An MP3 file is an audio file that has been compressed using the Mpeg I Audio Layer 3 method. MP3 is today the most widely used format for audio files. MP3 is characterized by the small file size. The high compression is achieved by a lossy method in which only the audio signals that are consciously audible for the human being are stored according to a psychoacoustic model.
An MP3 can now be played on many devices. Thus, in addition to the PC, portable audio players and DVD players and many car radios, TVs, mobile phones or game consoles such as the Playstation 3 MP3 files play.
In addition to the audio data, an MP3 file can also contain meta tags or metadata. These data summarized under the term ID3 tag may contain, among other things, album, artist, genre as well as the lyrics or images. These data can be displayed with the appropriate support, for example, from the audio player.
In addition to the losses due to compression, MP3 has the drawback of a sampling rate of 96KHz, especially for audiophiles. However, most people can not hear the compression loss with appropriate quality settings. Therefore, it is advisable to pay attention to at least 192KBit when creating or even when buying.
MP3 can be played by any newer operating system through its standard built-in programs. There is also a whole range of playback programs that offer not only additional management functions, but also the creation of MP3s. (e.g., dbPoweramp, iTunes, LAME)