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Dear visitor, you reached the most visited entry on my weblog. This entry has generated hundreds of thousands visits since March 2004. In this entry I will write about the tools you need to download real media streams from the Internet and convert them into mp3 files.

But my weblog also offers many more interesting stuff, like a handy bookmarklet which enables you to find audio files (mp3, ogg...) via google. You will be surprised how much you can find. Here is also a list of the 25 most visited entries in my weblog. More info about me and the purpose of my weblog can be found here

Real Audio ?

I am going to reveal one of the biggest serects known to mankind:
How to download Real Audio Streams and convert Real Audio files to MP3.

A while ago I wrote about the same topic in german at phlow.net. This posting, here in my own weblog, contains some new links and will be updated from time to time.

Real Audio streams are used by most radio stations (for example wfmu.org) on the internet. Even using a dsl internet connection it is most common that the stream will break down from time to time. In most cases you can't download those streams. By downloading the stream to your computer, things like that will never happen. Another thing about Real Audio I don't like is that my portable mp3 player won't play them.

1. Listening to Real Audio files

First install the spyware free real player version from the BBC

Or try Real Alternative. Real Alternative will install a software called "Classic Media Player" (which has nothing to do with Microsoft) and some codex needed to play Real Audio files.

There is also a plugin which enables winamp to play Real Audio files. But Real Alternative has to be installed to use this plug in.

If you prefer the official Real Player, look here

2. Download Real Audio files

I know 3 methods to download Real Audio/Video files. The first one doesn't need any additional software, a downloadmanager would be handy, but isn't necessary. Actually method 2 and 3 require additional software, but therefore more streams can be downloaded, compared to method 1.

If you ever tried to download a Real file, you surely came across different file types: The .rm is the one you are looking for, the .ram or .smil files usually don't contain any audio information, they usually contains a link to the .rm file.

1. Method
So, in order to download the radio broadcast, or whatever you are after, download the file which, by clicking on it, opens your real audio player. In most of the cases, it's a .ram file. Now open the file with a simple text editor. There should be a link to a .rm file. Copy that link into the address bar of your browser and hit RETURN. Your download should start right on. BUT... this method is only working with links like http://...music.rm, a web browser can't download files like rtsp://...music.rm .

To download a file via the rstp protocol, one needs additional software. The "best" tools for this task are Flashget and Streambox VCR. I recommend Flashgot, if something doesn't work then you might try VCR Streambox.

2. Method

Flashget is downloadmanager which is capable of handling the rstp protocol. A very simple but effective tool. Users of the Firefox Browser should also have a look at Flashgot. Flashgot is a plug-in to use many downloadmanagers, like flashget, directly via Firefox.

Drop the link into Flashget. If the link leads to the .rm file (the one which contains the actual audio data) via the rtsp protocol, Flashget will download it instantly. If not, one has to open the downloaded file (using a text editor), which is than somewhere between 1 and 20kb, look for the link to the .rm file and then use flashget again, but this time using the new link.

3. Method

Download Streambox vcr. If you need help with this software, go to the The Streambox VCR Forum. There seems to be a problem when using Real Player 10 and Streambox, the problem and the solution is described here . Someone wrote a little script to automatically convert the downloaded real audio files. Get it here

sometimes you find files like pnm://...music.rm , the pnm protocol was used before rtsp, if the software you are using to download real audio files won't download it, try renaming the link to rtsp://...music.rm . If this doesn't work, have a look here and here. I encountered the pnm protocol only ones.

3. Convert Real Audio to MP3

I came across two programs which can convert Real Audio files in other audio files. - dBpowerAMP - SUPER (Simplified Universal Player Encoder & Renderer)

The first a found was dBpowerAMP, as far as I can remember it was free in the beginning, but they are charging money now. But it can be tested free of cost for 30 days. Recently I discovered SUPER. Basically SUPER is free, easy to use and fast, dBpowerAMP is a commercial software, more complicated and slow. It can also be used to ripp sound from video files.


To finally convert Real Audio file to MP3 (or many other file types), download SUPER

erightsoft.net: "SUPER © Simplified Universal Player Encoder & Renderer. A GUI to ffmpeg, mencoder, mplayer, x264, mppenc, ffmpeg2theora & the theora/vorbis RealProducer plugIn."

So what does this mean? Basically Super is a very easy to use software, which is capable of converting ANY video file in absolutely any other video format. All you have to do is drop the file into SUPER, select the output format and that's it! Best thing is, no extra codecs are needed !!!

SUPER can also be used for extracting the sound of a video file or convert audio only files.

- More info on SUPER - Download SUPER here

In order to convert a Real Audio file to a MP3 file, 1. drop the Real Audio file in the program, it doesn't matter where. 2. Select Disable Video and 3. select MP3 in the Output Container menu. 4. Press encode. By default the output files are located in the OutPut folder of SUPER.

Here is an error which occurred when I was using the program for the first time. From the official FAQ: Q: The dropdown boxes are empty. I can't select any format or container. what can i do? A. Right-click to open the menu, Un-Check the "Stay On Top Of All".

Two tips: Sometimes SUPER won't convert files which are part of a big job list. So instead of trying to convert 5 files in a row, try converting one file after another.
If this won't do the trick, try to check/uncheck "Use Direct Show"
These tips are referring to SUPER version 2006.build 19 (4.26.2006)

Advantages SUPER has over dbPower Amp (see below): - no extra codecs are needed - convertion is faster the real time - SUPER is free, as in free beer

And you are done! This is a very short guide, but all the needed software is pretty easy to handle and help can be found on all the homepages which are offering the software downloads.

Some people are reporting problems using SUPER. One user suggest using Switch +. Nice commercial software. Handy for basic transformations, like converting real audio streams, but SUPER is cost free and can do more complex things like ripping the sound from a real media video and convert it to a mp3 file.

Here are a few hints on how to find out about the quality of a real audio file.

I found a German tutorial on how to use SUPER for converting video files so they can be watched on a iPod or a mobile phone.

Here is an English SUPER tutorial

I am currently using Format Factory. I've used it several times, mostly to convert video to audio files and converted one or maybe two real audio files to mp3. It is very simple to use and the results are very good. Try this one first!

Maybe try also

If you followed steps 1 - 3 you should be able to download and convert real audio streams into mp3 files. The software mentioned bellow isn't necessary, but maybe in some special cases, like ripping sounds from video games, they can be handy. I guess this little tutorial is very Windows focused, but maybe the links bellow will be usefull for Linux or Mac users.

A free tool which grabs the output from the soundcard. Development stopped in 2000.

Total Recorder

  • Also grabs the output from the sound card.
  • Commercial Product (12 US$), stil updated

  • German webpage, so maybe only available in German language?
  • records from radio stations via a tv-card

    Those are very handy tools, but they aren't converting or downloading streams, those programs are "recording" every sound your soundcard is making. The interface of the programs are very simple (at least the Windows /Apple ones), like a vcr. Press the record buttom, and the sound of the radiostation/game or whatever you are listening currently is saved as wav/mp3.

    Net Transport
    This is a download manager which is capable to download real audio streams. I don't know much about it, but i will give it a try sometime.

    Switch is also a tool to convert real audio files into other file types. I didn't tested it, but it looks promising.

    Plug-in for Nero to burn Real Audio as usual audio CDs

Lots of links to handy software. GERMAN language only :-(

JetAudio is another mediaplayer that supports Real Audio files

Phonostar Player
phonostar.com: "Get the phonostar-Player and listen via the internet to thousands of radio stations from all over the world. Listen to it and even record it as MP3"

For Apple User:

"By using a few freely available UNIX command line tools, and codecs from the OS X version of Real Player, one can easily and quickly convert Real Audio to MP3. What follows is a tutorial, including a shell script to automate the conversion process." Read the rest

Apple user shoud also check out:
- Switch +
- Audio Recorder
- WireTap

Linux only Software

Music File Processing on Linux
This website covers a lot of topics. For example:

  • Converting Real Audio Streams to MP3
  • Creating a Music CD from MP3 Files
  • Creating MP3 Files from a Music CD


  • Linux command line software
  • This program allows you to record the output of any standard OSS program
  • convert real audio files to some other format

    Recording streaming audio with MPlayer
    grimthing.com: "Well for one, MPlayer can play almost any file format. Since we’re concerned with streaming audio, however, we’re only going to have to deal with, primarily, three formats: MP3, Real Audio and Windows Media."


How to Convert Digital Audio Files
oreilly.com: "There are so many types of audio files out there that it's all too easy to end up with the wrong one. Maybe you converted your CD collection to Real Audio or WMA and now want to convert the songs to a nonproprietary format, such as MP3, so you can play them with iTunes. Or maybe you purchased songs in a copy-protected AAC format from the iTunes Music Store and need to convert them to MP3 so they'll work in your portable player, handheld computer, home network, or competing jukebox program, such as Musicmatch Jukebox.

Fortunately, any audio that you can hear on your computer can be converted to another format. How easy that conversion will be depends on whether the files are copy-protected. If they are, you won't be able to convert them directly. However, you can use one of the indirect conversion methods described later in this article. If the files are not copy-protected and are in a format supported by your jukebox or audio-editing program, it's fairly straightforward to convert them to another format, and I'll cover that too." Read the whole article

How to download certain radio shows:

Something different:

How to download videos (from sites like youtube) from the web: here: http://keepvid.com/

Big list of video tools

( 96 ) 25.03.04    Tag: Tools



This was really helpful: I appreciated it a lot!!! You fulfilled a hole in the net :) Good luck! And keep on like this!!!

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Try Audacity, it is free too

You can get it from audacity.sourceforge.net And look for instructions on how to record a stream here: audacity.sourceforge.net

It works for any kind of stream, real, windows media or your own!!

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better solutions

according to the FAQ it doesn't download the stream, it just "grabbs" it from the soundcard. If yo want to do that, there are "better" solutions, for example those mentioned in this article. Audacity sure is pretty nice solution, and if you are allready familiar with it, you sure can use it. But there much easier programms especialy for recording "Computer Sounds". BUT still, downloading the stream itself with for example, flashget, is the better solution

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hi,dear sir i want a software for convert real player to mp3 and convert to audio player . what your recommended. with thanks. regards

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real to mp3

use "SUPER": www.erightsoft.net

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problems with super

when super converts the fie it takes its time, and creates an appropiately large file which then will not actually play...

I used to use flashget and super just fine on my pc, but now I am using bootcamp on a mac. Can you suggest any fixes for me?

I was thinking it could be something to do with codecs maybe, please help!

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first, if your mp3 file is much bigger than the original file, than you are using the wrong quality settings in SUPER. You are (not by purpoe) trying to convert a low quality real audio file in a mp3 file of higher sound-quality. Of course, that's impossible, but therefore the file size increases. But if you aren't lacking space on your hard drive, it shouldn't be a concern for you.

I am not a Mac user, but as far as I know, the Pro version of the quicktime player can also save streaming files as mp3 files.

If you don't have the Pro version, try one of those tools who are "grabing" the signal from the computer's soundcard. I think there is a Mac software for this purpose mentionend in my article.

Hopefully this was of any help. Post your findings here.


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I use Cdparanoia. The application is built on top of the Paranoia library, which is doing the real work (the Paranoia source is included in the cdparanoia source distribution). Like the original cdda2wav, cdparanoia package reads audio from the CDROM directly as data, with no analog step between, and writes the data to a file or pipe in WAV, AIFC or raw 16 bit linear PCM. Love it.

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The problem I had with Suer on Bootcamp (Leopard)

Well It works now. The thing I have changed is to install the version of real player available from the BBC as opposed to that offered by Real.

Presumably the required codecs or something or other are now on my computer.

In the meantime I had been using the BBC radio ripper, which does this all in one program, but it costs ( I had been using the 30 day free trial)

I am both very angry and very happy that it works now. +)It works -) I don't why it solved the problem, it just did. As with most technology stuff it just ended up working for a stupid reason.

Anyway thanks for trying.

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Real Audio to Mp3 conversion

Your info helped me a lot. Appreciate the help.
Thanks a million

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Converting Real Audio streams to MP3 on Linux

I discovered how to do the same thing via the command-line on Linux boxes, and have included it in my Music File Processing on Linux page, which contains quick and dirty recipes for doing all sorts of things with all sorts of sound files on Linux. Enjoy.

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Help to download audio file

Dear SWEN,

I have read your article.It is very informative.But I am unable to download any audio file from"www.musicindiaonline.com"using your article.

Pl.help me.

Just I am giving a link to one of the many audio files available in the above site for your kind reference www.musicindiaonline.com.

The following is the text editor of the above link..

MusicIndiaOnLine Trident Player (Real Player)

Tell me which line I have to use from the above for downloading the audio file.

Thanks in advance.

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mplayer can output to wav...

MPlayer has the ability to output wav files. It handles just about every format there is...available for Linux and Windows.

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Add Linux please

This program allows to redirect realaudio to wav under linux: vsound (google for it or use, for instance, flatline.org.uk)

greets, rreis

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I've spent the last 2 years looking for the best way to get MP3's from the BBC website. Streambox VCR is excellent for the capture. Streambox ripper is good for extracting, but flakey with later versions of RealPlayer. dBpowerAMP only runs in real time for RA, and has no command line.

I've just discovered Switch Sound Format Converter, which is free gratis, does ra to mp3 in better than real time and has sensible command line options nch.com.au

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i just use my every day downloadmanager flashgot. click. click. saved an stream as rm file.

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I thought flashgot is just an firefox extension to handle a download manager from within firefox? So, which downloadmanager are yo using?

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flashget ;9

ooops. typo. i use firefox. the firefox flashgot extension and flashget from here www.amazesoft.com to save realaudio streams to my harddisk.

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Can you help?

Hi! I want to download the audio files on this site: www.tamilbible.com

Can you help? It is a Tamil Audio Bible in real format.

theostein Malaysia

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Another free solution

I have experienced some problems with DBPowerAmp and some recent ra files and after some googling I have been able to setup a command line script that do the workz. I wrote a tutorial explaning how to do it here : www.digital-atheist.com

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Trying to convert an rm file to mp3

When I try to convert an rm file to mp3 using dMC, I get this message: The CODEC required to decompress 'C:\My Music\english.rm' could not be opened. DirectShow filter for '.rm' not installed, or Audio File Corrupt. The audio file plays using real alternative so I don't think it is corrupt. The file is 24 MB and 45 minutes long. The first time I tried to convert it, after following the above instructions, it worked except that it only converted 5 minutes (7 MB) worth then stopped. I re-installed and now I get this message. It will convert process the file I already converted and reconvert it from MP3 to MP3 as a test. I don't understand the difference between a codec and a filter. Under dMC configuration, Installed Decoders, directshow decoder, I have Release 1 .ra;.rm;.ram;.ac3;.aa

I must be missing a filter. Any suggestions?

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the filters for db can be downloaded from here: www.dbpoweramp.com

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Another Mac way

Just blogged about your page at heikomeins.blogspot.com and also included a simple non tech way for Mac OSX users to do it. Love this site. Thanks.

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Problems downloading rtsp files

Thanks for your informative discussion on this topic. I am using Hidownload and can successfully download this file from NPR: rtsp://go.rbn.com/livecon/kcrw/g2demand/uclaextension.rm

I want to download files from the radio program Sounds Eclectic, for a simple example: rtsp://go.rbn.com/livecon/kcrw/g2demand/uclaextension.rm So far I have been unable to download anything from Sounds Eclectic. Anyone know why? Thanks.

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Another .ra to mp3 converter thats REALLY FREE

Its from NCH Swift Sound, and its called WavePad. I comes bundled with Switch. I found that Switch doesnt work! I says its converting the file, then it locks up on saving the file. But Wavepad works. You just open the ra file and you can even edit it in Wavepad, and then go "save as". Select mp3, at 128khz at constant bitrate. It saves it no problem. Free.

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ra to mp3/ogg OK- but how to edit?

For bbc radio and using firefox I view frame source, use URL snooper to identify the ra. version of the .rpm file, and net transport to grab the stream. Then DB poweramp to go from ra to ogg, which I then import to audacity.

This where the problems start. Audacity claims to not find the imported file, and although it will play it I cannot edit it.

Even if I could, manually selecting the music clips, editing out the voices etc, is tedious. What is a faster way of doing this? Is there a program that automatically distinguishes voice from music so that I can select and index individual songs.


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I am sorry, but I don't know any software that automatically distinguishes voice from music, but there is a much quicker way to download bbc shows. It is mentioned in this tutorial.

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thanks anyway- what about myspace streams?

I'm not sure if this is off topic, but while the methods for ripping bbc radio streams are well covered, I can't find anything about ripping streamed media from my space. (different copyright issues?) As it operates in flash it is not possible to use the same techniques (frame source/ copy link) for grabbing the target URL. Any ideas would be appreciated

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Hack to Download Allmost Any Song on MySpace

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Require: com.real.retain-entity-for-setup

Thanks to your wonderful tutorial, I was happily able to download rm files using flashget, but now suddenly I am getting the message: Error

Require: com.real.retain-entity-for-setup

Has the site blocked the downloading? Is there a way around it?

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Never seen that error message before. But I guess it's an error message from the server you are trying to download from. Try to download frm another location, to see if flashget still works

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Require: com.real.retain-entity-for-setup

Well, flashget is able to download from other sites. And actally, as I type this, checked the problematic server and am happy to report that the problem seems to be resolved! Thanks!

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hello swen. just a question

hello. first of all, your blog is very interesting ,with a lot of work from your side. i have just registered and i was checking out the super encoder program's site.it would be very tempting and you yourself say that is good, but they write the word free too many times around. do you think they bundle it with spyware and ad ware? thanks a lot if you can answer. alan ford

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yes, the homepage of SUPER looks a bit odd. But the programm runs fine and I didn't had any problems. I don't think SUPER is bundeled with ad- or spyware. But I don't know for sure. To make sure, one could run a software like ad aware before and after installing SUPER.

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super encoder

hi swen. i have finally downloaded super. it lseems malware free. for a non-expert like me, some trial-and-error will be a must, but it has very interesting features. i am disappointed though because it does not want to perform the action for i wanted it most: it points the .rm(audio) file as an error.. i open the file (like other types) and it starts encoding, but it suddenly stops and marks it as error, any idea? i actually should try it better as today it is acting in a different way. could it be a little moody? ah,ah! anyway it encoded (using direct show) a file .rm real presentation; .rm real audio/video, but it encoded a ,ra real audio from 2.25 mins to 36 sec but there is no sound. a part from that could you explain the difference between the type of files? thanks,alan ford.

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Hi Alan, super works fine for me and the only thing I used super so far, is converting real audio files into mp3 ones. I used downloaded shows from the BBC and WYNC. I had absolutly no problems. Did you download the file and then tried to convert the file, or did you try to download the file using super (which I think is possible, but never tried yet) ?

If you have problems with SUPER, you could also try those to programms:

  • Switch
  • dBpowerAMP
    I never used switch, but I used dBpowerAMp, works fine, but slow. As far as I know, it used to bee free, but it isn't free anymore.

    here is what the wikipedia has to say about all the diferent real files:
    RealAudio files were originally identified by a filename extension of .ra (for Real Audio). In 1997 RealNetworks also began offering a video format called RealVideo. The combination of the audio and video formats was called RealMedia and used the file extension .rm. However, the latest version of RealProducer, Real's flagship encoder, reverted to using .ra for audio-only files, and began using .rv for video files (with or without audio), and .rmvb for VBR video files. The .ram (Real Audio Metadata) and .smil (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language) file formats are sometimes encountered as links from web pages (see Streaming Audio section below)." More

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hi swen, thanks you are a mountain of knowledge. it worked at last. i had a two hour concert from the radio .rm and i was able to convert it in mp3 and then divide it in two with this very light and easy-to-use splitter freeware you can find here digilander.libero.it and create two cd. great!! the only down side is that in the converted file one can here the sound jumping a little, but i don't really want perfect quality at all costs i rather look at the main result. thanks again. tschuss

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New DRM'd MP3 from Real Networks

rtsp:// ...

I managed to get the file on my machine and I found out why I can't play it in any other player but Real. It is a brand new file format quietly released by Real Networks. It is an mp3, but its encoded in such a way that it is only playable in realplayer. There is no software to convert it to a standard format, in fact there is no mention of this new format on any discussion boards or channels that I can see. Its brand spanking new. I downloaded every single piece of conversion software available including everything listed here. Super identifies the mimetype as audio/x-mp3-draft-00. This is listed on the Real Networks site as "Real System-protected mp3".

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Very Helpful & Useful Info!!

Swen, thanks for taking the time to share the tutorial on converting .rm files to MP3. It seems like I've searched all over the web for this information and your blog is the only place that I've found that clearly explains how to perform this conversion. It is reassuring to know that there is some one out there who has researched this topic in depth. I found it to be very useful and pratical information. Great work!!!

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Great 'how-to', solved a lot of my problems :)

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Audio MP3 to CD problem...

Swen, Thanks for this blog. I downloaded flashget/flashgot and apparently switched real audio files to MP3. My problem is that I haven't been able to put them on a cd. I get an ERROR message and that is that. I am a social activist who wants to put on cd real audio files of social import. Please help. Thanks!

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what kind of of CD do you want to burn? A CD which can be played on a regular CD player? Or a CD which contains mp3 files?

maybe have a look here: www.afterdawn.com How to create an MP3 CD
CD-Recordable FAQ

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Real Audio files to...regular CD playable

Swen, I Would like to get real audio files on CD's that are playable on a regular CD player. Thanks.

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I guess you already downloaded the files. If not, read the howto above. To turn real audio files into a regular audio CD:

1.use SUPER to convert the files in mp3 files. If you can't convert the files, read the FAQ at the SUPER homepage. 2.Use any CD burning tool, I am using NERO. Use the AUDIO CD option, drag and drop your files into NERO. Burn your CD. THAT'S IT!

Hope this is of any use for you.

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One issue!!!

Dear Swen, first of all thank you for the much needed info. I am amazed by the reaction in the web... and I agree that real player is the "devil". I have one problem regarding SUPER... I can't find the files I converted in the output folder. I followeed the directions as given in your blog and changed the output box to mp3... BUT, WHERE DID THEY GO? The output folder in my program file is empty after converting the songs! And, I don't know where they are. Please help me one more time.



PS - after installing SUPER, the program wasn't in my start menu nor the desktop for that matter eventhough I specifically marked for it to be accessible in both places. I had to manually go into the C drive and found it in the programs folder. Maybe this is part of the problem.

Thanks again! Reply soon...

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Swen thank you very much for a really useful guide - I had been trying to save BBC radio without much luck. Hidownload was a pain, and Flashget is so much better. Super however was not good at the conversion process, and having tried a number of programs which didn't do the job until I discovered RM to MP3 Converter - the web site is www.boilsoft.com Not the fastest conversion but the results have been superb. Hope this is of use to someone! Thanks again. Regards Twatalinski.

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"SUPER" video converter problems.

Firtsly, to answer the previous problem about "where to save in Super". All you have to do is right click almost anywhere on the actual Super screen and on the in the sub menu, simply select "Specify the Output folder Destination" or words to that extent. Voila! You can now find your files!

Anyway, MY problem is that Ive just converted my first Real Player ".ra" file (which Super supports). However, when I played it back via Windows media player, the sound jerked about like a bus loads of alzheimers patients watching "debbie does dallas". Mind you, the same thing has happened when it tried to play some digital movies taken off my GF's digital camera.

Is there a problem or is it just Media Player?

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SUPER problems

I also had some minimal glitches when converting real audio files to mp3, but they are so smal, they don't bother me. Mayve you should try another media player, like winamp. Winamp also has a real audio plug-in

Before I discovered SUPER, I was using dbPowerAmp, but they don't support real audio files anmore. The latest version can be found here: www.dbpoweramp.com

But try to get hold of an older version and the real audio codecs for dbpoweramp. If this won't do the job, try one of those tools which can record any sound from your sound card (= real time process).


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Jumping, twittering and other audio problems...

Hi Swen. Great tutorial, thanks! I have followed your instructions for downloading BBC programs (Flashget + SUPER) and every file I download has jumping and twittering. These problems are in the .ra files so are not caused by the conversion to .mp3. I am wondering: (a) are others experiencing this problem and (b) is there anything that can be done? Thanks!

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Never had any real problem with SUPER

but have a look what I said here: swen.antville.org

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Check out Switch Plus!

Hey Swen, thanks for all the pointers. I was able to use SUPER or Flashget to download an RTSP stream, but couldn't get anything (including SUPER) to convert it. It could play in Media Player Classic, though. Finally I tried Switch Plus (another user mentioned WavePad, by the same people. It worked like a charm! Now I wish I had those last few hours back...

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thanks for the hint. I included the link to Switch + in the original article.

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Find the .rm address (Method 1); convert RA to MP3

Finding the .rm file address in "1. Method" can be very confusing for the uninitiated. For example, to download an episode of the Prairie Home Companion from prairiehome.publicradio.org, you have to paste the .smil address into your browser, then download the smil file, open it in Notepad, then find the rtsp address for the .rm file (which is hidden towards the end of the .smil file - scrolled off to the right of the screen). It is MUCH easier to install URLSnooper (www.donationware.com and available from NoNags) - it detects the address automatically, so you can paste it into Flashget.

In "3. Convert Real Audio to MP3", SUPER will indeed convert a .rm file to mp3 or WAV. However, the free version of Switch (www.nch.com.au/switch) is MUCH faster and easier to use.

Thank you so much for your very useful Weblog!

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URL Snooper

I think it is easier to look for a link than to use an additional software, but that is just my opinion. BUt I updated my article, so it now also mentions .smil files

You are the second person recommending Switch today. I downloaded some BBC shows (of course only for scientific purpose) and will give it a try.

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Switch is great!

I find that Switch is FAST and it comes with a program called WavePad that allows to you to edit the mp3s (and WavePad is easier to use than Audacity). But, when I convert the .rm files to .mp3 files the file size TRIPLES! Does anyone know what settings I should use to get small files (same size as the .rm) while maintaining decent quality?

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A stupid(?) question re Super

I have just downloaded the Super program to convert ram. files to Mp3 and have been following your tutorial. I have just one question, where is this 'encode' button? I have searched the whole Super interface that is visible to me and can;t locate it anywhere!

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The button is labled "Encode (Active Files)". On the very bottom of Super, there are three buttons on the left. THe enconde button is the first one.

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MP3s are 3x as big as RMs

Does anyone know why my MP3s converted from RMs are 3 times as large?

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Is it a mono .rm file? When you convert it to a (fake) stereo mp3 file, the file size will rize. A other reason coud be, you are converting a low quality rm file (for example 28kbps) to a high quality (for example 192 kbps). In this case, the file size will rise, but not the quality.

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If we convert to the same quality (say 28 kbps to 28 kbps) will that reduce quality from the original?

BTW this is terrific blog! than you very much.

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Mono/Stereo & bpd...?

Hi Swen - these are .rm files from BBC Radio 3. Do you know if they would be mono and/or 28kbps? Is there a way to find out whether a file is mono/stereo and its quality? Thanks! Zaphod

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Every transformation causes a loss. So I guess converting a .rm file to a mp3 file should cause a even worse sounding file. What I do is. converting low quality .rm files to a higher quality mp3 file. The resulting mpe file can't have a better quality, but it will be very close to the original file. Disc space is cheap, so I don't mind the rise of the file size.

How to find out the quality of a Real Audio file: I am using MPlayer. Click Tools -> Show clip information and you should see the following :

This should provide all the needed information.

mpui.sourceforge.net: "MPlayer is arguably the best media player application of the world. Is is almost strictly monolithic, which means that it mainly consists of a single 7 MB executable that already contains all necessary codecs – for most files, it does not need any external codecs to be installed. If you want to know more about this wonderful program, please visit the MPlayer homepage.

The roots of MPlayer are in the Unix environment, and it shows in the way MPlayer is used: There is no graphical user interface, or at least none worth mentioning. Instead, MPlayer completely relies on a well-crafted command line interface and powerful keyboard shortcuts. While this is perfectly OK for Unix enthusiasts, Mac and Windows users prefer nice and more or less colorful graphical interfaces. There is already a »semi-official« OS X port, but up to now, no such project exists for the Windows platform.

This is where MPUI comes into play. It is a small program for Windows that takes the command-line hassle off you. Instead, you will get a no-frills, straight-to-the-point GUI that resembles the venerable Windows Media Player 6. It does not support every feature of MPlayer – there are just too many of them – but it is a solid »workhorse« media player tool suitable for most, if not all, everyday needs.

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Thanks Sven...

So my next question...what, in your opinion, is most important to preserve when converting audio: bitrate or sample rate?

I am converting ra files that are Bitrate=32 kbps and Sample rate=44,100, Channels=2

to mp3 files that are Bitrate=64 kbps and Sample rate=22,050, Channels=2

Is this an acceptable loss in sample rate???

Thanks, zaphod

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if the sample rate is below 44,100 I usually raise it to this level during the converting process, as I don't mind the resulting file size.

You should do a comparison with different settings. First convert the ra file at 64kbps and 44,100hz and then convert the ra file again with 64kbps and 22,050 hz.

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i've reached a dead end!

hey, swen! i was so happy when i found your site, and wanted to try out your method for real audio download right away. i followed your instructions to the letter, even downloading flashget. i first right clicked the link that said "real audio" and 'saved target as.' then i opened that file with a text editor and go the rtsp. i used flashget to download the rtsp, which gave me a scond file. okay. this second file was not an audio file, and when i went to click on it, i was prompted to select which program i wanted to use to open the file. i though of the scenario in which you said you must find a second rtsp address, and complete the flashget download again. but, in this case, when i used a text editor, i just got a bunch of unrecognizable characters (it looks like aliens wrote it!). what did i do wrong and can you think of any reason why i might not be able to download this song?

thank you so much for your help, in advance.


the rtsp that got me to the file with all the gibrish is : rtsp:// just in case that helps at all.

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Hold fast to your dreams

I have no problems downloading the link. It is a ~800kb file, containing the song "Hold fast to your dreams".

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Inexplicable FlashGet failure

A method that used to work for me has ceased sometime in the last few months. Any bright ideas?

Grabbing www.cartalk.com and opening it yields things like rtsp://go.rbn.com/cartalk/cartalk/demand/CT0711-01.ra which seems the same as always. However attempting to get them in FlashGet yields endless hangs and timeouts.

The link opens okay in RealPlayer itself, so I'm sort of at a loss as to why this isn't working anymore. Is it just me?

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FlashGet failure

I couldn't download it using Flashget, but I had success using Streambox VCR (see 3. Method in my HowTo)

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re: hold fast to dreams

swen, i tried it again and still nothing. using your method, you should be able to actually save the audio file to your computer right? (because i wanna put it on my ipod). you got it to that point, or were you just able to open the file and listen through streaming?

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Mac Audio Tools

This great little Apple program will let you record any audio, including real audio streams.


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Really helpful! But I have purchased NoteBurner to do this and it can do this great!

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What am I doing wrong?

I've managed to extract a .rm url from a .ram url, but when I put it into get Flashget, it simply errors for 99 times. I've reinstalled Flashget, installed Flashgot plug-in for Firefox, and still I can't get the new URL with the actual .rm to download. Any idea's? I'm running the Firefox No Scripts plug-in, could that have something to do with it? Thank you for any help and the great info.


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sometimes, if everything else fails, this little trick helps: change the url fom rtsp to http

so instead of using the link you provided, use this one:

New Link

Worked for me

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Thank you, worked great!!

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.ra to .mp3 quality optimalisation

Dear Swen, I was thinking about the quality of the original .ra and the converted .mp3 and found this: I do think the quality can decrease also because of the converting to .wav (pcm) with the higher sample rate and bit depth (and the more channels), which is than converted to the mp3 with the lower quality. Is there a possibility to convers .ra file (for example: 1 channel, 28 kHz samlpe rate and 8 bit depth) directly into the wav with the same parametres? This wav converted to mp3 would be in the better quality. Thanks, jamaly

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Something wrong with SUPER conversion

Swen, I'm trying to use SUPER as you recommended to convert a spoken word RealAudio file to MP3. I have the .rm file on my hard drive and it sounds fine using RealPlayer. But after conversion, the resulting MP3 file is unintelligible -- just brief snatches of sound. I've tried converting it several times with different settings on SUPER for sampling frequency and bitrate. Do you have any other suggestions?

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Help to download audio file

Dear SWEN,

I have read your article.It is very informative.But I am unable to download any audio file from"www.musicindiaonline.com"using your article.

Pl.help me.

Just I am giving a link to one of the many audio files available in the above site for your kind reference www.musicindiaonline.com.

The following is the text editor of the above link..

MusicIndiaOnLine Trident Player (Real Player)

Tell me which line I have to use from the above for downloading the audio file.

Thanks in advance.

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NoteBurner works

If you are a Windows user, NoteBurner also works. It can help burn music onto virtual disc in MP3 format.

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And is there any dedicated solution to capture the audio given by a specific application?

fuchs brush

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Convert RA to MP3 with Streambox Ripper (part of VCR)

If you download the Streambox VCR collection (you can find it on BitTorrent), it comes with a program called Streambox Ripper which is what I'm using to batch convert 1000s of RM files to MP3 with great success.

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Thanks for the info

Thanks Swen, I've been rooting around for this for ages.

Someone said they couldn't see the encode button at the bottom of Super, I had the same problem. It's there it's just that the Super window doesn't appear to be designed for small resolution screens. Try dragging the window to the very top of your screen and "feel around" at the bottom. A balloon tip popped up for me and I clicked there. If that doesn't work try increasing your resolution above 800 x 600 and restarting Super.

Swen, I wrote a simple JScript (Windows only) that reads a folder full of ram files. It extracts their file names and URLs then outputs the info to a text file. It allows for opening multiple single episode tabs, on the BBC site for example, then downloading and quickly getting the URLs. If you or anyone is interested, post an address where I can send it.

Thanks again

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Hi! Let me recommend you smart converter I've been using for a long time. www.tunecab.com Easily convert ANY purchased or copied music or movie files and almost any audio or video file to MP3, AAC, WAV, MPEG4, DivX for CD, iPod and other MP3/MPEG4/DivX player file formats at high speed and CD quality - legally. Thank you.

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BBC Listen Again Audio Skipping

Hi, Firstly can I say thanks for the tutorial I've used it loads. I have, however, recently had a problem with the audio in the downloaded .ra file skipping every now and then. I searched the site and saw the exact same problem posted by Zaphod, but without any solution:

"Jumping, twittering and other audio problems... Hi Swen. Great tutorial, thanks! I have followed your instructions for downloading BBC programs (Flashget + SUPER) and every file I download has jumping and twittering. These problems are in the .ra files so are not caused by the conversion to .mp3. I am wondering: (a) are others experiencing this problem and (b) is there anything that can be done? Thanks!"

I've downloaded many programmes without this skipping and am not doing anything differently.

Any help greatly appreciated!

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Don't know what is causing the skipping. But try a software wich captures the outpout of the computer's soundcard. If the stream isn't skipping while paying, there should also be no skipping in the captured file. See the "Maybe try also" section in my article.

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rm to mp3 quality settings

I'm using dbapoweramp, I'm usually getting mp3 file that is 3 times the size of the rm file and sounds worse than the rm

What would be the optimal settings to convert bbc shows from rm to mp3?

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have a look here

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Listening to RealAudio streaming radio in iTunes

I may have not put that correctly, but here is what I'm hoping to do: I would like to listen to the live streams from online radio stations such as BBC3, which use RealAudio, on iTunes. If there is a way to do this by converting RealAudio to Mp3 on the fly, without losing quality, that would be perfect. -- Currently, my workaround is to use Mac software (I use an iMac) called Nicecast to direct the live stream to iTunes, but there quite a loss of audio quality. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated. -- The reason I want to listen to these streams through iTunes is that I use Airport Express units to online radio in different parts of my house. Airport Express works only with iTunes. - Thanks.

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don't know...

I don't know if its possible to use iTunes for listening to real audio streams, but I think the pro version of the official quick time player can save real audio streams as mp3 files. But i will investigate on this issue.

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For Windows Vista

My laptop pc has Windows Vista and I couldn't install SUPER -- got an error message as soon as it started to install. I guess ithe 2007.07 version must be incompatible with Vista.

Switch (v. 1.31) and WavePad (v. 3.05) installed without any problems, so they must be Vista-compatible. Note that they require RealPLayer installed on the pc. You don't have to use RealPlayer for anything, they need its files to decode the Real file.

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Dear Swen,

I followed your instructions and I've opened the .ram file in a text editor, and I found a link to a .smil file, not a .rm file. So I used Flashget to download that .smil file, which I then opened in the text editor and found nonsensical characters with no URL to a .rm file. What should I do?


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re: Problem

Here is the URL I got from the 1st file opened as a text file: link

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Hi Dave,

the problem is, your smil file is providing the link to the .rm file as a relative path and not as an absolute path.

When you open the smil file, look for this:
audio src="barton-joe_and_paul1.rm</b>

Only the file name is mentioned: barton-joe_and_paul1.rm, this means, the file is in the same folder as the smil file. Now, in order to download the .rm file, just change the link from
..../commercials/barton-joe_and_paul1.smil to ..../commercials/barton-joe_and_paul1.rm

you don't need the ?cloakport=80,554,7070&mode=compact part from your original link.

Here is the direct link to the file you are looking for, use flashget to download it: Link

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Yeah, it worked.

Thank you so much for your help

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real media files don't play anymore

Hey Swen,

I just installed Media Player Classic, and uninstalled RealPlayer as it was suggested. The link I had been using to play video files (.rm) with RealPlayer now give an error:

"C:\Users\VALUED~1\AppData\Local\Temp\Energiepass-7.ram could not be opened, because the associated helper application does not exist. Change the association in your preferences."

This is an internet links to a .rm file, I saved the password in Firefox so it used to open RealPlayer right up.

I check Media Player options and included .rm and .ram files under Formats - File extensions.

I checked Firefox Preferences under Tools - Options - Applications , .ram is pointing to Media Player Classic, .rm is not in the list, not sure if I have to and how to include it, since the error message mentiones a .ram file.

Bottomline: I am trying to download password protected .rm files from a university site where I'm studying, however right clicking on the link reveals file information for a .rm file which internally seems to point to another .rm file , in a different folder, because of the password protection. I have seen that earlier when running RealPlayer and checking the "file source".

Hope I make sense, I'm at the end of my rope and hope you can help me.

Thanks so much, Christoph

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you may refer to the following step by step guide at www.bigasoft.com , i just have a free try, it really enables me to convert realplayer files to avi, mpg, mp3, mp4, and more

hope it also helps for you

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Re: Simplest and quickest free video downloader ?

Hi. I'm late to reply butVidPaw Online Video Downloader works great for me, it's simple to use, just cut and paste then you can download YouTube videos. I've used it on both Windows and Mac.

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