MP3 is short for MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 and it is the preferred audio format at The Mixing Bowl due to its compatibility and quality.
Any hardware and software player/device can decode and play these files. A very good all-platform player is VLC, for the Windows platform the preferred choices are Winamp (the de-facto standard), foobar2000 (great sound quality for experienced users), and Apollo, the best "mp3-only" player on the internet (very often used by radio stations to broadcast mp3-based content).
- Please visit the LAME wiki page for the current recommended version
- The input file for LAME is most often a WAV file (CD tracks or recorded broadcasts with the *.wav extension). The general syntax (command line) for getting a suitable MP3 file is quite simple: "lame.exe switch input.wav", e.g. lame.exe -V 2 input.wav output.mp3
- Create preferably variable bitrate files (VBR) with a targeted average bitrate between 170-210kbps, if possible. Do this by using the -V 2 switch (alternative LAME VBR switches might be necessary for WAV files recorded from FM broadcasts, although the LAME encoder is very clever and the -V 2 switch is really all you need).
Editing MP3s, to cut/split audio from a file, is best done using an editor that can perform that task losslessly; that is, the MP3 file does not get decoded to WAV to allow editing, and then re-encoded back to mp3.
Recommended lossless mp3 cutters/splitters are:
MP3 Volume Changing
CD ripping to MP3
The best way to rip CDs to MP3 is with EAC. The following EAC guides are very good: