Article, April 2008
By Bart Koslow, Software Review Coordinator,
Thousand Oaks Personal Computer Club, Thousand Oaks, CA
review(at)topcc.org (click to email author)
Obtained from APCUG with the author's permission for publication by APCUG member groups.
Nowadays it is no problem to record video from a TV broadcast, VCR or other source using a Digital Video Recorder. When I began to look into recording music broadcasts off the air, I found that there were external Audio recorders, but they were expensive, beginning in the $250 range and up. This is twice as much as a similar Video Recorder.
Since I wanted to create CDs from the broadcast music and I had DVD/CD burners on my computer I decided that using my computer was a better and cheaper alternative.
One possibility was a TV/FM card for my computer which may be purchased for $30 to $40 and up. However, I found a cheaper method. My stereo system was only a few feet from my computer, so I connected an audio output from my audio receiver to the line in on my computer sound card. I happened to have a cable with two RCA connectors on one end going to a single stereo connector on the other end. Just what I needed, I connected the RCA connectors to audio out on my receiver and the stereo connector to the line in on my sound card on the computer.
Now all I needed was a program that could access the sound card and record the input. I hit the jackpot. Roxio Easy Media Creator has just the program. Not only that, but, once you complete your recording, Roxio has a basic sound editor that enables editing the sound files, and programs to burn the files to a CD or DVD. The Roxio program will access a number of inputs besides the line in. You may access your phone line, CD player, microphone input, and other inputs including Internet Radio broadcasts received on your computer. You may also decide which type of file format to record, WAV, MP3, or WMA, what fidelity to record, and where to save the recorded file. In addition, there is a recording level meter and control.
Once I turned on my stereo receiver and accessed the Roxio recording program, everything went well. I recorded a long broadcast for a few hours and then my computer told me I had a problem and had to close the Roxio program. I lost my whole recording, but now I knew it worked and tried again.
This time I closed all the programs I did not need and disconnected from the Internet to get less interference when I recorded. After editing the recorded audio file, I successfully burned it to two CDs.
If you have music cassettes or even VCRs with music, you may use this technique to transfer music to CDs. If you have cable or satellite TV service with accompanying radio, you may use the above procedure to record from your set top box to your computer. I have satellite service with SIRIUS radio, and am now recording live and historical music broadcasts that interest me.
I next discovered that in many cases I could bypass an external stereo receiver, set top box, or recorder by using Internet Radio which may be played using Windows Media Player, iTunes Player, Real Player or other free media players. All you have to do is find the radio station that is broadcasting the music you wish and then enter the URL for its streaming audio broadcasts in the Player software. I did a search using Google and found there are numerous Internet radio station locators, found the station I wanted and entered the URL. Now I had the music coming in directly to my computer from the Internet with no intermediary device. In order to save the music I again resorted to Roxio’s “Capture Audio from Sound Card” program and changed the input from “Line In” to “Stereo Mix,” and recorded the broadcast to a file. Edit the audio file and burn it to a CD and I was finished. It all worked like a charm.
Now, I do not need a Stereo Receiver, external recorder or even have to add a TV/ FM card to my computer.
The simple solutions are always the best ones.
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