Getting xvoice and ViaVoice working with a USB headset
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2003 17:25:43 +0100
From: Anthony Jameson
Subject: [Xvoice-user] A USB headset that works with xvoice and ViaVoice
USB headsets are especially valuable to laptop users because they
do not rely on the computer's sound card.
After some trial and error, I was able to get the Plantronics
DSP100 to work with ViaVoice and xvoice.
It has been known for some time that this headset works under
Linux (except for the mute button). The obstacle with ViaVoice is
that ViaVoice calls for a sampling rate of about 22000, while the
Plantronics gives about 44000.
I don't know exactly why the following steps worked, or which
ones are necessary, but in any case the results were good for me.
I now use RedHat 9, but the same steps also worked under RedHat 7.3.
- Under Windows I installed the firmware upgrade for this
headset, which is available from the Plantronics website
(http://www.plantronics.com). (Actually, there were strange error
messages during the installation, so I'm not sure that the
firmware was really upgraded.) This upgrade is claimed to be
especially important in connection with speech recognition
programs like ViaVoice. I'm not sure if it is required for
recently manufactured versions of the headset.
- I installed the alsa drivers (see http://www.alsa-project.org/).
Somehow I arrived at the following content in /etc/modules.conf,
some of which may be irrelevant here:
alias parport_lowlevel parport_pc
alias scsi_hostadapter ppa
alias usb-controller usb-uhci
alias snd-card-0 snd-usb-audio
alias sound-slot-0 snd-card-0
alias sound-service-0-0 snd-mixer-oss
alias sound-service-0-1 snd-seq-oss
alias sound-service-0-3 snd-pcm-oss
alias sound-service-0-8 snd-seq-oss
alias sound-service-0-12 snd-pcm-oss
alias sound-slot-1 audio
alias sound-service-1-0 snd-mixer-oss
alias sound-service-1-1 snd-seq-oss
alias sound-service-1-3 snd-pcm-oss
alias sound-service-1-8 snd-seq-oss
alias sound-service-1-12 snd-pcm-oss
post-install sound-slot-1 /bin/aumix-minimal -f /etc/.aumixrc -L >/dev/null 2>&1 || :
pre-remove sound-slot-1 /bin/aumix-minimal -f /etc/.aumixrc -S >/dev/null 2>&1 || :
It seems to be necessary to reboot after installing the drivers.
Before trying the headset with xvoice, you will want to see if
it works with ViaVoice and also set up a new voice model (while
using the same user name as before). As far as I can see, there
is no way within the normal ViaVoice applications to add a new
voice model for an existing user. A hack that seems to work is
- Edit the file that for the user "jameson" is called
"/root/viavoice/users/jameson/jameson.uid": In the line
Default_Enrollid = jam1
change "jam1" to "jam2".
Then create a file jam2.eid in the same directory by copying
the existing jam1.eid, replacing the "Description" of the voice
model with some appropriate text (e.g., "USB headset, office"),
and deleting everything starting with the "Status" block.
When you next start vvstartuserguru, you should be able to select
this voice model in the initial screen.
(If anyone knows of a better way of creating a new voice model,
please let us know.)
In vvstartuserguru, the real test is whether the system will
understand your speech once you start reading text that it really
processes (as opposed to just performing the audio test). If you
don't see the words you read being highlighted, there's something
wrong. You can see if rebooting helps. Otherwise, other sorts of
trial and error may help.
Once you have successfully trained ViaVoice with the new
headset, you can trying using xvoice. With the latest rpm version
of xvoice (xvoice-0.9.5-11.i386.rpm), the headset did not work
for me. But it did work after I had recompiled the latest version
of the sources with the option --with-esd. (By the way, during
the compilation I got a few error messages complaining about
missing functions like "v_start". I got around them by adding the
line "#include <stdarg.h>" at the beginning of the files that
were causing the errors.)
I invoke xvoice *without* the option --esd (or -e), because
when it is invoked with this option the microphone stops
recording after a few seconds of speech.
- If you use a laptop and sometimes put it into standby mode
after using the headset: Once you have brought the laptop back
out of standby you will have to unplug the headset from the USB
port and plug it in again in order for xvoice or ViaVoice to work.
Hope this helps someone,