MP3 File Documentation

Files with the MP3 extension are audio files that have been saved in a compressed extension, characterized by a three-layer compression standard. MP3 files are most often used to store and play audio files on various devices that support the MP3 format.

Compared to traditional CDs, the MP3 format is characterized by lossy compression, which may affect the sound quality. However, this is usually not noticeable to the user.

Files containing the MP3 extension can be opened by a huge number of programs, the most popular being VLC Media Player, Windows Media Player and Audacity.


Feature Value
File Extension .mp3
Initial Release Year 1993
Compression Type Lossy
Encoding Scheme MPEG Audio Layer III
Bit Rate Options Variable (VBR), Constant (CBR), Average Bit Rate (ABR)
Common Bit Rates 32, 40, 48, 56, 64, 80, 96, 112, 128, 160, 192, 224, 256, 320 kbps
Sample Rate Options 8, 11.025, 12, 16, 22.05, 24, 32, 44.1, 48 kHz
Channels Mono, Stereo, Joint Stereo, Dual Channel
Metadata Support ID3v1, ID3v2
Frame Structure Frame Header + Frame Data
Header Length 4 bytes
Maximum Frame Size 1441 bytes
Psychoacoustic Model Based on ISO/MPEG Model 2
Popularity Widespread Adoption
Supported By Almost all media players, OS platforms
Advantages High Compression, Minimal Quality Loss, Metadata Support
Limitations Lossy, Historical Licensing Concerns
Applications Music, Podcasts, Multimedia, Streaming Services
Associated Programs Windows Media Player, iTunes, VLC, Winamp