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:
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.
- Start Winamp and click Control-P to bring up the Options menu.
- In the Plugins section click Output and select "Nullsoft MP3 output plugin".
- Click the Configure button and select the file directory where you want the mp3 files to be saved. You can also select the recording quality, which will radically affect the size of the mp3 files. If you don't know what you are doing select CD quality from the dropdown. You can manually select other settings and save them and they will be added to the dropdown. For example, for spoken word content such as Old Time Radio shows you might want a lower bitrate. On the Format dropdown select MPEG (the only option), then on the Attributes dropdown select "32kBit/s, 22,050 Hz, Mono". click the Save-As button and save this setting as "OTR". Thereafter OTR will appear on the dropdown. You can setup as many custom settings as you want.
- Close the Preferences window and you are ready to convert RealAudio 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".
For more information
- One-page overview with links to free or cheap conversion software.
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