Earth Notes: Soundwalk - an hour on the Cambridge Road Estate (2020-09-12)

Updated 2022-10-30.
Listening to the sounds of the estate near 16WW, pre-recorded talks, and detecting bats. #podcast #soundscape #soundwalk

[This will get transcribed as I have time! If anyone wishes to contribute a partial transcript it will be gratefully received!]

3633s "soundwalk 20200912" Uploaded . Download stereo MP3 audio clip 82758kB (i) (may not be available in data-saver/lite mode), download low-bandwidth mono MP3 audio clip 19125kB.


Hi, I'm Damon Hart-Davis, and welcome to Earth Notes' podcast on all things eco and green and efficient @Home!

12th September 2020.

A soundwalk with Alison Fure, with interesting noises off from motorbikes to ice-cream vans! Starting at gates of the Bonnor Hill Road cemetery near 16WW, and continuing around the estate close by for about 90 minutes.

More is available from the Show Notes for this episode.

The track has been lightly edited in parts, and does not quite capture the very start and end in particular.

Thanks for permission from everyone participating for me to put this up, and thanks to Alison for making it happen.


[00:54] AF

My walk is called Walk with Jane, and Jane Jacobs is [is] the person that I'm really looking at [her] through this prism because she was [] a journalist. But a lot of people think she was an architect. But she was really a kind of polymath. So, she wrote The Death and Life of [Great] American Cities.

[01:20] JF

That's the "Jane's Walk" Jane?


There's more on my "Earth Notes" Web site at Earth.Org.UK.

Show Notes

Organised and led by Alison, thanks again!

All recorded at 16-bit 48ksps FLAC on a Olympus LS-P4, handheld, no wind muff, on the evening of 2020-09-12 starting a little after 6:30pm BST.

I managed to cut the ~90 minutes of the walk down to about 60 in the end! Maybe that's not 'light' editing, but it took out a lot of walking and wind noise and so on!

2020-09-23: Automatic Transcription

The text up to Enjoy! was pre-scripted (ie read, not transcribed), and the standard canned 5-year-PV and welcome intro segment was inserted.

I then transcribed from 00:54 to about 01:22 by hand.

I searched for "transcribe English MP3" and a number of options were available to try.


I chucked the whole MP3 at the free 30-minute transcription trial at Fully-automated transcription that's fast, accurate, and affordable. Ad hoc transcription is USD10 per hour (the 'standard' plan).

That brought up a request for High quality audio and a Warning: Low accuracy potential. There is indeed a lot of background noise, multiple speakers, etc!

But I ploughed on!

I was then informed that my file was 1h and 32s and would require payment, rather than just getting the first 30 minutes...

So I extracted the first 30 minutes from after "Enjoy!" as a full quality MP3 and tried again.

This time no warning about "low accuracy potential", and the audio is reported as 29m 57s by Sonix while transcribing it.

The Sonix site chewed at my text for several minutes.

I was emailed a link to see/edit the transcript. I was told on-screen that Sonix was very confident about ~72%, fairly ~20% and slightly ~8%.

I get the option to download in several formats, including text, with the options to insert timecodes every paragraph or 30s for example. I did this before any attempt to tidy up on line with the tools provided.

The plain text Sonix transcript of the 30 minutes is ~19kB.

My manual transcription of the opening paragraph was:

My walk is called "Walk with Jane", and Jane Jacobs is [is] the person that I'm really looking at [her] through this prism because she was [she was] a journalist. But a lot of people think she was an architect. But she was really a kind of polymath. So, she wrote "The Death and Life of American Cities".

Sonix produced:

Because she was she was a journalist, but a lot of people think she was an architect, but she was really a kind of polymath. So she wrote the death and life of. It is OK, but that's the kind of change change and you can go and change school anywhere in the world, although she was American and she ended up in Canada and she thought Robert Moses was a great motivator and he liked to build his roads through books because he was the obvious place. It was open space, you know, needed to build.

Definitely not perfect, and continuing on beyond where I had the first paragraph end. It would require a lot of work to get into shape, but likely still better than a manual process from start to finish.


Vocalmatic also offers 30 minutes for free, so I'll try it on the second half of the soundwalk! (Well, from [30:00] for about 30 minutes.) This nominally overlaps a little with the Sonix test.

Vocalmatic seems to be saying that transcribing one minute of audio will take one minute. This was probably about right for my 30m test!

Vocalmatic claimed that my 30m was 31m, so I made a 29.5m one instead!

I was asked to select the language (English, United Kingdom), and choose a format (default, or SRP to be a video caption/subtitle). I went with default.

Ad hoc transcription is GBP29 for ten hours as of 2020-09-23.

When my transcription was ready I had a choice to export as a Word Doc, or a text. I tried the latter, but the] exported form omits the timing marks.

Instead I copied and pasted from the displayed page. The first paragraph looks like:

because I mixed up with a little bit of trees as well so far going to out can d came from him because he was going to do and about running errands you would would take the to ome would take bits and pieces of the get money for it and if there's any change that go to The Offspring hauler holler and he said that in the e e new s news new citation have too many had the minimum amount they also have to the newsagents and then he had a heart attack and I think that's why you can't turn engine in the council didn't me so he was on he was on Ava moved in pretty well but one of the very first available ounces houses and let you flipping about 40 years ago but leaves with built-in 66 67 68 something like that so that's how old they ve no I dea . about idea about the which is which is the one 1950s little round here anyways my house is pretty much the same age as me many with twins an't even n't you can come n t und to an come over and see and see if I put a n 't y th ly mature matured quite mature quad lock case mature quad lock case but e on this whole be ay e whole cluster the t they e's no se days re's nothing Thursday that there's been since last year s not a n t answer n circle the cool wake up John on today , is your sister

Here is the overlapping transcription segment from Sonix:

[00:29:10] We're going to mix up with a little bit of trees as well. So we're going to show.

[00:29:15] Well, thank you.

[00:29:19] But I just want to point out post New York Post link. And in that poll, a lot of the references came from him because he was one of the original investors and his I think his mom, who was born in the cottagers, and he used to talk about running errands. There used to be two scrap metal merchants on Tuesday and they would take bits and pieces so they'd get money for it. And if there's any change, they'd go to the ice cream parlor. And he said that the ice cream parlor.