What is MP3?
Audio Format DescriptionMP3, 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.
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.
The sound quality of an MP3 is dependent on several factors – quality of the original audio source, the encoding software used, and the bit rate used. Most encoders allow you to select the bit rate (amount of data stored per second) yourself, so the right selection at the right places is an important factor.
MP3 has had a great impact on the history of music. This amazing phenomenon has completely changed the way music is collected, listened to, and distributed. It has made distributing music free, finding and accessing it easy (over the internet), and manipulating music simple using various tools like converting MP3 files into CD files and ripping music off CDs besides loading MP3 files onto portable players and listening to them anywhere and anytime.
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