Just a note on Transcriber - it is fantastic if you really have a need
to tie the transcription to the audio - but my experience of it was that
its very labour intensive to get the right text to tie to the right
audio with any accuracy - after a couple of interviews I went on to
Express Scribe and I find it does everything I want in a lot less time -
especially as I like to use keyboard shortcuts in Word when
transcribing. Regularly jotting down the time on the recording during
transcription makes it a doddle to find the original audio again. If
you're doing your analysis in another program (like NVIVO), going to the
audio in express scribe is just about as fast as finding it again in the
From: qual-software [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Sent: 18 July 2003 14:46
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Digital audio recording and transcription
Just briefly to add to Alan's message, Transcriber enables you to do the
transcription on a computer (PC or Mac) and tie the transcription to the
audio file. It is free and details are available on both of the links
provided. He has details on his excellent site for exporting such a
transcription to Atlas-TI and on mine I have details for NVivo.
The main issue is that you need to create the audio files - MiniDisc
(although a digital format, its files cannot be played directly on a
computer) and cassette players can easily be connected to a computer and
the sound they produce recorded by the computer.
Alan's discussion of digital recorders summarises well what the
opaque audio specialist resources suggest. The advantage is that you can
transfer the digital files directly from the recorder. The trouble is
technology is not yet reliable enough to recommend it - though it should
in the next couple of years (a subjective evaluation - you might want to
test things out yourself). Another brand to check out (and which people
have reported success with at the recent conference at the Institute of
Education) is Archos which records directly into mp3 format
<http://www.archos.com/products/prw_500279.html>. You might want to get
external microphone for it. In the UK it's c £250 on their website
--On 18 July 2003 09:21 -0400 Alan Stockdale <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I have never used one and the various people that have done
> for me using Transcriber have never felt the need, although I have
> to buy one if they wanted it. The one I am aware of is the PI
> X-Keys Foot Pedal. See http://www.ymouse.com/product/pxkfoot.htm.
> may be other options.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Xavier Moonen" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Friday, July 18, 2003 7:53 AM
> Subject: Re: Digital audio recording and transcription
> Any suggestions about foodpedals?
> Xavier Moonen
> -----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
> Van: qual-software [mailto:[log in to unmask]]Namens Alan
> Verzonden: donderdag 17 juli 2003 19:13
> Aan: [log in to unmask]
> Onderwerp: Re: Digital audio recording and transcription
> Here's my 2 cents ;-)
> also see:
> Quick answers to issues you raise below:
> 1. You are correct about the use of VR.
> 2. You could transcribe directly from MD, particularly if you have a
> recorder like the Sony MZ-B100, but it is probably not the easiest way
> go. rerecording the audio to PC and then using software is one way to
> This can be cheap. I buy decent audio recording software (e.g.
> 2000 about $70 online). There are a number of software programs that
> be used for transcription that are free: Transcriber, Express Scribe,
> etc. Some programs will synchronize the audio to the transcript (very
> useful!). You can buy foodpedals that can be setup to work with any
> software program if you feel the need.
> MD has been around for a long time. It is a mature technology. The
> quality is very good. Cost is also low. It has the best quality/cost
> ratio. You won't go too far wrong with anything made by Sony or Sharp
> with a mic-in jack (some don't have this). See
> for more information. My own preference is for Sharps. Issues with MD
> general are 1. Lack of fast digital transfer to PC. 2. Needs to be
> with a little care.
> Solid state is the future. Several choices at the moment. Best options
> probably: 1) Digital memo recorders. I'm not convinced current
> are suited to doing qualitative research but some people use them.
> are getting better each year. Check out the new Olympus DM-20. Not
> what it costs. Probably not really cheap. 2)Professional solid state
> recorders. Most affordable is the new Marantz PMD670. Very serious
> interview and meeting recording tool with nearly every bell and
> one might desire. You may find it too heavy/large, uses too many
> batteries, and still too costly (although much cheaper that their
> models). The digital equivalent of the WMD 6C doesn't exist yet.
> has told me they understand the need and are working on
> cheaper/smaller/lighter/simpler solid state recorders. Maybe in 2004
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Steff Hazlehurst" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2003 7:47 AM
> Subject: FW: Digital audio recording and transcription
> I recently posted the query below to the research administrators list,
> but a colleague has pointed me towards this list, where you clearly
> lots of expertise in this subject. I've looked in the recent archives
> I can't see the exact question I am asking, so I hope you will be
> with me if it has been asked before.
> I am willing to go digital with audio recordings, but am concerned
> how transcription actually works in practice and what it will cost to
> change over (bearing in mind that we will work in both tape and
> mode for some years as we can't afford to dump all the existing
> equipment!). Some people have suggested to me that what they do is
> on mini-disc, then transfer to tape and transcribe from that. Is this
> best we can do? Your advice would be much appreciated.
> Looks like the standard of the list is open response to all, but am
> to receive private responses and create a summary if preferred.
> Many thanks
> -----Original Message-----
> I know we are not alone in having been users of Sony Walkman WMD 6C
> recorders hitherto, for recording research interviews and focus groups
> onto normal-sized cassettes for note taking and transcription. These
> then played back, either on the walkman, or on standard transcription
> machines, by researchers themselves, or contracted out transcribers,
> depending on the size and nature of the job.
> However, our supplier has finally run out of WMD 6Cs (having been
> importing them from the US of late), and tells us Sony is stopping
> manufacturing them, and wants us to go digital. It's that or a machine
> which we have previously found inferior (but cheaper!). I should note
> that we still have one or two Marantz machines, but despite their high
> quality these are less favoured by users because of the extra weight,
> me because of the extra cost.
> So I would like to know your experience of using digital recording in
> sort of circumstances I am outlining. My reservations are:
> 1. That it cannot in practice be sent direct to voice recognition
> as the manufacturers claim, because this software takes time to
> recognise a speakers voice, which is fine for dictation, but will not
> for one-off interviews, and worse, focus groups.
> 2. I don't know what the options for playback and review for
> are otherwise - do we then need to buy half a dozen new transcription
> machines at £300 each, say? Or can the recording material (flash
> cards or whatever) be put into PCs and replayed and reviewed via some
> piece of audio software whilst typing (obviously not going to be as
> as using a foot pedal, but might be ok)? Or do you feed it through the
> voice recognition software once, then get a human being to correct the
> errors while they listen to it? And I normally assume 4 hours
> transcription per hour of recording, using standard transcription
> machines with foot pedal rewind, what will any of these changes mean
> that time, and hence my budgets?
> I will of course be talking to my suppliers about what they recommend,
> but I suspect what suppliers think happens, and what happens in
> may be two different things, and any advice on actual human/workload
> effects/implications would be really helpful. Also if you have gone
> digital and could make specific recommendations on make/model of
> recorders and playback equipment (both to choose and to avoid!), that
> would be particularly helpful.