"Accelerate Your Retrieval and Transcription!"
| Type of Product | User Level | Features |
| Product Analysis | Final Comments | System Requirements |
Type of Product



FTR USB Foot Control and FTR Player Plus 2.1--This review will focus on the playback components of FTR Gold (FTR USB Foot Control and FTR Player Plus 2.1), a digital recording and retrival system. I became familiar with FTR Gold components in response to inquiries I received from transcriptionists on how to transcribe, via the computer, audio records. Since many courts, councils, boards, and commissions, plus normal computer users, are putting their information on CD, this has created problems for transcriptionists such as: what is the easiest way to transcribe this material; and how do you have the same controls and foot pedal use that you have on tape transcription machines? After researching the matter, I decided that the FTR USB Foot Control in conjunction with the FTR Player Plus was an excellent choice.

Even though, this review is specific to only the playback components of FTR Gold, I thought I would list the other elements for individuals who might be interested. See the FTR web site for more information:

FTR Gold--Do you want a cost effective solution for producing audio records of proceedings? Are you looking for a way to store audio records easily and efficiently? As a transcriptionist, do you complain about the poor quality of the recordings on your analog tapes? If so, the answer is simple. You need FTR Gold. FTR Gold is an open architecture, computer-based digital audio recording solution that captures, stores, and manages digital audio and associated text at a cost comparable to what you'll pay for analog tape recording. FTR got its start by selling and installing digital audio recording solutions in courtrooms and hearing rooms, and has gradually diversified into other related markets such as legislatures and parliaments, councils, boards and commissions at all levels of government, law enforcement agencies, and educational institutions. Today, FTR sells FTR Gold, its open architecture, computer-based audio digital recording solution, which consists of three components that help you record, play back and annotate material.


  • FTR Reporter--Records digital audio files and archives them to a network or CD.
  • FTR ReporterDeck--Hardware-based, turnkey digital audio recording solution. Can be in place of FTR Reporter if a simple "plug-n-play" system is preferred.
  • FTR Portable Reporter--Mobile notebook-computer-based digital recording solution offers all the benefits of FTR Reporter.

Play Back:

  • FTR Player Plus--Plays back recorded material saved in FTR Gold format and .WAV format.
  • FTR USB Foot Control--Provides hands-free navigation.


  • FTR Log Notes--Standard Version which lets individuals take notes during live sessions or meetings, or while listening to previously recorded audio and use the notes to link to corresponding audio; Professional Version which includes all features in the standard edition plus Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications for easy customization of FTR Log Notes to fit the specific needs of the organization.
  • WordLink-Microsoft--Word add-in that lets FTR Log Notes users create notes in Word.

The Foot Control is available for PCs only and costs approximately $99.00. It can be ordered from: FTR, or JCG Technologies:

The FTR Player Plus 2.1 software (available for PCs only) is free and can be downloaded from the FTR web site:

User Level
Beginners, intermediate, and advanced computer users. Both the Foot Control and the FTR Player Plus software are easy to install and use. The ease of use makes them appropriate for beginners, but the options are robust enough for advanced computer users.


Foot Control:

  • Play Switch to control playing.
  • REW Switch to control rewinding.
  • FWD Switch to control fast forwarding.
  • Foot Control Backspace (on Play Plus software) to control the backspacing.

Player Plus Software 2.1:

  • Hear audio from any FTR Gold recording or .WAV file;
  • Pinpoint the audio records relevant for your needs;
  • Access audio directly without rewinding or fast-forwarding;
  • Duplicate audio records onto any high-capacity digital media;
  • Quickly master the tape player-like controls.
Product Analysis

Installation and Help

Foot Control--Installation is a snap for the Foot Control. There is a printed Installation Guide that comes with the Foot Control. It walks you through the process and gives you instructions for installation on different operation systems.

Player Plus 2.1 Software--Again, the installation is easy. There are two help systems available. Standard On-line help proves assistance with detailed descriptions of the various features of FTR Player Plus. On-line help also includes step by step instructions, guiding you on how to perform different tasks. What's This? help provides instant access to help for information about a screen component.

USB Foot Control
foot control

This is a sturdy, compact device with three switches, each representing one of the functions of the playback panel. It plugs into the USB port of your computer, providing hands-free control. You can use the Foot Control to play, rewind, and fast forward audio records.

Player Plus 2.1 Software

playback panel

properties dialog


Playback Panel--When you first open Player Plus, you will see a playback panel which is easily moved to another location on the screen by positioning the mouse pointer anywhere in the background area of the window and dragging. The buttons at the top right of FTR Player Plus control the way the program is displayed. You can switch the program between normal and compact views, as well as minimize and close the program. You can also establish default properties for the program.

Setting Properties--There are several settings, or properties, that control the operation of FTR Player Plus. These properties are organized in separate tabbed pages in the FTR Gold Properties dialog box. Under the Playback Panel tab you can select either Mono or Stereo and the Foot Control Backspace amount. Under the Search Paths tab, you can search for paths that were set using FTR Log Notes.

Loading Recordings--Recordings created using FTR Reporter are organized and stored by date and location. When selecting audio for playback, simply locate the recording using the location and date. To listen to recordings created using other programs, .WAV files, you select the Other Audio option to load the file.

Listening to Recordings--There are several options available for controlling the playback of the recording as well as locating a specific time in the recording. In addition to using the Rewind, Fast Forward, and Current Play Time buttons, you can type a specific recording time in the Current Play Time display.

Isolating Channels--You can playback audio in a 1, 2, or 4 channel format. By isolating channels, you can eliminate background noise from unwanted channels and separate speakers when they speak over one another. In addition to isolating channels, you can control the volume of individual channels. Through the Playback Master Volume control, you can also control the volume of all channels as a group.

Selecting and Saving Audio Ranges--It is possible to take portions of an audio record and save them to other locations. This is useful when you wish to review portions of proceedings at a later date, or for distribution. The Audio Display and associated range selection displays and buttons are used to define an audio range for saving to other media.

Final Comments
My testing of the Foot Control and the FTR Player Plus 2.1 software found both to be sound, not buggy, and easy to install and use. I would highly recommend the products for anyone in the transcription business and have only received positive feedback from individuals that have used them. More and more audio records are being put on CD and other devices rather than on cassette tapes. So the Foot Control and the FTR Player Plus 2.1 are must-have products and get two thumb's up, way up!
System Requirements
  • Microsoft Windows 98SE, Windows 2000 SP3, Windows XP Home SP1 or Windows XP Professional SP1;
  • Recommended hardware specification for the chosen operating system or 166MHz Intel Pentium processor (whichever is higher);
  • Additional 16MB RAM;
  • Windows compatible stereo sound card;
  • 256 color, 800 x 600 video display adapter and monitor;
  • USB port.
Graphics: Adobe Photoshop CS
Web Page Design: Macromedia Dreamweaver MX
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