How to Convert .SHN Files to .MP3 Using Windows

You’ve found yourself with some .SHN files and now you want to convert them to mp3 to take with you on your iPod, mobile phone or MP3 player. This tutorial will walk you through the steps to do just that, using Microsoft Windows.

Note: although this guide was originally published in 2006, it has been updated to be current as of late 2019. This will work on any system running Windows XP all the way to Windows 10.

  1. Converting .shn files to .mp3 requires you to download and install a small (and free) app – Traders Little Helper. It’s been around for ages and is wildly popular in the ‘lossless music community’. There are two versions available for download – version 2.7.0 (Build 172) is the one we recommend. It’s not the latest version, but it accomplishes exactly what we want. After you’ve finished the installation you’ll be prompted to reboot your PC. Open Traders Little Helper once you’ve restarted.
  2. Select Format from the main menu and then Convert encoding format from the list of options.
  3. Click the Add button.
  4. Navigate to the .shn files you want to convert and select them, then click the Open button.
  5. In the Converting options section click the pull-down menu next to Target format: and select mp3
  6. You can choose CBR (constant bitrate) or ABR (average bitrate) from the Encoding mode: pull-down menu, but the default choice of VBR (variable bitrate) is recommended.
  7. Decode on the quality of MP3 you’d like the converted files to have from the Quality: pull-down menu. Remember, 0 indicates the highest quality and 9 indicates the lowest quality. The higher the quality the larger the MP3 file size will be.
  8. Now it’s conversion time! Click the Expand button.
  9. The process doesn’t take particularly long, but if you’re converting a lot of files you’ll probably have time to grab yourself a beverage.
  10. Once completed, make sure you see the phase No errors occurred. in the Process log.
  11. The newly created .mp3s can be found in the same folder that your starting files (the .shn’s) are in.
  12. All done!

23 thoughts on “How to Convert .SHN Files to .MP3 Using Windows”

  1. Travis,

    Thank you! What’s worse is that I cut/pasted that into several other of the articles here, so I just went and fixed them all. Thanks again,


  2. Hello,

    Great info… just one question…

    How come on both this and the flac guide it says to convert to MP3 instead of AAC ? Should I be doing that for regular CD’s (to put them into my iPod) I put into iTunes too?


  3. Joe,

    If you have an actual iPod, you can choose AAC or MP3 – it doesn’t make a huge difference. I used mp3 throughout these tutorials because not all portal mp3 players can play aac files… Hope this helps,


  4. Hi,

    Just the info I was googling for. But my newly installed Winamp, plug-in and all, doesn’t seem to ever finish decoding the shn’s. What could be wrong?


  5. Thanks! These instructions ROCK! Simple and concise.

    Again thanks for taking the time to put these together.


  6. Pingback: A beginners guide to lossless audio - Simplehelp

  7. when I go to the “output” section under plug-ins of the winamp preferences, I don’t seem to have the Nullsoft Disc Writer plug-in as an available option. Can anyone help me out with this?

  8. Ross:

    Thanks so much for the easy tutorial! I was aghast when I saw the .shn filename on my new Wilco that I’d been looking forward to!

  9. thanks for the simple directions!

    I think I made a mistake though and my itunes ended up converting a TON of stuff I didn’t want it to. Now I can’t tell which files are which in itunes in order to delete them. Help anyone?


  10. The Old Hacker

    1. If your files won’t convert, try restarting Winamp after configuring the Nullsoft Disk Writer plug-in.
    2. There’s an option on version 2.0 of the Nullsoft Disk Writer plug-in to convert directly to MP3.

  11. hey michele, all you need to do (which may take some time if you haven’t done this already), is right click on each file and click “Get Info”, and it will tell you what type of file it is.

    I see you commented a few weeks back, so hopefully you got this solved already! otherwise, hopefully this will help someone else

  12. I have done this before but for some reason the files when being decoded on winamp all show 0:00 time length, is this due to corrupt shn files. I also noticed that Aol now seems to support winamp, and also I am using vista which i don’t normally use.

  13. thanks a million!

    just going to repeating what’s already been said, but this is so simple to follow that it’s genius.

  14. hey I’m on a windows 64 bit computer w/vista home premium and I cant even open the .shn files…they all start at 000.000, is there anything I can do?
    Thank you so much for making the tutorial, I see it’s been helpful to others

  15. Thank you so much Ross for this information – Might have taken all day to install the .shn decoder in my Winamp 2 but I finally get to hear a truely superb Little Feat gig from way back in 73
    Glenn Miller

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