I am asking this for a friend. He loves his voice recognition software and dictates a lot of text using a headset. Now he has a new laptop, which only has a combined mic/headphones output, and wanted to buy an adapter.
I told him to get an external USB sound interface instead, as the better sound quality will probably increase the hit rate of the voice recognition. He agreed, but when he saw a picture of the SoundBlaster X-Fi, he said that it is way too big, because he wants to carry the thing everywhere. He'd rather have one of these small things which are the size of a flash memory stick, with only one mic and one phones output, period.
Now I am not sure whether these mini interfaces would produce a sound better than onboard sound. They all seem to come not from established audio interface manufacturers, but from electronic accessories manufacturers like Speedlink, or just noname brands.
Is there a compact audio interface with good A/D quality (it is OK if the price is comparable to that of the bigger interfaces, even if there is no additional functionality like Chinch in-/output etc)?. And if there isn't, will the noname soundcardsticks offer any advantage over a simple adaptor for the onboard sound?