How to play SHN files

In this guide we will look at playing files with an .SHN extension. These are compressed audio files (not lossy compression and therefore, much larger than MP3 for example). These files are still widely available online despite Shorten being outdated by newer formats such as FLAC.

Introduction & Requirements

Winamp ---> Download and Install Winamp.
ShnAmp ---> This is a plug-in for Winamp to play Shorten audio files. Download it.
WinRAR ---> You will need WinRAR to extract the SHN plug-in.

Download all of the above. The installation of WinAMP is briefly covered below the details of Shorten.

What are SHN files?

SHN files contain compressed audio data. Shorten is what is known as a lossless compression; where the compressed audio can be completely restored to original quality later on. Shorten is no longer under development, yet there are still plenty of SHN files around the Internet for people to download and listen to. This article exists because SHN is still in use, and there are fewer ways of playing it nowadays.

Winamp Installation

Run the Winamp installer. Select a Full installation when given the option, as seen in the picture. The installation is relatively standard for a Windows installation package. Click Next until you read the end.

Skins, File Associations and Feedback

When you launch Winamp you will have to select a Skin. This is totally up to you (I chose Classic to remind me of the old days). As for File Associations, if you already have a favorite player for Audio and Video files, you might want to deselect those options that are selected by default (except for Winamp Specific Files of course!). If you do not have File Associations for Winamp, you should also deselect Enable Winamp Agent.

When you are done, click Finish.

Winamp Player

Winamp will now load and it's appearance will be a result of what you chose as a skin.

Shnamp Plugin

Install WinRAR as instructed before and then download the ShnAmp Plugin for Winamp. Open the Plug-in with WinRAR (it is a ZIP file) and you will see one little in_shn.dll file. Now you need to go to the Winamp Plug-ins folder.

Open Windows Explorer or My Computer. Either way, Navigate to C:\Program Files\Winamp\Plugins, as seen below.

Winamp Plug-in's Folder

In this folder, all of the audio Plug-ins for Winamp are stored. Now simply click the in_shn.dll file in WinRAR and drag it over this folder and then drop it in, as shown in the picture.

Your plug-in is now installed. Re-start Winamp.


Now attempt to play a .SHN file in Winamp and it should play perfectly. Opening files in WinAMP will depend on what Skin you chose for the program, usually you can simply drag and drop files into the application with most skins.


Hopefully now you will be able to listen to any SHN files you acquire from now on. Perhaps converting the SHN files to MP3 might also be a good idea. If you have any problems or need further assistance, please visit our Discussion Forums and ask for help.

Version History

v1.0 --- First Version Online -- Dela (24/07/2008)
Written by: James Delahunty