About MP3 Format
MP3, which is an acronym for MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3, is an audio encoding format. It is one of the most popular audio compression and decompression (codec) format today because of its ability to put music into manageable files, thus making downloading over the internet easy. Because MP3 files are small, they can easily be transferred across the Internet.
As the name “MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3” implies, MP3 uses Layer 3 (one of three MPEG-1 coding schemes) to compress audio signals. Using perceptual audio coding (“lossy” coding) and psychoacoustic compression (using much less space), Layer 3 removes all superfluous and irrelevant parts of a sound signal and adds MDCT (Modified Discrete Cosine Transform) to implement a filter bank. This, while removing all extra parts, compresses large audio recordings with a ratio of 12:1 while retaining original audio quality.
MP3 files can be downloaded from the Internet, or can be played by software on your computer. However, even though many MP3 files are offered on CD’s, most normal CD players (such as a Diskman or your car stereo’s CD-Player) will not currently play MP3 audio files directly. You will need either a special MP3 player or a software program such as WinAmp or Real Jukebox on your computer in order to actually listen to the files. The technology exist that will play both regular audio and MP3 Cd’s, but these players are still very expensive.
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