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 www.empeg.com.
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.
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.
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.
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