Why use mp3 sound files? ••

How do I play mp3's?

How do I make new mp3's?

Where do I find mp3's on the Internet?

What software is out there, for Mac, Linux, Amiga, and Windows?

Give me more technical information on mp3 compression!
What's the difference between AIFF, WAV, SND, and SD2 audio files?
Is mp3 legal?

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mp3 is a portable, cross-platform file format for compressed high-quality digital audio. It is quickly becoming the de facto standard for internet audio, where quality of sound is a primary issue.

Unlike compression formats such as Real Audio, or downsampled .WAV audio formats, mp3 maintains 16 bit 44.1 khz sound files, meaning there is no transient noise, loss of dynamic range, or loss of frequency response.

mp3 does not sound exactly like CD audio since it uses a method called perceptual encoding to "simulate" the data loss by the compression, and many tests have found that at the 12:1 compression ratio (128 kbps) the change in sound, though audible, is not considered significant or problematic by listeners.

The implications of this fact are that one can actually stream mp3 audio over the internet, providing the end user has transfer rates of 17 k./ 1 second or up. This has created an entire market for Internet radio stations, which broadcast at slightly HIGHER quality than FM radio, and can broadcast WORLDWIDE.