MP3's are the music playback format of choice, unfortunately, for many people!
Obviously, I don't have a great deal of affection for this format. It must be the M.E. in me.
MP3 is a slightly shortened form for M-PEG 3. In turn, it stands for:
The '3' refers to Audio Layer 3.
The mp3 format's main purpose was to reduce the file size of an audio track so that it uses less space on your hard drive. This is done through a process called data compression. This is a completely different process from dynamic audio compression.
In historic times this was an advantage, because hard drive space was small and rather expensive. Not so much today, however.
The mp3's basic process works by permanently removing data that is masked – sounds that are covered up by other sounds.
This required lots of testing on ordinary people to see how much data could be removed before artifacts were noticed.
Fortunately, though, we've been offered various levels of reduction known as bit rates, which creates somewhat less horrible sound, the better the rates get, at the cost of just slightly more hard drive space.
With portable HD space size increasing and the cost decreasing, to me, it makes more sense to listen to as high a quality format as possible.
Sure you get tons more songs on your drive – but can you listen to a thousand songs on a single battery charge?!
Don't get me started!
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