MP3: The Bare Facts

***Step Three: The Players Club


"Finish him!": MPecker Encoder makes it easy to get your music onto your Mac as MP3 files.

To enjoy your freshly encoded songs, you'll need an MP3 player like the hugely popular MacAmp from @soft. (see playo.gif) You can even control MacAmp from the Control Strip with the $5 shareware StripAmp. Be warned, though, that MacAmp is in public beta and may exhibit a nasty tendency to crash your Mac at inopportune times. The freeware SoundApp plays just about every sound format available, including MP3, but has a rather ugly playback window. The free MPEG Audio Realtime Player has a very cool slowdown/speedup feature but suffers a fatal flaw: it's incompatible with Virtual Memory. To conserve screen real estate, try the $10 shareware MacAmp Lite, a standalone player that provides MP3 playback essentials in a tiny floating pop-out nub. Another space-saving option is the freeware Vamp, though it hasn't been updated in a long time.

***Step Four: Play Different(ly)


Colors of the Wind: Plasmo is just one of the mesmerizing MacAmp plug-ins available for download.
skins and plug-insmp3 toolMusicVacMATEMPecker EncoderNetCDInCDius GHTitleTrackTraxMPecker Drop DecoderSoundApp

***Step Five: Pump Up the Volume

Invite some friends over and get funky. Make playlists of your favorite dance grooves and hook your computer up your stereo using a stereo-miniplug to RCA adapter cable available from your local Radio Shack. A useful tip: Stereos with a cassette deck but without input jacks can be hooked up to the Mac using a stereo-miniplug extension cable and a CD-player car adapter (the kind that look like a cassette). Now you can let your Mac deejay the party with MP3s and forget about the music for the rest of the night. Just make sure to put your computer in a safe place -- spilt drinks and computer equipment are a dangerous mix.

***More MP3 Resources

  • MP3 Superguide
  • Macintosh MP3 Information
  • MPEG Audio Page
  • Macintouch AudioCatalyst/MP3 Special Report
  • MPEG.ORG: MPEG Pointers and Resources
  • mp3.com
  • Lycos MP3 Search

    John Fu is putting himself through Stanford by selling MP3 versions of his own songs online, including "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "SuperFreak."

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