MP3 – MPEG Audio Layer 3

MP3 is the name of the file extension and also the common name of the type of file for MPEG-1 audio layer 3. Today, it is a common audio format for consumer audio streaming and storage, and the standard for the transfer and playback of music on most digital audio players. Because MP3 files are small, they can easily be transferred across the Internet.

MPEG Audio Layer 3

Layer 3 is one of three coding schemes (layer 1, layer 2 and layer 3) for the compression of audio signals. Layer 3 uses perceptual audio coding and psychoacoustic compression to remove all superfluous information (more specifically, the redundant and irrelevant parts of a sound signal. The stuff the human ear doesn’t hear anyway). It also adds a MDCT (Modified Discrete Cosine Transform) that implements a filter bank, increasing the frequency resolution 18 times higher than that of layer 2.

The result in real terms is layer 3 shrinks the original sound data from a CD (with a bit rate of 1411.2 kilobits per one second of stereo music) by a factor of 12 (down to 112-128kbps) without sacrificing sound quality.

Why is MP3 so Popular?

MP3 was designed by Moving Picture Experts Group and MP3s started appearing online in the 1990’s. The music format became popular, quickly, because compression allowed the file to be as little as 1/10th of the original size. Remember, in the 1990’s disk drives and storage space on consumer PCs was expensive.

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

Top Articles

The Complete List of 1500+ Common Text Abbreviations & Acronyms

Text Abbreviations reviewed by Web Webster   From A3 to ZZZ we list 1,559 SMS, online chat, and text abbreviations to help you translate and understand...

How to Create a Website Shortcut on Your Desktop

Website Shortcut on Your Desktop reviewed by Web Webster   This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a website shortcut on your desktop using...

Windows Operating System History & Versions

The Windows operating system (Windows OS) refers to a family of operating systems developed by Microsoft Corporation. We look at the history of Windows...

First to Fifth Generations of Computers

Reviewed by Web Webster   Learn about each of the 5 generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the computing devices that...

Heuristic Definition and Meaning

Heuristic, pronounced hyoo-ri-stihk, is a Greek term for individually finding or discovering. In...

Hackerspace Definition & Meaning

What is a hackerspace? A hackerspace, also known as a hacklab, incubator, or hackspace,...

Random Access Memory (RAM)...

Random Access Memory (RAM) reviewed by Web Webster   Random Access Memory (RAM) is a...