Over the years, the mode of transmission of music has continued to evolve. From microgroove discs to MPEG-3 and MPEG-4 players, music media have succeeded one another. Although the MP3 player has been a dazzling success, it is now replaced by more efficient file formats. From its creation to its evolution, let’s take a tour of this revolutionary device.
The history of the MP3 player to today 2023
At the end of the 20e century, image and sound technology made significant progress. In 1987, the German Fraunhofer Institute instituted a sound compression system that revolutionized the world of music. A few years later, the giant of the English film industry Movie Pictures Expert Group (MPEG) adopted it within the framework of the realization of its productions.
Some features of previous media have been carried over to this new model with the addition of a sound compression system, hence the name MPEG-1. This version was used only for a short time, because the higher version arrived quickly under the name of MPEG-2. Then came MPEG-3 and MPEG-4 players.
If playing an audio file on a computer remains quite intuitive, the operating mechanism of the MP3 device is a little more complex. Above all, it is essential to note that the main asset of the MP3 player is at the level of its memory. Indeed, the compression of the files makes it possible to obtain a large storage capacity.
The device is actually turned on when the file is played. By validating the selection, the song is transferred to a microprocessor called decoder. This is responsible for decompressing the audio file so that it can have a format approaching that of analogy, while maintaining the sound quality obtained during the compression step.
At the same time, the processor sends to the screen of the device the information relating to the audio file being played, in particular the title of the song, the album, the date, etc. It also indicates the data transfer rate (also called throughput). It should be noted that the higher this rate, the better the audio quality.
Audio quality and compression
In general, a good MP3 device should have at least a bit rate of 128 kbit/second to provide good sound quality. When the player has a bit rate of 320 kbit/second, its audio quality is optimal. Indeed, the latter is similar to that of a CD. With this compression rate, one minute of song is equivalent to 1.4 MB of data.
In addition, there is another option that allows you to vary the bit rates. At this level, the encoder proceeds to increase the compression rate on certain musical passages, which makes it possible to reduce the size of the audio file.
What is the difference between MP3 and MP4?
The difference between MP3 and MP4 player is in the type of files and the working mechanism. So, Mp3 player is an encoded format that only saves audio files. On the other hand, the MP4 player supports both audio and video files. Also, the compression of MP3 files affects the sound quality of the songs. In addition, the best speed of the latter oscillates between 128 and 320 kbit/second.
In MP4 players, the audio and video quality is much higher. On the internet, a video in MP4 format can have a bit rate of around 2 Mbit/second.
What replaces MP3: AAC format
Presenting more advanced performance than MP3, the AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) format is nowadays mainly used for the design of Android phones and other smart devices.
It is also the audio format used by the Apple brand.
It is set up following a consortium between several companies including Sony, Dolby and the German Fraunhofer Institute.
Unlike other formats that rely on the MPEG-3 player, the AAC format works from the MPEG-4 player.
This option was beneficial since it provided a better compromise between sound quality and compression rate.
Its speed can go up to 500 kbit/second.
5 Apple MP3 Players
Being in a perpetual dynamic of improving its performance, the American brand Apple has developed a succession of MP3 players. Each model has unique features both visually and sonically.
iPod classic player
Put on sale in October 2001, the ipod classic is the first generation of MP3 player from Apple. It is equipped with an ultra slim internal hard disk which has a storage capacity of 5 GB. It is also composed of a display screen. The device operates from a circular button which makes it easy to carry out the various commands.
iPod shuffle player
In January 2005, Apple introduced another model of MP3 player to the market: the iPod shuffle. The peculiarity of this version is that it has a flash memory of 1 GB, which gave it a thinner appearance, lighter weight and an authentic design. It is also one of the smallest digital music players in the world. It should also be noted that it does not have a display screen.
iPod mini player
As indicated by his name, the iPod mini is a very compact digital music player. It is equipped with a 4 GB hard drive. It also has a wheel that is both clickable and tactile. The iPod mini is available in five colors: blue, pink, green, gold and gray. It was replaced on the market in 2005 by the iPod nano.
iPod nano player
Unlike the classic and mini models which are equipped with a hard drive, iPod nano consists of flash memory. The advantages of this memory lie in the resistance of the device, its size and its weight. iPod nano works with Microsoft Windows and software from Apple or iTunes.
iPod touch player
The iPod touch is composed of a touch screen with multi-touch property. He can connect to the internet from Wi-Fi and access an improved version of iTunes. Among other things, it allows you to view photos or videos. Much more, it can keep apps downloaded from Apple Store. In short, it has practically the same characteristics as a phone or a camera, with the only difference that it does not have the same functions as the latter.