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Microphones for the Mac
External USB sound adapters for the Mac
Running Windows Software (Dragon) on you Mac

Dragon Dictate 3.0 with USB Microphone

This is the latest version of Dragon for the Mac user. From Nuance we offer the following: "Accomplish more than you ever imagined possible. Input text just by speaking – up to three times faster than typing – and interact with your favorite Mac applications using only your voice. With Dragon Dictate you can produce reports, e-mail, articles, books, research notes, online content, and more — quickly, easily, and accurately. You’ll get more done faster with less stress and more success — at home, at work, or wherever life takes you. Dragon Dictate provides amazing accuracy and requires just minutes of training to get started – it’s Simply Smarter Speech Recognition."

Features this version offers over version 2.5 include the following:

  • 15% improvement in accuracy
  • Use of "Express Editor" to allow dictation in otherwise incompatible applications
  • Improved correction methods
  • Digital voice recorder support
  • Wideband Bluetooth support

Please note: This version of Dragon Dictate requires Mac OS X 10.7 or later; OS X 10.6 or older requires Dictate 2.5, which we no longer carry.

Please note: There is a known issue with Dictate 3.0 which causes problems when a user mixes their input in the same document (i.e. voice and keyboard). Nuance has added three "caching" commands as a workaround, but we recommend that users try to avoid using mixed input to prevent any issues.

Dragon Dictate 3.0

Price: $

Microphones for the Mac User

Macintosh computers have traditionally used a different microphone input jack than IBM-type personal computers. Macs use a "Line In" jack which does not provide enough power to the usual microphone element. As a result, most ordinary headset microphones are incompatible with Macintosh computers when plugged into the microphone input jack. With a little ingenuity, however, most microphones can be used with a Mac. Strategies include:

  • Using a microphone which includes its own power supply (battery powered)
  • Using a small pre-amplifier such as the Andrea APS-100 Auxiliary Power Supply. In this situation the microphone is plugged into the pre-amplifier which in turn is plugged into the mic input jack
  • Using a traditional microphone with a USB sound adapter such as those made by Andrea, Buddy and VXI. In this scenario the microphone in plugged into the adapter which in turn is plugged into a USB port on the computer.

We offer a variety of microphones that can be used with the MacIntosh, virtually all sharing the characteristic of either 1) being manufactured such that it attaches to your Mac with a USB port or 2) being packaged with a separate USB Sound adapter. For each microphone or product listed below, we will let you know if anything added is needed to use it with a Mac, and if so, offer a combination product in which the microphone is bundled with whatever you need.

For more information on Macintosh microphone compatibility, please visit our Microphone Compatibility Chart.

For information on setting up a new microphone with Dragon Dictate, please visit our Dragon Dictate Microphone Set-up Guide

Recommended Microphones for the Mac User

Dictaphone PowerMic II

PowerMic IIAlthough full functionality of this microphone requires use of a free third party system utility (USB Overdrive) to take advantage of the programmable buttons in the Mac environment, it is a highly accurate, noise canceling, and functional microphone for the Mac user. Because of it's noise canceling abilities, we consider this the best overall hand-held microphone for the Mac user.

Learn more ....

MSRP: $495
Price: $

Sennheiser ME3/Andrea USB Adapter Combination

Sennheiser ME3 ComboThis is our best selling product for speech recognition on both the Mac and PC and widely considered the most accurate and noise canceling microphone for use with a computer.

Learn more ...

MSRP: $247.95
Price: $

Olympus DR-1200Olympus DR-1200

Functionally similar to the Dictaphone Powermic II, this product is a bit less expensive, has additional buttons which can be programmed, and has a track ball. Overall we find this a significantly more comfortable product. The only downside is that the microphone input area is large and faces both up and outwards, so this product tends not to be highly rejecting of external noise. So we don't recommend use of this otherwise wonderful hand-held microphone in noisy environments.

In order to program the buttons for use on your Mac you will need the free system utility USB Overdrive (read more at the "learn more" link).

Learn more ...

Price: $

Andrea NC181VM USB

Andrea 181VM USBA high quality microphone with integrated USB adapter, mute switch and sound volume control. This model has a single speaker.

Learn more ...

Price: $

Andrea NC185VM USB

Andrea 185VM USBA high quality microphone with integrated USB adapter, mute switch and sound volume control. This model has two speakers.

Learn more ...

Price: $

TalkPro USB 200VXI TalkPro USB-200

Full featured binaural USB microphone with VXI's Gentex element. Compatible with all operating systems and speech recognition products. Includes a sophisticated noise canceling element
Learn more ...

Price: $

TalkPro USB 100VXI TalkPro USB-100

This full featured monaural USB microphone is compatible with all operating systems and voice recognition products. Includes a sophisticated noise canceling element. Learn more ...

Price: $


Microphones Useable with a Separately Purchased USB Sound Adapter: Microphones which work with a Mac when used with a separately purchased external USB sound adapter (also see the USB adapters listed below):

Andrea ANC 750

High Quality binaural microphone with active noise cancellation. Learn more ...

Price: $

Andrea ANC 700

High Quality monaural microphone with active noise canceling system. Learn more ...

Price: $

Radio Shack "Sennheiser Knock-off"

A Radio Shack microphone very similar to the Sennheiser ME3. Learn more ....


Sennheiser ME3/Andrea USB Adapter

Professional quality speech recognition microphone with outstanding accuracy and noise cancellation. Learn more ...

Price: $

TheBoom "O"

A very high quality monaural headset microphone with excellent accuracy and noise cancellation. Learn more ...

Price: $

TheBoom V4

Similar to the "O" but ear mounted and highly comfortable. Learn more ...

Price: $

TheBoom Quiet

A high quality active noise canceling headset microphone useful to both the audiophile and speech recognition software user. Learn more ...

Price: $

VXI TalkPro Express

A simple, inexpensive headset microphone. Learn more ...

Price: $

VXI TalkPro

A simple, inexpensive monaural headset microphone with VXI's translator technology. Learn more ...

Price: $

Sound Adapters:

If you already have a microphone and are having troubles using it with your Mac or if you prefer to accomplish the analog to digital conversion outside of your computer, the use of one of these USB Adapters is ideal. Each plugs into any available USB port and accepts the standard 3.5 mm audio plugs for mic in and sound out associated with standard headset microphones. Each has been tested and works great with Apple computers.

Andrea USB Sound Adapter


This is a simple and reliable sound adapter to use when you have concerns about whether your computer's internal sound card is adequate for the task. When using this adapter the analog to digital conversion occurs outside of your computer and the digital signal enters your computer through a USB slot. Please note that this is a monaural device and directs only the microphone in signal through the USB. If you are using a microphone with speakers, you will need to engage the speaker plug directly into the computer's speaker jack.

Instructions for using a USB sound adapter

Andrea USB Sound Adapter
Usual Retail: $49.95 Our Price: $


Buddy 7G USB Sound Adapter

Buddy 7G USB AdapterThis is Insync Speech Technologies' latest and 7th generation USB adapter. The device is designed to replace a computer's on board sound card and is a perfect compliment to a good quality microphone when using speech recognition software. It has many features which go beyond those of it's predecessor, the 6G.


  • Full duplex operation (handles sound in and out)
  • Built-in audio filters for noise cancellation
  • Completely independent sampling rates for recording and playback
  • USB HID interface for seamless integration with third-party applications without the use of drivers or additional software
  • Fully customizable using InSync's free MyBuddyMic™ support and diagnostic utility
  • Replaces a desktop or portable computer’s built-in sound card for high-performance speech applications
  • Tested with Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking®, Microsoft® speech technologies, and other voice related applications

Comments: Although we are disappointed by the price on this USB adapter, it has a number of unique features that makes it worth considering over the previous Buddy 6G.

MSRP: $75.00
Our Price: $

Buddy 6G USB Sound Adapter

This is InSynch Speech Technologies' 6th generation of USB adapter, designed to replace the on-board sound card on your PC or Mac. Outwardly it appears identical to it predecessor, the 5G. The two important differences are:

  1. It appears to have a lower noise ceiling, so it will provide better speech to noise ratios when used with Dragon NaturallySpeaking
  2. It is compatible with the Sennheiser ME3 Microphone (previously only the monoplex Andrea USB adapter and Monoplex VXI USB adapters were directly compatible with the ME3)

The advantage of this device is that it is compatible with every microphone commonly used with speech recognition software, including the Sennheiser ME3. Like other USB adapters, the prime purpose is to affect the analog to digital conversion outside of your pc and free of potential electrical interference from other pc components.


  • Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0 compliant interface for audio devices
  • Duplex operation (color-coded microphone and speaker connection
  • Convenient mute switch for the microphone and amber light to indicate when muted
  • Power on indicator with steady green light
  • Accommodates monaural or stereo output
  • Supported operating systems: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac OS 9.04 or higher

Additional information:

Visit the manufacturer's web page
View Manufacturer's Specification Sheet
Instructions for using a USB sound adapter

MSRP: $49.95
Our Price: $

Andrea PureAudio Duplex USB Adapter

PureAudio USB AdapterThis is Andrea's latest contribution to the speech recognition world and is a top class in every way. It is small, works beautifully, and relatively inexpensive. It is about the size of thumb drive and has input jacks for both the microphone and speaker plug from your headset microphone. Unique to this device is employment of Pure Audio noise reduction algorithms. The result is extraordinarily low noise ceilings and excellent results with speech recognition products.

Although Andrea previously included a mini CD with an audio software package including Audio Commander, Audio Wizard, and Voice Center, they now provide access to this software using via web download. Please see the link below for details on these products - none are needed in order to use this device with speech recognition software.

Additional Information:

Special Note: A few users have had troubles with the drivers that come with this device and Andrea has posted updated drivers for the Pure Audio series of products at this location: Software Update for USB Audio Products. Scroll to the bottom of the page.

Comments: This seems to be a remarkably good product and works extremely well with speech recognition software. It clearly has lower noise ceilings than other USB sound adapters (see sample Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech/noise ratio obtained with an Andrea 91 microphone below). Please note, though, that this microphone is not compatible with the Sennheiser ME3 unless used with an Andrea P-100 power plug adapter. It is fully compatible with every other microphone we sell, including the UmeVoice (theBoom) microphones.

MSRP: $49.95
Our Price: $

Recycle SymbolIf your budget is extremely tight, consider purchasing a "barely used" version of this product from our stock of returned items. Learn more ...

VXI Duplex USB Sound Adapter

VXI Two-Way AdapterIf you are using an analog microphone plugged directly into your computer's sound card and are not getting the results you expect, it might be that the sound card is not up to the task or performance is being harmed by electrical interference. This is particularly possible in laptops, where the sound card is generally integrated into the motherboard. An external sound adapter does the analog to digital conversion outside of the computer and brings it to your software via an available USB port.

This duplex adapter works with virtually all microphones except the Sennheiser ME3 (for the Sennheiser ME3 we recommend the Andrea USB adapter).

Visit the Manufacturer's Web Site
View instructions for using a USB sound adapter

VXI Duplex USB Adapter
Usual Retail: $49.95 Our Price: $


Running the Windows Version of Dragon on your Mac

If you want to use the Apple hardware but have a need to run Windows software, you can run Windows on your Mac either on a separate partition using the native Apple utility "BootCamp" or in a virtual manner using either Parallels or VMWare Fusion. Any of these methods will allow you to run the Windows version Dragon on your Mac, but in general will only allow you to use Dragon within Windows applications running on your machine. In any of these scenarios it will be necessary for you to purchase a Windows operating system and full version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

BootCamp Logo
Picture of Parellels box
Fusion Logo


Using NaturallySpeaking on a Mac with BootCamp

In our opinion, this is the most reliable method of using speech recognition software on a Mac. It is, however, the least functional method if you are regularly using your Mac in the OS environment. Boot Camp is included (at no extra cost) with all recent Apple operating system.

When using Boot Camp, the hard drive on your Mac is simply divided into two partitions. The Mac OS sits on one partition and the Windows operating system sits on the other. Your machine can be booted up as either a Mac or Windows machine and when in either, it acts entirely in the manner of a native Mac or Windows machine. The problem is that communication between the two is very minimal and it is not possible to run Windows programs from the Mac side and visa versa. There is, however, the ability to see documents on the Windows side and open them (with Mac OS programs) while running your machine from the Mac side. We have not found a way to the do opposite (open documents on the Mac side while on the Windows partition).

In order to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking on your Intel Mac you will need to make a considerable investment and will require the following:

  • Your Intel based Mac
  • Windows operating system installation disk (Windows XP or Vista)
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking
  • Good quality microphone and external USB sound adapter

If you don't have the need for a Mac, this is an expensive way to go and you would be better off simply purchasing a Windows based PC. On the other hand if you already have an Intel based Mac or if you definitely need the ability to run both Windows and Mac programs, this method is one you should consider.

How does Boot Camp compare to using Fusion or Parallels on a Mac? Aside from the issue of needing to reboot to go from one operating system to another, Boot Camp offers the most stable and care-free way of running Dragon on a Mac. Dragon appears to run ever-so-slightly slower when used with both Fusion and Parallels. And, frankly, both Fusion and Parallels are a bit "twitchy" with the movement of sound from the Mac to Windows sides. This isn't a problem when using Boot Camp.

Picture of Parellels boxUsing NaturallySpeaking on an Intel based Macintosh using Parallels:

Although a potentially costly method since it requires purchasing the Windows operating system to install on your Mac, many have found using Dragon NaturallySpeaking on an Intel based Mac using the Windows operating system set up as a "virtual machine" using Parallels a very viable option. In our experience, this is a highly successful process and Dragon operates extremely well in the context of a virtual operating system.

Requirement include:

  • An intel based Macintosh
  • Parallels Software
  • Windows XP or Vista installation Disk
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking
  • All necessary microphone hardware (we recommend using a good quality microphone and a USB adapter)

The set-up process: We recommend the following method for setting up your NaturallySpeaking with Parallels (adapted from the method of "Web air" on the Parallels forum) and describe it in detail on our Dragon Parallels Set-up Page.

Fusion LogoNaturallySpeaking on an Intel Mac Using VMWare Fusion

Fusion is a product very similar to Parallels and for those already using this, we have testing Dragon NaturallySpeaking with Fusion and it works great! Like Parallels, you might sometimes run into some issues with proper translation of sound from the Mac OS side to Windows (and Dragon) within the virtual machine, but once you've worked out these issues, you will find that Dragon works beautifully.

As is the case with its competition, using Dragon with Fusion requires the following:

  • An intel based Macintosh
  • Fusion Software
  • Windows XP or Vista installation Disk
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking
  • All necessary microphone hardware (we recommend using a good quality microphone and a USB adapter)

We have tested a variety of microphones using the Windows XP virtual machine with Fusion and it appears to be virtually identical to the situation we found with parallels - the issue appears to be related more to the Apple hardware than the virtual machine software. In general most microphones worked best (and often worked only) when used with an external USB sound adapter. Please refer to our "Microphone Compatibility Page" for details of microphone compatibility with an Intel Mac.

Link to Fusion



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