Have you ever come across an audio file that won’t play in InqScribe? Although InqScribe supports a wide variety of formats (generally anything that will play in QuickTime 7 or Windows Media player 11), one day you may run into an audio file that won’t play correctly. If this happens, don’t panic, you can usually resolve the problem by converting or transcoding the file.
There are a few possible reasons why the file won’t play correctly. For example, it may be in an unsupported container or contain unsupported codecs. Converting the file will rewrite its data into a new, hopefully more legible format for InqScribe. In this article, I’ll explain how to convert/transcode an audio file using the free, open source software Audacity.
Remember, converting or transcoding involves decoding the original file, and then encoding the file into a new format. It’s not quite as simple as renaming a file “Example.wma” to “Example.mp3.” If you’re totally confused, check out our blog post “What is a Codec Anyway?” for an explanation of codecs, containers, transcoding, and more. If you have a video file you need to convert, head over to our “Video Conversion Tools” article.
Converting with Audacity
Audacity is something of a standard in the audio world. Although many use it to record and edit audio, you can also use it to convert or transcode files.
The first step will be downloading and installing Audacity (available here: audacityteam.org). Audacity is a free, open source software available for Mac and PC. It is unaffiliated with InqScribe. Once you have it ready, here’s what to do:
- Launch Audacity and select “File > Import > Audio”. Choose the file you’d like to convert and click Open.
- Audacity will begin loading the file. Once loaded, you should see at least one blue waveform appear on screen
- Select “File > Export Audio.” Here, you’ll be given some options. You’ll want to first choose a name and save location for your converted file. Then, select the format for the new file. To maximize compatibility, we generally recommend the MP3 format.
- If you want more control over the quality (the default is 128 kbps) and bit rate, you can customize your settings by selecting the “Options” button.
- Once you have the settings to your liking, select “Save.”
- Audacity will then prompt you to “Edit Metadata”. Here, you can enter artist name, track title, album title, etc. This is primarily useful for music files. Feel free to leave these columns blank– they are not necessary.
- Click “OK” and Audacity will convert the file.
That’s it! Now load the new file into InqScribe (either by dragging it into the media window or by clicking “Select Media Source”) and transcribe away.
If you still can’t get the file to play correctly, or if you have any questions for us, feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.