Week 19, 2017: More on voice-to-text, Oppo Sonica wireless speaker

Sound Advice
By Don Lindich

Week 19, 2017

Q. We enjoyed your column on using voice-to-text on smartphones, but don’t know how to go back and correct a mistake. Could you please help out on that? We imagine you need to use those fingers to backspace & type in the correction, would that be right?

-B.C., Candia, NH

A. You are on the right track, but just using backspace from the end of the entered text could erase a lot of correct words if the correction is in the middle of a sentence or paragraph. In these cases, you can touch the screen where the error is and use backspace to erase, then re-type manually.
You can also highlight all the incorrect text with your finger and backspace to delete it. Then you can manually type and correct it. A stylus may be useful if you have trouble getting your fingers to place the cursor exactly what you want.

Q. What programs and apps use voice-to-text, and where it will insert the text? If you need special applications and programs, what is compatible with it?

-L.L., Minneapolis, MN

A. You do not need a special program to use voice-to-text. It will insert text wherever you have a text field and a cursor. You can use it to put text in the notes app, in a search box, in the bodies of emails, and for text messages.

Oppo Sonica Wireless Speaker: This week’s featured Bluetooth speaker is the Sonica from Oppo Digital, a company known for its class-leading Blu-ray players and headphones. Unlike the other Bluetooth speakers I have been discussing recently, the $299 Sonica also offers Wi-Fi and AirPlay capability with high resolution audio support.

There is an Ethernet connection for wired network use, a miniplug input and a USB port for playback from flash drives. Two Sonica speakers can be set up as a stereo pair, and multiple units can be configured to offer whole-home audio. Everything is controlled by a dedicated app that I found to be effortless to set up and use. It does not have a battery and must be used with AC power.

Sound quality is rich and dynamic, with a surprising amount of bass given the moderate size of the speaker. I especially liked the ability to fine-tune the sound according to the room size and type. Several presets are provided and the app will guide you in selecting the proper sonic profile for your room and taste, with the additional option to boost the bass as well. I tried the bass boost and it never made the bass sound sloppy, boomy or artificial, a credit to the thoughtful design that obviously went in to this product.

If I had to sum up the Sonica in a single world, it would be, “smart.” It matches the excellent sound quality of my favorite $300 Bluetooth speaker, the Cambridge Audio Bluetone, while adding a tremendous amount of flexibility and control, all at the same price. The app is one of the best (perhaps the very best) of its type that I have ever used, and you can’t get better sound or capability at the price. It is also one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to set up whole-home audio with excellent sound.