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About the SNDH collection
Ever since the birth of the Atari ST, different chip music formats have
had different ways to use them. If you are coding a chip music player for
the Atari ST you would have to use dozens and dozens of special ways to replay music.
But in the mid 90's, BDC of Aura crew became tired of this inelegant system and decided
to fix the issue once and for all. He then created the 'SNDH' file format. SNDH is actually
the original songfile and replaycode with a header bolted on top of the music and replayer.
The header has a unified calling interface no matter what type of chip music is hidden beneath
it, and it has extended datas about the music.
Creating the SNDH files
Once the SNDH header structure was done, he was left with coding a player and converting songs
into the SNDH format. BDC created a simple text player and started to work on the SNDH-files
themself. Back in these days, things were still very much coded the "hardcore way" with no respect
to multitasking or even a clean exit from the player - a reboot for each song was within the
In 1997, a new GEM-based player for SNDH-files was introduced, simply called "SND Player".
The approach of SND Player was to have a background player to play those nifty blip blops while
you were doing other things. Unfortunately, only a fraction of the created SNDH files were
playable with SND Player and the whole thing was more or less forgotten for a couple of years..
In 1999, SND Player v1.0 was released, new fresh GEM code which allowed a new style of GEM
look, and to follow the rebirth of the player, the SNDH file format was upgraded as well so
it would allow playing chipmusic files with interupt effects while multitasking. At this time
a lot of the old "bad" SNDH files were re-done into clean working ones and notably the Sid Sound
Designer replay was upgraded to work nicely in multitasking! This was the real kick-off for
SNDH, with the format been the defacto standard for playing chipmusic on the Atari ST.
The SNDH archive hosted with the SND Player software grew over the years, but around 2003
the authors realised that the current collection had it's limits. It was hard to maintain,
had a big mix of good and bad SNDH files and due to this updates became slower and slower,
which in the end led to a complete stagnation. This was the time when the SNDH.ATARI.ORG
project came to life - "let's do this again, but in a good way".
Now, a couple of years later, a lot of thought have been made instead of rushing something out.
Many of the SNDH files are yet again remade with upgraded (read: debugged) replay routines,
new songs, StSound-converted files removed, and a very needed data-base driven admin interface
to maintain the collection. The new foundation for the SNDH collection will allow us to once
again keep doing frequent upgrades of the archive. No more two year gaps between updates.
We hope that you will enjoy the new archive!