What are the Best Types of Audio Recordings for Transcription?

Do you need audio recording transcription services?  Any type of audio recording can be transcribed, however some audio files are easier to send, receive and play back than others.  If you are considering purchasing a recording device, investigate what file type the audio files are recorded in – it may influence which recorder you purchase.  Or if you are looking into sending your files to a audio recording transcription services company, knowing what audio file type your sound files are in will help the file transfer process go much smoother.

.wav files (Waveform Audio)
This is one of the most common audio files types, and they are very easy to download, access and send to your audio recording transcription services company.  However, .wav files are considered “lossless” files – meaning that the file is not compressed in any way.  This makes them, in general, the best for audio quality, but it also makes the file size very large.  These files take up a lot of room to store, and take some time to send.  Sending .wav files by regular email is usually not an option as most accounts limit the file size you can attach.  However, most professional audio recording transcription services companies have a secure site where large audio files can be sent through, or you can always save these files to a disk or flash drive to give to the transcriptionists.

.mp3 files (MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3)

Another common file type, .mp3 files are a compressed .wav file so they are much smaller in size.  This makes them faster to send, receive and download – so if quick turn-around time is of the essence for your transcribed documents, this might be a better file type than .wav to use.  However, their audio quality is in general not as good as with .wav files.

.wma (Windows Media Audio)

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This is an increasingly more common file type that was originally created by Microsoft.  These files were developed to work with Microsoft applications, including their Windows Media Player.  They are even smaller and more compressed than .mp3’s, which makes them another good option if uploading/downloading time is of a concern.  However as .wma files are less used than other audio file types, not every computer will automatically know which audio player to open the file with (this is especially true for non-Windows based computers.)  And as they are compressed, just like.mp3 files, their sound quality may not be as good as .wav files.

There are of course many other less-used file types, including: .ogg (Ogg Vorbis), .midi (Musical Instrument Digital Interface), .aif/.aifc/.aiff (Audio Interchange File), .au (Sun Audio) and .ea (Emblaze Audio.) However, if your recording is in one of these less-common audio files types, check with your transcription company before sending to see if they can accommodate these files.

Many digital audio recorders also have their own specific file formats, typically .dss or .dct files.  .dss files are Olympus recorder’s proprietary file type, so you will only see that file type when using an Olympus digital recorder.  .dct files are made by several different brands of audio recorders. Any audio recording transcription services company should be able to accommodate these files easily.

Ditto Transcripts is a Denver, Colorado transcription company that provides fast, accurate and reliable audio recording transcription services for individuals and companies of all sizes. Call 720.287.3710 today for a free quote, and ask about our free five-day trial.

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