FAQ

Radiohead Direct Connect Hub FAQ (still a work in progress)
Written by Patrick_William
Last Updated: 02/26/03
slightly updated on 2008-04-20 by joebreslin


Contents:

Section 1: The Hub

1.1 What is the Radiohead DC Hub?

1.2 How do I connect to the Hub?

1.3 What can I expect to find on the hub?

1.4 What is expected of me on the hub?

1.5 How do I find what I'm looking for (and download it)?

1.6 Why can't I see other people's lists (and how do I fix it)?

1.7 What does "No Slots Available" mean?

1.7a How can I find out if someone has a free slot?

1.8 Why can't I have/find MP3s on the hub?

1.9 What else is not allowed on the hub?

1.10 What if I don't have anything to share, but I want to get started?

Section 2: SHN and FLAC

2.1 What are SHN AND FLAC?

2.2 What is an MD5 file?

2.3 How do I listen to the music I just downloaded?

2.4 How do I make SHNs or FLAC files?

Section 3: Audio Extracting & Burning

3.1 Why should I ALWAYS use Exact Audio Copy (EAC) to extract audio from a CD?

3.2 How do I configure EAC?

3.3 How do I use EAC?

3.3a Ripping one large WAV file with a Cue Sheet.

3.3b Ripping individual WAV files for each track.

3.4 What is a Cue Sheet?

3.5 What program should I use to burn audio CDs?

3.6 What brand of blank CD media should I use?

Appendix: Recommended Software and Other Resources

SECTION 1: The Hub

1.1 What is the Radiohead DC Hub?

The Radiohead DC Hub is a peer-to-peer (p2p) network of Radiohead fans joined together with the purpose of sharing and spreading live/rare Radiohead music. This hub is run by fans for fans. The owner and ops are "one of us" and are doing this with their spare time and resources because they enjoy the music of Radiohead and want to help provide an efficient means for it to be spread amongst fans around the world.

1.2 How do I connect to the hub?

The Radiohead DC Hub is run on Verlihub Direct Connect Hub software. You can connect using a hub client. The preferred client for use on PC and Linux is DC++. You can download DC++ for free from http://dcplusplus.sourceforge.net/. The following is a step-by-step guide to getting DC++ up and running on the hub.

Step1: Before you install DC++, set up your share and download directories. A recommended setup would be to start with two directories - something like C:\hub share and C:\download. These will be the directories you use to make files available to other users and to put your downloaded files into. These are the directory names I will use later in this FAQ.

Step 2: Install DC++ on your system and run it. There are a few settings you will need to make before you can connect successfully to the hub.

First, click on the "Settings" button near the top-left of the DC++ Window (second from the right). In the "General" tab, enter a name for yourself - E-mail and Description are optional - Connection is recommended. At the bottom of the Settings window, you have the option of choosing Active or Passive mode. Choose Active mode unless you are behind a firewall. If you are behind a firewall, choose Passive.

Second, set your download and shared directories. Under the "Downloads" tab, set the Default download directory to C:\download. The other settings on this tab are optional and can be left alone. Under the "Sharing" tab, click "Add folder" and choose your C:\hub share. Anything in this directory (including subdirectories) will be what you are sharing on the hub. You can select more than one folder to share, if you wish. Do not share your download directory. Finally, set your number of upload slots. This is the number of people who will be able to download from you at one time. It has to be at least one, but if you have a decent connection, should be higher - something in the range of 2-5. Everything else is optional/advanced. You may want to go to the "Advanced" tab and check on "Automatically search for alternative download locations." With this checked, DC++ will automatically look for other people that have the files in your download cue and will download them from wherever it can. This should make your downloads go faster. You should now be ready to connect to the hub.

  • To actually connect to the hub, go to file/quick connect and enter the hub address (209.250.250.13). You can still use keir's prissylittleboxes address, or joebreslin's soundofconfusion no-ip addresses, but the combined 'number' hub should have much more reliable uptime.

1.3 What can I expect to find on the hub?

The Radiohead Hub is intended for live and rare Radiohead and Spacemen 3 (including spiritualized and sonic boom projects) audio in LOSSLESS format. Other things that are allowed and you will probably find on the hub are Radiohead Spacemen 3 videos, as well as audio and video of other bands of interest. See section 1.5-1.6 for what is *not* allowed on the hub.

1.4 What is expected of me on the hub?

In general, all that is expected of you on the hub is that you have respect for the other people on the hub. It is expected that you share what you can and that you make sure that you are not sharing anything of poor quality or dubious file history. It is important that you include all md5 and text files with appropriate source and track info for each show. Information about md5 files can be found in section 2. Also, please have your files arranged in a logical, easy-to-navigate fashion.

1.5 How do I find what I'm looking for (and download it)?

There are two ways to find files on the hub: browse user lists and perform a search. They are both very easy to do. To browse other people's files, simply double-click on a user's name and wait for his/her list of shared files to come up. If you see something you like, double click on the file or right-click on it and select download. The files will then start downloading to the directory you set as your download directory. To perform a search, click the Search button near the top-left of the DC++ window (it looks like a magnifying glass). Enter your search parameters and wait for results. Again, you can download files by double-clicking or by right-clicking on them. Also note that you can get a person's file list from the search window by using the right-click feature.

1.6 Why can't I see other people's lists (and how do I fix it)?

You may be behind a firewall or proxy server. Try going into Passive Mode. Go to "Settings" and check on "Passive (behind a firewall)."

1.7 What does "No Slots Available" mean?

If you see "No Slots Available," that means that the user you are trying to download from already has the maximum number of people downloading from him. This is a number chosen by each user and set in the "Sharing" tab in "Settings." See section 1.2 above.

1.7a How can I find out if someone has a free slot?

The easiest way to find out would be to either ask or try to download from him/her. If you find something that you want, it doesn't hurt to just try to start downloading from him. If his slots are full, then your client will queue the files and keep trying to get them automatically. I would also suggest turning on the "Automatically search for alternative download locations" in the "Advanced" tab of the settings. This will potentially allow you to get the files you're looking for faster.

1.8 Why can't I have/find MP3s on the hub?

The short answer is that the MP3 file format degrades the audio quality. When a WAV file is compressed to MP3, a significant portion of the frequencies in the files is lost and can never be recovered. This quality loss IS NOT recovered when you convert an MP3 back to WAV and files that have been through this are not of trading quality and should NEVER be put on the hub. Any file that has *ever* been in MP3 format is not to be shared on the hub.

1.9 What else is not allowed on the hub?

Aside from MP3, there are other things that are not allowed on the hub. This includes, but is not limited to: pornographic material, commercial software files or warez, or commercially available music or movies. Do not share incomplete or badly flawed recordings. Finally, only one connection per IP please - don't connect to the hub twice at the same time.

1.10 What if I don't have anything to share, but I want to get started?

The Radiohead Hub is intended to spread the music to the masses - including newbies. It's okay if you don't have anything to come to the hub and get a start in the live music community. Come to the hub and start downloading. Once you've completely downloaded a show, please share it. The community can only thrive when people are sharing what they can - leeches contribute nothing to the community. Once you have downloaded a complete show, you are asked to start sharing - if you do not, you will be considered a leech. You might even get yourself banned.

Section 2: SHN and FLAC

2.1 What are SHN and FLAC?

SHN (Shorten) and FLAC are a compressed audio file format. They are lossless compression formats, so there is no quality loss like there is with MP3 conversion. File sizes are approximately 50-60% of the original WAV file size. For a more in-depth FAQ about SHN, there is a good FAQ at http://research.umbc.edu/~hamilton/shnfaq.html.

2.2 What is an MD5 file?

MD5 files are an important part of lossless trading. The MD5 file is used for file verification and is sometimes thought of as a digital fingerprint of the file(s) it represents. It does two important things. First, it verifies that the file itself is complete and exactly the same file that it was when it was created. It makes sure that there were no errors or missed information somewhere along the line, whether it be during a download or something else. Second, when made properly, it verifies that all the necessary files are present - if there are supposed to be 15 files for a complete show, it will tell you if one (or more) is missing. Basically, the MD5 file lets you rest assured that you're getting a complete, exact copy of what you are supposed to be getting.

2.3 How do I listen to the music I just downloaded?

You have two options for listening to the music you just downloaded. You can burn it to a CD, or you can leave it on your computer and listen to it just like you would an MP3. In order to burn it onto a CD, you will have to first convert the files to WAV. To do this, the program of choice is Trader's Little Helper. This is a small, simple, easy to use program for converting between lossless files and WAV. It is available for free download at tlh.easytree.org/ A good program to play your lossless files from your pc is called foobar. It is available at www.foobar2000.org/

2.4 How do I make Lossless Files?

The program of choice for making lossless files from WAV files is Trader's Little Helper (available for free download at tlh.easytree.org/.

Section 3: Audio Extracting & Burning

3.1 Why should I ALWAYS use Exact Audio Copy (EAC) to extract audio from a CD?

Exact Audio Copy is the only program you should ever use to extract audio from a CD. This is because it is the only program that can guarantee a 100% exact copy. This is because programs like Adaptec EZ CD Creator, Audiograbber, etc. do not have the ability to perform secure mode audio extraction. This means that they read the disc once and if there is a flaw in what is read, it just overlooks it and moves on. What EAC will do is re-read the sector in question and confirm that it is recording the correct data.

note: If you are a mac user, the equivalent software for you to use is Digital Audio Extraction (DAE).

3.2 How do I configure EAC?

Once you have the latest version of EAC (www.exactaudiocopy.de) installed on your computer, it is important to change a few settings, as the default settings are not secure.

First, if you have more than one CD drive, make sure you have whichever drive you will be using to extract from selected from the pull-down list near the top of the window. At the top of the screen, click on "EAC" and then "Drive Options…" Under the "Extraction Method" tab, click "Detect Read Features…" to have EAC detect how your drive reads data. If your drive uses audio caching, it's best to use a different drive if possible. Audio caching causes problems for secure audio extraction. If your drive supports C2 error correction (very good - it makes the extraction process faster), then put in a badly scratched disc and hit "Examine C2 Feature…"

The next setting is very important. Still under the "Extraction Method" tab, make sure you have secure mode selected and *never* fast or burst mode. Burst mode is not a secure mode and is therefor just like any other audio extraction program. This mode is used only when it is absolutely impossible to extract with secure mode and audio ripped in this mode should be listened to carefully for audible flaws. Paranoid mode is also not recommended.

Finally, the gap detection method needs to be set. Under the "Gap Detection" tab, set the Detection accuracy to "Secure." Notice you have three options for gap detection methods. They are all equally accurate, so if method A does not work for you, try B or C. This is all you *need* to do in order to make good copies with EAC.

A more advanced group of settings that are recommended to make is setting your offsets. A good place to look for information about offsets is http://www.ping.be/satcp/eacoffsets00.htm# - go there and read up. For a listing of reported best settings for specific CD-R/RW drives (including offset values), see http://www.ping.be/satcp/eacoffsets01.htm#-.

3.3 - How do I use EAC?

You are now ready to extract audio with EAC. There are two options for how to save your data. You can either save the data as one large wav file with a cue sheet (see 3.4 for information about cue sheets), or as a bunch of individual wav files for each track. One wav file with a cue sheet is preferable if your intention is to make copies of the disc for trading or other purposes. Individual wav files are preferable for sharing on the hub.

3.3a Ripping one large WAV file with a Cue Sheet.

Ripping your audio as one large wave file with a cue sheet has a couple main advantages. It eliminates all possibility of TAO gaps between each track (assuming your source disc has no gaps) and guarantees smooth transitions from track to track with no artifacts. To rip your audio as one large wav file with a cue sheet, simply click on "Action," then "Copy Image & Create CUE Sheet…" This will start the extraction process. Choose the name and location of your wav file on your hard drive. If EAC asks gives you an option to rip either compressed or uncompressed data, make sure you choose uncompressed.

3.3b Ripping individual WAV files for each track.

Ripping individual wav files is preferable for sharing on the hub because if one of the tracks is flawed in the download and fails the MD5 check, a replacement can easily be downloaded for that track as a small wav file instead of having to download the entire disc again. To rip your audio as individual wav files for each track, highlight all the tracks and select "Test & Copy Selected Tracks…" from the "Action" menu. This will again open a dialogue for you to choose where to put the extracted files on your hard drive and begin the extraction process. Again, if you have the option of extracting compressed or uncompressed data, make sure you choose uncompressed.

3.4 What is a Cue Sheet?

A cue sheet is a file that tells the burning software where to put the track breaks in a wav file. If you're curious, you can edit the .cue file with a text editor and get the general idea of what information it stores and how it works.

3.5 What program should I use to burn audio CDs?

Many programs will burn audio CDs. If you don't know how to burn an audio cd, please ask for help.

3.6 What brand of blank CD media should I use?

It is very important that you choose a quality brand blank disc to burn your shows to. Cheap discs will degrade and cause problems with audio extraction in the future as well as sometimes create other burning problems.

Appendix: Recommended Software and Other Resources

DC++: Direct Connect Hub Client. This is used to connect to the hub. Can be found at http://dcplusplus.sourceforge.net

Trader's Little Helper. Used to verify md5 files, etc. found at www.etree.org

EAC: The only program you should ever use to extract audio from a CD. Can be found at www.exactaudiocopy.de.

http://research.umbc.edu/~hamilton/shnfaq.html: A more in-depth FAQ about SHN and MD5 files.

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