How to Play
compressing sound files by up to 90%, MP3 makes it quick and easy
to download songs from the internet without losing CD quality
sound. All you need is the software - most of which is free and
user friendly. Here are simple steps:
Time Required: 2 hours
play MP3s you need an MP3 player. Some are free. Research your
options for PC or Mac. Bells and whistles include playlists and
"skins" (designer interfaces), bass/treble control....
you're new to the game, the no-frills freeware will do fine.
choose Microsoft's WinAmp, which combines an MP3 player and encoder.
is a good free no-frills player only for Macs. I still use it.
SoundJam seems to be the most popular commercial product.
my MP3 netlinks page for sites where you can download software
and read software reviews.
the software. This is as easy as clicking the appropriate link.
Create a directory for the application as you would for any other
application. These are relatively small programs.
to an MP3 site and browse the music selections. My MP3 netlinks
page offers large sites as well as individual artist sites that
offer free MP3 downloads.
sites to check: listen.com and napster.com both help you find
pages where you can download most kinds of music; mp3.com is
the site where any "musican" can upload songs.
out this site's MP3 Pick of the Week. Also, check the index of
previous picks. Most are free downloads.
out Fenario - this site's online musical magazine. I upload
four new tracks each month, all free. You can also purchase collections
of 12 songs on CD.
sites let you listen to tracks in low-fi streaming audio before
you download, and most use Real Audio (you can download the latest
version of RealPlayer free). Just click and listen.
you find a file you want, follow the instructions for downloading
it - usually the click of a button will do it.
on your modem speed and the size of the file, a song can take
anywhere from 1 to 30 minutes to download. You can calculate
roughly 1 Megabyte per minute of song.
your MP3 player and use its menu to open and play the sound files
you want to hear.
the simplest MP3 players allow you to create playlists so that
you can program whole albums or compilations of your own choice
- a virtual jukebox.
deciding which software to use, factor in the time you'll spend
using it. For a $30 investment, the extra features on commercial
players may be worth it.
Hugh Blumenfeld, Editor
© 2001 Hugh Blumenfeld/The Ballad Tree