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A Dummies Guide to MP3
By Andy Rathbone
Published in 1999 by IDG
296 pp ISBN 0 7645 0585 0 18.99 includes shareware CDROM

A Dummies Guide to MP3

Early in this book you are informed that in the 1st quarter of 1999 'MP3' overtook 'sex' as the most common internet search term. Indeed a quick search of the web using MP3 will locate thousands if not millions of references.

For those not in the know, MP3 is a standard for digital sound compression (to around 10% of the original). This strips out the sounds that are supposedly unheard by humans (but your dog may notice!). Thus a standard 60 minute CD (650 Mb) can be reduced at best quality (near CD) to such a rate that you can store about 30 minutes of music in 32Mb.

I was given a Diamond Rio 300 for Christmas so even before I saw this book I had been playing with the technology. The book focusses on how you can get (legitimate) MP3 tracks (speech and music); how you can get your own CDs (and older formats) into MP3 format (for your own use, of course) and how to then create your own CDs using MP3 tracks.

This whole area is a copyright minefield and I suspect that this, US originated, book has some ideas that may be contrary to UK law. However, you may be planning to record or distribute via the web your own performances.

The book also considers the upgrades you will need to make to enable your PC to play and record as well as how to choose a dedicated MP3 player. You also get details of how to set up and internet radio station!

If you want to know about and use MP3 then this could be the book for you. The accompanying CDROM also has some useful software.

Neil Stanley
Reviews Editor