Technical Triumphs with Audio

My latest tech triumph was to record a show off NPR’s Talk of the Nation on deaf culture that ran last Wednesday.

The recording part is not so easy. Why? Well, it’s easy to record (or “rip”) from a CD in the modern Mac world via iTunes (and then you can rip it to a blank CD after you’ve brought it into iTunes). It’s also easy to download music files. But NPR/MPR sound is “streaming” meaning it’s not a file, it’s pouring in over the network similar to how radio waves are pouring in to your radio.

So you really have to record the input on the fly as once it’s “heard,” it’s gone.

There is software out there to do this. I found nothing free that would handle the RealAudio stream for the show.

But I found Audio Hijack by Rogue Amoeba which isn’t too expensive ($16) and did the job. It “hijacks” the application (in this case RealPlayer) and records the stream to an AIFF file. It has cool features like the ability to schedule your recordings. It also is supposed to record the iTunes radio streams but I haven’t tried it.

The AIFF file I recorded was humongous – 485MB. Still, that will fit on a CD.

iTunes will also convert the file to MP4 (or AAC) format. Who cares? Well the file will shrink to 44MB with no real noticeable loss of quality. So now I could fit at least 10 of these files on a single CD (playable in consumer CD players).

I’m not sure about copyright issues. I assume recording this for personal use is OK. What about recording and giving a copy away? I assume selling copies would violate copyright.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s