is MP3 and what does it stand for?
2. Are MP3's legal?
3. What do "ripping"
and "encoding" mean?
4. What do I need to enable me
to play MP3's?
5. How much space will they take
up on my hard drive?
6. What is a "cooked"
7. How Do I? - Make My Own MP3
8. I want to put my mp3's on a
CD to play in my stereo/car.
How can I do this?
9. I've downloaded a song as a
"zip" file - how do I get to play
10. How do I download MP3s?
11. What are Skins?
12. What is the difference between
an MP3 file and a conventional WAV file?
13. Where can I download MP3's?
14. What is FTP?
What is MP3 and what
does it stand for?
MP3 stands for MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3. The MPEG
process compresses a sound sequence into a very
small file, while retaining its original quality.
It eliminates certain sound frequencies that
can't be heard by the human ear. The format
compresses the file to approximately 1/12th
the size of the original file.
Are MP3's legal?
It is legal to own an MP3 file, ONLY if
you have the CD, or the authors permission.
What do "ripping"
and "encoding" mean?
Ripping - refers to the process of extracting
audio data from an audio CD (generally via Digital
Audio Extraction, (DAE) rather than via an analogue
recording link) and storing it as digital audio
data of some form on your hard drive.
Encoding - refers to the
process of taking uncompressed digital audio
data (e.g. WAV files on a PC, AIFF files on
a Mac) and compressing them according to a particular
compression scheme, such as MP3.
What do I need
to enable me to play MP3's?
Just about any computer can play MP3s.You will
need a sound card and speakers, and of course
an "MP3 player" software program in
order to play them. You can use windows media
player as a default option, alternatively some
of the following players can be downloaded from
Also check out the following sites for downloading
|Audioactive Player is gimmick-free.
It's a thin-client player with studio-reference
playback provided by the latest Fraunhofer
MPEG decoding algorithms. And the essential
tools you can't do without, like M3U playlist
support with integrated editing and ID3
|Completely re-written from
scratch and now comes with a play list editor.
|Play, Rip, Burn
MP3s and CDs ,Transfer to portables, Drag,
Drop and Burn on CDs/DVDs, Burn up to 40x
real time, Enjoy higher quality with mp3PRO,
Multi-session CD Burning, Super Tag downloaded
tracks, Record from vinyl and tapes, Create
CD Labels with borders, Print 150 song titles
on CDs, Volume maximization and leveling,
Add sound enhancements to MP3s, Create radio
stations from Playlist, Automatically load
new downloads, Free 30-days Trial of Radio
MX, Free online tech support.
|UltraPlayer handles the playing
chores for MP3, WMA, RealAudio, WAV, MIDI,
CD Audio, Internet radio, AND video files
(Windows Media, AVI, MPEG, Real). It looks
and sounds great, it's lightweight and powerful
|Listen to MP3's,
Create Greetings, Mix & Edit clips,
Build Screen Savers, Wallpaper and enjoy
Do it all with VAMP Media Center.
How much space
will they take up on my hard drive?
The average three and a half to four minute
song will usually run about 3.5 to 5 MB in size
in .mp3 format. As a .wav file they will use
up quite a bit more.
What is a "cooked"
Cooked files are generally the result of
retrieving files from an improperly set server.
It happens when the server you are downloading
from has not been properly configured and doesn't
realize that a certain binary file format is
undoubtedly binary. The effect being, that the
file is downloaded as text and includes line
breaks that can impede .mp3 audio quality.
How Do I? - Make My Own MP3
If you want to make mp3's from your CD the
easiest way is to get the right program that
'grabs' CD tracks and converts them to mp3's
for you. Once the program is installed you are
able to put one of your regular audio CDs in
the drive and use it to 'grab' the files that
are on your CD. The program will convert CD
audio tracks to the wave files and then encode
it to smaller Mp3's, which you can then play
on your computer (Some programs will convert
straight to mp3 and skip out the wav file creation,
making them very quick to rip a cd).There are
various settings in these programs, which can
determine the quality of the Mp3 you are creating.
If you create an Mp3 at a higher quality it
will reflect itself in the increased size of
There are so many programs
that allow you to rip your cd's for example:
Catalyst* - Shareware. AudioCatalyst
can do "on the fly" MP3 encoding,
which skips the WAV file creation step (Excellent
Program) The Best I have found yet.
- Shareware. Also lets you rip directly
to an MP3 file without first creating a WAV
Most mp3 players will let you convert to
There are many programs that allow you to
convert wav to mp3 for example:
Mp3 Production Studio - Shareware
Suite - Freeware
Encoder - Shareware
These are just a few examples to speak of.
Below are details of other MP3 Utilities that
you may find useful.
- rippers & wav file editor - freeware
MP3 Action 2000 - is a manager for
your MP3 song collection. A Windows Explorer
like interface lets you browse your MP3's
and generate custom playlists like a professional
to WMA - designed for batch-converting
MP3 files to the new Windows Media Audio
8 format. Benefits: file size can be cut
by half or more, sound quality is preserved,
allowing you to store twice as much music
on the same disk. Example: I converted 250
mp3 files: original (mp3) total size=1070
Mb, new (wma) size=540 Mb.
These WMA clips can be read by Windows
Media Player (version 6.4 or better) and
other major players, like RealOne or Winamp,
for which WMA plugins are available.
CD Extractor - is a CD ripper program
you use when you want to extract audio tracks
from audio CD's. The program uses the Compact
Disc Digital Audio (CDDA) format to extract
the audio tracks. Use this program if you
- Convert your audio CD's into mp3 tracks
on a CDR.
- Copy your audio CD's into wave files.
- Put your CD collection as mp3 files
on your PC at work.
- Get information about an Audio CD
or a CDR copy of an original Audio CD.
- Play audio CDs at half speed without
Jukebox - rips CD's to MP3 or RA,
also plays many different formats.
I want to put
my mp3's on a CD to play in my stereo/car. How
can I do this?
To play songs on an audio/stereo player
you will have to burn them to CDR disks using
burner software that supports the creation of
audio CDs (most do). For example:
Easy CD Creator will let you create
music cd's, and as the cd is written it converts
them back to .cda format enabling you to play
them on your stereo. Its a much more efficient
way of doing it, as it does it all in one go
instead of converting them back to wav..first
etc. Also this way lets you create your own
mix/compilations of music.
- Is a much better program and it does exactly
the same thing.
I've downloaded a song as a
"zip" file - how do I get to play
When you download a song and it has a zip
extension, it could be one of two things:
1) An MP3 file, that has just
been renamed to change the extension to "zip"
2) An actual zip file, i.e. one
that has been produced by using a zip compression
utility (although since MP3 is already a highly
compressed format, putting an MP3 file through
zip compression rarely makes much difference
to the file size...)
Web site owners who post songs
as "zip" files use both of these strategies
randomly, so unless there's a note on the web
page, you just don't know. The simple answer
is just try to "unzip" the file with
Winzip or Winace (or some other zip utility
- downloadable from ZDNet or any popular shareware
source), and if the zip utility tells you that
the file is not a valid zip file, then just
rename it, changing the extension from "zip"
to "mp3" and try and play it...
How do I
The easiest way to download an MP3 is to right-click
on the link that points to the file and select
"Save Target As..." or "Save
File As..." (depending on what browser
you use). The best way, however, is to download
a program called GetRight
It can pause, resume
and schedule downloads to take place while you're
sleeping, and they will automatically restart
interrupted downloads, resuming where they left
off (if the host site is resume supported, as
most sites now are.
What are Skins?
Skins are files that you can download and
install to change the appearance of your MP3
|A great site with a large selection
of Skins. Windows Skins, MP3 Player Skins,
Plugins, Themes etc...
|MusicMatch, Winamp, UltraPlayer Skins
|Lots of downloadable skins. Windows
Skins, Winamp, Desktop Themes etc...
|Skins, Utilities, Desktop, Media, Skins
for different types of applications.
|Lots of downloads, Window Blinds, Media,
Desktop Themes, XP, Win Styles, Litestep.
What is the difference between
an MP3 file and a conventional WAV file?
Conventional WAV files are not compressed. For
sound or music of any significant duration,
WAV files are huge.
The size of a normal good quality
WAV file is very roughly 10MB per minute of
sound or music, whereas that of the equivalent
MP3 file is very roughly 1MB per minute. In
other words, the MP3 file is roughly one tenth
of the size of the equivalent WAV file, with
no discernible difference in quality. However,
the compression ratio does depend on the nature
of the sound or music recorded in the file and
therefore can differ.
The much smaller size of MP3
files makes it feasible to store them on the
sizes of hard disks commonly found on modern
PC's and to download them via the Internet within
a reasonable time, even with a modem connection.
Where can I download MP3's?
The most reliable MP3 on the web is stuff
which is all straight-up fully legal MP3 authorised
by the content providers. There's lots of good
music there, but it takes time to find stuff
you like, since you'll never have heard of most
of the artists. You can use regular search engines
such as Altavista, Google, Hotbot etc to help
you find stuff but many people tend to use file
sharing programs (peer to peer) like Kazaa.com
Kazaa and Morpheus may
in their programs
so you may not want to install it.
What is FTP?
FTP - File Transfer Protocol. It's just
another way of transfering files over the net.
If files on an FTP site are freely downloadable
without restrictions, you should be able to
download them through you browser. But most
FTP sites are "ratio" sites, meaning
they won't let you download unless you first
upload something. The "ratio" part
refers to the ratio between how much you upload
and how much you download - a 1:5 site ratio
means you must upload 1 Mb for every 5 Mb you
want to download. To use a ratio site you will
have to work with an FTP client, i.e. a program
specifically designed for doing FTP, such as
WS FTP. There programs allow you
to define FTP sites in a directory, along with
the logins and passwords for them. Many FTP
sites are only up at certain hours of the day.
When the sites *are* up, you often can't get
in because they're too busy - most of these
sites are just on desktop PCs, and to function
they need to restrict the number of simultaneous
logins to something like 3 or 4. If you get
a "can't connect to site message"
try another time. If you get a "too many
logins" message, just keep trying (it's
kind of like a phone busy signal). Even once
you get in, satisfying site owners' ratio requirements
can be tricky - they may only want certain types
of file, that you don't have.