5 that takes several important steps on that path.

Since the original release of MacSpeech Dictate, the Dragon engine has been updated to version 10 on the PC. MacSpeech Dictate 1.5 brings that Dragon version 10 engine over to the Mac. It is both faster and more accurate than the Dragon 9 engine in the prior version. The developer states the accuracy improved “up to 20%.” Even using the prior version, my accuracy was very good. Having used speech recognition software (off and on) for over 10 years, I simply cannot understate the accuracy of the Dragon engine if you spend a little time and are careful with your dictdion. Frankly, my biggest accuracy problems are not the software but my occasional sloppy dictation habits. While difficult to quantify, the improved accuracy and speed with the new version is noticeable. Indeed, the engine upgrade is, in my opinion, the most important reason to move to version 1.5.

Another reason to upgrade is the addition of the vocabulary editor which allows you to train individual words and add them to your dictionary. It can be anything: technical jargon, latin phrases, even “MacSparky.” This is one of the PC features that I missed on the Mac. Thankfully, you can also save your profile so the additional words and nuances of your voice can be captured by the system.

The application now also recognizes 13 distinct English dialectic variations. The new “cache document” command allows you to navigate a document and perform edits. In practice, I still found it easier to use the mouse and keyboard for proofing and editing following dictation.

The interface has not changed significantly. It still provides you with a list of available commands and an easy to use control window. Once you get used to MacSpeech Dictate, I recommend you turn some of these additional windows off. These days I use this application exclusively through its menubar icon.

As I get older, I find myself using speech recognition software more and more often. This results from the fact that I’m getting older and my fingers get sore after long typing sessions. Also, I’m really busy and using MacSpeech Dictate allows me to write much faster. Most of then content at MacSparky.com and, for that matter, this very review started out with MacSpeech Dictate.

MacSpeech Dictate remains the only option on the Macintosh for speech recognition. Thankfully, the developer is aggressively moving forward with the addition of new features and support. If you are buying it new, the price is $199 and includes a microphone. For the upgrade to version 1.5 it is $55. You can learn more at macspeech.com.

You can listen to this review on the MacReviewCast Episode 214.

62 Comments MacSpeech Dictate 1.5 Review

  1. jay.gonzales@macspeech.com

    Thanks for the review. To answer the questions:

    MacSpeech Dictate is available through many Mac retailers, and every box includes a MacSpeech-certified USB headset microphone.

    The MacSpeech online store gives you a choice of other microphones, including digital stereo headsets and wireless microphone options.

    Reply
  2. jay.gonzales@macspeech.com

    Thanks for the review. To answer the questions:

    MacSpeech Dictate is available through many Mac retailers, and every box includes a MacSpeech-certified USB headset microphone.

    The MacSpeech online store gives you a choice of other microphones, including digital stereo headsets and wireless microphone options.

    Reply
  3. jay.gonzales@macspeech.com

    Thanks for the review. To answer the questions:

    MacSpeech Dictate is available through many Mac retailers, and every box includes a MacSpeech-certified USB headset microphone.

    The MacSpeech online store gives you a choice of other microphones, including digital stereo headsets and wireless microphone options.

    Reply
  4. jay.gonzales@macspeech.com

    Thanks for the review. To answer the questions:

    MacSpeech Dictate is available through many Mac retailers, and every box includes a MacSpeech-certified USB headset microphone.

    The MacSpeech online store gives you a choice of other microphones, including digital stereo headsets and wireless microphone options.

    Reply
  5. jay.gonzales@macspeech.com

    Thanks for the review. To answer the questions:

    MacSpeech Dictate is available through many Mac retailers, and every box includes a MacSpeech-certified USB headset microphone.

    The MacSpeech online store gives you a choice of other microphones, including digital stereo headsets and wireless microphone options.

    Reply
  6. john.hennessy6@mail.dcu.ie

    Hi Mr MacSparky,

    I am a long time user of Dragon. Early this year I moved into the world of Mac – strange place indeed. At the time I purchased MacSpeech and from the review expected something possibly not as good as V10 Dragon. Regretfully I experience has been miserable. I enjoy moving from dictation to physically typing. MacSpeech, well just wants you to stick with speech. Sorry for the longwinded mail, but has this new version moved on from the issue it had with typing?

    Thanks,

    John

    Reply
  7. john.hennessy6@mail.dcu.ie

    Hi Mr MacSparky,

    I am a long time user of Dragon. Early this year I moved into the world of Mac – strange place indeed. At the time I purchased MacSpeech and from the review expected something possibly not as good as V10 Dragon. Regretfully I experience has been miserable. I enjoy moving from dictation to physically typing. MacSpeech, well just wants you to stick with speech. Sorry for the longwinded mail, but has this new version moved on from the issue it had with typing?

    Thanks,

    John

    Reply
  8. john.hennessy6@mail.dcu.ie

    Hi Mr MacSparky,

    I am a long time user of Dragon. Early this year I moved into the world of Mac – strange place indeed. At the time I purchased MacSpeech and from the review expected something possibly not as good as V10 Dragon. Regretfully I experience has been miserable. I enjoy moving from dictation to physically typing. MacSpeech, well just wants you to stick with speech. Sorry for the longwinded mail, but has this new version moved on from the issue it had with typing?

    Thanks,

    John

    Reply
  9. john.hennessy6@mail.dcu.ie

    Hi Mr MacSparky,

    I am a long time user of Dragon. Early this year I moved into the world of Mac – strange place indeed. At the time I purchased MacSpeech and from the review expected something possibly not as good as V10 Dragon. Regretfully I experience has been miserable. I enjoy moving from dictation to physically typing. MacSpeech, well just wants you to stick with speech. Sorry for the longwinded mail, but has this new version moved on from the issue it had with typing?

    Thanks,

    John

    Reply
  10. john.hennessy6@mail.dcu.ie

    Hi Mr MacSparky,

    I am a long time user of Dragon. Early this year I moved into the world of Mac – strange place indeed. At the time I purchased MacSpeech and from the review expected something possibly not as good as V10 Dragon. Regretfully I experience has been miserable. I enjoy moving from dictation to physically typing. MacSpeech, well just wants you to stick with speech. Sorry for the longwinded mail, but has this new version moved on from the issue it had with typing?

    Thanks,

    John

    Reply
  11. david@macsparky.com

    @John

    I agree the interface isn’t as far along as Dragon (which I still use on a PC) but they are using the same underlying engine. I find it best to operate in a separate word processing application, like WriteRoom or Text Edit (which is already on every Mac). Then I can stop and edit although to be honest I usually dictate through the first pass without stopping.

    Hope that helps.

    Reply
  12. david@macsparky.com

    @John

    I agree the interface isn’t as far along as Dragon (which I still use on a PC) but they are using the same underlying engine. I find it best to operate in a separate word processing application, like WriteRoom or Text Edit (which is already on every Mac). Then I can stop and edit although to be honest I usually dictate through the first pass without stopping.

    Hope that helps.

    Reply
  13. david@macsparky.com

    @John

    I agree the interface isn’t as far along as Dragon (which I still use on a PC) but they are using the same underlying engine. I find it best to operate in a separate word processing application, like WriteRoom or Text Edit (which is already on every Mac). Then I can stop and edit although to be honest I usually dictate through the first pass without stopping.

    Hope that helps.

    Reply
  14. david@macsparky.com

    @John

    I agree the interface isn’t as far along as Dragon (which I still use on a PC) but they are using the same underlying engine. I find it best to operate in a separate word processing application, like WriteRoom or Text Edit (which is already on every Mac). Then I can stop and edit although to be honest I usually dictate through the first pass without stopping.

    Hope that helps.

    Reply
  15. david@macsparky.com

    @John

    I agree the interface isn’t as far along as Dragon (which I still use on a PC) but they are using the same underlying engine. I find it best to operate in a separate word processing application, like WriteRoom or Text Edit (which is already on every Mac). Then I can stop and edit although to be honest I usually dictate through the first pass without stopping.

    Hope that helps.

    Reply
  16. marilynchurch@dmcwater.com

    Have numerous cassette tapes of lectures that must be transcribed. The person talks quite fast, so must rewind constantly to get everything. Can this software work in this situation?

    Reply
  17. marilynchurch@dmcwater.com

    Have numerous cassette tapes of lectures that must be transcribed. The person talks quite fast, so must rewind constantly to get everything. Can this software work in this situation?

    Reply
  18. marilynchurch@dmcwater.com

    Have numerous cassette tapes of lectures that must be transcribed. The person talks quite fast, so must rewind constantly to get everything. Can this software work in this situation?

    Reply
  19. marilynchurch@dmcwater.com

    Have numerous cassette tapes of lectures that must be transcribed. The person talks quite fast, so must rewind constantly to get everything. Can this software work in this situation?

    Reply
  20. marilynchurch@dmcwater.com

    Have numerous cassette tapes of lectures that must be transcribed. The person talks quite fast, so must rewind constantly to get everything. Can this software work in this situation?

    Reply
  21. Hal

    I have the latest version which crashes after a few minutes of straight dictation. There are many posts reporting this problem. Is there any promise of a solution? How can people create so effective a product and not be able or willing to fix it?

    Reply
  22. dbonner106@aol.com

    Today, MacSpeech showed what kind of company they are. Yesterday, I received an error message indicating that I had too many copies of the program running. I have had 3 copies running in my office for over 3 years. The instructions indicated that I had the right to use 5 copies. In any event, I called support and they told me to get the upgrade which would repair this problem. I did that and the problem continued. I called support and was told that the upgrade prevented more than one copy of the program running at the same time. If I wanted to have more than one copy running, I would have to buy a new program at $339. It seems to me a bit ruthless for a company to change business policy unannounced and disrupt businesses in such a way. I could resolve the problem by buying 2 more copies of the program at $670. With this type of behavior in the company, I believe it’s time to start looking for a new transcription program. DJB

    Reply
  23. dbonner106@aol.com

    Today, MacSpeech showed what kind of company they are. Yesterday, I received an error message indicating that I had too many copies of the program running. I have had 3 copies running in my office for over 3 years. The instructions indicated that I had the right to use 5 copies. In any event, I called support and they told me to get the upgrade which would repair this problem. I did that and the problem continued. I called support and was told that the upgrade prevented more than one copy of the program running at the same time. If I wanted to have more than one copy running, I would have to buy a new program at $339. It seems to me a bit ruthless for a company to change business policy unannounced and disrupt businesses in such a way. I could resolve the problem by buying 2 more copies of the program at $670. With this type of behavior in the company, I believe it’s time to start looking for a new transcription program. DJB

    Reply
  24. dbonner106@aol.com

    Today, MacSpeech showed what kind of company they are. Yesterday, I received an error message indicating that I had too many copies of the program running. I have had 3 copies running in my office for over 3 years. The instructions indicated that I had the right to use 5 copies. In any event, I called support and they told me to get the upgrade which would repair this problem. I did that and the problem continued. I called support and was told that the upgrade prevented more than one copy of the program running at the same time. If I wanted to have more than one copy running, I would have to buy a new program at $339. It seems to me a bit ruthless for a company to change business policy unannounced and disrupt businesses in such a way. I could resolve the problem by buying 2 more copies of the program at $670. With this type of behavior in the company, I believe it’s time to start looking for a new transcription program. DJB

    Reply
  25. dbonner106@aol.com

    Today, MacSpeech showed what kind of company they are. Yesterday, I received an error message indicating that I had too many copies of the program running. I have had 3 copies running in my office for over 3 years. The instructions indicated that I had the right to use 5 copies. In any event, I called support and they told me to get the upgrade which would repair this problem. I did that and the problem continued. I called support and was told that the upgrade prevented more than one copy of the program running at the same time. If I wanted to have more than one copy running, I would have to buy a new program at $339. It seems to me a bit ruthless for a company to change business policy unannounced and disrupt businesses in such a way. I could resolve the problem by buying 2 more copies of the program at $670. With this type of behavior in the company, I believe it’s time to start looking for a new transcription program. DJB

    Reply
  26. dbonner106@aol.com

    Today, MacSpeech showed what kind of company they are. Yesterday, I received an error message indicating that I had too many copies of the program running. I have had 3 copies running in my office for over 3 years. The instructions indicated that I had the right to use 5 copies. In any event, I called support and they told me to get the upgrade which would repair this problem. I did that and the problem continued. I called support and was told that the upgrade prevented more than one copy of the program running at the same time. If I wanted to have more than one copy running, I would have to buy a new program at $339. It seems to me a bit ruthless for a company to change business policy unannounced and disrupt businesses in such a way. I could resolve the problem by buying 2 more copies of the program at $670. With this type of behavior in the company, I believe it’s time to start looking for a new transcription program. DJB

    Reply

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