Internet radio is way better than sliced bread because slicing bread is an easy skill to acquire, yet no amount of dial-twiddling will bring thousands of crystal-clear stations from every corner of the globe to your clock radio. Music, news, talk, information: There's almost no limit to online radio's variety, or to the languages it's available in--practically every language in the world. While Internet radio players aren't anywhere near as numerous as the stations they capture, there's quite a variety available, most of them freeware. RarmaRadio from Raimersoft is a free Internet radio player with a different look from most of the competition, but not from most of your programs; it uses a familiar Explorer-style interface instead of stylish skins. It has all the basics you need, such as album art and lyrics and the ability to record multiple stations simultaneously and save the files as MP3s.
As we noted, RarmaRadio's interface looks like a Windows program, not a media player, though it has all the basic features, including Play, Record, and Stop buttons, a volume slider, spectral display, station graphics, and counters. The left-hand tree view lists stations by genre, network, region, and other categories. We spotted Antarctica in the stations list. Turns out it plays a nice, eclectic blend of tunes, just like you'd expect a local, small-town radio station to play, whether it's your town or the bottom of the world. RarmaRadio's programming also lists TV stations, regional and local government stations, and lots of sports. We could open more than one station and track them through the Active Streams button on the toolbar. RarmaRadio's menus and toolbar give it a browser-like feel, with Favorites and History buttons and an active IE link. The Recordings button let us play not only our radio recordings but any of our tunes. A system tray window makes for quick access when the program is minimized.
Of course, RarmaRadio's sound quality is as good as your sound card and speakers, but even low-bandwidth stations tend to sound good when there's no static, and the high-bit-rate Webcasts offer amazing quality.