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Shorten is an audio compression scheme that is used to compress WAV audio files losslessly. Contrary to MP3 this means that after you decompress a Shorten (.shn) file, everything that was in the original .wav is there. That makes the Shorten audio compressor ideal for music traders working over the Internet. For distribution and archiving purposes, the Shorten files themselves can also be burned onto a CD-R as data. One big advantage to archiving Shorten files is that you'll never have to deal with digital audio extraction (DAE) from an audio disc, which can sometimes produce clicks and other undesired artifacts.

Product: Shorten v3
Author: Tony Robinson, SoftSound Ltd. and Wayne Stielau (Seek extensions)
Platform: Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000
Price: Freeware

Obtain the Shorten external encoder

At the moment of writing Shorten 3.1 is the latest version. Download Shorten 3.1. Check the official distribution site for new updates of the encoder! It's recommended to put shortn32.exe in the c:\windows\command folder on a Windows 95/98/ME system, and c:\winnt\system32 on Windows NT/2000 systems. Why? Files put in these directories can be accessed from every directory on your system. Thus you don't have to change the path to Shorten's location every time you want to use it from the command prompt.

If you already had installed the Shorten executable and want to find out its version, open a command prompt and type shortn32 -h, followed by a press on the Enter key. Note that if you did not put Shorten in the above mentioned folders you'll have to set the path to shortn32.exe first! The output of Shorten should look like the screenshot below.

The version used in this example is thus Shorten version 3.1.

Configuring EAC for the Shorten external encoder

Make sure you have Configured The Compression Options in Exact Audio Copy.

From The EAC menu select Compression Options... or press F11. This opens the Compression options window.

On the External Compression tab, check Use external program for compression. The settings on the Waveform tab have no influence and may thus be ignored. From the Parameter passing scheme dropdown box choose Shorten Lossless Encoder.

In the Program, including path, used for compression field enter the path to the Shorten executable or use the Browse... button to locate shortn32.exe on your harddisk.

Enable the Delete WAV after compression checkbox. Exact Audio Copy always extracts to WAV first when using an external compressor. Enabling this option deletes this WAV file after it is compressed. It does not make much sense to keep the WAV files after compression.

Disable Add ID3 tag since Shorten does not support ID3 tag features. If you enable this option and have enabled the newer ID3v2 tag (see Configuring The Compression Options) Shorten is no longer able to decompress the files correctly! Thus if you don't want to render your compressed files useless uncheck Add ID3 tag.

No other options need to be set to use Shorten.

When you are sure the settings are correct for your needs click the OK button. EAC is now configured to extract to loss less SHN files. See Extracting Tracks To Your Harddisk for more information about this.