Speech Recognition: SoundMax Cadenza

Hit On System Performance

While running the different functions of the Speech Recognition in XP, I continued to measure performance on the CPU and memory usage. I first ran the test while using voice control in Microsoft Word. I spoke my way through all the menus and menu commands to find the average amount of CPU usage. I found that as I spoke, the CPU usage spiked between 20% and 25% for each word. This wait-for-command approach is intelligent when compared to a system that would consistently hog CPU power and wait for the user's voice. This system apparently waits for the user to speak, and then uses the CPU to process the dictation.

The second test I conducted was on the CPU usage of the Dictation function in Microsoft Word. Unlike the Voice Control function, the CPU usage was constant and lingered between 17% and 23% when no words were being spoken. When words were spoken, however, CPU load soared, averaging between 30% and 70%, and at some points even reached 100%. This may not be such a large problem, considering that when you are dictating a paper, you usually are not doing other things on your desktop.

Running the same performance tests with Dragon Naturally speaking, the results had negligible difference.


The dream of perfect or near-perfect speech recognition has existed for a long time, but only recently has the dream become a possible reality. Are we there? No. Are we getting there? Yes. With the software improvements discussed in this article, SoundMAX has definitely developed a quality speech recognition product. Depending on whether you use Windows XP/ MS Office's built-in speech engine or a third-party speech engine, your ease of use, accuracy, and enjoyment of the feature may vary. In our test, we used Windows XP speech and Dragon Naturally Speaking, and found that the latter performed better than the Microsoft engine when paired up with SoundMax Cadenza.

Voice recognition software is one of the most impressive technologies around today. I recommend SoundMax technology highly.

Test System Configuration

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ProcessorIntel Pentium 4 2.26 GHz (533 MHz)
Memory2 x 256 MB, DDR266
Graphic CardsNVIDIA GeForce4 Ti4200NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti4200-8xNVIDIA GeForce4 MX440NVIDIA GeForce4 MX440-8xATI Radeon 9000 Pro
MotherboardIntel D845EBT Blue Mountain
Audio DeviceSoundMAX Cadenza
Drivers & Software
Graphics DriverNVIDIA GeForce2 MX200
DirectX Version8.1
MS WordOffice XP
Dragon Naturally SpeakingVersion 6
OSWindows XP Professional
Benchmarks & Settings
General Voices RAPMeterRetail Version V1.0