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Converting RealAudio to WAV or MP3

Note: RealAudio is a proprietary file format created by RealNetworks Inc. This website is not affiliated with RealNetworks. What follows is advice about converting RealAudio content to other formats.

Real to WAV
WAV is the non-compressed format used for digital audio CDs. The files tend to take up a lot of space. The main value of WAV files is if they are copied to a CD the CD will be playable in a standard CD player. To download a very simple, free program to save RealAudio as WAV files click here.

The download is in .zip format. To unzip it you need a program like WinZip. There is no install. After unzipping just double-click the .exe file to run the program. This program has very few options so it's easy to use. It will record from either a file on your computer or streaming audio from a web location (http://...). If your goal is to make audio CDs then all you have to do is record to WAV files and burn them to CD. However, you cannot make mp3 files with this program. To do that you can use EasyCDCreator or other popular mp3 encoders to convert the WAV files to mp3.

Real to MP3
With somewhat greater effort you can convert directly from RealAudio to mp3 using Winamp, a popular mp3 player program for Windows. All you need is a RealAudio input plugin and an mp3 output plugin for it. Here are the ones I use:

RealAudio input
winamp_RA_input_plugin.exe
mp3 output
winamp_out_mp3_plugin.exe

Download both of the above and double-click each .exe to install. The installs are very simple; just let them put the files where they want.

Winamp will automatically detect the type of input and use the correct input plugin, but you have to tell it when you want to write out mp3 files.

To convert to mp3, select the .ra or .ram files you want by dragging them onto Winamp. For online streams click the Add button at the bottom of Winamp, then click Add URL and type or paste the http:// address of the stream. To start converting click the Play button.

In either case you won't hear the output while recording, but you will see the time display tick along as the file is converted. On my computer it converts at about 3x normal speed. The output mp3 file will be saved file in the directory you specified. The filename will be the entire RealAudio filename plus ".mp3". If you play multiple RealAudio files you will get multiple mp3 files. When each file is finished recording, the mp3 file should appear in the directory you specified.

Playing the Saved MP3 Files
NOTE: After recording you must switch Winamp back to normal output in order to use it for listening. Control-P for the Options menu, then click Output and select "DirectSound output" or "waveOut output".


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