Audio: Software

Software for processing sound

Record audio? There’s an app for that. An iOS app (Part 1)

Apps to Catch Stories or Record Audio What is the best app for recording a conversation? If you’re a family historian and have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, keep reading. This is the first of a multi-part series looking at iOS apps — apps that just record audio, and more complex apps to help the family storycatcher ask questions and record stories for family history.

At the iTunes store, there are so many apps to choose from. How do you know which one to use? What app can you trust to help you collect important stories from your family?

Before I get into evaluation of specific apps (which will come in Part 2, Part 3, Part n…), I’ll lay the groundwork here for the criteria I use to make that evaluation. You may find that I touch on some of your pet peeves about why you don’t like some apps as well as others.

Two flavors of apps

Audio recording apps for the family historian come in two major flavors: apps to record audio only, and special-purpose story-catching apps. Both of these work for face-to-face conversations. (A third type of app, to record phone calls, won’t be covered in this series. It’s on my To Do list, though.)

Recording apps are straightforward. Record Audio only.

Flavor 1: Record audio only. All audio, all the time.

This category of ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on January 31, 2014 in • AudioAudio: SoftwareInterviewingiOS
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Setting up Easy Voice Recorder to prepare for recording on your Android device

Using Easy Voice Recorder on an Android device Do you have an Android phone or tablet? Easy Voice Recorder is a good app for recording audio. Before you make your first recording, though, there are some essential things to set up. This is a recap of the setup walk-through I gave at Rootstech when I presented on using Android (and iPhone + iPad + iPod touch) to record family interviews.

If you haven’t done so already, download Easy Voice Recorder at the Google Play store. It’s free. You can get the Pro version for $3.99. (Go ahead, give the developer some love and coin. I definitely recommend the Pro version if you’ll be using an external microphone like the Edutige EIM-001, because you can adjust the gain [volume] setting in the Pro version.)

What steps are covered here

  • Change all the audio settings to CD-audio quality WAV files. Must. Do.
    If you’re going to the trouble of recording an interview, you (and your family member, and posterity) deserve to have the best sounding audio you can get.
  • Change the display of the record button to from white red. Nice to ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on April 25, 2013 in • AndroidAudioAudio: Software
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My Rootstech Session made it into Deseret News! Plus: a few links n tidbits

Screen capture of the Deseret News story regarding my Rootstech session on using iOS and Android devices to interview family members Thrilled. Pleased. Proud: My Rootstech session was written up in a story by Alexis Jones in the Deseret News. Welcome, Deseret News readers! Here are a few additional pointers, links, and tidbits.

Think Like an Interviewer

My Rootstech 2013 landing page for Rootstech attendees, with links to all my articles on interviewing.

Rootstech Session Syllabus
The session syllabus, on the Rootstech site. LOTS of detail there. Lots. Just go download the PDF right now. And hey, it links to the Rootstech 2013 page, mentioned above.

Audio-In on the iOS

The mother of all posts with all the audio-in compabitility for each and every iOS device since Apple introduced the iPhone and iPod Touch in 2007.

Now here Still to come: A summary of my slides of the process of setting up Easy Voice Recorder on Android.

Apps! We gotcher Apps right here

Recommended Apps for iOS devices (these links will ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on April 01, 2013 in • AndroidAudioAudio: HardwareAudio: SoftwareGenealogyInterviewingiOS
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Transcription or Dictation: Will HAL Open the Pod Bay Doors?

Dave Bowman, in 2001, interacts with the HAL 9000 computer. “Is there some way to automatically transcribe a recording?” That’s a question I recently received from this site. Automatically? What does that mean? In my mind’s eye, I see that this automatic transcription software should closely resemble the HAL 9000 computer from 2001: A computer that talks and can understand human speech. It’s a high ideal, but there are still technicalities involved. My conclusion, a while back, was, “I’m sorry, Dave, I just can’t do that.”

Is Automatic Speech Transcription HAL getting any closer to opening the Pod Bay Doors?

I conduct some tests using some speech-to-text tech I have on hand, and see how it stacks up against standard transcription. In this post: the test results, lessons learned, and best practices for each technique.

The HAL 9000, the computer from 2001 whichcould understand human speech (and even lip-reading!) The current state of HAL 9000:

There are many devices, services and software that act like Hal: Siri on iOS, the Android Google Voice, or any number of corporate voice address systems that say “speak your request and I’ll get you to the right department.”

With my 3rd generation iPad (March 2012 Retina Display, running the iOS version 5.x), I use the Dictation feature ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 13, 2013 in • AfterwardsAudioAudio: SoftwareHow-ToTranscription
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From Digital Audio Recording to Audio CD: Part 3 - iTunes and CD burning

Audacity into iTunes In the previous two how-to tutorials, we worked in Audacity with a digital audio file. Now we’ll export it from Audacity, import it into iTunes, and burn an audio CD with it.

Part 1:  Getting your audio into Audacity, whether by opening a digital audio recording made elsewhere, or using Audacity to record directly to your computer.
Part 2: Making minor edits to increase sound level.
Part 3:(You are here!) Exporting your recording to a file format that iTunes can use and creating an Audio CD.
Part 4: Dividing the audio into sections based on topics of discussion using Audacity’s Label Tracks.
(note: I may expand sections if any one of them gets to be too long. This section will be updated as I go.)

First, we work in Audacity to export the audio file to a WAV file (reminder from the little extra section in Part 1: WAV is an uncompressed file format. We ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on May 01, 2010 in • AudioAudio: SoftwareHow-To
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From Digital Audio Recording to Audio CD: Part 2 - Basic Audio Edits

Audacity Logo The Audacity how-to continues!! This second part of the series involves working in Audacity to edit your audio file.

A major sound edit technique: Changing Amplification (making a quiet recording louder).

This multi-part how-to series focuses on using Audacity and iTunes – two freely available pieces of software – to work with your recording and then create an audio CD.

Part 1:  Getting your audio into Audacity, whether by opening a digital audio recording made elsewhere, or using Audacity to record directly to your computer.
Part 2: (You are here!)Making minor edits to increase sound level.
Part 3: Exporting your recording to a file format that iTunes can use and creating an Audio CD.
Part 4: Dividing the audio into sections based on topics of discussion using Audacity’s Label Tracks.
(note: I may expand sections if any one of them gets to be too long. This section will be updated as I go.)

Amplifying audio

Here is a stereo file recorded using my portable-studio-in-an-Otter Box (described here).


image
(click to enlarge)

Notice that the ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on April 30, 2010 in • AudioAudio: SoftwareHow-To
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From Digital Audio Recording to Audio CD: Part 1 - Audio into Audacity

Audacity Logo headphones It starts with the audio recording you made after you said, “Hi Mom, I want to interview you about your memories about Grandma and Grandpa.” It ends with your burned Audio CD.

This multi-part how-to series focuses on using Audacity and iTunes – two freely available pieces of software – to work with your recording and then create an audio CD.

Part 1: (You are here!) Getting your audio into Audacity, whether by opening a digital audio recording made elsewhere, or using Audacity to record directly to your computer.
Part 2: Making minor edits to increase sound level.
Part 3: Exporting your recording to a file format that iTunes can use and creating an Audio CD.
Part 4: Dividing the audio into sections based on topics of discussion using Audacity’s Label Tracks.
(note: I may expand sections if any one of them gets to be too long. This section will be updated as I go.)

Part 1: Audio in Audacity

I love Audacity. It’s open source software (freely available, or volunteer a payment to support the effort). It’s cross-platform; ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on April 29, 2010 in • AudioAudio: SoftwareHow-To
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Countown to my Digital Audio Workshop

Am currently working hard to prepare for Friday’s “Birthing Digital” workshop at USC for the Southwest Oral History Association conference. What equipment am I bringing? Here’s a list.

YES, you can still sign up! (late fee waived!)

  • Two Mac Laptops to demo and test all the direct-to-computer tools
  • USB mic
  • 2 USB Audio Interfaces: Edirol’s and M-Audio’s
  • No wait, make that three. Creative Lab’s EEMU USB Audio Interface
  • iPod Nano and Belkin TuneTalk, plus Belkin GoStudio. Or, everything you wanted to know about turning your iPod into an audio studio (or quick, stealthy recorder)
  • M-Audio Microtrack II Portable Digital Recorder
  • Samson’s Zoom Handy H2 Portable Digital Recorder*
  • Marantz PMD 620 Portable Digital Recorder*
  • LiveScribe Pulse Pen
  • Possibly a Tascam portable recorder
  •  
  • My own portable recording kit, as written about here

*A couple of these will be for sale, (very) gently used, in about 3 weeks’ ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on March 24, 2009 in • AudioAudio: HardwareAudio: Software
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Listen & Type: A good transcription tool

I downloaded Listen & Type last night. It’s a handy transcription tool for Mac OS (Shareware. $15. 20 days’ tryout time). I’ve mentioned it before. But oh, it bears mentioning again. (Later today I’ll post the results of that transcription session). It takes a few minutes to adjust to after launch, but then you’re up and runni– er, typing.

When you first launch Listen & Type, an Open dialog box appears, directing you to open a sound or movie file. (Listen & Type works with any media file that QuickTime can work with.)

imageOnce you locate and open your media file, a new window appears, with playback controller and a small button labeled “Front.” Here’s the part that makes the app both tricky and wonderful: The window with the sound file floats above other windows on your screen. Once you click anywhere on the screen after it first opens, the Listen & Type window, though floating on top, is not the “active” window. Open up any text editor and that window is active. You can type to transcribe the speech while using a set ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on September 14, 2007 in • AudioAudio: SoftwareTranscription
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Making a recording self-explanatory

I’ve been finalizing an Audio CD of a 1980-era recording that my Mom gave to me. (For her birthday). I’m making copies for her and for a brothers and a coupla cousins that will be at a family gathering. The “think long term” mindset has dug in and changed the way I mark CDs and my other “metadata” (data about the data) that I’m including with the CD. The recording came to me with some gaps in info, a generation and family branch removed, so I’m learning by doing and trying to create as dense a nugget of info to pass on to others with the CD as I can.

I was amused by a little in-situ metadata that was part of the recording itself, identifying who the main speakers are. The original recording was made by my grandfather’s cousin, Bud or George (I hafta ask my Mom again. I wasn’t there, I don’t know. Have never met either.) It opens with my grandpa telling a story. At the end, the narrator’s voice comes on and says, “That was Bruce B[ family name].” My great uncle, his brother, also told a story. The narrator identified him, too. It’s obvious he made this recording for his side of the family, and identified the speakers on the other side—that would be my side. I, of course recognize the voices that he identified, and am frustrated by ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on July 18, 2007 in • AfterwardsAudioAudio: SoftwareDo it: YourselfLongevity
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Evoca- Record to this site from your phone

They’ve got a page devoted to oral history; Donald Ritchie is an advisor. Gotta check it out. It has that Web 2.0 shiny hype headline of “Evoca will change the way oral history is done.” (Thank goodness it does not say that “it will take your oral histories to the next level!” – can you tell I used to work in the software biz?) Anyway, there’s a nice quick guide on that page. I gotta check out the site some more. [via Place Based Education]

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 14, 2007 in • AudioAudio: SoftwareDo it: YourselfLinks
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Fission: new Mac app splits audio files

Rogue Amoeba’s new application, Fission is a minimalist audio editor for the MacOS. It cuts portions out of audio files. Most importantly, it splits longer audio files into smaller portions. It’s a compliment to another of Rogue Amoeba’s well-known offering, Audio Hijack. When I reviewed the universe of audio editor appliactions for importing oral history recordings into the computer, Audio Hijack didn’t make the short list. How could you break up long recordings into smaller portions if you wanted to segment Uncle Bob’s stories into separate audio tracks? Fission does that. Audio Hijack and Fission together cost $50–each, separately, cost $32. (Thanks to site member RBrower for bringing it to my attention!)

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on September 22, 2006 in • AudioAudio: Software
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Vermont Folk Life Center’s Field Research Guides

Field Research, as in field recording, as in portable audio recording equipment. As in information about solid state field recorders, and digitizing and editing recorded audio. Very good information from the Vermont Folk Life Center.

I learned about the Vermont Folk Life Center from reading the Oral History mailing list. Andy Kovalos always has a good word on the ins and outs of digital tools. He recently wrote to the list and said that they’d re-vamped their field recording guides. These pages are definitely worth a read.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on March 04, 2006 in • AudioAudio: HardwareAudio: SoftwareDo it: YourselfLinks
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PCWorld.com - Rip Your Records

This how-to article for PC users has many overlaps with digitizing audio recordings you make yourself of family oral history.

Rip your records

The article focuses on vinyl records, but the author tested different hardware and software that comes in handy for inputting family recordings. Of course, it’s likely that you won’t have family recordings on vinyl. But the sound cards, the audio input to computer and the process of digitizing them are very similar

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on May 03, 2005 in • AudioAudio: HardwareAudio: Software
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Mike Hurst’s Sound Editing presentation

Synopsis and tutorial movie as part of Sound Editing Training Day (March 15), in NE England.

Written synopsis and links to digital video demo (RealPlayer, QuickTime, Windows Media Player) of using Adobe Audition (Win only) software and the various commands used to minimally process sound to obtain a better quality recording.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on April 21, 2005 in • AudioAudio: Software
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