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MP3: The Definitive Guide Paperback – March 11, 2000

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Although O'Reilly books are not the best place to learn how to use a technology, they are excellent for polishing its finer points. Ethernet and Internet protocols are difficult by nature, but cascading style sheets and MP3s are much more accessible to beginners. All of these books are recommended for university and large public libraries; Cascading Style Sheets and MP3 will also serve well smaller public libraries.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

After earning a B.A. in Philosophy at UC Santa Cruz, Scot Hacker began writing reviews of jazz and improvised music for The Utne Reader and The Cadence Journal of Jazz and Blues before becoming a content manager and production editor at ZDNet. Hacker's interest in digital audio and fine computer systems evolved into a series of regular articles for PC Magazine,, Windows Sources, ZDNet, Japan's ASCII magazine, and the CompuServe network, as well as television appearances and trade show gigs. Hacker is the author of O'Reilly's MP3: The Definitive Guide, Peachpit's "The BeOS Bible," and countless articles for print- and web-based technology publications. He is currently employed as Webmaster of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Contact Scot Hacker


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (March 11, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565926617
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565926615
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,571,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By RedOrDed on March 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
O'Reilly's habit of using the word "definitive" in their titles is very irritating - this book is excellent, but it isn't totally definitive. There are chapters on how MP3 works, how to get and play MP3 files and creating your own MP3s (including dealing with playlists and tags), various kinds of software and hardware players, webcasting and servers, and legal stuff. I will focus here on what I see as omissions, but there is much that is good about this book.
The part of this book that is bettered elsewhere is the legal stuff - the approach of Bruce Fries in "The MP3 and Internet Audio Handbook" (using case studies) is a more practical approach to what you may and may not do. However, the explanation of SDMI beginning on p.278 is lucid, and well worth a read by the denizens of the board, where there is a debate currently raging about exactly how SDMI works.
The book is cross-platform, so the author treats Win95/98/NT (but not 2K), Linux, and the Mac and BeOS's in all chapters. In the players chapter you get pictures and descriptions of the most popular models (Sonique has an "incredibly trippy" UI) and a following chapter deals with more advanced topics like equalization, digital conversion, ID3 tags and playlists with descriptions of editors, playing MP3 streams, and skins and plug-ins.
Chapter 5 begins with encoding issues including sample rates. Once again Fries' "The MP3 and Internet Audio Handbook" does it better, with a table instead of a verbose explanation. Bit-rates are handled in several places in this book, and only mentioned in passing in this chapter, where the explanation really belongs. Fries' book has several tables on bit-rate, sound quality, and file size.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book will not teach you how to write applications to create mp3 files. If you want to write an encoder or decoder you should get the specification from the ISO standards site.
It does give information on how to use other peoples software and it also gives you information about the law. If you want to start sharing mp3 files or broadcast music using third party software then this book is not too bad.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By John McCabe on March 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the only mp3 book I've read. The reason I decided to buy it was that it was from O'Reilly & I've read Scot Hacker's other book (The Be Bible) and he describes subjects clearly.
The book covers Windows, Linux and Be (I run all three). It even has MacOS mp3 coverage.
The topic of legal issues surrounding mp3 is also brought up. Hacker was very smart to put this in because everyone, who uses mp3's, should know about what's going on with our law system.
This book is worth your time reading, not just for how to play mp3's on your OS of choice but also to be informed about a serious legal question.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A. Scudiero on October 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
I bought this book with the hopes that it would give me some detailed insight into how mp3 works, instead it spends most of its pages talking about the differences between encoders and how to use them, as well as a detailed description of how to click on the play button in winamp.
The chapter on the insides of mp3 was what I was really looking for, and this book is, as other reviwers have noted, not really for programmers. Most of the "Mp3" books out there are for "How to go get music off the internet and play it", and I was really hoping that this one would be different. Nope, it wasn't. It did offer a bit of insight (which was available from many other sources) into the workings, but not much.
The language in this book is pretty bad, it feels like they rushed this to market - some of the sentences feature misconjugated verbs, and improper uses of the past perfect tense. While this is only moderately annoying, it really detracts from the usability of the book.
Overall, I'd say that my hopes have been shattered, and what has been generated here is just another book on how to use mp3, not anything different, other than the Oriley name.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on August 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
This definitive guide goes into much more technical computer detail than more casual coverages for lay readers, introducing users to all aspects of the technology and covering the basics of how to use, optimize and maintain MP3 files using both commercial and Open Source methods for four basic operating system platforms. A highly recommended pick for musicians and computer users alike, this tells how to get the most out of equipment and MP3 music formats. Highly recommended.
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