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By Mike Peters, professional music producer.

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MP3 Background Music

This is the second post about audio file formats and when to use them as royalty free music in your projects. We already spoke about some different file formats and we've ended the first blog post with one of the most popular file formats: the mp3.

 

MP3 Background Music

 

If we compare an mp3 file to an uncompressed file fomat like wav, we notice that there are quit some differences.  In a studio environment this top notch speakers this becomes noticeable. The quality of the mp3 file is much lower and it seems as if the music is less powerful and less strong.

 

However, in many situations, an  mp3 file perfectly acceptable. When you listen to music in a car for example. Street noises limit the musical experience anyway. Or when you are in a restautant where there is background music playing. We hardly focus on the music and an mp3 file will do fine. To take it to our own sector: if you use royalty free music for the internet or a business presentation a decent recorded mp3 file is all you need.

 

MP3 versus uncompressed formats

 

In addition to the compressed files there are the uncompressed file formats. This actually means that the data is stored as it it and thus effectively reproduced as it was recorded. In environments where there are high demands to the quality of the music uncompressed file formats are the way to go.

 

In a professional studio environment we always work with WAV or AIFF files. A load of manipulation is done to these audio files. Adding effects, time stretching and mixing of sometimes over eighty tracks to one stereo file. Not to forget the final mastering stage whereby the finest details of the audio are adjusted. Even we produce mp3 background music all recording an mixing is done in AIFF. And only at the very last stage it is lowered down to mp3 where we use the best settings.

 

MP3 Music settings

 

Within the categories compressed and uncompressed files we find many different qualities. These differences depend on the settings the user makes during the recording, manipulation and the exporting of the track. 

 

When you record audio, what the computer actually does is taking a small take pictures of the digital waveform. The more digital pictures the computer takes, the better the quality of the audio file. We can set how many pictures the computer must take per second. In music, this is called the sample rate. At playback, the audio has much more detail if the computer has more digital pictures or samples to reconstruct the original waveform. So why not take a huge amount of pictures every time? Well, it's like with you holiday pictures: more pictures means a thicker album. With an audio file it is not really different. We'll go into that in the next post.

 

In the meanwhile,

Stay Tuned!

Mike

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