Guide: How to Play or Rip Super Nintendo Video Game Music Losslessly

Super Nintendo (SNES) is probably one of the more memorable consoles oldschool gamers might remember. Some games even have some very memorable soundtracks. With this guide, you can get a great nostalgia fix again using WinAmp!

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

Thankfully, listening to Super Nintendo music is a lot easier than listening to N64 music. SNES differs from the N64 in that N64 music is more sample based. SNES music, on the other hand, is more based on the capabilities of an actual audio chip. The music, therefor, is a bit like MIDI music. It’s merely a set of instructions on how the music is to be played.

A good way to listen to SNES music is to simply use the SPC file format. This is basically data dumped from the games themselves in to a more convenient format that allows playback. Unlike N64 MiniUSF sets, a vast majority of all the games have an SPC set ready for listening. Great news since that very likely eliminates the need to manually rip each and every individual song because there is a very good chance you can simply find the SPC file for the game instead.

Playing SPC Songs

Step 1 – Get WinAmp

When testing several methods of trying to get the music to play, the WinAmp plug-in was the first method that we’ve tested with success in Windows 7. So, you can download and install WinAmp from the WinAmp homepage.

Step 2 – Install the SPC plugin

The SPC plugin can be found via this SPC website. It’s the first bullet under Windows (we have not attempted the Mac and Linux versions, so this will have to be something you try out outside of this guide sadly. However, these options are available.

The plugin is called SNESAmp. Click on that link, then click on “SNESAmp” on the next page. The page will scroll down to the SNESAmp plugin portion where it can be downloaded. Just click on SNESAmp to download the EXE installer. When you’ve downloaded the EXE file, double click on the file and allow it to run. The EXE file simply installs the necessary plug-in in your WinAmp directory. Just make sure it’s pointed to the WinAmp directory. If you’ve installed WinAmp in the default directory, then by default, the EXE file should already be pointing to the directory.

When you are ready, hit “Install”

After you are done installing, the next step is to find the SPC sets.

Step 3 – Obtaining the SPC Sets Via RSN Files

There’s two ways to obtain the SPC sets. The long and drawn out way is individually by browsing through the SPC sets, trying to find and download the music individually. Alternatively, and my preferred method, is to download all nearly 2,500 games in one large package. It sounds like a lot, but the package, since this is like listening to MIDI files, is a mere 147MB big. Not bad for thousands of hours of music in lossless format!

Since I’m lazy, I’ll just assume you’ve decided to simply download the .torrent.

Step 4 – Renaming the RSN files

You’ll no doubt notice that all you got is a large list of RSN files. In reality, these are really RAR files. You can rename the extension to RAR if you have WinRAR installed and open the files to see the SPC files inside if you like, but just for general listening, this won’t be necessary per-se.

The other problem you’ll no doubt notice is the fact that all of the files are extremely truncated. For example, BoF is actually Breath of Fire. Luckily, there is a utility that actually renames all of the RSN files to something that is way more readable. For this, you need two files which are available on the SNES Music Players website. Scroll to the bottom of the page and under the “Converting SPC files”, there’s some bullet points with links. we are after the third bullet point. The link contains “Renset v.0.6” and the “latest rsnsets dat file”. Download both .zip files.

Once you’ve downloaded both, you need to locate where you downloaded the .torrent to. Open that directory up manually. Now, you need to click and drag the “renset.exe” file to the directory with all of the RSN files from the “” file you downloaded. Now, in the “” file, you need to click and drag the “rsnsets.dat” into the same directory you placed the “renset.exe” file. In short, you need “renset.exe” and “rsnsets.dat” in the same directory as all of the RSN files you downloaded.

Doubleclick on the “renset.exe” that you’ve extracted into the directory with all of the RSN files. You’ll have a DOS prompt window open up. It may take a moment to read all of the RSN files since it is well over 1,000 files it’s trying to read. If it hangs, close the DOS prompt window and stop seeding the files in your .torrent client and try again. Follow the prompts and it’ll rename all of the RSN files for you into comprehensible file names. It’ll tell you when it’s done and you’ll be able to exit DOS prompt window. If you are successful, you’ll have a file directory that looks like this (paying attention to the file-names more than anything else):

Step 5 – Associating RSN Files With WinAmp

Easy step, especially if you’ve had WinAmp for a while. while easy, it’s also an important step for easy playback in the future. Right click on any RSN file you have. Now, click on “Open” (should be bold and the first option if it’s not already associated with another file type. If it is associated with another file type, then “Open With…” will work instead) Either way, you’ll see a window similar to this:

Click on the little arrow that my big red arrow is pointing at. You should see a list of programs. All the programs should be in alphabetical order, so you’ll probably find WinAmp towards the bottom. If you don’t find WinAmp, then click on the “Browse” button. In a default WinAmp install on Windows 7, you’ll find it in “C:” > “Program Files (x86)” > “WinAmp”. Doubleclick on “WinAmp.exe”. This should make WinAmp pop up in the list of “Other Programs” list. In that list, click on WinAmp and click on “OK” The little WinAmp logo will appear within the files logo of all of the RSN files. Double click on any game to test to see if you are successful all the way up to now.

If you successfully followed all of these steps, a list of songs will appear in WinAmp and being playing the first song of the game. All of the games in the game you chose to try will appear as a playlist. It’ll look something like this (We’re testing the game “Battle Cars” in this case):

Now we’re talking!

A quick trick if you want to listen to a specific song only. Click on the song in the list, click on the “REM” button on the bottom of the list, then click on “Crop”. You’ll only have that song left in the playlist alone.

Ripping SPC Songs

Step 1 – Locating the Ripping Option in the Preferences

This part of the guide presumes you’ve followed the first part of the guide successfully.

Doubleclick the song you want to rip in the playlist. When you hear it play, hit the stop button so you know you’ve got the right song. To make sure you only rip one particular song, click on the “REM” and “Crop” on the bottom of the playlist.

Click on the little symbol on the top left hand side of WinAmp. Then click “Options”, then “Preferences” I’ve highlighted this below:

In the new window, there’s a list of options on the left hand side of the window. Scroll down to the bottom until you find “Plug-ins”. Under that, select “Output”. In the list on the right hand side, click on “Nullsoft Disk Writer” Now, click on “Configure” I’ve highlighted this below:

In the new window, the only thing you should be concerned about is where you want to save the WAV files to. Click on the file directory button if you want to change this as I’ve highlighted below:

Browse to the directory you want to save the files to if you have chosen to change this directory. Now, just click on “OK”. Close the “WinAmp” preferences. You are now ready for ripping.

Step 2 – Ripping

Simply press the play button. You won’t hear anything, but you’ll be able to see the scrubber go across at a fast speed as if a song is playing. When it’s done, you should have a nicely rendered out WAV file in whatever directory you have chosen.

Now, remember, if you want to go back to just listening to these files, you have to change one option back. Go back to the preferences by clicking on the symbol on the top of WinAmp, click on “Options”, then “Preferences”. Then, in the new window, click on the OutPut option again if you are not already on that. Now, simply click on “Nullsoft WavOut Output”. Close the window and you should be able to listen to the music again just like before. If you don’t complete this part, you’ll just keep ripping whatever is dropped in the playlist instead of just listening to it normally.

Now that you have the WAV file, you can do whatever you’d like with it. As an added bonus, there’s no loss of quality that one would otherwise get if they were to get the same song in MP3 format or ripped off of YouTube videos. That’s always a bonus.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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