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I'm using the Speakable Items feature in Mac OS X, to voice activate some simple stuff like "Play Music", etc.

Since I'm in a lab and put my macbook off to a corner of my desk, connecting it to a monitor and other I/O devices for ergonomic reasons, I had to yell to get my voice to reach the built-in microphone. My labmates were not happy, understandably.

To fix this issue, I switched to a bluetooth microphone that I clip to my collar. I no longer need to yell to reach my macbook's built-in microphone. However, this also means that I have to retrain the speech recognition engine as the audio signal it now gets is very different.

Here's the problem: When I open the calibrate window in the Speech prefpane, it performs some sort of unsupervised learning. I can't even tell it what I'm saying. This means that I have to guess what it thinks each command sounds like and then repeatedly say that command, changing the way I sound each time; until I sound the way I normally do (accents, volume, pitch, etc). This is super frustrating.

Is there a better way to train the speech recognition engine? I don't seem to be able to train it quickly enough (been at it literally all day) and I have a ton of custom speech commands that I am unable to use because of this fail.

Technical specs:

  • Mac OS X 10.7.5 (Lion)
  • a good bluetooth microphone (Sony)
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