What's an MP3?

An MP3, also called MPEG Audio Layer III, is the most commonly used format for digital audio. MPEG is an acronym for the Moving Pictures Experts Group, who first developed this standard for digital video in 1993. It uses the digital file extension *.mp3.



The MP3 is a great format for digital audio because of it's compression. It's possible to store an hour of 128 kbps audio using less than 60 megabytes (MB) of data storage. The MP3 is recognized as a non-proprietary audio format by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This means the user can play MP3 audio on any device.


MP3 is the perfect format for sharing audio memories with family and friends.  The audio can be captured in a variety of qualities, ranging from 64 to 320 kbps.  Higher quality makes for a larger file, but the quality cannot be made higher than the original source.  64kbps is good for most voice, but music is a better experience at 128 kbps. It's possible to store thousands of hours of MP3 audio to a single flash drive the size of your thumb. 



Millions of MP3 files are created every day as people capture personal audio of their lives. It's the perfect format for sharing audio memories with family and friends. The MP3 can be captured or converted to a variety of sizes, to include quality the far exceeds the listening experience of the compact disc (CD).



The MP3 digital audio file is extremely resilient and moves across the world at the speed of light. As digital data, it can be copied and stored in multiple locations, further increasing it's life expectancy to what one might consider indelible. Thanks to the MP3, there's now a worldwide digitizing boom and race to save old audio stuck on aging physical media like reels, cassettes, and even old CDs.


Heirloom converts audio to MP3 starting at only $1.99 per item.

Written by Geoff Weber

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