I’ve downloaded a lot of audio applications. Some were free, some were loaded with spyware, and some I paid good money for.
But most of them just sit there, unused. They’re great little doohickeys, but by the time I decide I want to use one, load it up, configure it to save to the right place, with the right file name, and deal with the crashes that seem to be part and parcel of audio recorder software… well, it just doesn’t seem worth the effort.
Then last week I downloaded a trial copy of Skado, and suddenly I have an audio recorder that I use nearly every day.
First impressions weren’t great. The interface is a little weird, and it’s shaped much like the last disposable razor I bought.
But during the first day of the trial period, I began to appreciate how handy this little app is.
I was listening to an online talk radio show when it happened. The speaker rattled off a list of statistics that I wanted to jot down for later reference. Of course, by the time my mind had gotten around to thinking, “I need to write this down” and my body had gotten a blank pad of paper, I’d missed most of it.
So, I clicked the Skado icon in the taskbar, and replayed the previous 30 seconds, which was all it took for me to note the stats I wanted. When the replay was done, Skado had buffered all the stuff I’d missed, and just kept on playing without interruption.
I was hooked.
But lets get back to the basics here. Skado, by default, starts up with Windows. It sits idle in your system tray until you begin listening to something online. Then, all audio gets buffered through Skado and is sent to your speakers slightly delayed from the original.
Because of this feature, you can use Skado to repeat the last 5 or 30 seconds of any audio stream. While it replays the clip for you, if buffers the current audio so you don’t miss even a second of your program, no matter how often you ‘rewind’.
I can see this software being useful for recording online conferences and streamed audio for internet marketers (why wait and pay for the audio of that last guru’s call when you can have it now, for free?), or for bloggers who listen to various live feeds during the day — you can focus most of your attention on your work, knowing that if something interesting gets said, one click can rewind you to the juicy bit, even when you’re not recording.
You can also use Skado to schedule recording times so, as long as your internet connection holds out, you won’t miss your favorite programs even if you’re not at your computer.
And you don’t need to spend time pre-naming your files, like most of my other recording software requires me to do. Skado automatically names them and gets any tag info from the stream, and lets you rename the files with a single click in the file manager to any number of variations on the tag. Very cool.
To test the recording features of Skado, I captured some of the radio plays and audio books on BBC7 to MP3 format. It worked brilliantly, and I now have the complete copy of “Murder on the Orient Express” ready for my next road trip, and a few different episodes of “Whose Line is it Anyway” — not the Drew Carey version, but good for light listening inbetween more serious podcast material.
The settings allow you to split your recorded audio up based on time segments, or by silent intervals. The default is best for music, so if you’re going to be recording talk radio or audiobooks, you will need to adjust the settings to get consistent results.
So far, I have tested Skado with files played and/or streamed with Real player, Windows Media Player, WinAmp as well as with audio embedded in Flash. All worked perfectly.
If you listen to audio online, I highly recommend it.
Click on the graphic below to download your own trial copy now!