Want to playback a lecture recording, transcribe an interview, or listen to a podcast episode without adding it to your music library?
Check out Decibels, a novel new audio player for Linux written in Typescript and GTK4/libadwaita.
While Decibels can play music files, it is not designed for that purpose. It is more of a non-music, multi-purpose audio player for playing single files in, rather than managing a library of recordings, handling playlists, or displaying tags, metadata, album artwork, and other fluff.
Some may ask, “Why not just use a regular music player?” and they would have a point. If you are someone happy listening to ‘spoken word’ recordings in a full-blown music app like Rhythmbox you should absolutely continue doing so.
However, those who are looking for a more focused and streamlined experience for playing back voice clips, podcasts, lecture recordings, meetings, audiobooks, and other types of audio will likely find Decibels is more in tune with their needs.
Because it comes with features that music players typically don’t offer.
Decibels is Ideal for Spoken Words
Decibels supports interval skipping (10 seconds & 30 seconds) and speed controls to make slow speakers talk faster and fast speakers talk slower (useful for transcription or listening to foreign language recordings when learning a new language).
It also displays a seek bar with waveform visualisation. This can clicked on to quickly jump around a recording to, say, skip a period of silence (the waveform will be flat), or scrub back with more precision to the start of someone talking.
And with a few additional features, Decibels could be even better.
Basic editing tools, such as trimming, volume adjustment, and exporting to different audio formats would really broaden this app’s usefulness, and needn’t clutter the UI or distract from the core purpose as they could be kept in menus.
Additionally, since the app only plays a single audio file and does not support playlists, it would be useful if keyboard previous/next media keys were bound to the interval skipping feature. That way you could quickly skip back/forth with the app in the background.
Decibels is similar to Parlatype in some ways, but with a modern GTK4/libadwaita UI. I would love to see it add an option to automatically rewind 5 seconds when pause is pressed like Parlatype does. I find that feature such a help during transcription.
Anyway, that’s Decibels, an audio player optimised for listening to spoken word recordings, making it easier to control playback, skip through the recordings, and to find specific sections.
If this amiable app sounds like something you’d be interested in trying you can grab the source code from GitHub or install the latest release from Flathub, linked below.
• See Decibels on Flathub