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1. What is MP3?
MP3 or MPEG layer 3 is a sound file that has been significantly compressed through MP3 encoding making it smaller (compressed up to 12:1) from the original source file with very little loss in sound quality. This compression model is based on the capability of eliminating those frequencies which the human ear is unable to hear.

The smaller MP3 files (usually around one megabytes for one minute of music) make it possible to offer music downloads over the Internet. Compare to an average audio compact disc which holds about 700 megabytes of data or around 70 megabytes per song, that a significant improvement over file size.

The standard bit rates (near CD quality result) is 128 or 112 kbit/s. The disadvantage of MP3 compression is that lots of processing power is needed to encode and play these files as they have to be decompressed when playing. Therefore you must play it on your computer or using an MP3 player hardware. It can not be played on an ordinary home stereo CD player (you can however, burn your MP3s onto a CD and play it on your ordinary home stereo CD player. Creating your own CD works out to be much cheaper than the price that you usually pay for a music CD. Besides one CD can hold over one hundreds MP3 music files!).

2. Where can I get MP3 files?
You can use the MP3 search engines to help you search for MP3 files. Check out the search engine section for some good MP3 search engines. There are also many good sites that host MP3 files directly or provide links to MP3 files.

Also, check out the Top MP3 Sites section, MP3 Links and MP3 download page. You can also create your own MP3 files from your favorite CDs for personal use.

3. How do I play MP3 files?
Download any MP3 player software to play the file (Winamp or Windows Media Player).

4. What is an encoder?
An encoder is a software that converts uncompressed WAV (Windows) or AIFF (Mac) files into compressed files, using a CODEC such as MP3 or RealAudio. You can use an encoder to make MP3 files from your CDs. Try MP3Coder by MP3Developments.

5. What is a decoder?
A decoder is exactly the opposite of an encoder. It is used to convert (decode) audio files in MP3 or RealAudio format to WAV or AIFF format. It is used to make CDs from MP3 files.

6. What is CD ripping?
CD ripping is a process of extracting audio data from an audio CD and converting it into WAV file format or other formats and storing it as digital data on your PC's hard disk. Try CDRipper by MP3Developments.

7. What is CD burning?
CD burning is the process of using CD-R/RW drive and burning software to put data or audio onto a CD.

8. How do I decode an MP3 file format to a WAV file format?
Firstly you need a Decoder software. Some MP3 Players software will allow you to do decoding such as Winamp and MusicMatch. Use your Decoder to decode the MP3 files back to WAV format. In Winamp, for example, you can set the output to a WAV file instead of standard audio output. Hit Ctrl-P to bring up the Preferences window and choose Plug-ins/Output. Select Nullsoft DiskWrite on the right side, and click Configure to choose a destination for your WAV file. For other MP3 players, just look around the Preferences for output options.

9. How do I encode a WAV file format to an MP3 file format?
To encode a WAV file to an MP3 file, you need an encoder software. Try MP3Coder by MP3Developments.

10. How can I make MP3 files from my CD?
Firstly, you need a CD Ripper and an Encoder software or a program that does both (MP3TagEditor by MP3Developments is a program of this kind). Use the CD Ripper to extract the audio file on the CD and convert it to WAV (or AIFF for MAC) file format. Finally, use your Encoder software to convert the WAV files to MP3 format. If you take a track from an audio CD and directly create an MP3 file on your hard disk, then you are ripping and encoding in one step.

11. How can I make audio CDs from my MP3 files?
You can burn MP3s to CDs directly by using the CD-R Burners. You can also convert your MP3 into WAV first by using a decoder software, then burn the WAVs to CD. You can use any CD-R Software such as the Easy CD Pro (SCSI) or Easy CD Creator, that supports WAV files as input to burn your CDS. Check out the MP3 Hardware page for some hardware and software that can help you do this.

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