Disability. Technology.

Accessible Blogging!

This is just a quick post, but I was far too excited about this little discovery to not share it.

So after my last post about the trouble of accessing blogging as a medium, I felt like I was probably going to put jack this in. Lots of people suggested that voice to text would be the obvious solution for my issues with typing. But voice to text has never worked well for me, in fact it’s so bad usually that it’s not even worth my time to try.

That is… Until now! Putting my day job skills to use, I figured I’d found the problem: ambient noise. The microphones on our devices are picking up sound from all around the environment. They’re not just hearing my voice. Is this environmental sound making it harder for the devices to hear what I’m saying in the first place? Perhaps the software isn’t so bad, and it’s the audio input that’s the problem.

It seems I was right! Using my trusty Shure SM7B, which I record all my vocals with, I decided to try again with the voice to text thing. The SM7B is the beloved mic of pro podcasters – you’ll see it on Joe Rogan, amongst others. And via that is how I’m typing this right now. With a microphone that is only picking up my voice and doesn’t pick up ambient sound, going through what is admittedly quite and expensive and fancy audio interface, I’m getting crisp, professional audio into my Mac. And sure enough, it works! I’m just using the default dictation in macOS, but with the right microphone it seems that it finally works for me.

No I’m not suggesting that this is an accessible solution for everybody, for one thing it’s quite expensive. It’s just that I have these things set up all the time anyway because I make music every day. For those of you who might be interested, this is the signal chain:

SM7B > Cloudlifter > Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 audio interface

If you’re thinking that seems like overkill to get voice to text to work, you’re absolutely right. It is a faintly ridiculous solution, but it works perfectly for me. 

So I guess that’s me back to blogging.

As you were!