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MP3 (MPEG (Motion Pictures Expert Group) Layer 3) is by far the most popular format available. Because of its instant success and wide spread popularity, MP3s have become the compression format to Audio that ZIP was to data. There are others that can be argued to be better in some features, but they are not as universally accepted as MP3s, so this is the one I support. MP3s compress CD-quality audio at an 12:1 ratio, Near CD-quality at 18:1 ratio, and spoken word (i.e. comedy selections) at the incredible ratio of 70:1. This means you can jam 14 hours of CD-quality audio, 20 hours of near CD-quality, or 85 hours of comedy onto a single CDR. Blank CDRs cost about $1-2 and CD burners go for under $200

Because this format is growing so much and has such good ratios, car audio decks designed exclusively for playing MP3 are in their prototype stage and are scheduled for release in MAY 99. The starting retail price is $999. For more information on the car audio deck click here to visit their homepage
Portable MP3 players are already out and can be obtained for about $200. They are about the size of a walkman and hold about 30-50Meg (about 10-16 songs) on average. For information on the players currently offered click on their link below.

Dimond Rio PMP300
Several different players here.

MP3 Players  

It is based on a codec by Fraunhofer, and can encode at bit rates up to 256kbps. It can encode multiple files with different settings for each one, make it a must have for the audio enthusiast.
It is build from the mpg123 code. It supports MP3, VQF and AAC files encoded with Astrid encoder. AAC files sound better than MP3 at the same bitrate, without losing seekablility.
It supports MPG, MP2, MP3, MOD, S3M, XM and CD-audio. The latest version come with the new MPEG decoding engine, but probably the best feature the the design layout of the player. Its not like conventional windows. Everything is animated.
In my opinion, this is probably the best player. They have been around almost since the MP3 format was created. Their latest version uses the Nitrane engine, and it supports almost all formats including MP2, MP3, MOD, XM, IT, S3M, MTM, 669, MID, WAV, VOC, STM, DSM, FAR, UTL, CDA, M3U, PLS, and ASX. It supports tons of skins and plugins.
This was the first MP3 player ever created, and because of this it didn't have any of the bells and whistles of the players we have now, but it will work with a 486DX.

Based on the Xaudio engine, this player is really fast. It can also support skins and plugins.

I consider this the best Mac MP3 player. Their latest version has the Xaudio decoding engine, faster than before. And it also supports skins and plugins.
MP3 Encoders  
Based on a codec by Fraunhofer, it can encode at bitrates up to 256kbps. Speed had been increased by about 20% over previous versions. It can encode multiple files with different settings for each one, making it a must have for music enthusiast.
Based on Xing's new encoder, AudioCatalyst is an all-in-one solution to compress an audio cd to MP3. It features CD artist and song download from the Internet. Making ripping CDs as simple as putting it in a clicking a button. The frequency range is now extended to 20Hz-20kHz, and the encoder is probably the fastest encoder I have seen.
Blade MP3
Based on the ISO source code. It works in a DOS box under 95/98/NT, but it's a real 32bits application and you can use it with any l3enc front-end. It's faster that other encoders based on ISO code, and features a precious time-left indication
L3enc L3enc is probably the oldest MP3 encoder. It only runs in DOS and is not a 32bit application.
Mpecker Mpecker is a good encoder. Its similar to SWA's, but it's a lot faster. Use the use the "Monopolize CPU" option for a faster encoding.
Please note that not all of the programs are reviewed and posted here, although that is the goal. There are some in the download section that are not list here. Download Section

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If you find a new compression utility that I haven't posted yet please send it to me so that I can benchmark and add it to this page.
If you still haven't found the player you are looking for follow this link to the most complete and extensive archive of MP3 players/encoders/rippers.

Copyright 1999 Egg Web