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What is MP3

Rob Parsons Updated on Apr 15, 2022 4:22 PM

MP3, short for MPEG Layer 3, is designed by Moving Pictures Experts Group. It is the most common lossy and compressed digital audio format around, with the bit rates ranging from 8 kbit/s up to 320 kbit/s, and the sampling rates ranging from 16 kHz to a maximum of 48 kHz.

Normally, MP3 is widely used to store music files with smaller file size, which means songs ended with .mp3 file extension take up less space than the same songs using lossless format, like FLAC, ALAC. This is why MP3 music files can be universally played with an array of music players like Windows Media Player, VCL, Apple devices, Android smartphones & tablets, and even vehicle as well as lots of other devices. See also: How to convert MP4 to MP3 audio for Mac

How MP3 File Works

MP3 files use the compression technique to strip out of a lot of sounds in a song so as to reduce the file size down and save storage space. As a result, the sound quality of MP3 files is not identical to the originals' CD-quality audio but this will not impact the listening experience for average people (some audiophiles may prefer the lossless audio files).

Technically, bitrate is used to encode audio files and measure audio quality. The higher the bitrate an MP3 file encoded, the better audio quality it has — 128 kps, 192 kbps and 256 kbps are the most common bitrates that MP3 songs are used.

How to Convent File to and from an MP3 Audio File

Since MP3 is a lossy format, it's only wise to convert it to a lossy audio. For example, you can convert MP3 to M4R for iPhone ringtone or to AAC, which is also a compressed audio format but has slightly better sound quality than MP3.

Besides, there are also the ways to save other audio files to MP3 format or extract MP3 soundtrack from video. For this purpose, we've covered the related guides:

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