Court Reporting equipment
I have talked to most the court reporters is in the country today, and the number one issue that they have in their minds is the poor quality coming from their audio sync court reporting software. Everyone is frustrated by the lack of quality in the records. So I'm going to set the record straight with definitive answer to your questions. I'm going to break it down to two categories, laptop recordings and steno machine recordings.
First, lets' talk about laptop recording, because it's what most of the court reporters are using in their work. Often times court reporters call me as they realize that their new laptop only has one input/output socket. This is often called a combo jack. It combines a microphone and a headset into one input, and is a disaster for court reporters. So when you buy a laptop you should be looking for a computer that has two jacks. One for a headset, and one for a microphone. The natural solution for this is a USB microphone for reporters, that doesn't use an analog input. The problem with this is that most USB microphones are made in China with inferior sound quality. So if your microphone or adapter says Andrea on it, it's made in China and costs about a few dollars to manufacture. This will reflect in your audio sync recordings.
The next major mistake that court reporters make is, they buy their microphones from the East Coast. These microphones are often cheap imitations of the Martel court reporter microphones. A cheap microphone just amplifies all the sounds around you (including background noise). This will leave you with a lot of extraneous noise and it will be very difficult for you to create an accurate transcript, not to mention taking up a lot of your time. All of the Martel microphones are specifically designed for voice, and the quality that we produce is the highest in the world. Each Martel microphone is handcrafted in California to broadcast quality specifications. Another feature that makes the Martel microphones unique is the integration of a hearing aid IC chip inside. The hearing aid chip filters out background noise like air conditioners, paper rustling, and ambient noise. This cutting-edge high-tech filter is actively tracking human voice. Lastly, and just as important, Martel microphones have a gain that turns up the volume when people are speaking in low or hushed tones. Additionally the further voices are heard by the mic, it continues to turn up it's power. That is the reason why if you've used a Martel microphone, you will continue to use one for the rest of your career.
Now there's a lot of disinformation out there from the court reporter website forums. I hear court reporters saying that there's a $50 microphone that's great. Let me equate this to someone who's been driving around in a 1975 Ford Pinto their entire life. If I gave them a Bentley for a year, do you really think that they would still think they're Pinto is the best. Of course not, and this is the unfortunate recommendation from court reporters that I read on so many websites. Let me set the record straight, you get what you pay for when it comes to court reporting microphones. A high-end Martel microphone lets you produce ultra accurate transcripts in about half the time. You won't have to keep listening over and over again to the same words, because you understand it the first time you hear.
Let's revisit the USB microphones for a moment. The Martel elite court reporter microphone has a HD sound card in it, that produces a sound field. So what is a sound field you might ask? Your sound field gives you a left and right directional pick up of the voices just like in the movie theater. This is how your brain normally processes voice in communication, from your left and right year. This speeds up transcribing by around 25-30% The Chinese USB mic jacks/sound cards don't have this feature. So it's really important that you know where your microphone is manufactured.