Screamer Radio is currently my weapon of choice when hunting for new music. It’s simple, CPU-light and unconditionally free. It can handle just about any streaming format, your machine will hardly feel it’s running, and you can minimize it in the system tray.
Whenever I tune into something exciting, I hit the REC button and the output mp3 file is automatically encoded with the artist and song data. Using this information, I can track down the song or album and add it to my shopping list.
The installation file can be downloaded here. Apologies Mac and Linux folks but so far it’s only been available for Windows. After a quick and hassle-free installation procedure, you’ll get a notification: “Presets successfully updated from server!” In Screamer speak, presets means the list of online radio stations the app has collected for you.
How to Listen
I know you just can’t wait to get some music going so let’s explore the options on the Presets menu first:
By Genre : anything from Anime through more exotic stuff like Nerd (!?) and Soundtracks to Trance.
By Language (NOT NATIVE) : Here you’ll find stations streaming in a language which is not native in the country where the station is based. A great opportunity to brush up your Croatian ;-)
By Network : a selection of stations like BBC and Virgin Radio whose different channels are available from the respective submenu.
By Region : stations arranged based on their continental geolocation – from Africa to Second Life. Now’s your chance to check out what the folks at Radio Maria in Burundi have been up to!
When you’ve found a station and you’d like to add it to your favorites, simply go to the Favorites menu and select Add to Favorites. To delete items, go to the File menu and choose Edit Favorites. The lines of code that open in Notepad are not a pretty sight if you’re not familiar with HTML but with a tiny bit of help from a friend and/or this tutorial you should be able to remove the unwanted items. Usability improvement in this area should definitely be at the top of the developer’s list.
Let’s dive into some deeper functions. Say you’d like to enjoy your audio at a consistent loudness level regardless of the output signal of the many different streams you might be listening to. Selecting the Settings menu, then Effects, and Compressor will do the trick.
If the balloon-delivered artist and song info before each track gets a little in your way, you can silence it by going to Settings, then Preferences, General tab, and Balloon Tooltips (un-tick).
At the time of this writing Screamer is available in twelve languages. To check if your language is on the list, go to Settings and Language.
More about Recording
Before you start stream-ripping, you might want to change the default folder where your mp3 files will be saved. You can do this by going to Settings, Preferences and then Recording tab.
While in recording mode, the Rec button displays the all-uppercase REC. To stop recording, hit the REC button and it will revert to Rec without stopping the stream.
Screamer automatically packs all your newly recorded files into folders with the title of the relevant radio station. Inside the folder your files are encoded at the kbps rate of the captured stream.
Another nice feature is the continuous recording option where each song is automatically recorded and tagged with the artist and song title in a separate file. On the other hand, if you’d like to record only the current track, just go to the Recording menu and choose Single Track Mode.