I wanted to record an Internet radio show to MP3 so I could listen to it the way I want to. You'd think this would be easy, just like taping a song off the radio only without the hiss. No. The software is all designed to bottle things up. Here's how I took the cork out.

First I need to get the bits. RealAudio streams are deliberately difficult to copy. Thanks to a friend I found Streambox VCR, outlaw software that is able to download a stream to a local .rm file. Don't miss Flying Raichu's story_of_crack.txt where he splices code from an old beta into this version to make it work again.

Now to convert the RealMedia bits to MP3. A search for rm mp3 convert is heavily spammed. The best option seems to be to play the audio through RealPlayer and capture the waveform at the audio driver level. There are zillions of Windows programs that capture audio. I settled on Total Recorder because it was the most popular on KaZaA. (No, I didn't steal it - $12). It creates a fake sound driver in front of the real one to capture the sound. It also does a cool thing where it tricks Real into playing faster than realtime so the conversion doesn't take so long.

Total Recorder captures the waveform and can push it through LAME to get MP3. But you can't easily download a LAME binary, you have to go to France to find it.

The resulting MP3 is too quiet; MP3Gain fixes it.

This is a lot of work to tape a song off the radio. DRM doesn't stop you if you're persistent, but it's enough to stop most people. And just like the way Macrovision prevents you from plugging your DVD in through your VCR, the restrictions on Internet audio and video prevent you from replaying them the way you want.

With Palladium what I did will be impossible. I won't be able to install Streambox or Total Recorder on my own computer, or if I do I will be locked out of using RealMedia.

  2003-05-17 21:19 Z