Clinician using a SpeechMike Premium with Dragon Dictate Medical for Mac


Using a SpeechMike With Dragon for Mac

In this post, we’re going to provide a brief walkthrough of setup and usage best practices for healthcare professionals working with the Philips® SpeechMike and Dragon® Dictate Medical for Mac®. To prepare the way, let’s check out the software and hardware we’re working with.

Philips SpeechMike Premium

We’re talking about the latest SpeechMike model, the LFH3500 Premium series. While other models, such as the LFH3200 SpeechMike Pro, certainly support much of the same functionality, they are different products. Your mileage may vary.

For instance, be aware that the LFH3000 SpeechMike Air is not supported for use on the Mac platform.

Also note that we’re working specifically with the LFH3500, which has record and play buttons, rather than a slide switch (available in the LFH3510 and LFH3520 models).


Dragon Dictate Medical for Mac v4

We’re using version 4.0.6 of Dragon Dictate Medical for Mac, the latest medical version available for the OS X® operating system. Build v4.0.6 is the only medical version of Dragon that supports Yosemite (OS X 10.10). Be sure you are running this latest update.

  • Get instructions on how to check your version of Dragon Dictate here.
  • If you need to check your Mac operating system, click here.
  • To get the latest version of Dragon Dictate Medical for Mac v4, open the application and click on Dictate > Check for Updates… at the top of your screen.

UPDATE: Dragon for Mac Medical v5 is now the latest version of this software available.


SpeechControl for Mac

Once you’ve confirmed your environment, you’ll want to click here to download a free application from Philips. This software, called SpeechControl, is what enables you to use the buttons on your microphone to control Dragon – so it’s pretty important.

**Since the application actively powers your microphone button functionality, it needs to be running when using the SpeechMike with Dragon.**

UPDATE: SpeechControl for Mac v3.3.08 is now the latest version available.

Once you’ve installed SpeechControl, open it up by double-clicking this icon:

SpeechControl for Mac icon


If you already had SpeechControl, you’ll need to verify that you’re running the latest update.

  1. Click SpeechControl > About SpeechControl
  2. It should list version 3.2.03. If not, you can get an update at the link provided earlier in this section.

Navigating the SpeechControl UI

  • Look at the Application Control tab for a list of the buttons on the SpeechMike – and their available configurations. At the top, be sure “Dragon Dictate Profile” is selected from the drop-down menu.
  • The far left column lists the names of the buttons. Then the next two columns, “Pressed” and “Released,” indicate what behavior should happen under each condition.
  • You can click on the button with the ellipsis sign, […], to change any of these functions. For instance, the record button can be set to toggle or press-to-talk. Toggle is configured by default.
  • Whichever you choose, be sure that the “Activate Application Control” box is checked at the bottom of this screen.


SpeechMike Setup Basics

If you verify that these items are taken care of, you’ll save yourself a fair bit of trouble when using the SpeechMike Premium with Dragon.

Plugging In the Mic

  • Plug into a USB 2.0 port, rather than a USB 3.0 port. Although we have seen it work, USB 3.0 is not officially supported for Philips devices. See here for USB info for Macs.
  • Plug the mic into a USB port, not a hub. The SpeechMike likely won’t communicate with your Mac properly otherwise.


It’s important that your microphone has the latest firmware loaded, because the firmware affects all of the functions your SpeechMike can perform.

  • In order to check the firmware on your SpeechMike, plug it in and then click on Device > Firmware in SpeechControl.
  • The current firmware is version 2.54. If you need to update, you can get the firmware here.

For instructions on updating your SpeechMike’s firmware, you can click here. We should mention that this resource is part of our knowledgebase, which is only available to members. If you’d like to become a member, click here.


If you have a SpeechMike that you’ve previously been using on Windows, you’ll need to set it back to the Mac OS. After you plug in the mic…

  1. Open SpeechControl and go to Device > Advanced Settings.
  2. Find the heading for “Target OS” and set it to “Mac OS.”
  3. Click the [Save to Device] button at the bottom.


Get Help With Your Microphone

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Dragon Dictate Software

After you’ve taken care of the SpeechMike and SpeechControl setup, you’re ready to tackle Dragon Dictate Medical for Mac.

Creating A Profile

When first installing Dragon Medical, you’ll be guided through the creation of a voice profile.

  1. When you reach the “Audio Source” screen, you’re going to choose “Dictation.”
  2. Then, click the drop-down menu next to “Microphone” and choose “SpeechMike III.” If you are using the SpeechMike Premium, it will still display this older microphone name. Don’t worry—it is properly detecting your microphone.
  3. Give the source an appropriate name, like “SpeechMike.” This will allow you to identify it easily in your list of sources when you open your profile.
  4. Once you’ve gone through the profile creation process, you’ll be prompted to do a volume adjustment. This sets the input volume level of the SpeechMike (specifically) so that it’s best suited for speech recognition.
  5. Click the stop sign button, as directed in the volume adjustment window, or use your SpeechMike record button.
  6. Do not click the box next to manual gain – we want to let the system determine the right levels.
  7. As you are reading, you want to have the microphone on a level with your mouth, and approximately 5-7 inches from your lips.

Read the text that appears to you (no need to worry about punctuation here), and notice that the audio bar next to the stop sign goes up and down. This indicates the volume seen by Dragon as it auto-adjusts the input level. If there is no color in the audio bar next to the stop sign, check your mic’s connection to the computer.

At this volume adjustment phase, you may have to read the text several times. Don’t get discouraged by this; keep reading until it finishes. I would suggest pausing slightly after each paragraph, to allow Dragon to catch up as it modifies your input volume.

When the volume is done adjusting, a “Finished” screen will appear, and Dragon will play back your voice. Click the [Stop] button.


Voice Training

You now have a choice to make. Press the [Voice Training] button, and you’ll proceed with the extended reading portion of the setup process.


If you want to go on to dictation, you can close the “Finished” window by clicking the red circle with the “x,” located in the top left corner. This will preempt the “Voice Training” section of the SpeechMike setup for now, but you will be asked to complete the training whenever you open this profile. Going around it is fine if you’re in a hurry, but eventually you’ll want to tackle it.

Let’s move on to the “Voice Training” window, where you will click the right arrow at the bottom of the screen. You have the option to read from four different stories. Choose whichever one you like; then, click the right arrow at the bottom of the window.

  • The next screen will remain blank until you turn the mic on.
  • This reading is pretty long, so set aside at least 15 minutes to complete just this section.
  • This time, punctuation is part of the reading. You will see large COMMAs and PERIODs indicated in the text. Do read these.
  • Dragon is trying to line up your pronunciation with specific words in the story. You’ll see this, because each word you say will light up in green as you read. If the words do not light up, you missed something—or Dragon didn’t hear you. Start again, just after the last highlighted word.
  • Dragon does a little calibration early on in the reading, which will be visibly indicated. Continue reading after this.
  • As you advance through each screen, you should also see the progress meter, at the top, lighting up box-by-box.
  • If you run into any words you don’t know, you can click the [Skip Word] button and pick up on the next word.

When you’re done reading, Dragon will produce a “Processing Training” window where it incorporates all of your reading—significantly improving your recognition accuracy. The process takes approximately five minutes to complete, depending upon your environment.

Once adaptation is finished, you can click [Tutorial] for instruction/training, or [Use Product Now] to move on and dictate.


Using The Application

If you do choose [Use Product Now], this window will close, and then you’ll see the Dragon Status Window.

  • The stop sign icon indicates that the Dragon mic is off. You can turn the mic on by clicking the stop sign, or by pressing the record button on your SpeechMike. The icon should change into a green light.
  • When you speak into the mic, you should see the volume meter moving up and down.
  • When you are not dictating or using commands, you want to be sure to either turn the mic off or put it to sleep.


Advanced Microphone Control

Sleep Mode

Sleep mode allows you to turn the Dragon mic off by saying “Go to sleep.” Notice that the mic icon changes from a green light to a crescent moon. Use the command “Wake up” to turn the mic back on. Now you have complete voice control over the on/off state of the mic.

Motion Control

In case you weren’t aware, your SpeechMike Premium has a built-in motion control sensor. The mic “knows” when it is set down and picked up—and button functions can be assigned to these states.

Open SpeechControl and click the “Application Control” tab. At the bottom of the window, you’ll find the section where motion control can be configured. Click the […] button next to “Laid Down” and set it to “Mic Off.” Then set “Picked Up” to “Mic On.”

The mic will now come on when you pick it up, and turn off when you set it down.


Resources for Further Reading

There’s much more to Dragon Dictate Medical for Mac, but you should now be able to use your SpeechMike to dictate notes, charts, letters, and emails. If you like to do research, and want more information about Dragon, here are some great resources:

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