Audio and Video File Formats

The choices available to you from which to choose an audio file format that is best suited to your recording needs seems endless. However, the formats available to you will be limited to those your recording device is able to produce. My recommendations for which format to use are as follows:

For Dictation

Compressed file formats such “.dss” or “.dct” (encrypted to protect data) are suitable choices for dictation recording. As the recording contains only one voice and the speaker usually has the microphone or recording device located close to their mouth, a compressed file format is a good choice. Being compressed file formats, the file sizes are small and therefore allow for quick and easy file transfer to the transcriptionist. If your recording device does not allow for “.dss” or “.dct” file formats, then “.mp3” or “.wma” are also suitable choices.

Dictation Transcription: The Process

For Interviews and Lectures

Uncompressed file formats such as “.wav” (Windows) or “.aiff” (Mac) are the recommended choices for recording interviews. Lossless compressed audio file formats such as “.mp3” or “.wma” would also be suitable choices but the quality of recording will not be as good as the “.wav” or “.aiff” file formats. Especially in noisy environments, the better choices are “.wav” or “.aiff” to gain the best possible clarity of voice input.

Interview Transcription: The Process

Lecture and Speech Transcription: The Process

For Disciplinary Procedures and Focus Groups

The obvious and most appropriate choice for the recording of disciplinary hearings are the “.wav” (Windows) or “.aiff” (Mac) file formats. These uncompressed file formats provide a quality of recording that will provide the best possible solution for hearing spoken input, especially in a setting where speech overlap and environmental noises such as white noise, air conditioning and paper shuffling could compromise the recording of the voice input. In a quieter environment and where the disciplinary procedure is restrained and disciplined, lossless compressed audio file formats such as “.wma” and “.mp3” may be suitable.

Disciplinary Procedure Transcription: The Process

Focus Group Transcription: The Process

  • AAC
  • ACT
  • AIFC (Compressed AIFF)
  • AIFF
  • AMR
  • APE
  • AU
  • CAF (Apple Core Audio Format)
  • DCT (Express Dictate, MSRS, etc.)
  • DSP TrueSpeech
  • DSS
  • DVF (Sony recorder)
  • DVS (Royal recorder)
  • FLAC
  • OGG
  • M4A
  • MP2
  • MP3
  • MPC
  • MSV (Sony recorder)
  • QCP
  • RA / RM (RealAudio)
  • SHN
  • SPX
  • VOC
  • VOX
  • WAV (Including ADPCM, aLaw, GSM 6.10, PCM, and uLaw codecs)
  • WMA
  • 3G2
  • 3GP
  • ASF
  • AVI
  • DivX
  • DV
  • FLV
  • M4V
  • MKV
  • MOV
  • MP4
  • MPEG
  • WMV

Choosing a file format for dictation transcription
File format choice for transcription