Old 23rd July 2000, 22:51   #1
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What are MP3's and what's so cool about them?
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MP3's are a method to compress audio. One mp3 at 128 kbps takes about 1/11th the space of a WAV file (what CD tracks are made of).

What does MP3 stand for?

MPEG-1 Layer 3. MPEG's are file formats specified by the Motion Picture Experts Group which are used for all kinds of neat multimedia.


How can MP3's be so small?

The human ear can only hear a certain range of sounds, so MP3's cut out this extraneous information. Perceived sound quality stays the same (or almost the same), but audio data is lost. That is why MP3 is referred to as a lossy format.


What the heck does bitrate mean?

The bitrate is the amount of data which is recorded per second of audio. For example, a 128k song will have 128 kilobits of audio data per second. Songs recorded at higher bitrates will usually be of higher audio quality because more of the audio information. 128k is generally acknowledged as 'near cd quality'. Because higher bitrate songs have more data recorded, they are larger. That is why VBR is sometimes used to record songs.


Then what does VBR stand for?

Variable Bit Rate. VBR songs can often maintain the same quality as a CBR (Constant Bitrate) song, but be much smaller. How? Not all parts have the same amount of audio information, so the encoder will lower or increase the bitrate corresponding to the amount of audio data. Not as much data is recorded, thus, the file size is smaller.

[This message has been edited by Winsane (edited September 02, 2000).]
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