Real Audio Tips
Real Audio is a compressed form of audio. Check out the site at http://www.real.com
You can get a player (RealPlayer G2), and an encoder (RealProducer G2), for free there. If the name of either the player or the producer contains the word "PLUS" in it.. (such as RealPlayer Plus G2).. that is not the free version. Make sure it doesn't say 'plus' unless you want to purchase it.
You can first record your song, then use the encoder to encode the file to Real Audio. Or you can encode your song while you play it live... but the quality is less in this case. It would be good to experiment with live encoding vs encoding from a wav file.
Once your Real Audio file is uploaded onto your website, you can provide a link to your song which will have a file name with the .ra extention. Then, people visiting your site can click on the link and begin to download your song. Only after the song is downloaded will their player automatically open up and begin playing the song.
You can create a text file that contains the complete URL of your song.ra file location, and give this text file a name that has the .ram extention on it (see 'how to' instructions below). If you then provide a link to this text.ram file on your site, you will have enabled people to stream your songs rather than wait for the download.
If visitors to your site click on the .ram link instead of the .ra link, it will open up their player first before downloading. Once the player is open, the song will play as it's being downloaded onto their computer. The player may take a few seconds to 'buffer' but this is nothing compared to waiting for the whole file to download.
Downloading vs streaming?
You might want to provide a streaming link because it's only temporarily stored on the user's computer, or just to provide quicker access to your songs. You might want to provide a download link for people who don't mind waiting for the whole song to load in first since they don't have to worry about net congestion interrupting the play back.
That's why I prefer to provide both options. The text.ram file containing the URL for your song.ra location will only take about 1K of webspace, since it is simply the URL of your song and nothing else. So people who prefer quicker access to the song can click on the streaming link, while people who don't like net congestion interrupting the song will prefer to download it.
How to create a streaming real audio file:
These instructions assume you already know how to put up a website, create a Real Audio file, and upload files. If you don't, there are links below to a great html lessons page, to real audio encoder tutorials, and to websites that offer free webspace. When you sign up for free webspace they usually have instructions for you to get started uploading files. You don't have to know html with at least some of these but if you do.. it's so much easier to get your site the way you want it.
As an example, lets say you created an RA file called inmysoul.ra. Once you have uploaded your inmysoul.ra file up on your site, open up your text editor... such as windows 95's Notepad. The only thing you type in this text file, right from the first available space, is the location of your inmysoul.ra on your website.
So, if your inmysoul.ra is at http://www.fortunecity.com/bootsy/624/inmysoul.ra then that is exactly what you type in the text editor. That, and nothing else.
Then when you save that text file, you need to name it. This is the name that gets the .ram extention. For this one, you might name it inmysoul.ram.
Then you'd upload the inmysoul.ram file to your website, and put a link to this .ram file on your page along with the .ra file.
The full URL of the .ram file would then be http://www.fortunecity.com/bootsy/624/inmysoul.ram.
Now it's all ready to be clicked on! Go to the site and click on the .ram file and see if it streams for you.
Real Audio's "How to stream" page using 5.0 or earlier encoders. This is Real Audio's 'how to' info on http streaming and creating .ram files.
The RealProducer G2 User's Guide can be downloaded from here.
Real Audio tutorial
This is a great page that teaches you how to use Cool Edit to make a wav file, then encode it into a real audio file. It also teaches you how to stream, not just one song at a time, but one song after another without having to keep clicking songs! It even contains pictures of different cool edit and RA encoder 5.0 screens.
Zap's Music On The Net Tutorial This page is about putting your music up on the internet. It discusses different audio formats (MIDI, MOD, RealAudio, their pro's and con's), how to add MIDI or streaming RealAudio to your web page, and an explanation of "mime types".
html -- An excellent tutorial for creating webpages.
This is how I learned html, and I really enjoyed doing these lessons!! They take you step by step creating your own 'Volcano' website on your local hard drive. By the time you are done.. you should be able to create your own web site from scratch with minimal referencing.
Plus there is
summary of html tags used in the tutorial.
Just in case you forget what some tags are or what they do, you can go to the summary page and look them up.
Don't have a website but need free webspace?
There are a number of places that offer different amounts of free webspace. If you use up all the free webspace you could always purchase additional webspace from them. But I've signed up with Tripod for some of my pages, and with Fortunecity for the others, so altogether that's 31 mb of free webspace available to me!! Real Audio doesn't stream well on some of these. My RA's didn't stream well on the tripod site, but they did fine at the fortunecity site. I haven't tried any of the others.
Tripod offers 11 mb of free webspace.
Fortunecity offers 100 mb of free webspace.
Angelfire offers 5 mb of free webspace.
Xoom now offers unlimited free webspace.
Geocities offers 10 mb of free webspace.
In addition, Aol offers 10 mb of free space but they are split at 2 mb per
Compuserve offers 5 mb of free space.
There are others that offer less than 5 mb but look for those which offer at least 5 mb. There are probably others out there that I don't know about.