Jul 11, 2014
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Should You Record Analog Or Digital Audio For Transcription

If you normally record audio files for transaction, it is important to be well informed about audio formats. The reason for this is that the nature of sound recordings can affect the accuracy and time taken to complete a transcript and the convenience of handling those files. Generally, audio files can be either digital or analogue. Both of these audio formats have their own pros and cons. Before delving into that though, first what is the difference?

Man Listening to Headphones at Desk

The difference between Analog and Digital Audio

Analog audio captures sound in its natural form by recording it as a continuous wave. Some of the gadgets used for this include cassette and tape recorders. Usually, analog audio is stored on a magnetic tape. On the other hand, digital audio gadgets record sound as bits of data, in the same way that you store audio files on a computer’s hard drive, mp3 player, compact disk or any other digital media.

Audio Vs Analog Recording for Transcription

From a transcription point of view, digital audio files provide many advantages over those in analog format. Most audio typing agencies can work with both analog and digital audio files, but the latter format is often a better choice because of the following reasons.

  • Digital audio recordings have a higher signal-to-noise ratio. This means that there are negligible traces of recorder-induced noises such as tape hisses as is the case with cassette recordings. As such, digital audio offers better quality.
  • The beauty about digital audio file types is that they are less prone to damage. Magnets can easily damage or distort information stored on tapes. Digital copies remain the same as long as they are not corrupted.
  • Another huge advantage of recording digital audio files for transcription is that are easy to manipulate. This can make communication easier when it comes to giving instructions or feedback for a transcript. For instance, if you do not want minutes 5 to 20 seconds transcribed, your audio typist will easily skip that section since transcription software displays minutes while playing an audio file.

In the same way, a transcriptionist can easily let you know the precise time when an inaudible word occurs. This allows you to fast-forward your audio file to the specified section and easily fill in the blank. With an analog recording, it would be hard to mark the time when an inaudible section starts with accuracy. This would make you flick back and forth or listen to the entire analog recording.

The audio typist on the other hand would have to resort to using a stopwatch when it comes to identifying which sections of the tape to skip, and this can be time consuming.

It is quite clear that digital audio files are the best when it comes to handling transcription work. You can send these files via email instead of sending parcels of video cassettes. This in turn saves you money on postage costs. In addition, digital recordings are easier to manipulate hence will save you time. Since digital audio tends to be of better quality than analog file types, this can also lower the cost of transcription because less time will be required to complete the transcript.

Arthur Wallace, a prosecuting attorney based in Edinburgh, records audio files a lot in his line of work. He has a passion for writing and educating others on transcription services. Click here to learn about Arthur’s trusted audio typing agency in the UK.

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