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What is an MP3 File?

I'm a podcast noob, and I'm just starting to venture into the world of podcasting. I see most of the audio podcasts use MP3 files. What are MP3 files and why do most podcasts use them?

MP3 is an audio file format, it actually is a compression format, that allows for audio files to be compressed into  a smaller file size using a specific fractal-based algorithm, similar to those used to compress images into the JPG format. As with any type of compression is does generally degrade the files sound quality, but the quality is not easily discernable, especially with an untrained ear.

Because of its compression abilities and the quality, MP3 files are widely supported, and one of the top choices for Internet audio content. Additional information on the MP3 file format.

- Podcasting Knowledgebase Feed

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