by January 1, 2000 0 comments

What are MP3s?
MP3 is short for MPEG layer 3. MP3 is a powerful compressed audio file format, somewhat like WAV, but highly compressed. It offers CD-quality sound (44 kHz, 16-bit, stereo). The compression rates are up to 12:1 for CD-quality sound, which means that you can store up to 12 hours of music on a single data CD, without loss of quality.

Are MP3s legal?
It’s legal to own an MP3 file or if you’ve purchased the CD or have the author’s permission. 

What are MP3 players?
MP3 files are created from a special type of compression algorithm. A software program that can decompress, decode, and play this format is called an MP3 player. Most MP3 players available today can also play other audio formats. MP3 players are now available on a number of platforms, including DOS, Windows, and Linux.

What are MP3 skins?
Skins are files that you can download and install to change the appearance of your MP3 player. Not all MP3 players support skins. 

What are encoders, decoders, and rippers?
Encoders are programs that allow you to change your WAV file to MP3. Decoders do the opposite–they let you change an MP3 file to WAV. Rippers are programs that allow you to “rip” a track off a CD and change it to a WAV file.

What else can I use to listen to MP3s?
Many vendors have created hardware devices with in-built memory in which you can store MP3s. Hardware MP3 players are similar to a portable CD player or a Walkman, except that there are no moving or rotating parts. The sound quality is therefore like CD quality, without any skipping. Many companies manufacture MP3 players now, including Diamond Multimedia, Samsung, and Creative. However, the costs are still high, but should come down as demand goes up. 

Where can I get MP3 songs from? 
There are hundreds of Websites offering MP3 music. Some of these distribute pirated music. So check before downloading any MP3s. The best place to start is You can also check out,, or

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