There are certain professions that rely on dictation. If you're a member of one of those professions, you know finding the right dictation/transcription software can be a real challenge — especially on the mobile front. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools available. For recording/transcribing, I've found an app that works wonders. The app is called Recordense. It's a no-nonsense audio recorder that has one of the cleanest interfaces of any recorder I've tried, plus really impressive audio quality.
Here are some of the features that you'll find in the Lite (free) version of Recordense:
- Free online transcription service
- AAC and PCM formats support
- Assign recordings to color coded categories (two categories in the Lite version)
- Audio time-coded tags (limited to three tags)
- Google Drive sync
- Control recording from notification drop-down
- Share and manage recordings easily
- Back up recordings to your PC
- Background recording (even when display is off or device is locked)
The Pro version, which costs $1.99 (USD), includes these additional features:
- No ads
- Move audio to device memory card
- Unlimited number of time-coded tags
- Up to 20 categories
- Select sound quality (high, medium, low)
- Manage recording process from third-party apps
Let's install and learn how to use this app.
The installation of Recordense is simple. Here's how to install the Lite version.
- Open the Google Play Store on the device
- Search for Recordense
- Locate and tap the entry by Lemberg Solutions
- Tap Install
- Read through the permissions listing
- If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept
- Allow the installation to complete
To open Recordense, tap the icon on either the home screen or the app drawer. You should immediately be greeted by the main window (Figure A).
Recordense installed on a Verizon-branded HTC M8.
Using Recordense is very simple — you tap the red circle on the main window and then tap the large red RECORD button (Figure B) to record your session.
Recordense offers an incredibly clean and easy to use interface.
As you record, tap the pencil icon to add a time-coded tag (Figure C). You can then use those time-coded tags to quickly jump to a particular section of the recording.
A recording in action.
You can pause the recording at any time by tapping the big red circle. To continue on, tap the circle again. Once you've completed the recording, tap Save record in the upper left corner. You'll be prompted to give the recording a name and (if desired) a category. Tap OK when you're done, and your recording will show up in the main window.
If you want to add categories, do the following:
- Go to the Recordense main window
- Tap the menu button in the upper right corner
- Tap Categories
- Tap Add new category
- Enter the category name
- Tap the checkmark to save
You can change a category in a previously saved recording by tapping the menu button associated with the recording. Tap Change category, and then select the correct category from the popup (Figure D).
Changing a recording category.
You can also connect Recordense to automatically sync with your Google Drive account. To do this, follow these steps:
- Open Recordense on your Android device
- Go to Settings
- Tap Cloud sync
- Tap to ON/OFF slide so it's in the ON position
- Tap Google Drive (under Account)
You'll notice there are two options for transcription:
- Automated, with Quicktate
- Manual, using the Recordense web tool
If you don't have time (or the staff) to sit down and transcribe your own recordings, you can opt to use the Quicktate transcription service. I'll warn you, this is not a truly automated service. You submit a file and Quicktate transcribers work to transfer your audio into a text format. This means there is:
- An attached cost
- Turnaround time
The pricing for Quicktate includes three tiers:
- Economy: $1.25/week for 175 words (1 2/10 cents per additional word)
- Standard: $5.00/week for 750 words (1 1/10 cents per additional word)
- Pay as you go: 1 3/4 cents per word
If you do happen to have the time (or staff) to manually transcribe your audio, Recordense has you covered. Here's how you work with the free, web-based tool.
- Record your audio
- From the main window, tap the menu button for the audio to be transcribed
- Tap Transcribe
- Tap Transcribe Manually from the pop-up window
- Tap Upload files to Google Drive from the new window (Figure E)
- Tap OK in the Upload to Drive window
Uploading your files to Google Drive.
Once the file is uploaded to Google Drive, you have two options:
- Connect the Recordense web app to your Google Drive account
- Manually upload the file(s) to the Recordense transcription tool
Because you can't log into the Recordense transcription tool, your files are not saved. If you connect the Recordense transcription tool to your Google Drive account, you'll always have quick access to all of your audio that resides in the root directory of your Google Drive. The big caveat is that you can't start transcribing a file, save it, and open it later for transcription. In other words, you need to start and finish the transcription in one sitting.
Of course, there are ways around that (saving the transcription and then copy/pasting it back into the transcription window during your next session. Using the transcribe tool is quite simple:
- Point your browser to http://recordense.com/transcribe
- Either upload an audio file or connect to your Drive account
- Select the audio file to be transcribed (if connecting to your Drive account)
- Click Play
- Begin typing
You can slow down the speed of the playback by clicking the speed button (Figure F) and dragging the slider to the left (to slow down) or right (to speed up).
The Recordense transcription website.
Once you've completed a transcription, click the Save button (bottom icon in the right nav) to save the file to Google Drive or the Download button to download the file as either a text or markdown file.
Recordense is one of the finest audio recording apps I've used. If you need meetings or note sessions recorded — and you eventually must have them transcribed — you cannot go wrong with this easy-to-use app and service.
Do you have a need for audio recording and transcription? What app or service do you currently use? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.