***Step Three: The Players Club
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)
***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
John Fu is putting himself through Stanford by selling MP3 versions of his own songs online, including "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "SuperFreak."