In our how to rip anything series, Jenneth Orantia and Mike Le Voi show you how to (legally) copy, rip or download virtually any form of media so you can enjoy it permanently
How to capture internet radio streams and music from music subscription sites so you can play it whenever you want.
Only a handful of programs can bypass DRM restrictions and record any audio streams, and they do this by leaving the copy protection alone and simply recording whatever comes out of your speakers.
Windows users should look to the excellent Replay Music
program (US$19.95) for recording music from virtually any web site as an MP3 file. The demo version gives you full access to all the features but limits your recordings to 25 tracks. By default, it records using a standard 128Kbit/s and a constant bit rate, but for higher quality recordings, you can nudge this up to 192 or 256Kbit/s and switch to a variable bit rate in the settings.
Setting Replay Music up to record streaming audio is straightforward: launch the app, hit the record button, then fill in the artist name, album name and genre details — while Replay Music has a built-in audio recognition system (similar to Shazam and SoundHound), this will help later when it tries to fill in the track’s ID3 tags.
If you want to record for a particular duration of time (handy if you’re interested in a particular radio show, for example) fill in the ‘Stop recording when recording time is’ setting with the desired number of minutes. Once you hit OK, Replay Music will listen for any audio sources and automatically start recording when a stream starts.
By default, it will automatically split files when it senses a new track (good if you’re recording entire albums from a music subscription site), but if you want to record a radio segment as a single file, make sure you uncheck this option in the settings. Replay Music will automatically stop recording as soon as the audio finishes, and there are options for adding tracks to Windows Media Player or iTunes and burning the track to a CD.
If you’re a Mac user, Audio Hijack Pro
(US$32) is one of the best audio recording programs on the market, with lots of bonus features like multiple recording formats (AAC, Apple Lossless and AIFF, in addition to the standard MP3), support for AppleScripts, and scheduled recording. A trial version is available that lets you make full quality recordings up to 10 minutes long, after which point the program starts to add background noise.
For recording something that’s currently playing, click on Quick Record and it will start recording whatever is playing on your Mac. But for better control over your audio recording, you’d do well to dig into the settings.
Audio Hijack Pro lets you make recordings from different sources: particular applications, an audio device (such as a microphone or other connected audio peripherals), AM/FM radio (assuming your computer has a radio built-in) and system audio.
To record from internet radio or a music subscription site, click on the Safari option in the left-hand pane (Audio Hijack Pro doesn’t work so well with Chrome or Firefox), then toggle through the different tabs and change settings as desired.
In the Recording tab, you’ll find options to change the format and quality of the audio recording (by default, it uses MP3, VBR at 128Kbit/s). If you’re running a 64-bit version of Mac OS X, you’ll get a message saying that Audio Hijack Pro has to relaunch Safari in 32-bit mode to receive its audio. Once it has relaunched, click the Record button, then launch the site you want to record audio from — Audio Hijack Pro will automatically start recording as soon as it detects sound.