OT: workflow for transcription?

It’s tangentially related, since I’ll be transcribing into Dorico… :laughing:

What do others use for transcription? Workflow, foot pedal, etc?

This? https://www.amazon.com/Express-Scribe-Transcription-Software-Pedal/dp/B00FZ51MTI/

Cheapo usb foot pedal (I think one of these: https://www.vpedal.com/product/vp-1-usb-pedal-3-switch-2/) and Express Scribe (which I think came on a CD-ROM with the pedal, but I’ve updated at a cost at some point in the past 10 years).

Express Scribe is really pretty basic. I have it set so that the middle pedal plays until I release it, at which point the playback auto-rewinds by 300ms or thereabouts (I can’t remember exactly - I haven’t looked at the settings for years). The left pedal rewinds; the right pedal fast forwards (fasts forward?). Importantly, Express Scribe runs in the background.

I also own a Transcribe! license but have barely touched it. IIRC it does a much better job of half speed playback.

That looks expensive compared with Transcribe from https://www.seventhstring.com/xscribe/overview.html, especially if you already have a MIDI piano pedal.

I’ve used Transcribe for decades.

I highly recommend audiostretch for ipad or iphone. That and dorico are my main tools for transcribing :slight_smile:

Rob, how does the piano pedal work with Dorico? Is that a problem?

Hi Dan,

I use Anytune Pro. It’s similar to Transcribe or Amazing Slow Downer, but I find it more comfortable to use.
You can see the audio as a waveform, you can define loops or set markers, so it’s nice and easy to navigate through the music.
And it sounds good, even with strongly reduced tempo. Also, I have a set of commands on my Stream Deck for it.

I tempo map the audio in Reaper so that I can navigate and loop by measure or beat, and also to export to Dorico. I slow the audio down with the master playrate dial, with “Preserve pitch in audio items when changing master playrate” enabled. Sometimes I add useful plugins like filters and sometimes I even change the octave. I have my MIDI controller monitored on a track in Reaper, which I have routed to a piano VST on another track and a track that sends to Dorico (via loopMIDI). For synchronous playback, I might time clicking Play in both Dorico’s and Reaper’s transports, or otherwise I might export the audio from Reaper as a video, which I can then attach to a flow.

You can control Transcribe from any Midi controller, not just a specialized non-Midi pedal. (So I guess you could control it from a Stream Deck and forget about pedals, if you want).

Just delete the Dorico preference for generating pedal lines from CC64 data. Dorico will ignore the pedal, Transcribe will ignore MIDI note input (unless you teach it to use MIDI notes to control something).

I use Transcribe! almost daily. It’s a great piece of software and the 70% preset is very helpful as well as the EQ settings. The setting that shows notes I find almost useless except occasionally it will pull out a hard to hear bass note. Leo totally changed my workflow about a year ago when he clued me in to the fact that you can assign MIDI pedals to it. I usually just leave Transcribe in the background and control it with foot pedals that came with my MIDI keyboard. On PC, make sure you have a setup with multiple MIDI virtual channels and a way to route them, especially if you use an external VST Player for sounds. If you use an external VST piano, I find it’s better to turn down any stretch tuning for a piano VST or else I have a hard time differentiating correctly at the extremes of the range.

I like to condense by ear as an exercise, so don’t need automatic tools that try to extract tempo, notes and such. Basically something which just let’s me easily loop over a region, and quickly jump to the next and previous regions. Ideally automatic regions, I can only work in 10 second bites or something. Any tools that work for this?

I’ve got a Stream Deck, and I use Audacity a lot. Is it possible to point the Stream Deck commands to Audacity, even when it’s not the active window?

Anytune is great for this! Just as christian68, I have it in the background and control it with a Stream deck, navigating between different loop regions. Very happy with this setup :slight_smile:

Most DAWs like Cubase, Reaper, Audacity, etc. will let you loop over a region by just clicking and dragging over the desired time. You could download a free one or a free trial to give it a shot — if you like it, maybe you can take advantage of a Black Friday deal.

Tempo mapping is just adjusting the grid lines of the DAW to fit the audio — I usually do this manually, by marking the beginning of each measure while playing through the audio once. It’s an optional step, but a useful one, because not only does it allow you to navigate the audio very easily, but it also means the audio will loop at whole measures or beats.

Dan - looking at the programming options not directly it seems, but you can trigger a macro in Keyboard Maestro (Mac) which will can do exactly that. It’s not showing me the plugins on Windows but there’s probably something equivalent, or you can write a plugin using simple javascript.

I’ve been using Audacity (don’t want to use Cubase since it’s already up dedicated to project work), maybe that’s the best option if I had some triggers to loop.

Reaper (with its customizability and programmability) has come to be an essential tool for me.

Selecting for listening and looping

I mark up the recording quickly using Markers for each bar and Regions for sections. It’s very useful being able to renumber the markers later (in case any are added or removed) so they always match the bar numbers. I can then use shortcuts to select bars or sections for looping, extend or shorten the selection, and move backwards or forwards to different bars or another section. If there isn’t an obvious way of doing exactly what you want, someone will usually help with a script.

One could work similarly with time selections instead. I don’t do this but one could for example select five seconds, add a couple of seconds at one end, select the next five seconds instead etc.

Changing the tempo

I have shortcuts set up for decreasing and increasing the tempo (I use one of the ‘actions’ provided - ‘Decrease playrate by ~6% (one semitone)’ and have ‘Preserve pitch in audio items when changing master playrate’ turned on). Like a lot of software, Reaper uses zplane’s Elastique so there’s nothing to complain about.

Changing the pitch

I find some things are easier to hear when transposed up an octave (particularly bass guitar parts). I use shortcuts to change the pitch of selected items on the timeline. Alternatively, one could use a plugin (Reaper has ReaPitch).

Listening to details

- Isolating sounds in the panorama

Being able to listen to left, right, mid, and side independently can be essential. There are free plugins for this (such as Brainworx bx_solo and Blue Cat’s Gain Suite).

- Isolating pitches

I use/misuse plugins to try to isolate instruments and frequencies as necessary. EQ is an obvious one but all kinds of plugins can make a detail more or less audible.

Other tools

If I’m still struggling, I’ll occasionally resort to using a spectrum analyser to try to pinpoint a detail (Voxengo SPAN is excellent and free).

One can also cheat and see what Melodyne comes up with…

I’m relatively new to Dorico (I’ve had it for a quite while but only recently started using it intensively) but now that I’m getting used to it, I’m finding that not only am I pretty quick, but I’m really enjoying writing like this.

i use zplane dcoda … life saver

By far the easiest way to send control messages to a single program (even when it’s not the active window) is via MIDI since in Windows, only one program can open a MIDI driver at a time. Audacity was still very primitive last time I looked at it (which was quite a while ago) and it wasn’t possible to control it in this way but some shortcuts can be configured in Sound Forge, and you can make almost anything happen in Reaper. I think remote control’s possible in Wavelab but I’ve never used it.

This means that any MIDI controller (keyboard, pads, pedals etc – there are of course some small and relatively cheap ones around nowadays) can be used to control those applications. A search for ‘stream deck midi’ suggests that there are ways to get a Stream Deck to appear as a MIDI device (I haven’t tried this myself) and that might be useful for you. Probably not with Audacity though.

There are also a variety of free tools based on Spleeter which will isolate parts in simple music.

I use my MacBook for audio, and my iMac for Dorico (with midi keyboard and streamdeck XL).
I drag an MP3 into an audio track in Logic. In this way I can control play/ pause with spacebar, and Go back and forward 1 bar by left and right arrow. I can even define how long 1 bar is, by adjusting the tempo.

Because I use 2 separate Macs I never accidentaly press spacebar to stop audio, and start Dorico playback instead…

I also use this setup for my Transcriptions lessons.