MP3 Information - Compressed Audio Files



The name MP3 is based on the original specification for videos - the MPEG1 format. Because the 3rd layer of that format held the audio, the MP3s became the audio tracks.

Compared to previous audio formats, MP3 files were very small and could therefore easily be moved from machine to machine. This made them ideal for a world with ever-expanding hard drives and ever-quickening file transfer speeds. While a WAV file could take up huge amounts of disk space and never be moved from machine to machine, MP3s suddenly made this quite easy. WAV files are on average a full 10 times larger than the similar MP3.

As soon as the MP3 format caught on, rippers began springing up. A ripper is software that takes in an audio CD and turns all of the audio tracks into MP3 files. With most software, you simply put your audio CD into your computer, hit a button, and a few minutes later the matching MP3 files are sitting in a directory, ready to listen to.

Note that CD audio files and MP3 compressed files are both digital versions of the original sound. Both cut out sounds that the human ear can't hear, and because they are 'samples' of the sound, they cannot represent the full flow of sound that the original instruments and voices made. Many audio enthusiasts complain that a CD version of a song sounds too "bright" or "sharp", because the flow of the audio was cut into little bits by the audio sampling process.

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