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The tree is operating in redbook CD audio format, but accomodating the SHN format. When we assemble the final tree structure, it will be organized along geography and format preferences. Fortunately, we have enough branches to accomodate this flexibility. After the deadline, I will post a color-coded diagram that displays the tree clearly.

  • Redbook is the format for regular CD audio. When you duplicate a redbook CD, there are minute data losses from copy to copy. Many people can't tell the difference, but those that can say that it can add hiss or other errors to sucessive copy generations. All leaves are redbook by default, unless they specifically indicate otherwise.
  • SHN is a format that has become the de facto standard for traders who are serious about retaining 100% perfect quality between successive copy generations. The reason for this is that the SHN format is actually not music, but data files.

    Personally, I was very resistant to SHN because I thought it would be too much trouble, but it is actually quite simple. Just think of SHN as WinZip for wav music files. You extract SHN data files to wav files on your hard drive, then burn the redbook audio CD from there.

    SHN compresses wav files to about 50%, which means you can fit about double the music on a CDR (again, this is "lossless" compression - you lose zero quality, unlike mp3s). This also means slightly lower postage costs :)

    Here is a simple explanation of the process.
      Here is Morgan's comprehensive SHN guide

    Here are more SHN links, including one to download the SHN program, which again, is like the equivalent of WinZip, but for music:
    shn-faq      mkwact     shn how-to #1     shn for MAC    shn for MAC #2  not-free version    download shn programs

Another cool thing about SHN is that, yes, you CAN play them right off your hard drive, using Winamp or Windows Media Player. You'll need this plugin for Winamp.

Here is the link to a SHN plugin for Windows Media Player.

    - also useful Winamp plugins: Winamp track gap eliminator    Winamp track crossfader