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Mp3 Vs Md Essay, Research Paper
MD vs MP3
The day is almost here. It’s not the second coming. Its not the day Linux outsells Windows. Nor is it the day when we all own flying cars and our shoes tie themselves. It’s the day the CD dies. By using digital recording techniques, recorded music could sound as true as the original, and any part of a recording could be accessed instantly. No more “fast-forwarding” or “rewinding”. CDs, however, are going out of fashion as new technologies arise to replace them. Taking the lead are the Minidisc format, also known as MD, and the truly awesome MPEG layer 3 format, lovingly shortened to MP3. The two formats are both small in size, skip proof and have great recordability.
Minidiscs are tiny, CD-like discs between three and four inches across. Each MD is stored in an irremovable plastic casing that brings the total size to about a two-inch square. The MD works much like a CD, and is also read by a laser in much the same way. MDs come in 60 and 74-minute varieties. Using a MD is much like using a CD: open the player, pop in the disc, close the player, and listen in. Also like a CD, music is divided into tracks. The information on a MD is stored in the same way as a CD.
MP3 is different because, unlike CD and MD, it’s not a storage medium, it’s a storage encoding. The MP3 is not a record or cassette, but a new way of storing music as computer data. MP3s are computer files, nothing more. However, until recently they could only be played on a computer. A recent rash of ingenuity, however, has produced portable MP3 players that can be carried around and listened to like a portable CD or MD player. You hook up the player to the computer with an included cable, and use the included software to place the MP3s on the player. Look out, world, the MP3 has left the building.
Both formats, MD and MP3, have their advantages. One advantage is that they both share is that they are basically skip-proof. You know how when you shake or jolt a CD, how the music stops sometimes? Isn’t that annoying? MP3 and MD both get rid of that.
MDs are virtually immune to skipping for two reasons. First, their design is more compact and thus less vulnerable to skipping. They’re smaller and they’re within an outer casing. Second, almost every MD player comes with 10-second anti-skip buffering. By reading ahead on the disc, the player remembers what music is about to play and can play it in case the disc takes a bump or a jolt. This is available on CDs, too, but they don’t share the MD’s compact design. While MDs are virtually immune to skipping, MP3s are totally immune to skipping. Since MP3 players have no moving parts, they don’t skip. MP3 players store their data in RAM, rather than in an etched medium like CDs and MDs. Since RAM is composed of an electric current rather than bumps on a flat surface, no spinning is required to read the data. It’s pretty simple, no?
Another excellent feature that both formats offer is recordability. Unlike most CDs, Minidiscs can be recorded over and over again to create personalized music mixes. Though MDs do come in standard “album” format with the music already on them (like standard CDs), blank, recordable Minidiscs can be purchased for a few bucks each and many Minidisc players double as recorders. Sure, the standard players can be purchased, but why? MP3s offer the option of picking and choosing certain songs. Using the computer’s CD-ROM drive, it can encode tracks into MP3 format and then put them on the MP3 player. Alternatively, music can be downloaded off the Internet from several websites that offer free or commercial music.
One final advantage that both offer is their compact size. Portable MD players are usually tiny: some models are barely bigger than the disc itself. Portable MP3 players are usually tiny as well: because the MP3s themselves have no mass, the players only need to be big enough to hold all the necessary parts. Some models are larger than MD players are, some smaller. Needless to say, both MP3 and MD players make compact discs look huge. “Compact” has proven to be a relative term.
Sadly, no format is perfect, and both MP3 and MD have their disadvantages. Portable MD players, though unbelievably compact, are often bigger than MP3 players are. Both are usually small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, but there are exceptions. MP3 players, on the other hand, tend to hold less music. Depending on the player and the length of the MP3 tracks you want to listen to, MP3 players may be able to hold as little as 8 tracks. This may change as newer and more advanced players are released; most players have a flash memory option allowing the use of tiny, swappable memory modules to add space. Also, because the space limitation on MP3 players is based on the player itself rather than the media, upgrades and newer models may continually come out allowing more and more space. MDs can hold up to 74 minutes of music, but this is unlikely to change because the MD itself is a standardized design.
Soon the CD will give up its throne as the undisputed king of music. Who its successor will be is still unclear, however. Will the people choose the MP3 format, with its oh-so-slick connection to the all-important PC? Or will they bow before the MD in all its re-recordable majesty? No one knows yet, but whenever MP3 is victorious, it will owe its existence to the granddaddy of digital music, the good old compact disc.
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