Shorten (codec)

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(Redirected from Shorten file format)
Developer(s)Tony Robinson
Initial releaseMarch 30, 1993; 30 years ago (1993-03-30)
Stable release
3.6.1 / 2007-03-19 (final)
Operating systemCross-platform
TypeAudio codec Data compression
LicenseShorten software license[1][2]
Filename extension
Internet media typeapplication/x-shorten
Developed byTony Robinson
Type of formatAudio

Shorten (SHN) is a file format used 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 other lossless audio codecs such as FLAC, Monkey's Audio (APE), TTA, and WavPack (WV) have become more popular. It is still in use to trade concert recordings that are already encoded as Shorten files. Shorten files use the .shn file extension.

Handling Shorten files[edit]

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. Some Rockbox applications can play Shorten files without decompression, and third-party Shorten plug-ins exist for Nero Burning ROM, Foobar2000, and Winamp. All libavcodec based players and converters support the Shorten codec.

Converting on Linux[edit]

Current versions of ffmpeg or avconv support the shorten format. To convert all .shn files in the current directory to FLAC on Linux:

for f in *.shn; do ffmpeg -i "$f" "${f/%.shn/.flac}"; done

There are also various GUI programs which can be used, like SoundConverter.[3]

Converting on Windows[edit]

A similar command using the freely available ffmpeg for the Microsoft Windows command line:

for /r %i in (*.shn) do ffmpeg -i "%~ni%~xi" "%~ni.flac"

For a GUI-based solution, dBpoweramp[4] can be used, however on a 64-bit version of Windows the 32-bit version of the app must be installed, as the Shorten codec does not come in a 64-bit variant.

To install the 32-bit version on a 64-bit system, hold-down the right shift key and double-click the installer; keep it held-down until the installer is on-screen.[5]

Converting on macOS[edit]

X Lossless Decoder (XLD), an open source graphical and command line application powered by the libsndfile and SoX libraries, supports transcoding Shorten files to a variety of lossless and lossy formats.[6]

ffmpeg is also available and can be interfaced with through the terminal identically to how it is used on Linux.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SHORTEN SOFTWARE LICENSE". Archived from the original on 2017-08-16. Retrieved 2020-10-16.
  2. ^ "[shorten]". Archived from the original on 2018-09-08. Retrieved 2020-10-16.
  3. ^ "Converting .SHN Files into .flac Files | A High-Tech Blech!". 3 September 2009.
  4. ^ "dBpoweramp Codec Central Shorten". Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  5. ^ "dBpoweramp 64 bit and 32 bit Compatibility". Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  6. ^ "X Lossless Decoder: Lossless audio decoder for Mac OS X".

External links[edit]