Shorten (SHN) is a file format optimized for compressing audio data. It is a form of data compression of files and is used to losslessly compress CD-quality audio files (44.1 kHz 16-bit stereo PCM). Shorten is no longer developed and more mature lossless audio codecs such as FLAC, MPEG-4 ALS, Monkey's Audio (APE), TTA, and WavPack (WV) have become more popular. However, Shorten remains a common format due to the large number of legally-traded concert recordings in circulation that are encoded as Shorten files. Being lossless, these files can be transcoded with the newer and more effective codecs without any loss. Shorten files use the .SHN file extension.

Handling Shorten files

Since few players or media writers attempt to decompress Shorten files, a standalone decompression program is usually required to convert to a different file format that those applications can handle. It is important to note that since Shorten is a lossless format, it can be perfectly converted to any other lossless format (and back, if desired) without a decrease in audio quality. There are many such programs, only the most common are listed below.

  • md5sum can apply the .MD5 checksum file that commonly accompanies Shorten files to ensure that the large .SHN file(s) have not been corrupted during transmission.
  • Shorten (a program with the same name as the file format) is a command-line tool to convert between Shorten files and an uncompressed (typically .WAV file format that players and writers can handle. It has been updated as recently as 2007 and ported to various operating systems.
  • A commonly recommended Windows program is mkw Audio Compression Tool (mkwACT). It combines the functionality of md5sum with that of the Shorten program.
  • Shorten for MacIntosh is functionally similar to mkwACT, with a GUI. Versions of it exist for Linux et al.
  • ShnAmp allows WinAmp compatible players to decode shorten files.

A Shorten plug-in exists for Nero Burning ROM. It is not distributed by Nero AG.

See also

External links

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