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    Tuesday, July 26, 2005
    MP3 format
    If you have ever wondered how MP3 files work, or if you have heard about MP3 files and wondered how to use them yourself, then this article is for you! In this article, you will learn about the MP3 file format and how you can start downloading, listening to and saving MP3 files onto CDs!

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    The MP3 format is a "smaller size" system for music. The MP3 format helps reduce the number of bytes in a song without hurting the quality of the song's sound. The goal of the MP3 format is to compress a CD-quality song by a factor of 10 to 14 without noticably affecting the CD-quality sound. With MP3, a 32-megabyte (MB) song on a CD compresses down to about 3 MB. This lets you download a song in minutes rather than hours, and store hundreds of songs on your computer's hard disk without taking up that much space.
    To make a good compression algorithm for sound, a technique called perceptual noise shaping is used. It is "perceptual" partly because the MP3 format uses characteristics of the human ear to design the compression algorithm. For example:

    * There are certain sounds that the human ear cannot hear.
    * There are certain sounds that the human ear hears much better than others.
    * If there are two sounds playing simultaneously, we hear the louder one but cannot hear the softer one.

    Using facts like these, certain parts of a song can be eliminated without significantly hurting the quality of the song for the listener. Compressing the rest of the song with well-known compression techniques shrinks the song considerably -- by a factor of 10 at least. (If you would like to learn more about the specific compression algorithms, see the links at the end this article.) When you are done creating an MP3 file, what you have is a "near CD quality" song. The MP3 version of the song does not sound exactly the same as the original CD song because some of it has been removed, but it's very close.

    posted by Jamloceng @ 3:09 PM  
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