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Trible Media - Training and Documentation: Digital Audio and Transcription

Trible Library Media Center training documents and videos.

Interviewing Tips and Techniques

Audio Equipment and Software

XLR cables

This is where the Media Center puts information on using microphones and audio devices - particularly, items that are available for checkout.

YouTube and Transcription

YouTube will automatically transcribe any video you upload.  It may take a few hours, but once it is done, you can see the results!

Here's how you can review automatic captions and make changes, if needed:

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. From the left menu, select Subtitles.
  3. Click the video you want to add captions or subtitles to.
  4. Under “Subtitles”, click More  next to the subtitles you want to edit.
  5. Review automatic captions and edit or remove any parts that haven't been properly transcribed.

See the official page here.

Outside Links

NPR's Ear Training for Producers -- covers recording, editing and mixing problems and how to make a polished audio product.

More Audio Training from NPR - covers storytelling, podcasts and more.

Podcasting Tips for Better Audio Quality - 10 tips to help


Manual (on) Transcription - an excellent overview


Audio Editing Software Help Documents

Free/Open Source Audio Editing Software:

  • Audacity

    • ‚ÄčAudacity is a free, easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. The interface is translated into many languages.

  • Ardour

    • Ardour is an open source, collaborative effort of a worldwide team including musicians, programmers, and professional recording engineers. Multi-track audio recorder and editor for Linus, OS X, and Windows.

  • LMMS

    • LMMS is an open source digital audio workstation application program that allows music to be produced by arranging samples, synthesizing sounds, playing on a MIDI keyboard and combining the features of trackers and sequencers. Compatible with GNU/Linux, OpenBSD, OS X and Windows.

  • ocenaudio

    • ocenaudio is a cross-platform, easy to use, fast and functional audio editor that is available for all major operating systems: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

  • WavePad

    • WavePad is a full-featured professional audio and music editor for Windows and Mac. It lets you record and edit music, voice and other audio recordings.

Recommended Microphones

Dynamic microphones:  Unidirectional mics pick up sound from only one direction and the most common type is the cardiod mic, better used when sound is emanating mainly or just from one particular source is required. 
  USB Condenser microphones:  Condenser microphones have a frequency and transient response.  This type of microphone is fragile and is really sensitive to loud sounds.
  Shotgun microphones: Shotgun microphones have a very narrow recording area, which is located on the sides of the microphone.  Due to the narrowness of their sensitivity area, shotgun microphones are commonly used on television and film sets, in stadiums, and for field recordings.
  Lavalier microphones: Lavalier microphones are worn on the body and are hands-free. These small microphones are worn on the body near the mouth and pick up audio in mono.
  Wireless microphones: If your subject requires movement while capturing audio, the wireless microphone may be best.  Our wireless lavaliere mics are wired to miniature body-pack transmitters, which fit into a pocket or clip onto a belt. 


Microphone hookups

USB - a digital audio interface for both Apple and PC machines. 

Mini-jack (3.5mm) - commonly used for headphones and older microphones.  Very common

1/4in or TRS - the larger single plug - used in patch cables and older electronics.  Still used. 

XLR - a large, 3-prong, round plug - used with shotgun mics and handheld mics.  A tried and true, professional jack. 

Stereo/RCA - indicated by red (right) and white (left) cables that are round with a pole in the middle.  Older devices use these.  If you see a yellow one, that one is for video. 

polar patterns in microphones

Pattern pickup in microphones is also called a polar pattern.  Based on the above pictures, you can see that the type of microphone may have a completely different pattern from another one.  Cardiod and Hypercardiod are the most common that we carry in the Media Center.  It is important to know the pattern of the microphone and if it would best fit a specific situation.  

more polar patterns


Dictation and Foot Pedals

When recording voice - here are a few tips we suggest:

-know your device and how to operate it 

-do a test recording to see what it picks up

-aim for negative 12 decibels - the closer you approach 0 decibels, the more likely you will get clipping of audio

-use headphones or ear buds to see what is being picked up in the recording

-avoid tapping and jostling the device - it will pick this up!

-speak clearly and ask the other person to speak up if needed


We like the program Express Scribe for transcription.  It works well with our Olympus transcription pedals.  They have three buttons you operate with one foot - backwards/play/fast forward.  They provide an excellent way to pace yourself as you type up dictation.

Express Scribe allows for typing and audio playing all in one window.  Instead of switching back and forth to different programs, Express Scribe allows you to do everything you need in one window and you can cut and paste that into a new document.  Go to Preferences and then Control and enable foot pedal controller.  Then, use the Controller Setup Wizard and select the Olympus pedal (make sure it is plugged in).  After that, it is ready to be used with the program.

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