Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives
Wed 05 Jan 2005
Recording a radio interview
Category : mac and the internet
I had to bail out of a radio chat session about the International Coastal Cleanup on News Radio 93.8FM's Living Room, because of a bad case of flu. Happily my kakis, Kate and Airani went ahead and I did the recording from home.
I borrowed a Creative MuVo Slim which was used for the first session on mangroves. It can tune in to radio stations and record the audio, generating a WMA file which its accompanying pc-software converts to mp3.
Despite my best efforts however, the reception was poor. So I turned to my iBook. The News Radio 93.8FM webpage audio feed doesn't work but happily the AV feed ("hear us & see us") does. Although the radio AV feed can falter, I needed a backup an this would have to do.
Next I downloaded Ambrosia Software's Wiretap Pro. It has gone pro now and costs US$20 after a 30-day trial.
WireTap worked like a charm. The floating module needs a mouse click to start recording and responds immediately. Useful since the Living Room is a three-part session interrupted by news, it being NewsRadio. The easy controls meant I coud start an stop right on the dot, and no editing was required later. The false starts I made were easily stopped, and the resultant files deleted.
Meanwhile, the Creative MuVo slim controls were difficult to manage for my thick fingers, the interface a little tricky and the time lag before recording started inconvenient.
I didn't change the audio settings on WireTap in the rush before broadcast, and ended up with three high quality AIFF files, each between 33-44MB in size.
I had to reduce the size of the files for Habitatnews, and used iTunes to generate AAC-format files. These files were two-thirds the size of the AIFF files (11.5-15MB).
However, I needed to provide the more widely-used mp3 format on the net an iTunes could not provide this directly. A Google search revealed Blacktree's (the Quicksilver people) iTunes-LAME encoder. Unfortunately I didn't know how to work it.
Another google search revealed mAC3dec 1.6.3 which is purportedly "more fun than a barrel of monkeys." I just had to drag and drop the three AIFF files to its window, and click start, very simple! The mp3 files generated were about 100k-200k smaller than the iTunes-generated AAC files. The smaller formats did not demonstrate detectable loss of quality - but this wasn't music so the difference, if any, was negligible.
WireTap Pro can also work with iCal to "schedule recording sessions that will automatically start up a streaming audio feed, and record it unattended." Useful for recording BBC Radio broadcasts or archives via RealPlayer audio to listen to later - once you have the audio file, you can burn a cd or transfer to an ipod.
You can also have fun recording a message with your iBook's built in microphone to send to friends overseas via email or ichat. 16' 16" track was 14.8 MB. You will have to pay your shareware fee to enable that, unless you have an older, free copy.
So I solved the recording problem for NewsRadio broadcasts (happily the feed didn't drop), and the resultant files were posted on Habitatnews. There'll be more broadcasts ahead and hopefully all will recorded just as easily.