What's an MP3?

Senior enjoying MP3 audio from a smartphone

The MP3 is a widely popular format for digital audio.  It is playable on any computer operating system and can be streamed through the internet.  It's possible to store thousands of hours of MP3 audio to a single flash drive smaller than your thumb.


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.  The MP3 is recognized as a non-proprietary audio format by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).ISOMP3 is the perfect format for sharing audio memories with family and friends.  The audio can be created in a variety of qualities, ranging from 64 to 320 kilobits per second (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 CD-quality MP3 files need to be at least 128 kbps to maintain integrity of the original music.

collection of various vintage audio tapes on white background. each one is shot separately

The MP3 digital audio file is extremely resilient and moves across the connected world at the speed of light.  It can be copied and stored in multiple locations, further increasing it's life expectancy to what one might consider indelible.  This has lead to a worldwide boom in preservation of old memories from audio reels, audio cassettes, and one-of-a-kind vinyl recordings.  Many have even converted their CD music collections to this more usable and durable format.

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If you still need to convert your old audio to digital, consider getting started with Heirloom.  Send in a small order and review a digital sample of your media before paying for the service.  Conversion of an old audiocassette to 64kbps quality MP3 is only $3.99.  Then, enjoy Heirloom's cloud service so you can share any of your audio with an unlimited number of family and friends.

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