The VOC file format is already not a common format, and it can be difficult to find players for VOC files. RCA went one step further: the VOC files generated by RCA digital recorders are not recognized as the original standard VOC format created by Creative Labs. One of the problems people experience with the RCA format is that none of the multimedia players will play them – and virtually none provide any useful information about the actual cause of the failure.

There is a utility available from Dave Coffin (devoc – with source) which will convert VOC files to 16-bit uncompressed WAV files. The conversion can also be done online, driven by Dave’s utility devoc.

Using devoc takes a little more work than just installing a program (unless you are using Windows – there is a binary available for Windows). These steps should get you a working binary in Linux or other UNIX environment:

gcc -o devoc devoc.c
sudo cp devoc /usr/local/bin
devoc -p myaudio.voc

It may also be necessary to make sure that Sound Exchange (or SoX) is installed before running gcc.

Alternately, if you have the RCA software installed (in Windows only, of course) then the software can be used to convert to a different format. Unfortunately, the conversion is performed on a single file at a time – but if you’ve only a few VOC files, this would work just fine.

If you want the UNIX utility file to recognize the VOC file format, add these lines to /usr/share/file/magic:

0 string Creative\ Voice\ File VOC audio file (Creative Labs format)
6 string _VOC_Filex VOC audio file (proprietary RCA format)

To activate the changes, do:

file -C -m /usr/share/magic

An example run then gives you this:

$ file *VOC
A0000052.VOC: VOC audio file (proprietary RCA format)

Why isn’t the RCA VOC format recognized and played or converted by generally available open source tools? Who knows?

Want to avoid these problems? Get a different recorder that supports MP3 or WAV or WMA; there is a decent review of USB-based digital recorders at HubPages.

No matter which one you get – be sure to review your notes daily and put the todos into your system.