Quality is everything … isn’t that how the saying goes? Well, it does if the quality pertains to audio for the purposes of transcription!
Too many times we receive audio files for transcription where the quality doesn’t come close to being of excellent quality let alone audible, like it could or should with today’s technology and extensive range of digital voice recorders. Unfortunately, when we advise a client that due to the audio quality, we will only be able to achieve 50% of the dialogue, they ask us to “go ahead”. Little do they realise it can sometimes be just a setting on the recorder or the wrong recorder for the recording setting or not being aware of background noise when recording not to mention blowing out the transcription time which is costly for them. Simple things, yet vastly important, when capturing excellent audio quality for transcription. And to be honest, there’s nothing worse than a transcriptionist having to sit through badly recorded audio, not to mention damaging to the inner ear drums!
The good news is an excellent quality digital voice recorder is not expensive so minimal outlay for more audible audio and therefore a cleaner transcript.
We recommend the following digital voice recorders:
Two speaker meeting/interview:
Olympus WS-750M – small notetaker with 4Gb of on-board memory which can be expanded using the microSD slot, not that you would need to, 4Gb will give you 32 hours of continuous recording on the highest quality MP3 recording mode. Powered by a single rechargeable AAA battery (or with a standard alkaline AAA) this tiny recorder will give you superb audio quality for your one on ones.
With its huge amount of memory (4Gb) which can be expanded even further if you are one for utilising flash memory via the microSD card slot this little recorder also doubles as a handy memory stick to keep your music (which you can play through the recorded and listen through earbuds) or any other digital files you might like to keep handy. The recorder itself is very small and lightweight and will pick up great audio even when tucked into a shirt pocket. It weighs a tiny 51 grams even with the battery in and is a smidge under 10cm tall, 4cm wide and a fraction over 1cm thick.
Focus groups, larger meetings:
Bigger groups calls for a beefier recorder, ladies and gentlemen we proudly present the Olympus DM-3. New to Australia, this recorder only arrived in July 2011 and took over from the very popular DM-450 recorder. Housed in an aluminium shell this is a sturdy recorder with a full colour LCD screen and superb audio pickup. Also a 4Gb recorder and powered by a rechargeable battery OR via USB power from your PC or Mac this unit will give you just over 24 hours of continuous recording in its 320kbps high quality MP3 recording mode which is perfect for large meetings. You also have the option of stepping up to PCM recording (higher than CD quality) uncompressed WAV audio in which case you can squeeze just over 4 hours recording in this mode.
Both recorders are Mac and Windows compatible, record in either mp3 or wma audio formats and need no software to access the audio files, simply USB plug and play. Both are also extremely easy to use, power on, hit record and thats it.