How to download torrents
This guide assumes you are running Windows.
You will need:
- Deluge, a simple and easy to use torrent client
During installation, just advance through all of the pages. The default settings are sufficient and there are no 'offers' or bundles that attempt to install crapware on your computer.
At the bottom of a concert's page (for example, the Delta Machine Live compilation), there is a download link for a .torrent file. Click the "Download via torrent" text and it will download a .torrent file. Open the downloaded .torrent file. If a dialog box pops up asking to allow Deluge through Windows Firewall, click OK.
When Deluge's "Add Torrents" dialog box pops up, click "Add". The torrent will begin downloading. This may take a while depending on how large the recording is, and how many other people are seeding the recording. BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol which allows users to download and upload to each other simultaneously. Seeds refer to those in the "swarm" (all of the connected peers for a specific torrent) who have a complete copy of the torrent's files and can upload to others. It would be greatly appreciated if you could leave Deluge open at your convenience to seed any recordings you have downloaded.
Playing and converting
Once the recording has finished downloading, you can right click the torrent in Deluge and click "Open folder" to find the files and play them with your preferred audio player.
- If you are having trouble playing FLAC files, try Boom.
- You may also convert the FLAC files to MP3 files to use with portable media players, to burn onto a CD for your car, or to play in iTunes by following this guide.
Torrent naming convention
You may have noticed the strange name of most of the torrents available to download. The naming convention is as follows:
<band>.<yyyy-mm-dd>.<mics, or if unknown, type of recording - for example, aud (audience) or sbd (soundboard)>.<taper or radio station>.<generation>.<codec>
So for example, dm2013-09-15.ca11.ligushka.0.flac1644 signifies:
Each torrent contains a brief information text file with the band, date, venue, tour, lineage information (if available), the overall quality of the recording described and any other notable facts regarding the recording, a link to the recording's page on this wiki which has an audio sample and possibly more information regarding the recording, a detailed track listing including track times (in order to compare to an existing recording you may already have), and the total time of the recording.
You may be wondering what the .ffp and .md5 files which are included in every torrent are for.
- FFP is an acronym for FLAC fingerprint; each FLAC audio file has a fingerprint of only the audio data contained within the FLAC file to help ensure its integrity. FFPs do not apply to other audio formats such as MP3 or M4A, so an MP3 sourced recording would not have a corresponding FFP file.
- MD5 is a checksum of the entire file (not just the audio data like an FFP) and also helps ensure file integrity. An MD5 checksum can be taken of any type of file.
Please note that a simple "force re-check" option in your torrent client, which can generally be found when you right click on any torrent, is sufficient to verify data integrity. However, if you would still like to utilize the checksum files to make doubly sure that you have an accurate copy of the data, read on.
To use these files, install Trader's Little Helper with the default settings. After doing so, you should be able to double-click on the FFP and MD5 files; Trader's Little Helper will open and begin checking all of the files in the torrent against the checksum files. If there is a mismatch, right click the torrent in your torrent client and perform a "Force Re-Check". If the torrent progress is no longer at not 100%, start the torrent again and it will redownload any corrupted parts. Once it's finished, do a "force re-check" again, and then double-click the FFP and MD5 checksum files again to verify data integrity. If it still provides an error, it's probably my fault and I somehow created the checksum files incorrectly. In that case, please email me and mention which torrent has bad checksum files.