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Old Jan 25, 2013, 06:31 PM   #1
svenr
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Join Date: May 2003
Audio player with simple rewind / replay / loop?

I often listen to long audio files for two purposes:
  • transcribe or take notes from a recording of a meeting
  • learning a foreign language
In both cases, there are often passages that I don't quite understand at first. So I want to be able to easily rewind 2-3 seconds to listen again or perhaps even set loop points and listen to the passage over and over until I get it.

Typically (iTunes, VLC, QuickTime), you'd click into the progress bar, but I find this too inaccurate and unwieldy. When the file is an hour long, it's nearly impossible to just skip back 2-3 seconds this way. Plus I have to move the mouse around.

Hitting the <- key in most apps goes to the previous file instead of rewind. In VLC, I can use a 3-key combo, but that skips back only in 10-second steps. And it's unwieldy too. In QuickTime, the <- key does work, but it also stops playback.

Is there a simple player app that allows me to skip back with a single-key stroke? Ideally, it should play the audio backwards while rewinding, just like in an old tape player. Bonus if it can set loop points, that'd be awesome.
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Old Jan 25, 2013, 06:43 PM   #2
GGJstudios
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For short rewinds, I use this script in iTunes, from Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes, which is a great resource for managing your iTunes tags and files.
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Old Jan 25, 2013, 10:22 PM   #3
Dave Braine
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Try Audacity. You can use the Arrow keys to move back and forth. Just a tap for a second or so, or hold down to scroll through.
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 08:57 AM   #4
Fishrrman
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"Is there a simple player app that allows me to skip back with a single-key stroke?"

Try a little app called "QTAmateur":
http://www.mikeash.com/software/qtamateur/

Small, simple, easy, free.
Runs fine on Mountain Lion.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 03:58 PM   #5
svenr
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Thanks for the suggestions so far. Seems like such a simple request, but it's harder to find a good solution that you'd think. The apps you guys recommended kind of work, but are not really a *good* solution.

Doug's iTunes script is probably the closest, but I find the rewind by a fix number of seconds too inflexible. I also don't really like the "one time it rewinds, the other time it stops playback" alternation.

Audacity frankly is a bit overwhelming. Yes, it does rewind by using the arrow key, but when I hit space to start/stop it always restarts from the beginning of the file instead of just continuing where I stopped. Sometimes, when I want to jump around by clicking in the timeline, I found myself setting markers and then rewinding with the <- key will never go back beyond that marker. It also has to import/convert my files first instead of simply opening them, which with my hour-long files can take a long time. I'm sure it's a great sound editor, but some of the quirks from that background make it not work well for me.

QTAmateur is simply a skin for QuickTime and has the same drawback as the QT Player itself: rewinding with the arrow key stops playback. Also, it has no time counter, which is critical.

If anyone has a better suggestion, I'd appreciate it. I was just thinking it would be cool if you could rewind / ffwd using the mouse scroll wheel. Not holding my breath though. I think some DJ-type apps may be able to do this, but they'd probably be overkill, price and feature-wise, for what I'm trying to do. Funny how with all this modern tech, it seems so hard to replicate something as simple as the rewind button on a good old tape player.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 04:00 PM   #6
GGJstudios
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svenr View Post
Doug's iTunes script is probably the closest, but I find the rewind by a fix number of seconds too inflexible. I also don't really like the "one time it rewinds, the other time it stops playback" alternation.
As indicated on the link I posted for that script:
Quote:
The default rewind time can be changed with a simple edit to the script. You can also return focus to the application you are typing in with another edit. Read Me explains all.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 04:05 PM   #7
svenr
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I saw that and I read the ReadMe. Yes, you can change it, but you still need to select a fix number of seconds. Not the same as "rewind as long as I hold the button".
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