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Getting Started
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

Who Are We?

Although it won't help you to get to the music faster, it's worth reading AboutEtreeOrg for background information on 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

  1. Finding out where to download lossless audio files (e.g., the MailingLists, BitTorrent, FurthurNet or the LiveMusicArchive)
  2. Installing the SoftwareYouNeed to download lossless audio files
  3. Installing the SoftwareYouNeed to decompress lossless audio files to a format that you can burn to CD-R
  4. Installing the SoftwareYouNeed to burn the music to an audio CD-R.
  5. 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, and for setting up electronic trades (etrades) with other members of the community.'s three public mailing lists are:

Get the full rundown at our main MailingLists webpage.

For people just starting out with, 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 [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?

To use BitTorrent or FurthurNet, have a look at their respective pages, where you'll find links to download their software. Etree and the [Live Music Archive] use FTP programs. Well, actually, you can get music from the [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 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 [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 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:

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:

The Etree [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 [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 [forums] are a good place to get help.

This Page Last Changed: Apr 28, 2006 09:16:19
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