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Recording Internet radio sound streams

05/01/08

Recording Internet radio sound streams

Permalink 11:15:34 am by Eugene Gardner, Categories: Articles

The media players most of us use to listen to internet radio, such as Windows Media Player, iTunes and Winamp, don't offer any recording features; but there are several tools available on the internet that allow you to save radio shows to your hard drive.

One option is Audacity a free, open source software program for recording and editing sounds. Set the input to ?What U Hear? and just record as you listen. When you are finished select Export? from the File menu. However, you will end up with one huge ?track? containing several songs, adverts and introductions. It is possible to manually break them up into individual tracks by cutting and pasting clips into a new track.

Station Ripper adds automation to the process. Not only does it let you record streams to your drive, but it will even split up the streams into individual songs tagged with artist, song title and album name, if the station transmits this data. Another option is Screamer Radio. It's a free application that lets you record Shoutcast and Ogg Vorbis streams direct to disc in their native formats, and it can also be used to reencode WMA and AAC radio streamers into MP3 or Ogg Vorbis format.

The problem with these tools, however, is that they don't work with Real Audio. If you want to be able to record Real Audio streams, such as those used by the BBC, then you'll need to use a tool like Total Recorder or Freecorder. These programs work by tapping into the audio stream before it reaches your soundcard and then recording the raw data to your hard drive. Total Recorder can be set up to automatically record shows when you're out.

However, Microsoft has changed the audio subsystem in Windows Vista to make it harder for programs such as Total Recorder to work their magic. It has taken away the ability to rip the digital audio stream before it reaches your soundcard. But, depending on your soundcard's drivers, you may be able to work around the problem.

To check whether your soundcard has suitable drivers open the Windows Vista Control Panel and then switch to Classic View. Go to Sound and then select the Recording tab. If something like Stereo Mix, Wave-out Mix, or What U Hear is listed then you're in the clear and you'll be able to record radio streams.

If none of these options are listed then there is another thing to try. Right-click in a blank area of the Recording tab window and select Show Disabled Devices from the pop-up menu. If something like Stereo Mix, Wave-out Mix, or What U Hear now appears, right-click on it and select Enable. Once it's enabled you have to make it the default recording device. First highlight it and then click the Set Default button or right-click on it and select Set As Default.

Just make sure that you select this output as the recording option in the preferences screen of your chosen recording software and you'll be able to record your favourite shows to disc.

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