I simply love TiVO and struggle to recall the days when you had to be home and tuned to a particular channel at a particular time in order to watch your favorite show. (Because, let’s face it- nobody ever figured out how to program their VCR properly). Anyway, have you ever wished that you could do the same thing with radio and record a show when you were unable to listen? How about a “PVR” for radio stations not only in your local listening area but anywhere across the country?
DAR.fm answers the call for anyone that has wanted to record radio and offers a cloud based service for recording radio programs. DAR can be accessed via the web, through smartphone apps and through connected media players like Roku or Sonos. DAR allows the user to save, download, pause, fast-forward and rewind stations from not only this country but from around the world.
What exactly is DAR.fm? A “Digital Audio Recorder” (DAR) for radio allowing playback from the web, smartphone apps and connected media players like Roku, Squeezebox and Sonos. Recordings can be made from stations across the world and played back or downloaded at the user’s convenience.
Why would I even need this? While there are scores of ways to listen to many programs via podcasts or streaming from a station’s or program’s website, there are many that do not offer the listener any way of listening without listening live. Some apps and services, such as Tune In Radio, allow for streaming radio from around the world and in some cases, even recording it. Yet none of them offer scheduled recording in the cloud for playback anytime and anywhere. Radio may be a niche product for most people with the likes of Spotify and MOG, but there are scores of outstanding programs and shows that can’t be accessed elsewhere. Just last week, I noticed that Phish’s archivist, Kevin Shapiro, was going to be on a Sunday morning program on radio station WIZN in Burlington, Vermont. I couldn’t tune in Sunday morning, so I just set up a DAR recording and the show was ready for playback when I had the chance Sunday evening. Sweet!
What is the cost? You can sign up for a free account which allows for the scheduling of only one program at a time and store about 100 hours in the cloud (2GB). For an occasional user who just needs to record a periodic program, a free account offers all the features, space and playback capabilities that you need. Several Pro Tier accounts allow for scheduling of up to 50 shows and storage of 2,000 hours. Pro accounts start at $59/year but sometimes go on sale.
How does it work? Use the search tool to find the station that you want to record or browse by popular shows or genres. Just like a PVR, you can set up a one time recording or a repeating show. Again, if you are a free user, you are limited to one particular show. So you’ll need to turn a recurring recording off before scheduling a one time event or other show. Then, simply navigate to the player and play back your recording at your leisure. Searching, recording and playback are all incredibly easy and intuitive.
[DAR.fm search results for “WIZN” and easy to schedule recording interface]
What are the drawbacks? The free service is limited to one recording (but does offer quite a bit of free storage) and the Pro tiers of service jump up in cost relatively rapidly in price. Additionally, the recordings are relatively low bit-rate so you are not going to get pristine CD quality audio like many of the streaming music services are now offering. Talk shows are definitely the most popular use for DAR based on their top shows from listener stats but music is certainly good enough to listen to yet probably not high enough quality for downloading and archiving. The website could use a design face-lift also. It is perfectly utilitarian but awfully spartan and dated in design.
Any other cool features? Customized RSS feeds for every show you record let you quickly and easily import into your favorite podcast software, if the show you are trying to record is not already syndicated. Downloading MP3 files also makes it convenient to listen to your shows in pretty much any way you can imagine. Also, when browsing for shows, anything that is currently live can be listened to right from the site without setting up a recording.
[DAR.fm Player with typical pause, forward, rewind functions]
Botton Line Incredibly easy way to record radio and play on a variety of different devices including PC, iPhone, Android, Roku or Sonos. Even if you are not a habitual radio listener, DAR.fm can become very useful for recording a one time event on a station far away that does not stream online. Pro accounts are pricey, but a free account will more than satisfy most users.
Happy listening and recording!
Hidden Track Technology Tuesday
Have an idea for an article?
Product, app, or web service you are passionate about? Feel free to get in touch with me.