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What is MPEG ?

You have probably seen these 4 letters in the past and most probably because you read one of numerous reports since almost every PC-Magazine reported about it, especially in the past few weeks. - In case you haven't, we want to explain roughly what these letters mean:

MPEG stands for "Moving Picture Experts Group", and as you can gather from the term, it is a data reduction procedure for moving pictures (as a matter of fact JPEG as a compression procedure for single pictures is already known as the Web-Standard). As it is well known that you need sound besides just picture when it comes to movies and videos, one had to come up with an intelligent procedure for the audio portion also. To be able to reduce the large amount of data (one uncompressed normal Audio-CD comes quickly to 500 and more MB) to a necessary minimum and that of course without loosing too much of the sound experience.

In this case the Fraunhofer Institute in Erlangen, Germany has done a great job through years of Research and Development. If you're interested you can access historical and technical background info at their web site (URL see below) - but just in a few words: The sluggishness of the human sense organs is the basis for an unnoticed data reduction. Just like our eye isn't aware of every single picture during the watching of a movie, our ear doesn't hear all the audio information that is stored on a CD either - and these "hidden" pieces of information are detected and simply left out.

The most recent Codec, named "MPEG Audio Layer 3", is capable to reduce also audio files in so called "CD-Quality" (meaning 44.1 kHz, 16 Bit resolution, stereo) to 1/10 or 1/12 of its original size, withalmost no changes in the sound . If AM Radio Quality is enough too, the reduction rate can be even higher (another 4x) and if you would be satisfied with telephone quality, a rate of 1 : 96 would be possible. That could make quite a difference for the Web-Surfer that pays his online fees by the hour.

That's why it is not a surprise that this technology is gaining more and more popularity. Radio stations i.e. use this procedure for their needs through ISDN lines, and large corporations like Bertelsmann have used this Codec already for their CD-ROM productions. Very bright users make their own CDRs with the contents of 12 complete Audio CDs and smart companies like MASTERBITS :-) use MP3 for so called "Audio on demand" on their web site.

Now a days pretty outstanding music archives are made in MP3- format allover the world, and if like it, then you can find various other interesting sites that will give you much more detailed information about MP3 than what we have done here. Here are some links:

The web site of the developer: Fraunhofer Institut für Integrierte Schaltungen - A

Working with MP3-Files

To play MPEG Layer 3 -Files , recognized by the xxxx.mp3 ending, you need an MPEG-Player. You can find such decoders in many different variations on the Internet - often for free. It is different for the En-coder that you need to make an MP3-File. That is simply based on the fact that the developers need to be and should be rewarded for their research, and so most of the shareware tools, that contain the Fraunhofer-Codes illegally, were therefore banned from the net. For more information concerning this issue, check out the Fraunhofer pages / see above.

Our recommendation for a MPEG-Player is to download
WINamp / MACamp at

Get WINamp !

http://www.winamp.com, http://www.macamp.net/lite/lite.shtml oder 

http://www.mp3.com/software/mac/players.html

WINamp Player

According to our experience this player works reliably and fast, has besides other features a playlist and a graphics EQ, is suprisingly small (W95=380 KB) and is freeware !

We have tested this player in W95 with various Browsers (MAC will follow shortly). Netscape Navigator 2.01and up, Netscape Communicator 4.0 and up and Internet Explorer 2.0 and up work well together.

But before you start on the longer Demo Songs in our VIRTUAL JUKEBOX we recommend that you do a test with shorter samples first. Here are some test samples from our CD Rave Trax 1:

Jungle-Loop - 105 KB
Gated Polyline - 139 KB
"Oh yeah" -  16 KB

Depending on your configurations the AMP Player Window will appear automatically on your screen right after the download (see figure above). By the way, the sounds are only temporarily stored and if you want to archive them, you should copy them into a directory of your choice.

We hope you have gotten a quick tour of MP3 and wish you good luck and fun with this new technology!

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All sounds on this page are the property of Masterbits GmbH. Each user receives the right to download these files for free into his PC. Any other duplication or further Verbreitung, including through the Internet, is prohibited. Otherwise the same copyright laws apply, that you know from other Music CDs - All rights of the producer ....

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