Ride the WAV

If you're bored of listening to the same-old MP3s and can't be bothered to switch on your FM radio, then why not try internet radio? Rather than offer you a few stations, internet radio lets you tune into thousands of music stations around the globe. Windows show you how to ride the internet’s wave of sound…

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By  Cleona Godinho Published  October 1, 2005

|~|Untitled-2web.jpg|~|Our pick of the best internet radio web sites around |~|Although traditional radio offers a number of audio entertainment choices, it doesn't offer as many stations as the internet can. Internet radio is also far more controllable. For instance, if you're listening to a song and wish to change it, internet radio lets you pause or skip the track altogether (see our list of recommended radio sites opposite). Though there are differences between FM and internet radio, there is one key similarity - recording. Just as FM radio can be recorded to a tape cassette, internet radio can be recorded and stored on your PC or portable audio player. Before we delve deeper, let’s take a look at how internet radio works. To put it simply, internet radio is a way of receiving streamed radio stations on your PC over the internet. It works in three main stages. First, an audio signal enters the encoding computer through a sound card. This is then translated into digital signals, which can be broadcast. Finally, the server sends the audio data stream to the receiving software on your PC via the internet. We have decided to talk you through using Silent Bob version 1.1 (available at www.silent-bob.de/en) - a freeware application that records all incoming music from your sound card. Although this versionis basic, it’s functional enough. Streaming Online Before you begin using Silent Bob you need to decide; where you want your file created, the name of it, and if you want Silent Bob to automatically generate filenames (in case you plan to start and stop it several times while recording). Also, make sure the audio coming out of your sound card is not distorted. To internally adjust the sound on your PC, simply go to Start/ Programs/ Accessories/ Entertainment/ Volume Control. Next, select 'Properties', then 'Recording' and tick the check box on the 'Stereo Mix' slider and adjust the volume. Now do a test recording with Silent Bob and then listen to the WAV file it creates. If it's distorted or too low, adjust the volume until you're satisfied. Also, you must turn off all PC sounds (e.g. click and program sounds), or else these will be recorded too. To turn do this, head to Control Panel/Sounds and Audio Devices. Under the Sounds tab, pull down the available 'Sound Scheme' list, choose 'No Sounds' and click Apply. (If you had Windows' sound settings set-up just as you like, save the current theme first so that you can reset this after you're done recording.) Now go to your chosen internet radio web site and click on your favourite station. Press 'Record' and when you're done press 'Stop/Save'(see image 2 on right). Silent Bob will now create a single WAV (*.wav) file containing your recording - in the location agreed. Quick Split If you'd like to split this WAV file into smaller tracks, there are a number of WAV splitting programs available. We have chosen Direct WAV MP3 Splitter 2.1 (available at Pistonsoft.com). It lets you split or trim an audio file and save this into separate segments. It also includes a built-in audio player, which lets you listen, playback with adjustable speed and then split. You can automatically split an MP3 and WAV files into parts using split by parts, time, and size, or via its 'Auto Pause Detection' feature. To begin splitting your WAV file, go to File/Open and locate the file you wish to split. The app will now display an info panel with the file's details such as file size, bitrate and length. The next panel is the Split panel. This allows you to split your WAV file manually or into a number of parts. For example, if you've recorded many songs using Silent Bob and wish to make each song a separate WAV file, use the ‘Manual Split’ option to mark the start and end of each split. To make multiple manual splits, start playing the song, then when you reach the beginning of the audio you want to split click 'Mark Start'. Once the song has finished, click 'Mark End' followed by the pause button (so you can keep track of where you last stopped). Now, click 'Add to Split List'. Your individual splits will now be added to the split list. After you've added all your splits click on Split (F5). Now choose the output folder and specify the location where you'd like to store your files. However, if you wish to split a file by equal-sized parts, defined play-length or file size, go to 'Split by parts' and select your preferred option. Now click 'Add to Split List'. You can also split your file using the 'Pause Detection' option. This allows you to automatically split the file based on lack of noise. To split using this option, simply set the dB (decibel) level. We recommend setting it to -30 dB, as this is almost silent. Also, use the 'Duration' option to set the length of silence so that the app knows when to split the file. For instance, if you've set the sound level to -30 dB and 1.7-second duration time, the software will automatically cut the file after 1.7 seconds of silence. Converting WAV to MP3 If you want to convert your WAV file into MP3 (to transfer to your portable audio player) you can use one of the many WAV to MP3 converters available online. We suggest dBpower AMP Music Converter, which can be downloaded at Dbpoweramp.com. To begin converting simply double-click the dBpowerAMP icon, click Open and select the file you wish to convert. From the drop-down list then choose MP3 as your file type (see step 4 above) If you want to select the quality of your audio before you convert it, simply click 'Advanced' and select the quality type you desire and click OK. Once you're finished making the necessary adjustments, click 'Convert'. The software with now convert your file into MP3 format. You can now transfer the audio to your portable audio player or burn it to a CD. It's really that simple.||**||

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