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''To-do: The following is still in draft form. A Major Re-write is still in progress'' '''Who Should Read This Page?''' You should read this page if you are new to the world of live, lossless audio recording, trading and collecting. If you already know to use FTP, Shorten or Flac, or how to burn perfect audio CDs, then you might want to skim this page or use the search box at the top of the page, instead. If you're scratching your head at square one, asking "How do I get the music?" then this is the place for you. See AcronymGlossary for any questions about the words and abbreviations used around etree.org. '''Who Are We?''' Although it won't help you to get to the music faster, it's worth reading AboutEtreeOrg for background information on etree.org. If you understand our philosophy, what follows will make more sense. '''How Do I Get The Music?''' Big picture, there are five steps to using etree.org: #Finding out where to download lossless audio files (e.g., the MailingLists, BitTorrent, FurthurNet or the LiveMusicArchive) #Installing the SoftwareYouNeed to download lossless audio files #Installing the SoftwareYouNeed to decompress lossless audio files to a format that you can burn to CD-R #Installing the SoftwareYouNeed to burn the music to an audio CD-R. #Downloading and Installing the SoftwareYouNeed to archive your new lossless audio files so you can keep them forever and ever. '''1. Where Do I Find The Music?''' You can find live, lossless music in a number of places. Etree relies on the MailingLists for announcing FTP servers, public discussion of all things relating to etree.org, and for setting up electronic trades (etrades) with other members of the etree.org community. Etree.org's three public mailing lists are: *Announce (email@example.com) --- for people who are running larger servers to post their FTP server information to for public consumption. *Discussion (firstname.lastname@example.org) --- for the general discussion of all things related to the topic of lossless (.shn) trading. *Etrade (email@example.com) --- for setting up trades (mail or FTP), offering B&P's, posting ISO (in search of) requests, and giving away logins for FTP servers, including smaller servers. Get the full rundown at our main MailingLists webpage. For people just starting out with etree.org, we suggest first starting off with the Announce list digest, and we ask that you please read the rules for each list before posting a message to it. If you have trouble figuring out what people are ''saying'' in the mailing lists, try the AcronymGlossary. There are other sources for music, including BitTorrent, FurthurNet and the [http://archive.org/audio/etree.php Live Music Archive]. You can read about them at your leisure. No matter where you get your lossless music files from, the next step is the same: getting the software you need to download the tunes. '''2. What Software Do I Need To Get The Music? [[Anchor software]] ''' To use BitTorrent or FurthurNet, have a look at their respective pages, where you'll find links to download their software. Etree and the [http://archive.org/audio/etree.php Live Music Archive] use FTP programs. Well, actually, you can get music from the [http://archive.org/audio/etree.php Live Music Archive] using your web browser or a program called a Download Accellerator, but FTP is faster. It's well worth your time and effort to learn how to use FTP. For Windows users, we highly suggest ((SmartFTP)). There are detailed instructions on the SmartFTP software page for installation, configuration, and usage. You can use any FTP client, of course. But, you'll be a lot happier if you use one that allows you to queue up files, pick up broken downloads where they left off, and change the FTP settings in a server requires is. SmartFTP does all of those things and it's free. For MacOS users, go to our MacOS page for FTP client information. For Unix users, go to our ((Unix Software)) for FTP client information. [Editorial note for future- need to add step by step decode for how ftp info is presented in a mailing list message. Here or in section above, or new section between them. Or perhaps better, link to HowToDownload and put appropriate details there.] '''A quick note about downloading SHN files from etree.org FTP servers''': Please realize that there are many, many more people attempting to download SHN files than there are providing server logins. For this reason, it may take you many, many hours to gain access to a server, especially during peak hours. Unfortunately, this is a way of life for members of the announce mailing list. An alternative is to join the etrade mailing list, and try an electronic trade, rather than depending on the goodwill of FTP server operators. Another alternative is to try to log into a server during non-peak hours (Midnight - 6 a.m. EST). Unfortunately, it often is not obvious that there are too many people connected to a particular FTP server. It may say "connection refused" or "login attempt denied" or even "already connected" rather than a more obvious "sorry dude, too many people currently logged in". See SoftwareYouNeed for additional information. The Etree [http://forums.etree.org forums] are a good place to get '''help'''. '''3. How To Decode Lossless Audio Into Something You Can Burn to CD-R?''' After you have successfully downloaded an entire show you must check to make sure all the files were downloaded correctly, and then convert them to a file format that you can burn to an audio CD-R. There are two common file types for lossless audio, '''Shorten''' files, abbreviated '''.shn''' and '''Free Lossless Audio Codec''' files, abbreviated '''.flac'''. To learn more about these formats, ''insert links to each page here''' For '''Windows users''', we highly suggest ((mkwACT)) for .shn files. There are detailed installation, configuration and usage instructions on the http://www.etree.org/software software page for mkwACT. Alternately, you can use shorten.exe. For .flac files, use the FlacFrontend. For '''MacOS users''', go to our MacOS page for shn software information. For .flac files, use ```MacFlac```. For '''Unix users''', go to our ((Unix Software)) page for .shn software information. '''Verifying''' your new SHNs is straightforward. Depending on how your PC is set up, you can: *In Explorer or Finder, right click the .md5 file > select verify *Drag/drop an .md5 file into the center window of mkwACT on your desktop *From a command prompt, use shorten.exe, e.g., "shorten -v gd1977-05-08.md5" (type "shorten -h" for a list of commands and options). Remember, with .shn files you verify using the .md5 file. *With FlacFrontend or MacFlac, you can "test" the .flac files (although this step isn't necessary if you plan to immediately decompress them, b/c FLAC will not decompress bad files) *From a command prompt, use flac.exe, e.g. "flac -t *.flac". Type flac -h" for a list of commands an options. Remember, with .flac files, there is no .md5, you "test" each .flac file instead. PC and Unix users will want to convert their .shn and .flac files to .wav files. Mac users should convert to .aiff. Both formats are the same, but have different file headers so that software can read the correctly. Some programs, like Nero, can now burn SHN files directly to audio CDs. Possible '''errors''' are few. You might see: *"No Magic Number" -- this means that the .shn is corrupt. You cannot fix this. Contact the person you got the file from. *"Failure to write decoded stream" -- usually, this means that your hard drive is full and shorten has no where to put the expanded .wav files. Clear out some space on your hard drive to fix this one. *"Premature EOF on file" -- this means that the .shn file cut off before the end. Often, this is because the hard drive of the person who made the .shn was full, and the the full .wav file was missing on that end. Sometimes it means that your hard drive is full. You can fix a problem on your end, but you can't create a complete .shn file out of nothing. Contact the person you got the file from. The Etree [http://forums.etree.org forums] are a good place to get '''help'''. '''4. How Do I Burn My New Audio Files To A CD-R That I Can Play Anywhere?''' ''coming soon'' The Etree [http://forums.etree.org forums] are a good place to get '''help'''. '''5. How Do I Archive My Lossless .shn Or .flac Files So I'll Have Them For Ever?''' ''coming soon'' Even if you don't think that you want to keep copies of the .shn or .flac files you've just downloaded . . . someday you probably will. Unless you're here on a one-time visit, take some free advice -- burn a copy of your .shn or .flac files to CD-R and put them somewhere safe. You'll be glad you did. Here's how. The Etree [http://forums.etree.org forums] are a good place to get '''help'''.
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