Perceptual Coding: Why Is It the Magical Wand of Every Music Enthusiast

MP3 encoding offers a way of drastically reducing the size of digital audio files while preserving reasonable sound.

 
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New York, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/28/2014 -- Anyone who has interest in music and audio must have already heard of MP3. It’s often associated with the Internet, digital downloads and online piracy. However, what does MP3 mean and do?

MP3 is an abbreviation of MPEG 1 audio layer 3. MPEG is itself an abbreviation of Moving Picture Experts Group, the official title of a committee formed under the auspices of the International Standards Organization and the International Electrotechnical Commission who developed the international standard for the efficient encoding of full-motion video and high-quality audio. The method compresses audio and video data to be able to sufficiently store and retrieve them from a device delivering around 1.5 million bits per second such as a conventional CD-ROM, USB or other storage units. In 1993, MP3 has become a standard for coding of moving pictures and associated audio for digital storage media at up to about 1.5 Mbit/S, more commonly known as the Raw Music Files

A 16-bit system with a sampling frequency of 44.1kHz is widely accepted to be the benchmark for consumer digital audio and when manufacturers boast of CD-quality audio, they are basically describing a system that operates within, or is capable of operating within, these limits. One down side of PCM audio whilst the sound quality can be excellent is storage requirement. 44,100 16-bit samples per second will yield 88,200 bytes of data per second and twice for a stereo signal. In order to record one minute of stereo audio requires 10,584,000 bytes or 10MB of available space on a storage medium. While this is acceptable as far as conventional audio CDs are concerned, for other applications it can be tricky. Most computers and web servers have limited storage capacity. The need to minimize file sizes is extremely needed.

MP3 Compression
MP3 is what's known as a lossy data-compression technique and consequently it is inevitable that an MP3 is never going to sound quite as good as the PCM source from which it was created. This is because a certain amount of the original data is removed and lost during compression. For musicians and producers alike, this type of data compression is not amiable but for listeners it is more than enough.

The truth is, our body and brains are imperfect and oftentimes biased measuring devices. It interprets external phenomena according to its own prejudice. It has been found on studied that doubling amplitude of sound waves does not correspond to increase in loudness of sound. Human perceptions do not mirror events in the outside world but reflect and accentuate certain properties of those events. Music distributor’s goal is to reproduce a sound for the benefit of the human ear that does not accurately recreate every characteristics of the sound’s waveform. Instead we might concentrate on determining which properties of the waveform would be most important to the listener, and prioritize the recording of these properties. This is the theory behind perceptual coding. MP3 simply captures the music as it sounds.

These what makes MP3 a common platform even after a decade it was first introduced. It’s the easiest, open, cross-platform format available to anyone in the world who wants hear great music without cashing out on costly web space or external storages.

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