19 Facts About MP3


MP3 is a coding format for digital audio developed largely by the Fraunhofer Society in Germany, with support from other digital scientists in the United States and elsewhere.

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The combination of small size and acceptable fidelity led to a boom in the distribution of music over the Internet in the mid- to late-1990s, with MP3 serving as an enabling technology at a time when bandwidth and storage were still at a premium.

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Genesis of the MP3 technology is fully described in a paper from Professor Hans Musmann, who chaired the ISO MPEG Audio group for several years.

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Immediate predecessors of MP3 were "Optimum Coding in the Frequency Domain", and Perceptual Transform Coding (PXFM).

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Thus the first generation of MP3 defined interpretations of MP3 frame data structures and size layouts.

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An MP3 coded with MPEG-2 results in half of the bandwidth reproduction of MPEG-1 appropriate for piano and singing.

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MP3 developed a higher-quality version and spread it on the internet.

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In 1998, the first portable solid state digital audio player MPMan, developed by SaeHan Information Systems, which is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, was released and the Rio PMP300 was sold afterwards in 1998, despite legal suppression efforts by the RIAA.

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The small size of MP3 files enabled widespread peer-to-peer file sharing of music ripped from CDs, which would have previously been nearly impossible.

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An MP3 file is made up of MP3 frames, which consist of a header and a data block.

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When performing lossy audio encoding, such as creating an MP3 data stream, there is a trade-off between the amount of data generated and the sound quality of the results.

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The person generating an MP3 selects a bit rate, which specifies how many kilobits per second of audio is desired.

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Besides the bit rate of an encoded piece of audio, the quality of MP3 encoded sound depends on the quality of the encoder algorithm as well as the complexity of the signal being encoded.

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At the time MP3 files were of the very simplest type: they used the same bit rate for the entire file: this process is known as Constant Bit Rate encoding.

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Later more sophisticated MP3 encoders were able to use the bit reservoir to target an average bit rate selecting the encoding rate for each frame based on the complexity of the sound in that portion of the recording.

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The MP3 standards do not define tag formats for MP3 files, nor is there a standard container format that would support metadata and obviate the need for tags.

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Basic MP3 decoding and encoding technology is patent-free in the European Union, all patents having expired there by 2012 at the latest.

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The various MP3-related patents expired on dates ranging from 2007 to 2017 in the United States.

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Whereas MP3 uses a hybrid coding approach that is part MDCT and part FFT, AAC is purely MDCT, significantly improving compression efficiency.

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