CatholicAudio.Net Learning about Audio Files Page

Questions on MP3 format audio files

Questions on how to download audio files

Questions on how to play MP3 files

Questions on storing Audio files


About MP3 format audio files

What is an MP3 file?
MP3 is a computer-readable file format that is much more compact than cassette tapes, or traditional CDs. A cassette tape can hold one hour of music or speech on each side, and a CD can hold one hour. An MP3 disk looks like a CD, but it can hold 15 hours of music, or 50 hours of speech. This high capacity has allowed people with music collections to store them much more compactly, taking their music with them as they drive or travel

MP3 files can be transferred using the Internet, unlike tapes or CDs. This has allowed people to share and transfer music with friends, and for new bands to inexpensively showcase their music to potential fans worldwide. Software such as Napster and BearShare have acted like clearinghouses for music transfer, using common PCs and the Internet.

MP3 files can be stored on a computer disk, for playback on a PC, or transfer to a portable MP3 player. These portable players commonly are battery operated, and small enough to carry while travelling. Players are now becoming available permanently mounted in car dashboards, and within DVD players.

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How to download audio files

How do I download MP3 audio files from your site?

Follow these steps to download MP3 Audio files from our site:

  • Go to
  • Click on the "Search Library" link
  • You should now see a list of authors. If you do not, then you likely need a new browser. We support Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 and later, and Netscape Navigator 4.0 or later. Download the latest version using the links if you need to.
  • If you are technically savvy, you may use an FTP client to connect to with a login of "anonymous" and your email address as a password. Then go to the "audionet" directory.
  • You should now see a series of speakers, by name. Click on one to see his/her programs.
  • A list of series will appear. To download a series, right-click on a series' name, then select "Copy to folder" from the popup menu. Give the name of your MP3 audio directory on disk. It will copy the series directory name, and all audio files in it.
  • If you wish to copy individual programs in a series, then double-click on the series name. A list of files will come up. You may copy them individually by the right-click procedure used above, or you can "rope up" a set of files with the mouse, then right-click to select "copy to folder".

Each half-hour program is approximately 6 megabytes in size. It will take from 3 to fifteen minutes to download, depending on your Internet connection. Once downloaded to your disk, you may listen to it on your PC, or store it in a portable MP3 player, or burn it into a CDROM. About 100 half-hour programs fit on a single MP3 CDROM, or 50 hours of audio.

How do I turn my CDs into MP3 files?

In order to turn a music CD into an MP3 file, you will need a PC, and conversion software, generically called a "CD Ripper". There are many programs available to handle this, and many of them are inexpensive or free. I recommend and use a product called "Music Match Jukebox", which is available without charge in its basic version. Click on the preceding link to be taken to Music Match's homepage. From there, you can download the software, then follow the installation instructions.

Once installed, you feed a music CD into the CD drive on your PC. The program will detect the CD, and ask if you want to play the CD, or rip it into MP3s. You will select the latter choice, then give it a directory on your PC's disk where the MP3 files should be stored. The program will take about 15 minutes to read and store the music on the CD, labelling each song appropriately.

Once you have converted your CD library into a set of MP3 files on your disk, you may use Music Match to play the music through your PC's speakers. You may also write the MP3s to a CDR (CD Recordable) disk, or download to a portable player, for offsite music play.

How do I turn my CDs into MP3 files?

Another way to get audio files is to use download software. Two of the most popular programs are Napster, and BearShare. Download the programs from their respective websites, install them, and follow directions. Each of them let you put in keywords for the name or type of audio file you want. Then they present a list of choices, and you select what you want to download. Napster is more famous, but I personally prefer BearShare.

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How to play MP3 format audio files

How can I play MP3 files?
MP3 files play on any PC with speakers, using player software such as Music Match Jukebox, WinAmp, and Windows Media Player. If you want to play those files away from your PC, you have several choices:
  • A small, solid state player, such as the Diamond Rio, or Creative Labs Nomad. You can find reviews of portable players here. These players tend to be portable and inexpensive, but often are limited to an hour or two of storage. They cost from $80 to $200.
  • A CDR/MP3 player that accepts discs with MP3s. These tend to be larger in size, but have much greater capacity than the small portable players. I like and use the "MPTrip" player, which you can buy here for under $150, or you can search the web for other vendors.
  • A car player, which doubles as an in-dash radio and CD player. This special type of car stereo unit can accept the compressed MP3 discs you make in your PC, as well as the more common CD format. I have an Aiwa unit in my car, which I bought at Best Buy for $300, and it works fine.
  • A DVD player, with the added capability of playing MP3 discs made in your computer. Few of these are presently available, but I have an Apex 600 unit at home that I bought from Circuit City, and it works fine. I can play DVD movies, music CDs, and high-density CDR disks with 175 MP3 songs each on them.
  • Other devices, which you can read about here, which play MP3 files.

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How to put downloaded files on a CD

How do I make my own discs with MP3 files on them?

You will need several items:
  • A PC.
  • A special type of CD drive in your PC that writes CDR discs. These are called "CD Burners" colloquially, but are called "CDR" orr "CD R/W" drives in the store. Many new PCs come with these already installed. If you don't have one, I recommend the Acer model, which I use and like. You can buy them for around $125.
  • Some MP3 files on your PC's hard disk.
  • Burning software. The Adaptec software which comes with many CDR drives is the best there is. I also use and recommend the Music R