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Problem with Express Scribe and Yosemite


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Hello, everyone


I've been using ES for years and I have a brand new problem since I bought a new iMac 27" Retina 5K running Yosemite 10.10.2. I am a court reporter and I record interviews and depositions in the MP3 format using a two-channel Marantz PMD670 digital recorder. Channel 1 is the live audio track of the participants and Channel 2 contains my voice recorded using a Stenomask microphone on the other channel of the Marantz. When typing transcripts, I transcribe using Channel 1 but often switch to Channel 2 to check anything that's not clear on Channel 1. In my many years of doing this, I've never had any problem with the recordings. Both channels have always been extremely clear and with good volume and ES has played them perfectly.


On the new iMac, for which I purchased new licence for Express Scribe, I am using Express Scribe 5.70. Channel 1 is still clear and loud but Channel 2 is almost completely muted. I checked all the input settings on Express Scribe and made sure they were exactly the same as the ones I had used previously on my old iMac. When that didn't improve things, then I readjusted the sound output settings in the iMac System Preferences. The output volume is set at maximum and the balance is set right in the middle. I tried increasing it to the right and increasing the volume for Channel 2 in Express Scribe. When I did that, Channel 2 was a little louder but it's extremely distorted and largely unintelligible. It's completely different than what I used to have. I can't understand why one channel is perfect and the other is useless.


I had an older iMac (late 2009, 27") and had recently updated the OS to OS X Yosemite (10.10.2) and was using Express Scribe 5.50, and even after I installed Yosemite, it still worked perfectly. So I conclude that the problem is related to the new iMac Retina 5K, not to the Yosemite OS since both machines have the exact same OS. I've checked every setting that I can think of but nothing has improved the Channel 2 playback.


This new iMac has been available for several months, and since NCH has obviously devoted a lot of work to making good software for Macs, I did not expect to have any problems with the new computer. I would have expected that NCH would have made sure that all its apps play well with the new models.


I did find a few references to problems with Mavericks on other Mac threads but so far I haven't found anything similar to my problem. This is really frustrating because this is my job, and so far I haven't found any app that could replace ES.


I hope an admin is reading this and can help me find a solution.


Thank you

Patita (Canada)

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Thank you. No, it's not two different MP3 files. It is one MP3 file that has two channels. One channel is my voice (recorded with a Stenomask microphone) and the other channel is the recording of the actual proceedings (recorded on another microphone). On the Marantz, my voice is the "right" channel and the live voices are on the "left" channel. On Express Scribe, these two channels show up as "Channel 1" (live proceedings) and "Channel 2" (my voice).


The problem with distortion and low volume has only occurred on this new iMac. I have played all the recordings that I have made since I bought that computer on my older iMac (late 2009, Yosemite, Express Scribe Pro 5.50 Intel) and on my Macbook Air (OS X 10.7.5, Express Scribe 5.70 Intel). The playback for both channels is crystal clear and sufficiently loud on both these computers. So there is no problem with the recordings. They are good, so it has nothing to do with either microphone.


If you would send me an older version to try, that would be great. If that doesn't work, I'll open a support ticket as you suggest.



Patricia Kealy


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  • 2 weeks later...

Dear N_C_H_joshb


As you suggested that maybe an older version of ES would solve my problem, I copied 5.5.0 from my older iMac and installed is on the new one. And it worked! Both channels 1 and 2 are loud and clear. Now I'm wondering what there could be about 5.7.0 that is incompatible with the 27" iMac Retina 5K. You would expect the newer version to be more compatible than the old version or at least as compatible, not that it would be worse. There is clearly something going on here that NCH should be aware of. I'd be very grateful if you could look into this. For the time being I should avoid doing any more upgrades.


Thanks again


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  • 7 months later...

Update. I said that reverting to ES 5.5.0 had solved my problem, but that situation didn't last long. The next time I used ES on my iMac, it was back to playing only Channel 1. Yesterday I was notified by NCH that it was offering version 5.77, "which has fixed many reported bugs (including this one)." So I installed it and Express Scribe now works properly - as it did for years - on my newer iMac. NCH never got back to me after their one response to my initial post last February. Now they say there were reported bugs, and now, in September 2015, they've fixed it. Of course I'm happy that they figured it our, but it sure took a long time! And just in time for El Capitan!

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