Have you ever wondered how you can record or copy a song that is streaming over the Internet to your computer for free? Trying to download streaming audio directly to your computer can be quite a daunting task because sites usually use other security measures, which makes it nearly impossible if you’re not a hacker.
However, one surefire way to record streaming audio from any website is to simply capture it through your computer’s sound card. Basically, there are programs out there that can record whatever plays through your computer’s speakers, so if you can hear it, it can be recorded. Of course, you will have to listen to the entire song as it is being recorded live, but it is definitely much easier than trying to download the file directly from the website.
It’s worth noting that attempting to capture or record audio streams over the Internet may violate copyright laws, so hopefully you’re only trying to record non-copyrighted material! Also, depending on your sound card, you may or may not be able to record computer playback. Fortunately, there is a way around this using a 1/8 ” audio cable, also called a ribbon cable. You connect one end to the microphone jack and the other end to the headphone jack and then record.
There are several free programs that you can use, although the selection is very limited. I will also mention a couple of shareware programs because they have more features. Plus, if you just want to record songs that you hear on the radio, I’ll also mention one option for that.
If you haven’t heard of Audacity yet, it is a free and open source sound editor and recorder. It’s also probably the best way to record audio playing on your computer for free.
Basically, you need to go to settings and change your recording settings. As I mentioned above, the device will depend on whether your sound card supports computer playback recording. If not, you will have to use the cable and change the device. Sounds complicated? No big deal, Audacity has a great guide to all of this online.
Also, by default, due to software patents, Audacity cannot export recording to MP3 file format. If you want to do this, you need to install LAME MP3 Encoder for Audacity.
There are many tutorials on the internet for recording computer output with Audacity, and this is really the best way in the end.
Cool is a free program that will record audio and video into separate files, which is very convenient. Audio is recorded in WAV format, but you can always use another program to convert between audio formats. The recording quality is good and they also have an online manual that explains all the different options and functions.
CamStudio is an open source screen recorder that also allows you to record the sound played on your computer. It records to AVI, so you have to use other methods to extract audio to MP3 file. It’s a two-step process, but it’s not that hard. Audacity, CamStudio, and Krut are three good free programs and I mentioned two more at the end of this post, but use them as a last resort. I’ll explain below.
Internet radio recording
If you listen to a lot of music online from Last.fm or Spotify, etc., then there are several tools that you can use to record these songs as they play and convert them to MP3 files. First, I will mention some internet radio programs that allow you to listen to and record radio stations at the same time.
ScreamRadio is an older program that lets you listen to up to 4000 Internet radio stations online for free. It also lets you record these stations as you listen to them, so you can record your favorite songs from your favorite radio stations.
For Spotify listeners, you can try Spotify Recorder It takes a little work to get set up, but once you get it set up it will work as advertised. It records directly from the sound card and can add artist and track information. You don’t need a Spotify Premium account for this to work.
Paid registry programs
In addition to free software, you may want to consider spending some money if you plan on recording a lot. Paid apps are more powerful, more modern, and easier to customize.
Audio Hijack Pr
Audio Hijack Pr
Audio Hijack Pro is the best voice recorder for Mac OS X. Not only can you record audio from iTunes, QuickTime, RealPlayer, Safari, Skype, DVD player, etc., but you can also record system audio. Not only that, it can record in multiple formats including AAC, MP3 and WAV. It has tons of other features and costs $ 32. You can also download a free trial and use all the features in a short time to see if it’s worth it.
Wondershare Audio Streaming Recorder
Wondershare Streaming Audio Recorder
Wondershare Streaming Audio Recorder is the cheapest program at $ 19. It allows you to record music from a variety of online music sites and has some useful features such as automatically retrieving artist information, auto splitting songs, and even filtering ads that play before or after a song.
Possible free adware
If you have a spare PC or laptop that is useless, old, or will be reformatted in due time, you can install FreeCorder on it. FreeCorder (Google it) is a handy program that can be used if you are going to record music that is mainly played over the Internet, such as Internet radio, etc.
However, malware / spyware is also known to be installed along with it. I’ve used it before and it works well for recording streaming audio, but you should only install it on a virtual machine or on a computer that you don’t need. Do not install it on your work machine or on a computer with any important data. I personally haven’t had any issues with adware, spyware, etc., but users have definitely reported it.
This is one way to record any sound or music over the Internet or from a computer, but the software itself is sketchy.
MP3 My MP3
Mp3 my mp3
You can use a separate program called MP3MyMP3 Recorder (Google it), which is also free. This is another program that seems to fall into the adware category. This program is a last resort if you can’t get anything I mentioned above to work. I only mention this because I used it and it worked for me, but others have reported spyware issues.
Like FreeCorder, this program also records whatever is played through your computer’s speakers. However, unlike FreeCorder, this program requires your audio to NOT be muted. So if you want to record something, it must be playable and you must be able to hear it.
Also, by default MP3MyMP3 tries to record from your microphone, not your sound card, so click the Source button and select Stereo Mix as the audio source. The recording quality was good and sounded like the original as far as I could tell. Personally, in between, FreeCorder is better, but MP3MyMP3 is another alternative.
So these are practically all possible ways to record the sound transmitted to your computer. Basically, it’s just grabbing the output from your sound card. Any questions or concerns please leave a comment!