February 2008, Softwareload: Radiotracker Platinum 4 versus Audio 180% 3.0, excerpts and quotes from the comparison test:
"Radio isn't what it used to be. In the past, radio signals were broadcasted over the airwaves. When someone wanted to record music, he had to be standing ready to push the Record button on his cassette deck at exactly the right time. Times have changed. Today, radio signals are "broadcasted" over the Internet. Thanks to modern technology, recording music has never been so easy: PC software automates the entire process. Today's software tools monitor Web radio stations, record songs, save them as MP3 files and even give them fitting file names. It's easy to flood a hard drive full with MP3 music in no time flat. And it's all completely legal.
Simultaneously track multiple radio stations
To help Internet music lovers decide which tool is best, we put the two most popular automatic-recording products through a comparison test. Radiotracker Platinum MP3 MusicFinder 4 and Audio 180% 3.0 were challenged with proving if the exciting, new world of Internet radio recording lives up to its "easy-to-use" promise in real life. The goal of both products is clear: record and save as many songs as possible with the least possible effort. And indeed, both products hit the mark. They really do fill the hard drive with MP3 music in no time flat. But there are a few surprises along the way.
Tracking down songs and radio stations
Both products are pre-programmed with the ability to access a bountiful supply of Web radio stations. Over 10,000 broadcasters are listed in each product's database. Station lists that can be sorted and constrained by genre, bit rate and connection speed help users identify favorite stations fast. And once a broadcaster is selected, both programs provide immediate information about which artists and songs are currently being played.
Save your favorite stations
If you find a station you like, you can quickly save it as a favorite ...
Record tons of music
What's really fantastic about both products is that they are able to work in the background, automatically saving all recorded songs in MP3 format on the hard drive. Even more compelling is that with a high-speed Internet connection, users can receive multiple broadcasters at the same time and record songs from various stations in parallel. Just configure the list of selected broadcasters, start the recording process and let the program run in the background. The hard drive is filled with new MP3 songs minute by minute.
Looking for Madonna's "Frozen"?
Radiotracker Platinum MP3 MusicFinder 4 takes it one step further. Just enter the artist and title of a track you've always wanted to have into Radiotracker's MusicFinder function – for example, the song "Frozen" from Madonna.
Like a virtual DJ, Radiotracker searches through Web radio stations around the world for the desired track, automatically records it and saves it as an MP3 file. This is an impressive feature that is unfortunately lacking in Audio 180%.
Post-processing and then off to CD, iPod and co.
So now your hard drive is jammed full of MP3s. What next? Because both Radiotracker and Audio 180% save songs as separate MP3 files, it's easy to integrate the music they record into any digital music collection. Automatically populated ID3 tags including title and artist information make things even easier. Both products are also outfitted with a sound editor for post-processing music. Radio-announcer chatter at the beginning and end of songs can be elegantly faded out in recordings, for example.
You CAN take it with you
Radiotracker Platinum MP3 MusicFinder 4 earns bonus points for its integrated CD burning and mobile device synchronization functions. Burning recordings onto CD is only the start. The product also makes it easy to turn recorded music into mobile-phone ringtones simply by clicking on the Ringtone button. Audio 180% supports burning songs onto CD as well, but requires the use of a separately provided piece of software.
And the best Web radio tool is ...
Both products excel at producing superior-quality recordings of today's rich Internet radio program.
The differences come out when you take a closer look. Radiotracker's MusicFinder, for example, is especially convincing. You won't have to wait long to get music from your favorite artist. Just identify your musical wish. Radiotracker starts searching through thousands of radio programs simultaneously and records your song as soon as it starts to play – anywhere in the world. If recording radio music is your hot button, this feature alone makes Radiotracker the clear winner..."