What is MP3 ?

MPEG layer 3 is a type of audio codec, where information is processed by significant compression from the original audio source with very little loss in sound quality. The compression of MP3 is up to 12:1 and produces a very little degradation. Tighter compression can be achieved, but it will effect in sound degradation results. To obtain certain compression, we must adjust the bit rates. The standard bit rates (near CD quality result) is 128 or 112 k bit/s. Many people claim that low-rate MPEG layer 3 files sound better than Real Audio files with similar bit rates. The advantage of MP3 is that it can be broken up into pieces, and each piece is still playable. The disadvantage of MP3 compression is that lots of processor power is required to encode and play files, also a sound-card is required (16-bit sound card). The hardware player/encoder/decoder is still in development & have very expensive price.