Tuesday, February 17, 2009
MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3, more commonly referred to as MP3, is a digital audio encoding format using a form of lossy data compression. It is a common audio format for consumer audio storage, as well as a de facto standard encoding for the transfer and playback of music on digital audio players. MP3 is an audio-specific format that was designed by the Moving Picture Experts Group. The group was formed by several teams of engineers at Fraunhofer IIS in Erlangen, Germany, AT&T-Bell Labs in Murray Hill, NJ, USA, Thomson-Brandt, and CCETT as well as others. It was approved as an ISO/IEC standard in 1991.
The use in MP3 of a lossy compression algorithm is designed to greatly reduce the amount of data required to represent the audio recording and still sound like a faithful reproduction of the original uncompressed audio for most listeners, but is not considered high fidelity audio by audiophiles. An MP3 file that is created using the mid-range bit rate setting of 128 kbit/s will result in a file that is typically about 1/10th the size of the CD file created from the original audio source. An MP3 file can also be constructed at higher or lower bit rates, with higher or lower resulting quality. The compression works by reducing accuracy of certain parts of sound that are deemed beyond the auditory resolution ability of most people. This method is commonly referred to as perceptual coding. It internally provides a representation of sound within a short term time/frequency analysis window, by using psychoacoustic models to discard or reduce precision of components less audible to human hearing, and recording the remaining information in an efficient manner. This is relatively similar to the principles used by JPEG, an image compression format.