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Chapter 34. Online Music > How MP3 Works

How MP3 Works

The MP3 format is an extension of Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG) Layer 3 technology; the MP3 file extension itself is short for MPEG Layer 3. MP3 and other MPEG formats store music digitally, and in the process compress the original data to take up less space than it did originally. In particular, the data compression in the MP3 format reduces digital sound files by a 12:1 ratio.

MP3 and other data compression schemes work by removing those ranges of sounds that the typical user can’t hear. An MP3 encoder uses complex algorithms to determine what sounds a human is able to hear, based on accepted psychoacoustics models, and chops off those sounds outside this range.


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