Obsidian badly need a better audio recorder/player, or at least a workable plugin

Use case or problem

I love Obsidian and I’ve moved my entire life into it over the past 3 months. But I can’t get over how neglected the audio recording/playback functionality is.

  • You can’t scrub/skip through your recorded audio file
  • The .webm format is extremely non-standard in the audio world, and makes everything about this more cumbersome. Recording in WAV would be so much easier to work with.

This is the only feature I badly miss from Evernote - the simple ability to reliably record audio, sync it across devices, scrub through it with a standard player, and drag the file out into other software later.

I’m disappointed to see the tone of the responses to bug reports about this - users are told to “download a new codec,” which is very opaque, nonsensical for iOS devices, and leaves us searching for random websites to make a basic feature work. I’m on a brand new Mac, latest OS, latest version of Obsidian, no theme, in safe mode. Still doesn’t work at all.

Take this thread from August 2020:
Can’t Skip Forward in Audio Recordings

Answer given: “1. update to a newinstaller version of obsidian. 2. install newer codecs in your system.” But subsequent “That doesn’t help me” responses are ignored.

Or this thread, where users still can’t get it to work in September 2021, but the topic is closed:

Have audio record in .mp3 instead of .webm?

I’m an audio engineer and musician, and this is the only dealbreaker for me in Obsidian. I can imagine this is also very hard for anyone who simply wants to record some notes into the software to process them later. I’m completely invested in the app, pay for Sync, etc. Please address this and give us an audio recorder with the functionality of Evernote’s. It feels like this feature is an afterthought, and it needs some attention.

I apologize for the frustrated tone of this post. I love this app. I just want it to work well in this crucial area for me.

Proposed solution

Rework this feature so it uses a standard audio format, preferably WAV. Reliable scrubbing on all platforms.

Current workaround (optional)

None. I have to record audio in any other app and find a way to send it to myself and drag it into my notes. It’s a nightmare to use.

12 Likes

I wholeheartedly agree. This is one of the few things that I miss from Evernote as well.

This straight up feels like a feature that isn’t being prioritized which is a bummer but is perhaps understandable. Thankfully there is an awesome plugin infrastructure, so it would be awesome if someone could add audio recording via a plugin.

Unfortunately I suspect that it may be difficult to do within an Electron app. Especially for iOS. In order for Obsidian to make recordings, it has to ask the OS for permission to use the microphone, and I’m not sure if that is easy/possible within an Electron app.

3 Likes

Another voice of agreement here. It is a bit strange that it is webm honestly.
For now I think I will write a python script or so that automatically converts the webm files. I use syncthing for sharing the state of my vault to all my devices, it should be able to trigger my script when it detects a change in the directory.

2 Likes

Another audio professional and musician here, adding my voide to the chorus. A robust audio playback system, preferably with bookmarks, would be essential for me.

3 Likes

Another audio engineer and composer here. WAV is useless for storing voice memos, where you don’t care for audio fidelity. Compressed format (preferably OGG, since MP3 have some trouble with file playback start) would be preferable in that scenario.

1hr of 16bit, 44.1k, mono weights 303MB.
WAV support would be welcome, but for me the purpose would be organizing existing files (sound libraries, audio recordings, snippets).

4 Likes

To work on all platform obsidian uses a standard webapi that only outputs webm files. It is unlikely that we are going to venture in using anything else for the built-in audio recorder.

Chrome has a long standing bug report/feature request to add metadata to the recorded webm in order to make it seekable. The don’t seem inclined to implement it. Maybe we will implement some form of workaround for this issue if it works on all platforms.

https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=642012

2 Likes

maybe there could be an automated converter then instead of the webm file? Such that when you click on download, you can choose what format you want it in and if you choose wav, it converts it on the fly and then make it available?
A transcript download would be similarly amazing

3 Likes

Awesome, will give it a try! Any chance this could be connected to googles speech recognition API?