At this point most over the air radio stations as well as many internet only ones offer their full broadcast offerings through Internet streams. Most of these are accessible from anywhere in the world—for example, one could listen to a Canadian from Indonesia. Some major networks like Clear Channel in the US and Chrysalis in the UK restrict listening to within their country because of music licensing and advertising concerns. And of primary interest here, many stations will suspend the web stream (or replace it with alternate programming) during live sports broadcasts, notably for most English Premiere League teams and nearly all top leagues in US Sports, including Major League Soccer.
When this website began, most web broadcasts casts were streamed using the RealOne format or the Windows Media format. Over time a number of other formats have arisen, and the less corporate MP3 and non corporate OggVorbis formats have been more widely adopted. Some broadcasters offer a choice of streaming format.
To handle most anything listed here, we suggest you install both the "Real" and "Microsoft" players on your computer. They will also work with other formats, and you may well already have a favorite MP3 player. Our preference is WinAmp, which has a lot less clutter, starts much more quickly, and takes up fewer of your computer's resource when runing.
We used to make a point of recognizing that each stream is limited to a maximum number of listeners, and advise connecting ahead of time for matches you don't want to miss. We have not found this to be an issue in years. It seems that problems with gaps and 'buffering' delays have also cleared up for people who have a connection faster than dial-up.
This is not much of an issue with feeds associated with large web streaming operation carrying hundreds of stations. And 56k good connections are usually reliable.
If you have trouble, and are paying for. Click here) for one speed check tool. Since there is a significant margin of error because of the varying level of internet traffic, you should run this test few times over several days, and at various times of day.
One ongoing problem people experience when they first attempt to listen to streaming audio (and video) is a "cannot connect to file" message. Most of the time this happens when people are trying to connect through a firewall, corporate server or through a proxy. If this is the case then contact your system administrator (assuming of course that it is not against your employer's policy to listen to webcasts) and ask them to configure the incoming port for audio.
Current versions of Windows come with "Windows Media® Player 11", the latest release. This version is also available by download from the Windows Update page or by clicking the logo below. The player requires Windows XP or later.
From that page you can also find versions for Windows Vista, as well as player version 10. Earlier versions for older computers are also available from the Microsoft, but many streams only support formats back to version 9 or 10.
For Mac users there are choices between a Microsoft player vintage version 9 and downloading support files to play Window media using quicktimes.
To get a copy of the RealOne player, Click the logo:
IMPORTANT: The offerings on the website change pretty often. Unless you know they have something else you want, you should not need to enter any personal information, particularly credit cards, or pay anything for the basic player. As of Sept 2009, what you want is called RealPlayer SP. The version you need to pay for is called SP Plus, costs about $40, and included video features and disk burning software.
They also promote various "passes" with content included, including free trials that automatically start to bill you when the free trial ends if you don't specifically cancel. Be careful.
They also Mac and Unix versions
Our choice for playing MP3, WAV files, Audio CDs.
NOTE: Generally MP3 streams are called SHOUTCast.
SoundJam for the MacIntosh is apparently a well regarded audio player for MP3 and other formats. They offer a Free version, and for a payment a "Plus" version.
XMMS was historcally the most respected audio tool for Unix, and has essentially the same feature set as WinAmp. Apparently it is no longer updated, and various sucessors are available with no similarly strong consensus on what is best.
|We have not come across streams that require the Apple Quicktime player, but if you encounter any you can get the program by clicking the logo|
You can record
a streaming broadcast and save it
to your file. The program we use to do this
is called "Total
Here's how they describe the basic concept:
Total Recorder uses a virtual sound driver to capture the sound output from another program. By installing this driver, and setting this device as the default, different sound reproducing programs send their output stream to Total Recorder's driver and not to the driver of a real device. Total Recorder then passes the information to the sound card driver.
In addition to streaming audio, this program is capable of recording anything else that runs through your computer sound card such as microphone input, line-in input from a record player, CDs, DVDs, and internet phone calls. The system also allows scheduling recordings, you can set the program to start recording when a match is scheduled to kickoff.
With easily available free drivers, they support Ogg Vorbis, MP3 and WAV format, and if you have Window Media Player installed, you can use Windows Media Audio (.wma) format.
In the Professional edition
- The ability to launch any application with the Total Recorder scheduler.
- Editing support to delete parts of a recording, append a sound file or insert it anywhere within a recording
- The capability of launching the audio stream as part of a scheduled recording.
- Capability to shutdown the PC after a scheduled recording is completed.
- Support to initiate and terminate the dial-up connection for an Internet recording
- Graphic Equalizer and Spectrum Analyzer added in current versions.
In order to schedule recordings, the program has a built in browser which lets you look around the internet and 'harvest' links, and then enter them in a "Play adddress" box on screen.
The best way to harvest these addresses from SoccerAudio.COM is to go to any of the links that immediately launch webcasts (usually the "Listen Live" button). Right click over the link, and select "Copy Shortcut". Then paste this shortcut into Total Recorder's "Play address" box.
The basic price of the product is $18. The Professional edition is $35.95. If you already own the basic edition you can upgrade to the Pro edition for is $24. The full price is $35.95. If you paid for a previous version you can download the new release and use the same activation key to use it at no charge.
At an extra charge they have an add-on feature of particular value for people who want to digitize their tape or vinyl music collection (removing clicks, pops and hisses).
To get the program, or for more information, click the link.
With the product, they provide thorough documentation in a "Word" file. You can download the file and read about the program before you decide to purchase. They have a trial versioni, which will only record for about a forty seconds, which lets you try every feature and fully evaulate it, but not make practical use unless you pay.
The company has also prepared excellent information on computer audio which you can read if you click here.
The program inherently only supports the WAV format, which generates huge files. You surely want to use a compressed format, such as the MP3 format, so your drive doesn't overflow. Even with MP3, depending on your settings, a match could fill more than 10 megs of disk space. If you have version 9.0 (or later) of the Windows media player the program now supports that format automatically. We know that Ogg Virbis is highly regarded, roughly equivalent to MP3 but arguably superior. We have not tried either WMA or Ogg Vorbis simply because MP3 worked initially and we haven't taken the time.
Since Total Recorder does not come with an MP3 encoder, you will have to find one yourself or use another format.
The solution that worked for us when we initially installed for MP3 was to download and install a free CD Ripper called CDex.
NOTE: If you ever want to copy an audio CD to MP3 format on you computer, this free program does a great job. And it will retreive track names for commercial CD from the internet. (It it isn't "GraceNote", the commercial service, it's quite similar in content and reliability)
Once you have CDex installed you will find that the "LAME" MP3 encoder is also installed.
Click the Icon, download the program, and install version 1.51. It's
The lower the bit rate, the less disk space required for the resulting file. We tried the setting that would create the smallest file. (8kbits, 8,000 hz) The sound was listenable, but noticably worse than the original feed.
We have been using 32 kbits/second 16,000 Hz, Mono and the results have been very good. At this setting the file size of a recording is approximately 14 megabytes per hour.
You can set the program to suspend recording when the feed is silent. Interruptions because of network congestion will be removed from the recording. Although you will have sudden jumps in your recording, you won't have prolonged silence. The program seems to know when the signal is truly lost. It does not seem to stop recording when some broadcasts feed total silence during halftime.
If you want to capture a match when you are away from home, Total Recorder has a built in timer, which enables you to set your system to begin recording a station while you are away. If you are using the Standard edition, simply start the stream early, set up total recorder to begin taping when you want it to, and go out. It gets even better with the Professional Edition. Sometimes you can't launch the web stream in advance because it isn't there until close to kickoff. With the Professional Edition you can provide the link to the stream, and Total Recorder will launch that stream just before the recording begins. (The professional edition also supports attaching to dial up connections as it works to establish the launch of the webcast.)
While we strongly recommend the Professional Edition, it is over three times
as expensive as the Standard Edition and may not be worth the expense, particularly
if you don't use the features often. It is pretty easy to set up the launch
of a webstream using the scheduler available as part of Windows.
Here's how to do it, as explained by Kevin Rutherford:
1) Go the web link that you would click on to start the webcast. Right click the link. Select from the drop down menu "Save Target As.." Then save the link to a location where you can easily find it, such as your desktop.
2) Double click on Task Scheduler in your System Tray in the lower right hand corner. This will start the Task Scheduler Wizard. When the Wizard asks for the program you wish to schedule select the "Browse" button and browse to the location of the link you saved in step one, above. After selecting the saved link continue with the Wizard setting up the date and time.
Thats all there is to it. This will only start the required player. It will not stop it.
Of course, it will only work with a consistent reliable stream. If the stream stops, as sometimes happens, and you aren't there to restart it, the recording will not be made.
We have heard of two other programs that are similar to Total Recorder. We haven't tried them. You can click the logos below:
Ant there is at least one recording tool available for the Mac:
Some streams, such as the English Premier League broadcasts on BBC Five Live, are geographically restricted. In this particular case, the BBC does not have the right to distribute these broadcasts outside the United Kingdom. Occassionally it is possible to directly connect to such broadcasts because the technical definition of IP address locations is sometimes difficult to map to geographic borders. Sometimes the source stations neglect to activate the restrictions, and depending on how the restrictions are imposed, some people get lucky if they connect many hours ahead of time. However usually it is nearly impossible to overcome these restrictions.
With some effort, it is possible to access some of these sorts of feeds through Proxy Servers located in the region where the streams are available..
Proxy servers have generally been set up around the world primarily to enable people to connect to the internet without being identifiable and prevent some kinds of hacker attacks. Apparently they can provide performance benefits by caching frequently used internet pages. If you want to find out more about other benefits there is plenty of information out on the internet.
In the case of geographically restricted streams, what proxy servers do is enable you to connect to the stream through that server, the stream being provided back to that server (in the case of Five Live a server in the UK), and then relayed back to you.
We have tried, and suceeded, in connecting to the restricted Five Live streams. It takes some time and patience, once you find a list of servers in the UK you will probably have to try several before one works.
We have learned about one website that explains this all a lot more completely
that we can, and might enable you to connect to regionally restricted webcasts.
If you find a particular match you want to hear, have more patience and persistence
than money, and enjoy this sort of sleuthing you will probably succeed.
(Our subjective view, unless you enjoy the details of exploring what you can do with the internet, you'll save a lot of time and hear a lot more matches if you pay the modest fees charged by "world" and "servecast" affiliated teams in England.)
If you work with a website of links, similar to this one, let me recommend
a tremendous simple tool.