How to record Real Audio streams:

  • The Real Audio (RA) streams referred to in this article use either the Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) or the older RealSystem protocol with pnm:// used instead of rtsp:// at the beginning of the address. If you want to download RA streams like this that use the Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) then you can use any download capable application such as Internet Explorer (right click the link and select "Save Target As..."), GetRight, or Go!Zilla. That's too easy, which is why you won't see many streams using HTTP worth downloading.

    Keep in mind that almost all RA streams use HTTP for a RAM file (text file similar to an html file) in order to hide the true source file, which is usually a file with a .ra or .rm extension. And often the RAM file just leads to another RAM file or an SMIL file (text file similar to a RAM file), which contains the source file. To illustrate, let's look at an example. Say you wanted to download a sample of Lionel Richie's 1st song from his latest CD, Renaissance. First you would find the CD, I've already found it on Next you would right click the Real Audio link under the 1st song, Angel. Assuming you are using Internet Explorer, you can select "Save Taget As..." from the popup menu and a dialog will appear asking where to save the file "source=RAM.ram." Just save it to the desktop then open it up with Notepad. After doing this you will see that this is a very simple RAM file, which only consists of the source file's address: pnm://
    If you try to download this file which uses Real's old protocol (PNM) in the same manner in which we downloaded the file above which used HTTP, then you will no doubt see why this article is only concerned with how to record RTSP/PNM Real Audio streams. So assuming you have already downloaded the appropriate RAM file and found the rtsp:// source file, then you will want to try one of the following methods (listed in order of most preferred to least preferred):

  • via Streambox VCR - this is a stand alone program available from the Streambox VCR Underground. Streambox wrote this program a few years ago and was later successfully sued by Real Networks, so get this program while you can... who knows how long the Streambox VCR Underground will be able to make it available. All you need to do is paste the address (i.e. "rtsp://") of the file you want to download into VCR. The linked page should have everything you need... if it doesn't post your question in the forums.
  • via Winamp - although this method is not the most stable, when it works it has the best results: RA -> MP3 :o) Several combinations of Winamp plugins make this possible, I'll only discuss one combination here which depends on two plugins and an external mp3 codec:

    1) Nullsoft's MP3 Output Plugin (requires item 3 below)

    2) Tara Real Audio Input Plugin (more info on Tara RA Plugin)

    3) This page has an External MP3 Codec (High Quality ACM Codec)

    Again, the linked web pages should have everything you need... if they don't post your question in the forums.
  • via Total Recorder - this software by High Criteria acts as a virtual sound card driver, putting itself between your RA stream and the sound card. It allows you to save anything (not only Real Audio) to wav file. The best part about using Total Recorder, is that you don't even need to know the rtsp:// address of the file you are recording. It is a bit confusing to use for the novice computer user, so don't hesitate to ask questions in the forums.

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