Transcribers generally can navigate the seemingly endless sea of programs available by looking at four major factors, including the software functionality, the interface, virus protection and control and support and updates.
Perhaps the most important factor to consider when selecting music transcription software is the overall functionality the program has. Functionality includes tasks such as importing, printing, converting to various file formats, editing, slowing down audio, transposing and selecting different instrumentation combinations and keys. These features impact how much the user can alter the music data and therefore determine the overall results the user can obtain. If music transcription software does not have proper functionality, then it becomes necessary to supplement the software with additional programs, which defeats the purpose of the transcription software. At the same time, the user should take into account whether he actually will use all the functionality the software provides in order to avoid purchasing software at an unnecessarily high cost.
Sufficient functionality becomes fairly meaningless for a transcriber if the functionality is difficult to access. This means that the next thing to consider when looking at music transcription programs is the general interface. The interface refers to items such as icons and pull-down menus, as well as hardware such as the computer mouse or a touch screen, that allow the user to interact with the software and execute commands. An ideal interface for music transcription software, similar to any other software program or hardware device is one that is instinctive for the user and which the user easily can navigate. This allows the user to switch from task to task or even multitask efficiently, which makes the transcription process less tedious.
Those who wish to purchase and use music transcription software also should investigate the susceptibility of the program to viruses and corruption. This is a critical feature for transcription software because transcription is such a time consuming process. Viruses can cause problems such as lost or corrupted data in individual transcription files, as well as problems with each aspect of the program's functionality. Some viruses are bad enough to make transcription software unusable without a complete re-installation. Even if this is possible given the license and registration constraints of the software and the cooperation of the software manufacturer, it takes the music transcriber time to do.
The last item to investigate when looking for the best music transcription software is the ability to update the software and get technical support. This is connected to the rating given to both the software and the company. If a transcription software has good functionality but cannot be updated or supported easily, it ends up being more costly to maintain, resulting in lower ratings.