The Real Paul Jones

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Reviving the lapsed RA files

A friend writes that he is tired of old recordings he made and digitized sounding like crap. The problem is that they were digitized using early versions of RealAudio when doing any sound at all that you could receive over dial-up was a welcome accomplishment. Now we expect more. Much more. At least MP3.
But so many of us, including collections on ibiblio, went straight to .ra files that much of that information will be lost soon as technology improves and our demands for quality increase.
Saving sounds and pictures in proprietary formats like .ra wasn’t brilliant but it seemed the only way at the time.
In the Internet Poetry Archive, we have rare readings by Czeslaw Milosz and Margaret Walker for example. You will hear them in .ra, but I have tapes hidden here in a safe place. But not safe enough. They need to be in an atmospherically controlled archive. A few more years and the tapes will be sticky.

While I’m at it: Does anyone know a a way to migrate from .ra to any other format? I know the quality will be terrible, but to have the sound at all would be great.
One idea is to take the audio out from a computer playing the .ra and route it into the audio in of another computer capturing the audio.


  1. i’ve used something called where there are lots of other options for recording and converting files.

  2. dunno what happened there, Real7ime’s url should have been:

  3. I suggest using Audio Hijack from Rogue Amoeba Software (Mac only)
    Just play the ra file and record it to AIFF all without having to leave the computers audio out and becoming analog. Once you have a new file universal file type (AIFF) use Sound Soap by Bias software It’s supposed to do magic with noisy audio.

  4. At they suggest to use Streambox Ripper and Xillisoft Video Converter

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