Bringing Yourself Up to Speed with AAC, MP3, and Digital Audio
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In this article, learn: Why music needs compression; What lossless and lossy compression are; What AAC is and how it works; What MP3 is and how it works and about other key digital audio formats. Understand ripping, encoding, and “copying”; Choose an appropriate compression rate for AAC and MP3 files you create; Load uncompressed WAV and AIFF files on your iPod; Understand the basics of copyright law with regard to audio; Understand copy-protection techniques for CDs. This is chapter 3 of How to Do Everything with Your iPod & iPod Mini, by Guy Hart-Davis (McGraw-Hill/Osborne, ISBN 0072254521, 2004).
You’ll almost certainly want to use your iPod extensively for carrying your music and listening to it. That means putting as much music on your iPod as possible, probably in AAC or MP3 format—and keeping the quality as high as you need for all types of playback you perform. (I’ll explain what AAC is in “What Is AAC? Should You Use It?” and what MP3 is in “What Is MP3? Should You Use It?,” both later in this chapter.)
This chapter discusses the background information that you must understand in order to make the most of digital audio on your iPod. I’m sure your focus is on results rather than theory, but to get the right results with compressed audio, you need to understand a little theory about what compressed audio is and why it works. But don’t worry—the chapter moves along briskly, and if your attention strays in one section, you can skip ahead to the next one.
In particular, if your music collection is extensive, you’ll need to balance music quality against quantity. You can store pure CD-quality audio on your iPod, but not very much of it. You can store a huge quantity of highly compressed audio on your iPod, but it won’t sound too great. Or you can settle for a happier medium that delivers high-enough audio quality but lets you take all your essential music with you. This chapter shows you how, and it starts by explaining why music files are so big that they need compressing.
This is chapter three of How to Do Everything with Your iPod & iPod Mini, by Guy Hart-Davis (McGraw-Hill/Osborne, ISBN 0072254521, 2004). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today.
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