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Encoding is the process of changing the audio from one format to another. In this process the music is compressed to produce a smaller file.

The bitrate defines how much information is stored for every second of music. The higher the bitrate, the closer the encoding is to the original music source.

Digital Audio File
This is a file containing music information that can be read by a computer or specialised music player.

This is the software that defines how the music is encoded into a file from the CD. A different codec will supply a different file type such as MP3, AAC and OGG. These are explained below.

MP3 Player
This is a general term for portable digital audio file players. It is so called because the MP3 format is the most popular format.

MP3 Jukebox
This is a general term for digital audio file players that are part of a home hi-fi. It is so called because the MP3 format is the most popular format.

Syncing is the process of moving audio files from a computer to an MP3 player. (Please see the manual for your MP3 player on how to do this if we have not done it for you.)

Lossy Formats
Lossy formats such as MP3 are generally small and are suitable for portable MP3 Players and iPods. However they are of non CD quality.

Lossless Formats
Lossless such as FLAC are much larger in size but are of CD quality.

This stands for MPEG1 Layer 3. This is the most popular format and will play on almost all MP3 players.

Format largely only supported by Apple. It has superior sound quality and file size when compared with MP3 files but is not supported on a lot of players. This would only be recommended if you solely use a Mac and/or iPod.

Free Software Foundation developed codec that is free to use and has a very good sound quality. It is currently supported by few players, but is becoming increasingly popular/accessible.

FLAC is a lossless codec. The music does not compress as well as other formats but the file produced is an exact copy of the original.

Windows Media Player
Windows Media Player is the standard music player that is built into most recent versions of Windows. Recent versions will play most formats of digital audio files.
For more information visit http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/default.aspx

Apple iTunes
This is the music player that comes with iPods. It contains a player to use on your PC as well as management of your collection and syncing to your iPod. For more information visit
For more information visit http://www.apple.com/itunes

Tags are how information is stored in an MP3 file. The tags are separated from the music in the file so they never impact the quality of the music. It includes pictures within the file.

This is the artist and album information embedded into files including cover art, genre year and up to 22 different fields of information