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MP3 Binaries FAQ - alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.* (04/19/05)

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Archive-name: music/mp3/newsgroups-faq
Posting-Frequency: monthly - weekly to alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.d
Last-modified: April 14, 2005
Copyright: (c) 1999 by Sucker@n.a.n., (c) 2000-2005 by

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
(Note: all follow-ups to this post will show up in
alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.d, [the absm.* discussion group] NOT in the group
where you find it posted.  If you post a follow-up, go to the discussion
group to see any responses to your post.)

The faq is located at or at

:              The Official FAQ for alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.*

* Help make these groups better and more useful for everyone.
Follow these easy steps. Thanks!*

* 1. * Use a high quality encoder. <faq3.html#3.10> 	
* 2. * 	Make good use of a 0-file <faq4.html#4.10> and include all
pertinent info.
* 3. * 	Use meaningful subject <faq4.html#4.9> headers that are not too
long.  Avoid using more than 80 characters!
* 4. * 	Check <faq3.html#3.29> your MP3s before posting them.
* 5. * 	Test post <faq4.html#4.34> in test groups.
* 6. * 	Post from 472500 to 315000 bytes per segment <faq4.html#4.12>
(7500 to 5000 lines uuencoded/segment) for best propagation.
* 7. * 	Crosspost <faq4.html#4.0> into the appropriate decade group (if
you know it).
* 8. * 	Don't post binaries <faq1.html#1.1> in the discussion or request
groups and vice versa.
* 9. * 	Enjoy the music!

*The vision impaired should download the absmFAQ.txt file
<downloads/absmfaq.txt> for offline viewing*

Contact the folks who update the FAQ via

1. General Information

*[1.0]* 	*What is an "MP3"?*

MP3 is another name for a layer-3 mpeg.  It is a sound compression
format that can create near CD-quality sound files while maintaining a
small file size.  For more technical information on the MP3 format see
[9.2] <faq9.html#9.2>

*[1.1]* 	*What newsgroups does this FAQ apply to?*

This FAQ covers the entire alt.binaries.sounds.mp3 hierarchy and
includes, but is not restricted to, the following:

*alt.binaries.sounds.mp3* - The Binary posting group (also known as the
"main" group).  This group is for the posting of binary sound files that
are in the MP3 format.  This group is *NOT* for the posting of text,
requests, or ftp site announcements. The exceptions are: postings of
this document, FAQ tips, zero-files (a.k.a. (0/x)), and brief follow-ups
as needed to alert posters to problems or to urge them towards  these
guidelines.  Other non-musical exceptions are cover art/insert scans,
and .nfo files. Players, encoders, and other sound utilities should be
posted in the appropriate group: alt.binaries.sounds.utilities.

*alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.d * - This is the discussion group for the
a.b.s.mp3 hierarchy.  This is one of two non-binary groups of the
hierarchy.  Binaries are strictly forbidden in this group.  DO NOT post
any binaries in the "d" (discussion) group.  This group is for the
discussion of MP3s, MP3 technology and other MP3 related topics.

*alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.requests* - This is the request group of the
hierarchy.  It is *not* a binaries group and mp3 files should not be
posted there. This group is intended to contain only requests and
request follow-ups alerting the requestor that their request has been

*alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.19xxs * - Also known as the decade groups.
 These are groups that are similar to the main group (a.b.s.mp3) but are
ONLY for the posting of sounds from a specific decade as indicated by
the group name.  The same exceptions for posting of non-binaries apply
to decades that apply to main. The groups are:


*alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.<music-type> * - The "genre" groups.  These are
groups that have been created to contain a specific type of MP3 posting.
 You may or may not have access to these groups, but some are being used
more and more so they deserve comment here.  The names of the groups
should be pretty self-explanatory.


*NOTES:* For songs that were recorded before 1950 there exists a group
called * alt.binaries.sounds.78rpm-era *  It is "for the posting of
binary files from the beginning of recorded sound to the end of the age
of 78 records in the late fifties."  Appropriate MP3s are welcome there.  

Although the ** group is **not** part of
the alt.binaries.sounds.mp3 hierarchy, and therefore not bound by its
FAQ or Charter, it is available on a number of news servers and deserves
a mention here.

While there **is** a country group available in the a.b.s.m* hierarchy,
at the time of this writing it is not as active or readily available as
the * group* is.  

There are also a large number of other *alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.**
groups that may or not be available to your on your news server/ISP.

*[1.2]* 	*Dividing the groups into genres would be a good idea. How
there aren't groups like a.b.s.m.funk, or a.b.s.m.rock-and-roll? *

There **are** groups like those. In fact, not only is there
a.b.s.m.rock, but there's also a.b.s.m.rock.full-album,
a.b.s.m.alternative-rock, a.b.s.m.classic-rock, a.b.s.m.heavy-metal and
even a.b.s.m.metal.full-albums.

It seems like every week there is a request that a new MP3 binary group
be created for a specific genre of music that would be posted there.

There are a couple of reasons why this *isn't* the great idea that it
may appear to be. But despite those reasons and attempts to discourage
new mp3 groups, there has been rampant mp3 newsgroup creation.

*FALLACY *: "If you build it, they will come"

Just because you decide a new mp3 group is needed does *NOT* mean that
anybody will ever use the group. If it is poorly thought out, poorly
executed, or redundant, the odds of your group succeeding are slim at best.

There are currently more than *SEVENTY-SEVEN* groups in the
alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.* hierarchy, and over *ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY
FOUR* mp3 groups on all of Usenet. How many of them do you have access
to? How many of them are used for MP3s at all?

A big problem with a number of the 'genre' groups is that they are
duplicates of already existing groups. Where should you post *Dangerous
Toys* entire album of *Hellacious Acres*? Does it go in
a.b.s.m.complete_cd, a.b.s.m.complete-cd, a.b.s.m.full_alblum,
alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.rock.full-album or a.b.s.m.metal.full-albums?
And doesn't it also belong in a.b.s.mp3, a.b.s.m.1980s, a.b.s.m.1980s;,
a.b.s.m.heavy-metal, a.b.s.m.rock, and a.b.s.m.rock.full-album? That's
*ELEVEN* groups where those mp3s would be on-topic.

Another major problem is that 'genres' of music are subjective and
people legitimately disagree on what genre any given song would fall
into. One person insists that Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby.mp3 should go
in the R & B group while another insists it should go in RAP.

How do you determine the difference between "metal" and "hard rock"?
Take a look at Winamp's ID3-Tag genre list, it's a great example of a
lot of different ways to describe the same music. One person's "Booty
Bass" is another person's "House" is another person's "Hip Hop."

Also, would your new group even get used? There are thousands of binary
groups, and a large number of those are nothing more than spam traps. A
lot of them aren't even carried by most ISPs. The decade groups (the
ones that are even used at all) are **still** unavailable on some news
servers. Right now a.b.s.mp3 is the largest newsgroup by volume. Do you
think that many news admins want to add **another** MP3 binary group?

The list below is a sample of mp3 groups that already exist, but many
are hardly used and most are not widely propagated.  This does not mean
that your server does not carry them, only that many servers do not.


Most of these groups all have very low mp3 traffic and some may not have
**ever** had any mp3s posted to them at all. And even if you subscribe
to a standalone news server that **does** carry these groups, posting to
most of them is pointless because they are carried by so few servers.

You should also keep in mind that there are many forms of audio
compression currently available that are similar to MP3. If you create
an exclusively MP3-based group, then posts of MP4s, AAC, VQF or RA files
are off-topic. Getting more and more specific with newsgroup creation is
not always a good idea.

All in all, while creating the new group of your choice (so you don't
have to search through the main group to find something that **you**
like) may seem like a good idea, the odds of it truly being successful
on it's own are probably pretty small. In fact, it's likely that it
already has been created and just isn't widely propagated or used.

*[1.3]* 	*How can I create a new a.b.s.mp3.* newsgroup?*

Before you decide to just go ahead and create your group du-jour, you
should see if a group already exists that covers what you're looking
for.  It's very likely that a group already exists that meets your
'needs' and mp3 might not even be in the group's name.

For example, there was no need to create an MP3-specific classical
group.  The newsgroup ** is a group
that already exists and is properly used for MP3 posting.  Another
example is *alt.binaries.sounds.78rpm-era*; it is a group that carries
binary sound files of all formats from the beginning of recorded sound
to the end of the age of 78 records in the late fifties.

If you are unaware of such a group that would fit your needs and cannot
locate one, ask in * alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.d* for some help.

If you **insist** on creating a new newsgroup, please go about it in the
correct manner.

There is a proper way to create an alt.* newsgroup and have it be
successful, i.e., be accepted as a valid newsgroup by ISPs and news
servers.  What you *DON'T* want to do is to just go create the new group
because **you** think it's needed.

If you really feel that there is a need for an additional a.b.s.m.*
newsgroup, mention it in alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.d for discussion and
*PLEASE* read the appropriate FAQs.  *THEN* when you take your
suggestion to alt.config *LISTEN TO WHAT PEOPLE THERE HAVE TO SAY*.

Just because people may disagree with your new group suggestion does NOT
make those people wrong.  You may or may not get a lot of suggestions
from the followers of alt.config as to the creation of your new group,
but you should not dismiss those suggestions out of hand.   The people
who follow alt.config probably know much more than you do about the
creation of new alt.* newsgroups.

*[1.4]* 	*What are these groups all about?*

They are about the posting of high quality MP3-compressed sound files.
 If you post here, please keep that in mind.

*[1.5]* 	*What about the other MP3 groups that I see? Does this FAQ
apply to them too?*

There are a number of MP3 groups, some of which are unused (except for
spam-posting).  The above mentioned groups are the primary groups that
this FAQ deals with.  This does not mean that the information within
this FAQ is not relevant and applicable to other groups, only that it is
not this FAQ's intent.  This FAQ has been voted on and applies to all
groups in the alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.* hierarchy.

*[1.6]* 	*Anything else I should know about this FAQ before I
continue on?*

There are many software applications and utilities involved in the
playing, encoding, decoding, posting, and retrieving of MP3s.  This FAQ
is not meant to be a primer for the use of your particular software.  If
it was to take into account every piece of popular software and its
inner-workings or tricks, this FAQ would rapidly become bloated and
unreadable.  So, for the most part, this FAQ does not deal with specific
software issues.  The exceptions are those that either relate to
"*frequently asked questions*" in the discussion group, or other helpful
tips that might not be readily found elsewhere.  Look in the Specific
Software Sub-FAQs <> (S.S.Ss)
accommodate software issues that relate to the a.b.s.mp3 hierarchy or in
the Tips Section <tips/index.html>for some detailed discussions of
commonly-asked questions not covered in the FAQ proper.

With all newsgroups it is a common and recommended practice to "lurk." 
This means that you follow the newsgroup, watching and learning, before
you begin posting.  Posting is *NOT* required.  There is no "ratio" or
required "trading" in the a.b.s.mp3 newsgroups.  Leeching is completely
acceptable.  If you are new to Usenet, or to binary newsgroups in
particular, there are a number of basic FAQs
<> that may help you: <== a *MUST* read. Basics of Usenet and binary
newsgroups.  Take a look.

<> The Definitive Answer
to Downloading and Viewing alt.binaries <== If you have questions about
how to get the MP3 files from the newsgroup down to your personal
computer, look here for help. A Primer on How to Work
With the Usenet Community What is Usenet?
[2.0]* I want to request an MP3. How do I do that with the best
chance of being successful?

The most obvious answer is to request it in the
alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.requests group and then hope that some kind soul
will upload it for you. This is most likely to be successful if it is a
mainstream song.

A typical request might look like this:

REQ: Song Title [decade and/or year] - Artist - Other Info - Thanks

Start with REQ. What else you put in your subject and in what order is
really up to you. Keep it concise. Put details in the body of your post.

If no one responds, and especially if the song is obscure, old, or in a
narrow genre, you may need to do some lurking in the appropriate decade
or genre group. If you see that people are making requests there and
getting responses for material similar to what you are looking for, you
may want to make your request there.

Some people ignore text posts in binary groups, but if you cannot get a
response in absm.requests, this is your next likely approach.

A caution. Post your REQ in either .requests OR the binary groups.
Please do not crosspost your request. If someone responds to a
crossposted REQ and attaches the MP3 you want, the poster will trash the
.requests text group with a binary. If you try the .requests group
first, wait a while, and if no one posts in response, THEN try the
binary group. Then no harm, no foul.

Please DO NOT add your requests to the subject headers of binary posts.
There is no requirement to trade files here, and including requests in
the subject lines of posts is likely to DECREASE the chances your
requests will be filled. Subject headers are most effective when kept
short and concise; adding requests only confuses others as to what is
being posted vs. what is being requested. It's best to post your request

[2.1] I've come up with about 100 songs that I want. I guess I
should post a separate request for each one, right?*

Whoa, wait one second. It is unlikely anyone wants to see a REQ-Flood
filling up the group. Put yourself in the potential poster's shoes.

An option is to put your request list in the body of a request message.
Those who dedicate themselves to filling requests may look inside and
help you out.

[2.2] I want to make sure that people see my requests so I'm going
to post them five times each. People will notice me then, right?*

People will notice you, but that isn't always a good thing. Posting the
same message multiple times could be called spamming or billboarding,
and it annoys many. 

Remember, you are dealing with other people here. Possibly the biggest
single reason people find their requests ignored is because others see
them as being demanding, obnoxious or rude. Being polite and reasonable
will get you far. Being rude, obnoxious, loud, demanding or overly
persistent will more likely get you ignored.

[2.3] I posted my requests and nobody filled them. Why? And what
can I do about it?*

It's possible that nobody has the songs you're requesting. It's also
possible that the songs you requested was JUST posted, and people don't
want to repost it right away.

What can you do about it? Check to see if it is already out there
waiting to be downloaded. How? Visit these sites:
Or use the search feature in NewsRover <> or
GrabIt <> .

And if you still can't find it? Wait a few days and post your requests
again. Maybe the right person will see it that time.

[2.4] I want help identifying a song so I can post a REQ. Can I
post a snippet to the discussion group or .requests?*

Please don't. Post a sample to alt.binaries.test or alt.binaries.misc.
Then come to the discussion group and ask people to go listen to it and
help you identify it.  Make sure you identify your sample post by
subject title or Message ID so folks can find it.  When you get the name
of the song, ask for it in the .requests group as usual.  Or according
to the method you find most successful.
3. Making MP3s

*[3.0]* 	*I want to give something back to this group. How do I make

First off, sharing is great but don't feel obliged or obligated. If you
don't know how to make MP3s or if you don't really have something new or
different to post you really have no obligation to upload.

That said, making MP3s from scratch involves a couple of steps.  The
first is acquiring the sound file (ripping) and the second is encoding
the file into MP3 format.

*[3.1]* 	*How do I get the music into my computer?*

The preferred method of making MP3s is to do it from a digital source
(CD) and capture it digitally (*Digital Audio Extraction: DAE*).  This
process is also known as "ripping".

First off, you must have a drive configured to support DAE. This was
more of an issue in the past, very few drives produced in the last few
years do not support DAE. Unless you have a vintage computer or older
CDROM, the chances are your drive, (be it CDROM or CDRW) will support DAE.

    *NOTE:* Unless you specifically state otherwise, those who download
    your MP3 will automatically assume that it was digitally extracted
    from a CD.  If your music source is a tape or vinyl record or
    something *OTHER* than a CD *-OR-* your capture process includes the
    use of a sound card or other non-digital methods, you *really*
    should inform people in your Subject line or in the zero-file of
    your binary post.  If you do not do this, people will definitely let
    you know that you should have.

*[3.2]* 	*How do I determine if my drive and system support digital
audio extraction (DAE)?*

Some software packages will test your system for you.  If you have *Easy
CD Creator*, go to *Tools|System Tests|Audio Extraction* and run the
test. If your software doesn't have a test method you can see if your
drive is listed here:

If you are experiencing problems you might also try downloading a
utility called aspichck, available from various places. This checks your
ASPI layer to make sure it is installed and functioning properly. It is
often accompanied by another program called ForceASPI which will install
the ASPI layer. A Win95 or Win98 computer can't properly rip digitally
without the ASPI layer and many ripping programs will simply default to
other methods if the ASPI layer is not functioning correctly.

*NOTE:*WinXP does not have an ASPI layer installed by default and uses
another method. Although you can still rip digitally using many drives
and programs, some third party programs will default to using
non-digital audio extraction and will produce files that are
sub-standard at best. ASPI drivers for WinXP have been released by
Adaptec and are easily found, downloaded and installed.

Some programmers and users believe that using the ASPI layer is the best
way to get clean digital rips. As with anything else, there are many
opinions both ways, these are simply suggestions aimed at hopefully
getting you started in the right direction.

More details and download links:

*[3.3]* 	*I know my CD drive does DAE, but I'm having strange
and I can't get it to work right. What do I do?*

You may be having compatibility problems with a specific piece of software.

Check: to see if there are any software
issues with your particular drive.

*[3.4]* 	*My CD drive supports DAE; what do I use to rip audio

There are many different software choices, and each has its pros and
cons as well as its fans and detractors.  Current rippers of choice are
EAC, CDex, dbPowerAmp, Audiograbber and some others. Regardless of the
program you use, current opinion has it that LAME is the best encoder to
use. It has been optimized for quality over any other considerations.
Some programs, like MusicMatchJukebox for instance, use an Fhg codec and
they make perfectly good (some think excellent) MP3s but the consensus
right now seems to strongly favor LAME. Your own preference may differ,
just make sure you are listening carefully and using decent equipment to
play your files back before making any judgements.

Download links for these and other rippers:

*[3.5]* 	*Can I encode to MP3 straight off of the CD?*

Yes. Sort of. Many programs will do this in the background making it
seem as if it is being done in one step but it is always being done as
CD > wave > MP3. Most "all in one" programs such as MusicMatchJukeBox or
even the newest versions of Winamp will do this. Using EAC or CDex it is
simple to select "Extract to compressed file" and have it all done at
one time. Some folks prefer to extract the wave files and then use a
front end (such as RazorLame) or a command line encoder to turn all
those wave files into high quality MP3s at a time when they are not
using the computer for anything else.

Download links are on the Utilities page <faq10.html>.

*[3.6]* 	*I've ripped the audio track but the .wav file is messed up.
It seems jittery and has pops or skips.  Why?*

It could be a number of things. Check your CD. You need a good clean
source to start with. If the CD is in good shape, it may be jitter or it
may be caused by trying to rip faster than your system is going to be
able to or it may be a software incompatibility. Try slowing the process
down if you can. Try a different piece of software if you continue to
have problems. Read the Help file and see if your software specifically
addresses things like jitter and offset (EAC, for instance, does).
Spending some time reading the help file can solve a world of
difficulties. If you aren't getting good wav rips though, you will never
get good MP3s out of them. Keep trying until you find the problem and
resolve it.

Some good helpful information and detailed explanations are here:

*[3.7]* 	*I don't like the way the song sounds on the CD because I
more bass.  Should I adjust the equalization (EQ) on the .wav file
before making it into an MP3 and uploading it?*

Please don't.  People generally want to hear an MP3 that is as close to
the original CD as possible.  Even though you may feel that something
helpful (like normalizing the songs) will make them better, that
decision should be left to the final recipient.  If they want to tweak
their MP3s, they can do it themselves.  If you /have/ tweaked or
adjusted the song before you encoded it, please make that information
known when you post it.  See Section [4.9] <faq4.html#4.9> and [4.10]
<faq4.html#4.10> for more information.

*[3.8]* 	*I've ripped the track to my hard drive.  Anything I should
before I turn it into an MP3?*

Yes.  Listen to all of your files first.  Before you encode the file
into an MP3 and possibly upload a problematic MP3, make sure your source
file is clean and doesn't have any jitter, skipping, distortion or
unwanted noise.

*[3.9]* 	*I've listened to all my uncompressed files and they sound
great, now how do I make them into MP3s?*

As mentioned earlier the codec of choice right now is Lame. There are a
number of programs available to make MP3 using Lame. You can install
Lame as the ACM (default) codec. You can use it from a command line if
you prefer. You can use a front end such as RazorLame to access it
easily if you prefer a graphic user interface (GUI). You can use fuller
featured programs such as EAC, CDex, dbPowerAmp, and many others to make
your MP3s.

More information on encoding software can be found in Sections [3.10]
<faq3.html#3.10>, [3.11] <faq3.html#3.11>

Information about Lame is here:

More info and download links to other programs mentioned here: <faq10.html>

*[3.10]* 	*I've heard that not all encoders/codecs give equal quality
results.  Which encoder/codec is best?*

While there is no way to arrive at an absolute answer to "which is the
best" the contributors the a.b.s.m.* groups at this time mostly use
LAME. There are many places online where you can read technical
discussions. Hydrogen audio
<> is one, but the purpose
of this document is not to /tell you/ what to do but rather to help you
decide what /you want/ to do. In the end, all you can do is either trust
your ears or go along with the consensus. There does seem to be more of
a clear cut agreement as to which codecs /not/ to use. This site has
some interesting information in that regard:

*NOTE:* Some people (and many journalists) will rank MP3 encoders based
solely on their speed. In the a.b.s.m.* groups, audio-quality at
reasonable size is by far the most important factor.  When you hear or
read information regarding "the best encoder" you should try to
determine what factors are being taken into consideration.

The quest for the 'perfect encoder' seems to be never ending.  It seems
that certain encoders are better suited for certain types of music and
not so much for other types.  There is also a subjective aspect that
will become quickly obvious as soon as you post your question in
a.b.s.mp3.d.  Check out the Encoders page in the Tips section
<tips/encoders.html> where we will be collecting (subjective) reviews of
various encoders. (Got an opinion? Contribute!)

*The bottom line? *  Use your ears and do some testing.  A good set of
headphones can give you information that a set of computer speakers
won't.  And if you don't have the time for that, then ask around in
a.b.s.m.d and see what the current consensus appears to be, but always
listen to your MP3s before uploading them.

*[3.11]* 	*I don't have a lot of time or patience for testing, which
codec do you recommend?*


*[3.12]* 	*What settings?*

More difficult. As previously mentioned, some people prefer CBR
(constant bit rate) while others think that VBR (variable bit rate)
delivers on its promise of the best quality at the best overall
compression ratio. Whichever you use, don't make the error of going too
low or too high. 160Kbps is pretty much the absolute minimum you will
ever see requested with 192Kbps much more prevalent. When making VBR
files with most programs using Lame you will have many choices. The
combinations of parameters are almost endless and can be very confusing
to a beginning encoder. The use of the presets (formerly alt-presets)
such as preset-standard or preset-extreme will give you excellent
quality files with no need to worry any further about parameters. The
presets have been tuned at a code level in Lame and will arguably
produce results far better than many (or most) of the different
parameter combinations you run across. Like anything else, though,
nobody but your own ears and your own taste can tell you what is best
for you. 

One caveat: If you really think the highest bitrates (224 or 320Kbps or
preset-insane) sound that much better and are worth the extra file size
then perhaps you should consider checking into lossless encoding where
the resulting files (.ape, .shn, .wvc, .flac and others) are larger than
MP3 but the quality is exactly the same as the source file. These files
are shared in the alt.binaries.lossless groups, /not/ in the a.b.s.m.*

*[3.13]* 	*Winamp tells me that .wav files are 176kbps.  Why don't we
just encode at THAT bitrate and get .wav quality MP3s?*

What Winamp is **really** telling you is that your .wav file is recorded
at 178kilo*BYTES*ps and *not* kilo-bits per second.

This has caused a fair amount of confusion in the past.  When you
digitally extract a stereo song from a CD, there are 176,400 *BYTES* for
each second of music.  That's 176.4 k*BYTES* per second . Noting the
fact that there are 8 *BITS* in each *BYTE*, you arrive at a *BIT*rate
of 1,411,200 bits a second, or approximately 1411kbps.  Remember how a
128kbps mp3 should be ~1/12th the size of the original .wav?  Well
1/11th of 1411kbps is ~128kbps.

*[3.14]* 	*Should mono material get encoded at the same bitrate as
stereo material?*

No. Mono originals only require half the bitrate of a stereo recording
to get the same quality. If you encode your Stereo MP3s at 192kbps, then
the comparable Mono file would only need 96kbps.

For material with little high frequency content and waves with a 22050
sample rate, 64k is recommended. Some spoken word material with no
special background effects can be recorded at a low bitrate without
suffering loss of quality. Experiment with Joint Stereo, Mono, and VBR
to get a good encode with a small resulting file size.  A useful rule of
thumb: do not waste server space or force long download times by
recording at too high a bitrate if the source material does not need it.
On the other hand, do not allow quality to suffer by worrying only about
file size, either.

*[3.15]* 	*Who listens to mono any more?  Shouldn't I just encode my
mono songs in stereo?*

No.  If the original recording was in mono, there is no reason to use
stereo encoding which will only produce two identical channels using
twice the space.

*[3.16]* 	*What's the Difference between Stereo, Joint-Stereo and

Well, a lot. There are other types being used now also, MS Stereo,
Forced JS, etc. The differences and the technical aspects are beyond the
scope of this FAQ. Much discussion is online, try reading some forums
like the CDex boards
<>, the Hydrogen
Audio forums
the Audiograbber boards
or sift through 66,000 Google hits here.

Suffice it to say that for the purpose of sharing your files in the
a.b.s.m.* groups the choice of stereo mode is your own but as always,
please make an informed choice based on what your ears in combination
with a little research tell you. Don't make the mistake of listening to
someone else's prejudices that may have been formed before the encoder
you are using was developed. Make the best mp3s you can, listen to them
to make sure they are the quality you want them to be, and then share
them, posting them in sensible, clear and complete posts and you will be
making a valuable contribution.

No matter which type of encoding you use, listen to your files before
uploading them.

*[3.17]* 	*I've made some MP3s with Joint-Stereo and I think they
fine, but I'm not sure my $20 computer speakers are very accurate.  Is
there a better way to tell if my Joint-Stereo MP3s are flanging?*

If you have used a recent implementation of Lame or Fhg to make your MP3
then you have little to worry about in this regard.  Some older encoders
had trouble with their implementation of JS or joint stereo but that is
largely a thing of the past.  Get yourself an updated version of
whatever codec you have chosen to use and you should not have a problem.

More importantly, though.  If you have reason to question the quality of
your mp3 files then you have reason to not post them.

*[3.18]* 	*My MP3s sound good except there is a little POP at the very
beginning of the song.  What can I do about that?*

First of all listen to the file a couple times.  Sometimes your MP3
player will make a sound that isn't necessarily in your MP3.  If the
pop is really there, you can either remake the file or try and remove it
without causing more damage.  There are a couple of software options,
most notably MPTrim and MP3DirectCut. 

Links to these and other options on the Utilities Page.

*[3.19]* 	*What is VBR?  *

*VBR stands for Variable Bit Rate*.  VBR is a method to encode MP3s
dynamically. Depending on the complexity of a particular passage, the
bitrate (kbps) of encoding varies.  Generally, a VBR file will give
better quality at a smaller size than a CBR (constant bit rate) file
aiming for the same quality overall.  Like most everything concerning
audio compression, though, opinion varies so you should do some
experimenting and decide what/ you/ think sounds best and best suits you.

*Should I be using it?*

Completely up to you.  If you do choose to use VBR there are a number of
reasons why it is a good idea to include that information in your
headers when you post the files.  The most important is that some
hardware (albeit usually older models) is still incompatible with VBR
and will have trouble playing back your files.  

*[3.20]* 	*Can I just sample the audio via my sound card instead of
digitally ripping the CD?*

The general consensus is "no" due to the amount of noise that gets
introduced into the file by that process.  You may not initially even
hear the noise due to your computer fan, the quality of your speakers,
etc., but inexpensive sound cards, in conjunction with your computer
itself, introduce noise into the files.  However, if it's something
that's unavailable anywhere else, or the requestor doesn't mind, then
just make sure you make a note of the ripping technique in the Subject
Line of your post.

*[3.21]* 	*I don't have a CD-ROM in my computer, but I do have a CD
player in my stereo; can I just hook that up to my sound card and sample
it that way?*

You are going to be getting an analog copy by doing this and it is far
from the best way to do it.  It may be fine for your own use but if you
really want to share, you should either find a way to make digital
copies or make it clear that your files are analog rips.

*[3.22]* 	*I have some tapes that I want to post as MP3s.  How can I

MP3s originating from cassettes are very problematic.  If you have some
cassettes that have something that doesn't seem available anywhere else
then there are some good tutorials on line that detail the pitfalls and
solutions for doing this.  One is on this site in the tips section,
here. <tips/cepcass.htm>  Many more can be found with some Google
searching.  Try putting <cassette to MP3> in a Google search box and
prepare yourself to sift through about 1.5 million hits.  

Most important, if you choose to go this route and post your results,
please make the source of your MP3s clear when you post.

*[3.23]* 	*I made an MP3 from a tape and it sounds TERRIBLE!  No, I
a lot worse than the .wav file did.  Why?*

Many possible reasons, many possible solutions.  "If at first you don't
succeed, try try again" and all that.  One thing:  please, do not post
the file until you get a good result.

*[3.24]* 	*I'm making some MP3s from a vinyl source.  Is there any
way to make my files sound better?*

No.  When making MP3s from vinyl sources much time and effort are
usually required to get the best sounding MP3 possible.  There are some
posters who do a fantastic job at making MP3s from vinyl sources, and
they take their time and make sure they're done right before posting
their files.

Again it is important that if you decide to share files from a vinyl
source they should be clearly labled as such.

For more tips look on the utilities page
<> under "vinyl to mp3".

See also the tips section <> .

*[3.25]* 	*Can I edit my MP3s directly without having to decode them
into .wav files first?*

Yes, to a certain extent, you can.  There are some programs that will
allow you to cut, fade in and out, alter volume, paste, and otherwise
manipulate the MP3 files directly.  Some of these are MP3Cutter, MPTrim,
MP3DirectCut & MP3Gain.  All of these are linked from our Utilities Page
<> . 

*[3.26]* 	*I've made my MP3s and it's time to name them.  Is there a
naming standard?  What information should I include in the name?*

There is no current universally accepted naming standard. It depends
completely on how you have your files organized and what /you/ want to
put in the file name.

What /does/ matter here is that, however you choose to name the files,
you make sure that when you post them the artist-album-track#-track name
all appear, but appear only once, in your post headers.  If they are in
the file name then they don't need to be repeated again in the header.
If any of the artist-album-track#-track name information is /not/ in
your filename then it needs to be added to the post header.

If you have the correct information in the ID3 tags and you post the
correct information in the post header then it makes no difference from
the point of view of sharing how you choose to name your files.

 See Section [3.28] <faq3.html#3.28> for more info on ID3 Tags.

*[3.27]* 	*I don't like the way other people name their MP3s, and now
have a whole directory filled with MP3s that I want to rename.  Is there
an easy way to do this?*

There are a large number of file renaming utilities available.  Also,
most ID3 Tagging programs will rename files based on any number of
criteria.  There are a number of such programs linked from the Utilities
Page. <faq10.html>

*[3.28]* 	*What are MP3 ID3 tags? Should I bother with them?*


If you are ripping your own CDs then most ripper/encoders will add the
information to the tags for you and will even look up the information
from CDDB or freedb so you don't have to type in a thing.  Check the
settings and/or help files if you aren't sure how the software you are
using does this.

If you are adding ID3 tags to files you downloaded that don't already
have them or have wrong or incomplete tags, there are a number of
tagging applications, many of them will do freedb look-ups of whole
albums and fill in a lot of the fields, most will allow you to fill in a
whole CD full of Artist or Album or other repetitive field with one
entry.  Check the Utilities Page <faq10.html> for links to some.

You do have two choices, ID3V1 and ID3V2*.  Either one is good as long
as the information in them is complete and correct.

For more information about both you can look here:

Further questions about issues such as this can always be directed to
the alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.d group where hopefully one of the regular
denizens will provide you with helpful hints.

*[3.29]* 	*Cool, I've IDed all of my MP3s and I'm ready to post.  Is
there anything else I should know?*

Yes, a couple of things.  First of all, please listen to your files. 
Are there any skips or pops in them?  Do they cut off before the song is
over? Do they sound as good as you would like them to?

Secondly, see the "*Posting MP3 files* <faq4.html>" section of this FAQ.

4. Posting MP3s

	*A quick reference to posting is the best way to begin this
discussion.  The rest of this section is long and detailed because it needs
to be.  Please read it all.*

    * * Make good use of your  0/x file <#4.10> and include all
      pertinent info. *

    * * Use meaningful subject <#4.9> headers that are not too long. 
      Avoid using more than 80 characters! *

    * *Test post <#4.34> in test groups.  Test again after every reinstall.*

    * *Post from 472500 to 315000 bytes per segment <#4.12> (7500 to
      5000 lines uuencoded/segment) for best propagation.*

    * *Crosspost <#4.0> into the appropriate decade and genre group. *

    * *Alert <#4.11> the requestor if you are responding to a request. *

    * *Wait <#4.27> a while before reposting. *

    * *Cancel <#4.18> your "oops" if you do mess up. *

    * *Cover scans <#4.31> are cool, but a  Zip or Rar <#4.32>  rarely
      is, and other non-MP3 <#4.33> binaries are off-topic. *

*[4.0]* 	*Where should I post my MP3s?*

You should post your MP3s to the main MP3 binary group
(alt.binaries.sounds.mp3) with a crosspost to the appropriate "*decade*"
group and to the appropriate "*genre*" group.

Web sites like <> have search
engines that can help you determine the year when the song was
originally recorded. 

*NOTE:* If you don't know when the song was recorded and you can't/don't
want to find out, you should err on the side of caution and avoid
posting it in any of the decade groups. Please *DO NOT* post your MP3
into any random decade; a song recorded in 1994 is off-topic in the
1970's newsgroup.

Also note that you should post into the decade that the song was
originally released.  If the song originally came out in the 1970s, but
was re-released (unaltered by the original artist) in 1998, the 1970s
decade group is the place to post.  If you are posting compilations or
"best of" albums that span decades, don't crosspost to a  decade group. 
Stick with the main group and the appropriate genre group.

Also, the "*genre*" groups are by far the least propagated groups.  If
you crosspost to them, you allow some people to more easily find songs
from a particular group or genre, but if you chose to *ONLY* post to
those groups **without** crossposting to the *main* and *decade* groups,
you are not reaching the maximum possible downloaders.

*Please post ALL MP3s to the main group*.  

*[4.1]* 	*What are the "decade" groups?*

The decade groups are:


*[4.2]* 	*What about the "other" decade groups?*

There were some groups created with an improper hierarchy format.  They
don't exist on many servers and, even where they do exist, they get much
less MP3 traffic.

*[4.3]* 	*What are the "genre" groups?*

Some of the genre groups are, but are not limited to:


There are currently more than 100 groups in the a.b.s.m.* hierarchy and
more are created all the time.  Many of the groups are unavailable on
many ISPs.  For more information on the genre groups, see Section [1]

*[4.4]* 	*Why should I crosspost the files?  Doesn't that eat up
bandwidth and disk space?*

No, crossposting does not eat up bandwidth or disk space.  Crossposting
*DOES NOT* mean making your post *TWICE*.  It means that you include
both newsgroups in the "*Newsgroups:*" header of your post.  Each news
server will only carry one copy of your post, but it will provide two
separate "pointers" to that file.

*[4.5]* 	*HOW do I crosspost?*

When crossposting the format is:


There is *NO* space between the group names and the comma.  There are
some news servers that won't accept a crosspost if you include spaces. 
It is not a good idea to crosspost to more than 4 groups. Your post may
be cancelled by a spam 'bot.

*[4.6]* 	*My news server doesn't carry certain groups, so I can't
crosspost to them.  Can I?*

You probably can.  When you crosspost, the information in your
"newsgroups" header propagates to the other servers along with your
post.  As long as your server carries at least *ONE* of the groups
listed in the header, and you make that valid group the first in your
newsgroups listing, it should accept your post and propagate it (and all
of the header information) on to other servers.  If other servers carry
those groups, then pointers to your post will appear in all the
specified newsgroups.

*[4.7]* 	*People read both the main group AND the decade groups.  Is
there a way to avoid seeing the same posts twice?*

If you're using Agent , this can be solved by going to *Group | Default
Properties | Crossposts* and checking the box that says, "*Enable
Crosspost Checking*"

Now when you pull headers in all six groups, you will see only *one*
occurrence of each message.

*[4.8]* 	*Don't some ISPs cancel your message if it's crossposted?*

Certain ISPs may have filters set up to disregard messages crossposted
to five or more groups.  However, crossposting is a generally acceptable
activity if it is warranted, and in this case it is only to 2 or 3
groups.  ISPs have typically accepted posts made to no more than three

*[4.9]* 	*What should I put in the subject header of my post?

You should include the *name* of the song, the *artist*, and the
*bitrate* it was encoded at.  If you're filling a request, include the
requestor's name in the subject, preceded with an "*ATTN:*", to help
that person locate the post.

*NOTE:* Keep in mind that some newsreader software, like Forte's Agent,
adds the name of the file to the end of the subject line. If the name of
the MP3 file already *includes* the name of the song and the artist,
there is no reason to type them in manually as this information will be
added automatically.

*REMEMBER:*/ If you include every possible suggestion in this paragraph,
your subject could end up looking like a paragraph.  Whatever you put in
the subject header, *keep the total length around 70 characters *or some
people will not be able to read it all./

If you have done anything that would be considered unconventional, you
might want to include that in the subject header, and you definitely
want to mention it in the 0-file [4.10] <#4.10>.

Did the file originate on tape?  Put that information in the Subject
line.  Was it sampled at a low bitrate? Let people know.  Was it encoded
using VBR?  Tell people that fact.  If you don't make people aware of
these things **before** they download your files, they may become
angry.  The minor insertion of the word "*Vinyl*", "*Tape*" or "*VBR*"
in the subject header can make all the difference in the world.

Some songs have been recorded by many different artists, or even many
times by the original artist.  If you are posting a version that you
**know** is not the original, you should make note of that in the
subject header too.  There are many people who are only interested in
the original-artist/original-recording of a song.  The addition of the
words "*Re-Recording*" in the header will alert those who are only
interested in original recordings.

Like the MP3 naming convention difficulties, there are many opinions of
what should and shouldn't be included in subject headers.  The
suggestions here are to prevent people from downloading something that
they did not expect.  Don't forget that there are many people who are
still using 28.8 modems and downloading multiple MP3 files is a time
consuming process for them.

*NOTE: * The use of fractions  in your Subject header can cause problems
with some newsreaders.  Putting any kind of numbers in brackets [ ],
braces { }, and parentheses ( ) results in havoc for some newsreaders
(they can't reassemble the parts). Let your newsreader only put numbers
and dividers in your subject line.  

For example: if you put "*Here are Ten Cool Songs (1/10)*" (mean cool
song #1 of 10 cool songs) into your Subject line, the *(1/10)* will
likely cause problems, especially after your newsreader appends your
Subject with "*CoolSong1.mp3 (1/7)*".  Most newsreaders would never be
able to read a subject like *Here are Ten Cool Songs (1/10) -
CoolSong1.mp3 (1/7).*

Using fancy high ASCII and odd characters in your subject line can also
cause problems.  There are some newsreaders that simply won't see your

Please be aware of the length of your subject headers and try to keep
them *under 70 characters*.  As you type your Subject header, try to
abbreviate things.  "*128*" conveys just about as much information as
"*This was encoded at 128kbps*" does.

It's really not difficult to keep your Subject header manageable while
still getting the important information across.  Here is an example of a
**very** informative Subject header that uses only 55 characters:

* [Metal]ATTN: c.y.a. Tape-128S DeathTrolls - Bang You All To Hell.mp3

The accompanying zero-file would let everybody know that the song came
off of the soundtrack to Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, that it was track
#8 and that the encoder used was SoloH in true Stereo.

The "*S*" after *128* indicates that it was encoded in *stereo*, and
*[Metal]* indicates the genre.  While these two things don't **have** to
be in the Subject header, this example shows how they **can** be
included and **still** result in a Subject that is under 70 characters.

*[4.10]* 	*What about the zero-file (0/x)?*

A zero-file is a simple text entry in the body of your post to which the
binary then gets attached.  Most newsreaders will create it if you
simply compose a text post and then include the binary as an
attachment.  The zero-file will then be part zero of the total number of
parts and the first part of the binary will be part one, etc.  The
zero-file should contain *ANY* and *ALL* pertinent information about the
post.  You should include information about how the files were created,
what software was used, what album the song was taken from and possibly
a full track listing (if it's a full CD rip.)   You might also want to
mention other files you could post and any requests that you might
have.  In the zero-file, the more information you give, the better.

If you're using Outlook Express, see the Outlook Express Sub-FAQ
<tips/oe5subfaq.html> for more information.  If your newsreader does not
automatically create a zero-file, see your software's help file.

A common practice in other hierarchies that is often used in the absm.*
hierarchy is to include an .nfo file to describe the post rather than or
in addition to a zero- file.  An .nfo file is just a .txt file that has
been given an .nfo extension to denote that it contains iNFOrmation
about the posting.  Open an .nfo file with any text editor.  If you use
Windows and know how, you can associate the .nfo extension with your
favorite editor. At least one newsreader makes it hard for you to read
the 0/x file, so those who use it would prefer .nfo. Some servers are
configured to strip .txt files out of binary groups, so making the
extension .nfo is a good idea.

*[4.11]* 	*When I'm filling requests I found in the .requests group,
should I alert the requestor?*

*PLEASE * post a follow-up to the request *WITHOUT* changing the Subject
header.  If you add anything to the Subject header like "*I'm posting
your song NOW*", your follow-up post won't necessarily be seen by the
requestor because the subject change will start a new thread, not just
show up as a follow-up to the requestor's original thread.  The
a.b.s.m.requests group gets even more posts than the discussion group,
so it's very easy to overlook a single post in there.

By posting a follow-up post informing the requestor that you are filling
their request, you not only let that person know that they should keep
an eye out for the post, but you also let *OTHER* people know that they
shouldn't bother trying to fill the request themselves.

So when you're filling a request, please post a follow-up message to the
original request.  In the *BODY* of that follow-up, inform the person
that you are going to fill the request, and in which group(s) they can
expect to find your post.

*[4.12]* 	*Some of my files aren't appearing on some other news
servers.  Why is that? *

There are a number of things that could cause this.  Short of getting a
new ISP or complaining to your present ISP about poor propagation, you
can't do anything about most of the problems, but one thing that has
seemed to improve propagation is adjusting your segment size.  See
Section [4.13] <#4.13>

*[4.13]* 	*How many lines per segment should I use when I post?*

Try setting your segment size to something between 460K and 300K
(between 7500 and 5000 lines uuencoded). The higher setting is usually
fine, but if downloaders are consistently complaining about your posts
being incomplete, reduce your segment sizes a bit more. These settings
are for uuencoding *only*, not for yEnc. Consult your documentation for
segment size setting with yEnc posting clients. *Don't* use a setting
below 300K. It will create far too many headers which puts a strain on
news servers. If your ISP kills binaries larger than 300K, it means they
don't want large binaries on their server, so you should subscribe to a
pay news service <faq9.html#9.7>. You should not put a strain on all
other servers by trying to propagate a binary that your ISP is trying to

Instructions on setting segment size in Agent are found here
<tips/agenttips.html#seg> now.

If you're using Outlook Express, see the Outlook Express Sub-FAQ
<tips/oe5subfaq.html> for instructions.

*[4.14]* 	*How do I post multiple MP3s at once?*

By making multiple posts.  Do **not** attach multiple files to **one**
single post.  If you post like this, you can easily end up with a single
post that has over 100 parts, and it makes it difficult for anybody to
retrieve a single MP3 from your post without downloading the *ENTIRE*
post.  A post that won't be downloaded is a waste of server space.

*[4.15]* 	*I noticed that people are following up my MP3 posts with
questions/salutations/requests/etc. in the binary group.  Are the binary
groups only for binaries?*

One thing that you can do is to set your "*follow-up*" header to point
back to alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.d  A lot of the time, the people are
merely trying to "*Follow-up Usenet Message*" and ending up with a
non-binary post in the binary group.  If you change your follow-up
header to the discussion group*, the discussion is easily re-routed to a
text forum. You should be aware, however, that some inexperienced
posters don't know about follow-ups being redirected to another group,
so they may have no idea where their post went.

* With Agent, this is accomplished by going to *Group | Properties |
Post* and typing alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.d into the "*Followup-To:*" field.

You can also make a note in your zero-file (0/x) to post any questions
in the discussion group with a subject header including: "*ATTN:<Your

*[4.16]* 	*Should I answer the questions posted to me in the binary

That is something that you must decide for yourself.  But, if you're
interested in keeping the binary groups clean and manageable, you might
avoid posting non-binaries there yourself.

If you encourage posting discussions in the discussion group, and
discourage discussions in the binary group, you're helping to keep these
groups clean and organized. On the other hand, some people never go to
the .d group or .request group ever, so you will not reach them if you
post only in the text groups.

*[4.17]* 	*I'm trying to post, but my server keeps timing out or I get
disconnected in the middle of my post.  Is there any way to resume my
post in the middle or do I have to start over?*

There are some software packages that will allow you to resume your post
if you use a PC compatible.  Microsoft's Outlook Express will do this. 
And for those who use a newsreader that doesn't let you resume a binary
post, there are two programs that will be of great help.  One is
*Power-Post 2000 *by Chris Morse, a program that has become the defacto
standard for Windows.  

*[4.18]* 	*Darn it, I had to restart my MP3 upload 5 times last night
and now there are all kinds of little pieces cluttering up the
newsgroup.  Is there anything that I can do to clean it up?*

Yes. Cancel your unfinished posts.  Most newsreaders will allow you to
easily cancel your own posts.  Read the help file. The unusable pieces
of your post do nothing but consume space on the news server and you
should cancel them.  For more on canceling posts see Section [4.19]
<#4.19> [4.20] <#4.20> and [4.21] <#4.21>.

*[4.19]* 	*Whoops! I posted an MP3 to the discussion/requests
group.  What should I do?*

Just post a brief apology to the discussion group and cancel the post. 
Most newsreaders will allow you to easily cancel your own posts.  Read
the help file.  Clean up your mess and free up the server space.  Most
news servers allocate different amounts of space for the binary groups
than they do for the non-binary groups, so stop hogging all of the
non-binary space with your misplaced binary.

Don't forget that most MP3s will be broken into multiple parts by your
newsreader.  This means that there is not just **one** post to cancel,
but **many**.  Although your binary may appear to be one file, you may
need to split it into all of its separate parts to cancel it all. It is
a rare newsreader that will require you to do this.

If you are using Forte's Agent or Free Agent newsreaders, you should
read the detailed instructions in the Tips section on canceling

If you're using Outlook Express, check out the Outlook Express Sub-FAQ

For other newsreaders, check out the Cancel FAQ at

*[4.20]* 	*I *can't* cancel my misplaced/incomplete posts because my
news server doesn't accept cancel messages.*

You can (and should) still cancel your posts.  It doesn't matter whether
your server will cancel the messages or not.  Even if the messages
aren't cancelled on your server, you can cancel them on other servers by
issuing your cancel.  Not all servers honor cancels, but all accept and
propagate cancels.  For more information on how to cancel see Section
[4.19] <#4.19>.

*[4.21]* 	*I didn't realize that my posts had screwed up while I was
asleep.  Is it too late for me to cancel them?*

No.  It's never too late.  Anything you can do to clean up your mess is
appreciated.  Better late than never.  For more information on how to
cancel see Section [4.19] <#4.19>

*[4.22]* 	*Somebody posted the same file that I posted; should I
their post?*

You should *NEVER* cancel someone else's post.  It is a severe breech of
netiquette and could result in your ISP canceling your service.  *NEVER

*[4.23]* 	*I'm posting my MP3s.  Should I make an announcement to
a.b.s.m.d? *

Maybe.  If you are filling a request, you should alert the person who
requested it by posting a follow-up to the request stating that you are
going to upload the requested file (see Section [4.11] <#4.11>), but
*this should be done in the requests group*. 

If you are planning on doing a post that you *know* will be of interest
to a certain number of people who follow a.b.s.m.d, you might want to
make an announcement before you post.  This will give people a chance to
prepare for downloading multiple songs.

*[4.24]* 	*Is there a daily posting guideline for absm.*?* 	
* * 	There used to be. There is no longer a consensus on how much a
contributor should post in the hierarchy.

While some claimed consensus in the earlier days of the hierarchy for
what was considered a reasonable cap, other posters do not see the point
of limiting the amount posted to absm.*. Some posters voluntarily limit
their posting to the equivalent of one commercial audio CD per day. They
believe this can make a difference in retention.

You need to make up your own mind. Look around. Look at who is doing the
best job of posting and emulate their style. Learn from them.

A discussion of the former posting limit can be found here. <faq4_24d.html>

*[4.25]* 	*I heard that I'm only allowed to post MP3s if they've been
requested; is that true?*

No, that's not true.  One of the great things about the MP3 group is
that people are exposed to, or reminded of, songs that they would never
request.  There are certain people who focus on only posting MP3s if
they have been requested, but they are in the minority.

If you want to share your MP3s, you should.  If you take a look at the
requests group, you might see that somebody has requested one of the
mp3s that you were thinking about posting.  Or maybe you have a song
that is of the same genre as a requested song, or a little known song by
a member of a popular band.  By posting a '*heads up*' to the requestor
maybe you can turn somebody onto a song that they never knew that they

*[4.26]* 	*I see an MP3 request that I can fill.  What should I do?*

*The first thing that you should do is to see if the request has already
been filled*.  Multiple simultaneous postings of the same MP3 are a
waste and happen far too frequently.

*The second thing that you should do is to alert the requestor and the
rest of the group that you're going to fill the request. * This not only
lets the requestor know to be on the lookout, but it also will help
prevent multiple posts of the same song.  See Section [4.11] <#4.11> for
more about this.

Then you post it to the binary group and the appropriate decade group.

*[4.27]* 	*I just posted a bunch of MP3s but some were incomplete on a
couple of news servers. Should I just keep re-posting until everybody
gets them?*

No.  Wait several hours.  Even a day.  It takes a while for all parts of
a post to propagate sometimes. Then, if your post is still incomplete,
repost the missing segments only. A good posting program will allow you
to do that.

You will want to check the groups you posted to during the week
following your post.  It is possible that people will be looking for
reposts or segment reposts.

*[4.28]* 	*But people keep requesting the same songs.  What do I tell

Reply to their requests with a message that tells them when you plan on
reposting it, that's part of what the* * .requests group is for.  Since
the expire times in the non-binary groups are sometimes longer than in
the binary groups, your reply will alert any other people who might come
looking for those songs in the following days.  This will help prevent
the constant reposting of the current pop hit.

*[4.29]* 	*I can never get the songs that I want.  Either they scroll
off of my news server, or I have to wait for a repost, or they never
show up at all.  What can I do?*

Usenet was never intended to carry large numbers of binary files, and
there are always difficulties.  If completeness or retention is your
main problem, you might want to invest in a stand-alone pay news server.
 More information can be found in Section [9.7] <faq9.html#9.7>.  

Or you can try making other arrangements for your MP3s.  Make friends in
the group.  Arrange for your songs via *e-mail*, *ftp*, *ICQ *or* P2P
(Peer to Peer)*.  

*[4.30]* 	*Is there a standard format for encoding binaries for
to Usenet?*

There are a number of different ways to encode binaries for Usenet. 
*The standard is uuencoded (UUE).*  Every newsreader available can
decode a UUE encoded post, whereas others are not as widespread.  UUE is
a Usenet standard and will make your posts available to the largest
number of people.  yEnc is another very popular format that has its
supporters and detractors, but you will find yEnc everywhere.

*[4.31]* 	*I've got some album cover scans for the MP3s that I just
uploaded.  Can I post them in the MP3 binary group?*

Sure.  Even though they are not MP3 files it is acceptable to post *
accompanying* album scans along with the songs.  You may also want to
crosspost them to If you are posting
scans only, not accompanying an MP3 posting, that is the only place you
should post them.

*[4.32]* 	*Should I zip (arj, rar, jar, gzip etc) my files before

In general, no.  Compression is pretty useless for MP3s because they're
already compressed.  There are occasions, due to posting difficulties,
when people will break their MP3s into distinct sections using one of
these formats.  But for the most part you'll just post them as MP3s.  

An exception to the recommendation not to zip MP3s is for those rare
musical works that have extended periods of silence in them. Such MP3s
will benefit from being zipped, and will actually propagate better. If
you suspect your MP3 will benefit in this way, zip it and compare sizes.
If it is significantly smaller zipped, post it that way and explain your
reasoning in your 0/x file.

Also, keep in mind that people use many different operating systems so
if you **do** decide to break up your post using something *OTHER* than
a newsreader, you should make sure that both Mac and Windows users can
reassemble your post.  You should also include information in the 0/x
file to help them if necessary.  And if you chose to use rar, be sure to
use "no compression" and *don't* make it a self-extracting archive.
That way the MP3s can still be 'sampled' by downloading a single part.

*[4.33]* 	*I've got a new shareware MP3 player/encoder/decoder, should
share it with the group?*

Yes and no.  Is it available on the WWW or ftp?  If so, post a message
in a.b.s.m.d that includes the WWW/ftp address.  If it is not available
via the WWW or ftp, and it is a sound utility, post it to the
appropriate group: alt.binaries.sounds.utilities and post an
announcement in the discussion group to let people know.

There is no group in the alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.* hierarchy that is
appropriate for the posting of MP3 players/encoders/decoders or
utilities.  Please only post to the appropriate groups.

*[4.34]* 	*What are the "test" groups and who should use them?*

You should use them if you're new to binary posting, are using a
newsreader that you are unfamiliar with or if you have changed your
settings.  The test groups (*alt.test* and *alt.binaries.test*) are
intended for posting tests without disrupting the normal activity in
other newsgroups.  They are there so you can work out the wrinkles of
posting **before** you do it in the MP3 groups or any other group.

The test groups are also a great place for you to test your canceling
methods.  After you do a test post, try canceling it; you never know
when you might want that knowledge at your fingertips.  Information
about canceling your posts can be found in Section [4.19] <#4.19>.

Everybody makes mistakes; wouldn't you rather make yours in a test group?
5. Downloading MP3s

*[5.0]* 	*Where are all the MP3s that people are talking about?*

It all depends on where you have been looking.  If you are currently
searching in alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.requests (the request group) or in
alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.d* *(the discussion group), you are simply
looking in the wrong newsgroups.  Refer to Sections [1] <faq1.html#1>
and [4] <faq4.html#4> of this *FAQ* for more information.

If you **are** looking in the correct groups, but you are confused
because you're seeing something like:

    begin 644 song.mp3

then you'll need to go back to Section [1.6] <faq1.html#1.6> and read
some of the FAQs linked there.

*[5.1]* 	*I know *where* to look for the MP3s, but I can't find any
complete MP3 files.*

Well, if you are using your newsreader correctly, the problem is
probably your ISP or, more specifically, your news server.  If you
consistently see incomplete files, your news server is probably not
receiving all of the parts that are necessary to get a complete file.

The solution?  Either find a new ISP or look into an additional pay-news
server.  Information on ISPs can be found at

Information on news servers in particular can be found in
** and *alt.internet.newservers* or
at Yahoo's Usenet server page

Some popular pay-newsservers are *Altopia, Giganews, Newscene, Newsguy,
Easynews* and *Airnews*.  See Section [9.7] <faq9.html#9.7> of this FAQ
for more info.

*[5.2]* 	*Frequently I only see the last part of any post, like only
(12/12) and not any of the first 11 parts.  Why is that?*

This can happen if your news server, or another news server up the pipe
from yours, is filtering out based on segment-size.

The FAQ recommends that you set your segment size to something between
5000 and 7500 lines or about 1/3 Meg to 1/2 Meg (see Section [4.13]
<faq4.html#4.13>)  There are some ISPs that will filter out and not
accept any posts that are larger than that.  If you frequently see files
posted and the only part that is available is the last one (which is
inherently the smallest of the parts), it is possible that the other
parts are being filtered out.  You can either request that the poster
changes their segment size, or try and find a different news server that
doesn't have this particular problem.

*[5.3]* 	*I see an MP3 of a song I *think* I like, but I'm not sure.
there any way that I can sample the song without downloading the entire

Yes.  One way is to just download the first part of the file (which may
require that you split the file into its separate sections), decode it
using your newsreader or a third party decoder, and play it with your
MP3 player.  *Winamp* will give you an error, but play the file anyway.

Check the Tips section for detailed instructions on using Agent to
sample <tips/agenttips.html#sample> before downloading.

*[5.4]* 	*I'm using Outlook Express and it's not automatically
the MP3 files.  How do I get the files?*

First download all parts, they will be listed as (1/5), (2/5), (3/5),
etc.  Right click on the highlighted parts click "*Combine & Decode.*"
 Another window will pop up.  Use the up & down buttons to put all the
parts in their proper order.  Click OK.  When the file comes up - click
on "*file*" then click on Save Attachments.

More tips for using Outlook Express can be found in the Outlook Express
Sub-FAQ <tips/oe5subfaq.html>.

*[5.5]* 	*I'm using AOL and it's really difficult for me to get the
files. Everything in the binary groups is a mess and out of order.  Any

Apparently you can use AOL's "Filegrabber" to only display binary files
that are complete.  AOL's newsreader can then automatically download and
decode the file.  You can accomplish this by selecting the newsgroup
(e.g. a.b.s.m), clicking on Preferences, and checking the box that says
"Show only complete binary files which AOL can download and decode. Hide
text files."

There are times when AOL's software won't recognize that all of the
parts are there.  In these cases you may have to manually download each
separate part and combine/decode them yourself.

For more information on uploading/downloading newsgroup binaries on AOL,
check out the AOL Newsgroup FAQ at:

*[5.6]* 	*ARGH! I don't like downloading with AOL's news software;
I use Agent to get the files?*

Yes and no.  You can't use any external newsreader to access AOL's news
server.  On the other hand, you **can** subscribe to a stand-alone pay
news server and use Agent, or any other newsreader, through your AOL
internet connection.  See Sections [5.1] <faq5.html#5.1> and [9.7]
<faq9.html#9.7> for more information about pay news servers.

*[5.7]* 	*It drives me crazy when the saved file attachment isn't
the same as the subject title!  What to do?*

If you are using Free Agent or Agent you have a solution at hand.  Go to
Groups | Default Properties on the main menu.  Click on the Receive
Files tab and check the box that says "Use the message subject for name
of first attachment in message."  This will save you a lot of time
renaming later.

*[5.8]* 	*I can't use Agent at work.  How can I download binaries

You have to save each part (number them!) with a .uue extension. It is a
two-step process. After downloading, use Winzip to combine and convert
from multipart .uue format to .mp3.  Quite a pain, but it can be done.
6. Playing MP3s on your home CD player

*[6.0]* 	*I've got all these great MP3s and a CD-recorder; is there
way that I can play these songs on my home CD player?*

Yes and No.  You can't play MP3s (in that format) on a regular CD
player.  What you can do, however, is to change the MP3s back into .wav
files and burn them as an audio CD (redbook) format.  You, of course,
lose the size compression that you get with the MP3 format and will only
be able to burn 73 to 74 minutes of music.

*[6.1]* 	*So there's no way to just play my MP3s on a CD player, a
Walkman or anything like that?*

The technology is changing almost daily in this area. There are now MP3
Walkman-style players, built-in dashboard MP3 players for your car,
mini-players that have headphones and port in to your home and car
stereo AND your computer, and on and on. More info on current technology
is at

*[6.2]* 	*How do I make a normal music CD from these MP3 files?*

Some older burner software will want you to first decompress your MP3
files into .wav files before creating an audio CD with your burner. 
With newer software you can burn an audio CD without the intermediate
step of creating a .wav file.  Software packages that do direct MP3 to
CD-R are: Nero <>, Roxio Easy CD Creator
<>,  WinOnCD
<>,  and AudioCD MP3 Studio
<> (shareware). Some swear that using the
MAD plug-in or some high-quality decoder to convert first to .wav is the
best way to go. Try it yourself:

*[6.3]* 	*How do I decompress my MP3s into .wav files for burning a

A number of software packages will do this, and are often referred to as
"*decoders*".  A good free one can be found at  You can look for "players" or "all in one
packages" at  Click the links at the left
for your operating system or platform.  They also highlight only a few,
so click the "complete list of..." for a more detailed listing.  
(*NOTE*: Not all players will decode MP3s into .wav files; read the
individual descriptions for more details).

*[6.4]* 	*How do I use Winamp to make .wav files?*

For whatever reason the creators of Winamp change its decoding function
relatively frequently.  Therefore, the following information may not be
precisely accurate for the version of Winamp that you have, but it
should be similar.

Start Winamp and hit *Ctrl+P*.  This should open Win Amp's
"*Preferences*" window.  Now select the "*Audio I/O*" tab.  Go down to
the "*Output Plug-ins*" section and select "*Nullsoft Disk Writer Plug-In*"

Now when you "*Play*" your MP3 files, they will actually be converted to
.wav files. (*this information refers specifically to Winamp version 2.09*).

DON'T forget to put your settings *back to normal*.  You need to select
an output of *Nullsoft WaveOut Plug-In* to be able to hear MP3s in
Winamp again.

*NOTE:* If you use the EQ provided with Winamp, you might want to
disable the EQ **before** decoding the songs to .wav.  If you decode
with the EQ enabled, the resulting .wav is *NOT* a clean decode of the
MP3.  It is a decode that has been EQed by your EQ settings.  Perhaps
this is what sounds best to you on your computer speakers, but if you're
going to burn the resulting .wav to a CD for playing on a normal
CD-Player, you might be disappointed by the *'tweaked'* results.

*[6.5]* 	*Is WinAMP the only/best decoder?*

No and no.  WinAMP is very popular as a decoder because of its
popularity as a player, but the links in [6.3]
<> will take you to some other
decoders.  CoolPlayer <> is a popular
freeware option for decoding.

*[6.6]* 	*I've got my .wav files; how do I burn a CD?*

That question is beyond the scope and relevancy of this FAQ.  The first
thing that you should do is read the instructions or the help files for
your CD-R software.  You can also try the newsgroups:
comp.publish.cdrom.hardware, alt.comp.periphs.cdr or alt.cdrom.

There is also some information available on the WWW.  There is a good
*CD-R FAQ* at: and the comp.publish.cdrom
*FAQ* is available at:

*[6.7]* 	*I burned a CD and there are pops between each track; what

You should burn your music CDs disk-at-once, not track-at-once.  Most
popular CD-burning software offer this option.  Take a look under
preferences or options or consult the help file for your particular
software package.

*[6.8]* 	*I was trying to record a live music CD, but there are
between each track.  What can I do?*

You should burn your music CDs disk-at-once, not track-at-once.  Most
popular CD-burning software offer this option. Take a look under
preferences or options, or consult the help file for your particular
software package.  When you burn a music CD track-at-once, a 2-second
gap is inserted between each track.

Also, apparently when you take a .wav file --> mp3 --> .wav file, there
is a bit of silence inserted at the beginning of the final .wav that
wasn't present in the original .wav.  In order to make a truly seamless
series of songs, some manipulation of the .wav files is necessary.  Many
audio software packages, like CoolEdit and SoundForge, will allow you to
delete the silence.  

In addition, MP3Cutter is a Win9x/NT program that allows you to chop up
(and paste parts of) your MP3s without having to decode them to .wav.
 It is available at:

Some people just combine every track into one large .wav file before
burning it to their CD.  However, if you do this you will have to edit
your cuesheet to reflect a distinction between one song and the next.
Also check out MusicCutter:

*[6.9]* 	*What is the best software to use if I want to decode and/or
burn a CD?*

Best is subjective; take a look at the LINKS <faq9.html#9> and Utilities
<faq10.html> sections of this FAQ for sites that might help.

*[6.10]* 	*Don't CDs commonly hold more than 74 minutes of music
these days? Where can I get those?*

Just about anywhere. Also check out:

7. MP3s and the WWW

*[7.0]* 	*Where are the best places on the web to find MP3s?*

This FAQ really only covers the alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.* Usenet
hierarchy and not the entire Internet.  However, there are a number of
Web based search engines that can help you in your search for MP3s, and
you may even want to check them **before** you request a song.  Many
times when a new album or single comes out there is a flood of requests,
posts and reposts of the same song over and over.  Almost **always**
these songs are also available on ftp sites.

Be warned that searching for MP3s this way can also be very frustrating.
You can spend a lot of time and never end up with anything useful.

Some MP3 search engines are available at:
<> and  In addition, <> has a list of the *top 20 MP3
search engines*.

You can also use some of the standard search engines such as <>  or
<> to search for the MP3 you're looking for, or
even to search for other *MP3 Search Pages*.

There is also software like "*MP3 Fiend*" and "*Abe's MP3 Finder*" that
are available at <>, <>, and
<>, which will search the Internet for the MP3s you
are looking for.

Did we warn you that these searches can be frustrating? See also our
section on FTP sites: FTP <tips/ftp.html>.

*[7.1]* 	*I downloaded some MP3s from the web and they're all screwy.
What's up?*

You may need a program like Uncook, Phix or Detox to repair your files. 
They are available at:
(select the utilities for your OS).

*[7.2]* 	*I downloaded some cool songs from this web site that I
should I upload them?*

Has somebody requested those songs?  If so, you should post an
announcement in a.b.s.mp3.requests informing the requestor of the
location of the songs so they can download them where you did. No need
to upload and download then.

Sometimes the MP3 files that you find on the World Wide Web are not up
to the quality of those that are ripped and encoded by members of the
a.b.s.mp3 newsgroups.  If they are readily and freely available on the
Web, there isn't usually a reason to post them to Usenet.

*[7.3]* 	*I used to use this cool thing called Agent-MP3.  I cant
the place where I got it.  Where is it?*

Agent-MP3 is apparently gone. Agent-MP3 was merely another way to look
at your own newsgroups on your own ISP's server.  It could not do more
for you than you could do with any decent news reader. The link to the
site is dead:

*[7.4]* 	*What about Napster?*

Napster <> was a very popular new way to acquire
MP3s.  The demise of Napster has brought a lot of new blood to the MP3
hierarchy (with a lot of habits that do not necessarily work well on

Napster has often had MP3s of distinctly inferior quality.  Please
listen to all MP3s *before* uploading to this hierarchy.  

There is a very disturbing phenomenon since Napster and similar
file-sharing services have become very popular.  As MP3s are being
traded at an astounding rate, some files of very poor quality are being
shared by more and more people. Many bad MP3s with pops, clicks, blips,
jingles, gaps, blasts of noise, etc. are being posted to absm.*. No
matter where you get your MP3s, please listen to all files with a
critical ear before reposting to absm.*. If a file is audibly flawed
with objectionable artifacts, please do not post it. A high bitrate does
not automatically equate to high quality. 

If a track is rare, and a requester wants it anyway, be sure to be very
clear in your subject title, 0/x, and/or .nfo file that the file is
imperfect or encoded at a lower than usual bitrate so that subscribers
can choose whether or not they wish to download the file. Just stating
NMR (Not My Rip) is not sufficient warning. If you feel you must upload,
please do not upload without warning potential downloaders.

Lurk, leech, listen, and learn.  Figure out what this place is all about
before going wild.  It is a different community with different standards.
8. Hardware and Software Issues

*[8.0]* 	*What CD-ROM should I buy?*

That all depends on your system and/or your bank account, but for making
MP3s a CD-ROM that does DAE (digital audio extraction) is a must. Of
course, that is just about any CD-ROM you might buy these days.

The speed of DAE is not always related to the speed of your CD-ROM
(i.e., just because your 24x is faster than my 8x *DOESN'T* mean that
either one does DAE any faster than 1x)

So how do you find out how your new drive is going to do DAE?  Go to:

*NOTE:* That is a reader-supported WWW page so if you can send your info
to the author, it will make the page just that much better for the next
person who refers to it.

*[8.1]* 	*What CD-ripping / MP3 encoding / MP3 decoding software
I use?*

Go to a.b.s.m.d,, Utilities
<faq10.html>,, or
<> for some information on this. But keep in mind that
there is no 100% "*right answer*".  When looking for an encoder,
opinions of what's "best" vary person to person.  When looking for a
CD-Ripper you might have problems with a piece of software that somebody
else loves, all depending on your particular hardware setup.  Follow the
discussion group (alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.d) and you'll see what
particular products work best for most people, what the newest software
is and what products just plain stink.

For more information on encoders see Sections [3.10] <faq3.html#3.10>
and [3.11] <faq3.html#3.11> of this FAQ.

*[8.2]* 	*What .wav file software should I use?*

Two popular audio manipulation packages are *Cool Edit* and *Sound
Forge*.  Information on these programs can be found at: and
respectively.  These are just two out of *MANY* different software
packages but are the most commonly used.

*[8.3]* 	*Do I need a special soundcard to play MP3s?*

Most decent quality soundcards will play MP3s well.  Newer and nicer
boards can do more, however. Use your friendly search engine to look for
comparisons and reviews.

*[8.4]* 	*What is the best soundcard? *

That is far beyond the realm of this FAQ, but info can be found in the* hierarchy.

Also, has detailed technical
comparisons of some sound cards.

*[8.5]* 	*How do I do XXXX with this cool piece of software called

This FAQ covers the* *alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.* newsgroups.  It is not
intended to be a primer on every piece of software that you may use to
make, listen to, change, post or in any other way affect these files. 
The Internet is a vast resource, and many other very fine FAQs are
available for your perusal.  Use the search engines to your benefit.

*[8.6]* 	*Some of my MP3s play louder than others. Is there a way to
the volume levels so I don't have to change it for every song?*

What you are looking for is something to normalize your MP3 playback.
There is a WinAMP plugin called AudioStocker Pro that will do this for
you.  It is available from

*[8.7]* 	*What other cool software is there that will enhance my MP3

Well, beyond those listed prior to this, some useful utilities
<faq10.html> are:

    *Catalogers/Databases*: to keep track of your growing MP3 collection;

    *ID Taggers*: to automate or simplify setting your ID Tags;

    *File Renamers*: to simplify your personal renaming tasks;

    and even *MP3 alarm clocks*.

Many of these are available at or and can also be located on shareware
download sites such as <> and <>  You can also find these by
using standard WWW search engines such as
<> or <>

*[8.8]* 	*How can I convert from one bitrate to another?  Or from
Audio to MP3?  Or from/to another format?*

These are certainly Frequently Asked Questions:

One of the best all-around conversion utilities is dBpowerAMP Music
Convertor (dMC) found at .  Hard to beat,
and the price is impossible to beat.  It's free.  It does .wav, .mp3,
Windows Media, and Ogg Vorbis.

Some folks have a need to capture and encode Real Audio files to MP3. 
The best information on this process is found at:
9. Links

*[9.0]* 	*Other helpful FAQs*

The FAQ for the alt.binaries.multimedia.erotica newsgroups
<> - It contains a *wealth* of information about the
use of binary newsgroups in general. A MUST READ if you have questions
about downloading, anonymity, posting and netiquette. 

Other MP3 FAQs <> - This is a
very good page full of helpful links to other MP3 FAQs and MP3-related

Decoding Internet Attachments
<> - A detailed page
covering all types of binary attachments on the internet

Guide for Usenet binary attachments
<> - A good set of basics
for those who are new to Usenet binary groups.

The Compact Disc Recordable FAQ <> -
originally developed as a Usenet newsgroup FAQ

How to Work With the Usenet Community
<> - New user primer

What is Usenet? <> - New
user primer

Usenet: Reading and Writing the News
<> - good basics

The FAQ for the comp.publish.cdrom newsgroups
<">> -
current CD Recordable Usenet newsgroup FAQ

A Rant About Usenet <>
- What Usenet is really about. 

*[9.1]* 	*General Info and Software* <> - Lots of MP3 related software, information
and free .mp3 files from unknown bands.

Daily MP3 <> - Lots of MP3 related software and
also news about MP3s

*[9.2]* 	*Technical Info*

CD-ROM digital audio extraction information
<> - information, software, and survey

How MP3 Works: Inside the Codec
<> - excellent
chapter from a book by Scot Hacker

Technical MP3 info from the Fraunhofer Institute
<> - Very good and
clearly written

The Moving Picture Experts Group home page
<> - MPEG standards 1 through 7

MP3 File Structure <tips/mp3struct.htm> - From SoloH help file.

*[9.3]* 	*Musical Reference*

The All Music Guide <> - Great search tool for
songs/albums/artist names and info

The CD Database <> - A searchable
database of album information that can be used by some software to
automatically name your files. See also

The Ultimate Band List <> - A searchable database of
bands and artists and their Official web sites <> - A database of song lyrics

Joe's Lyrics <> - Excellent
links to other lyric pages

The Archive of Misheard Lyrics <> - Fun stuff :)

*[9.4]* 	*Newsreader Software Info*

Agent and Free Agent newsreaders <> - Forte, Inc.

Installing and using Free Agent
<> - good guide

Power-Post 2000 <> -  another excellent posting
utility that allows you to repost individual segments.

*[9.5]* 	*MP3 Software for non-Windows Machines*

The PowerMac Sub-FAQ <tips/pmacsubfaq.html> - the definitive word on the

Pure Mac MP3 Utilities Archive <> - lots
of links

The Mac Orchard <> - Macintosh Internet
applications (including newsreaders)

Mac MPEG Audio News <> -  now includes Version
1.8 of the Encoder Quality Comparison 

MP3 software for Macintosh users
<> - Link to the
Mac section of

MP3 software for Unix/Linux
<> - Link to the
Unix/Linux section of - Pan newsreader for Unix/Linux - Newspost Usenet binary autoposter for
<> - Gnewspost an open
source Gnome front-end to Newspost - Knewspost - KDE front end for

DOS-based MP3 Players - DOSAmp
<> and MPXPlay

*[9.6]* 	*MP3 Search Engines and Utilities*

Lists the top 20 MP3 search engines <> - MP3NOW.COM

Fast MP3 Search <> - Lycos Search Engine

Oth Net MP3 search engine <> - Another popular search engine

Shareware MP3 software including Search programs -
<>, <>, and <>

DAILYMP3.COM <> - Good General MP3 Info,
Software and Utilities (also they have a mirror site <>)

FTP <tips/ftp.html> - A Brief Tutorial for those who desperately want to
try FTP.

*[9.7]* 	*Stand Alone News Servers*

Airnews <> - (

Altopia <> - (

Easynews <> - (

Giganews <> - (

Newscene <> - (

Newsfeeds <> -

Newsguy <> - (

Usenet Server <> - (

Check the links below for much more comprehensive pages on finding a
premium provider:

*[9.8]* 	*Specific Software Sub-FAQs*

Tips for using Outlook Express 5.0 in the absm.* hierarchy
<tips/oe5subfaq.html> - Tips Section

The Power Mac Sub-FAQ <tips/pmacsubfaq.html> - Tips Section
*[9.9]* 	*Other Links from the FAQ
(See also the Utilities <faq10.html> section)*

Digital Domain: CD Mastering
- Info on normalization (Section [3.7] <faq3.html#3.7>)  

PCAVTech Benchmark Page
<> - Compares some
encoders (Section [3.10] <faq3.html#3.10>) 

MP3Trim <> - An MP3 file trimmer
(Section [3.18] <faq3.html#3.18> [3.25] <faq3.html#3.25>)

Sound Forge <> - Popular wav editing software
(Section [3.24] <faq3.html#3.24> [8.2] <faq8.html#8.2>)

DartPro <> - Popular wav editing software
(Section [3.24] <faq3.html#3.24>)

CoolEdit <> - Popular wav editing software
(Section [3.24] <faq3.html#3.24> [8.2] <faq8.html#8.2>)

LP to CDR <> - Tips for transferring
your LPs to your computer (Section [3.24] <faq3.html#3.24>) 

File renamers <> - (Section [3.27]

MP3ext <> - an ID3 tagger (Section [3.28]

The History and Future of the ID3 Tag <> - (Section
[3.28] <faq3.html#3.28>)

The ISP Buyer's Guide <> - Information on
ISPs (Section [5.1] <faq5.html#5.1>)

Yahoo's List of News Servers
- (Section [5.1] <faq5.html#5.1>) - 

AOL Binary FAQ <> -
(Section [5.5] <faq5.html#5.5>)

NAD MP3 Player v093 <downloads/downloads.htm> NAD MP3 Player v093 -
(Section [6.5] <faq6.html#6.5>) 

MP3Cutter <> - cuts or chops MP3s up into
chunks or parts without first converting to .wav.

CD Media World <> - Information on 80-minute
cds (Section [6.10] <faq6.html#6.10>) 

Soundcard Performance Benchmarks <> -
compares soundcards. (Section [8.4] <faq8.html#8.4>)

AudioStocker Pro <> -
WinAMP plugin to normalize MP3 playback (Section [8.6])
*10.* 	*Utilities <faq10.html>*
* Search <search.html>*
* Tips, Opinions & Reviews <tips/>*
* FAQ Lite <faqlite.html>*
* Site Map <sitemap.html>*




These Utilities and Links have been suggested by users of the
alt.binaries.sounds.mp3 groups for inclusion here. They are here in
alphabetic order and not by any sort of rating system. We have tried to
simply describe and not express opinion. Many of the descriptions are
simply excerpted from the software's own websites.

*1by1* /[MP3 Player]/ 1by1 is a small, fast and handy player which also
provides powerful tools to handle your files and listen to your tracks.

*Acid Pro* /[Music Creation]/ ACID® Pro software is the ideal loop-based
music composition and production tool for original music creation.

*Agent* /[Newsreader : Binary Downloader]/ Agent 2.0 is a top-rated
Usenet newsreader. Agent is also an excellent POP email client. Around
since 1994 Agent may be the oldest existing usenet client, although
frequent upgrades keep it up to date. Available in FreeAgent (which is
less functional) and paid editions.

*AlbumGrabber* /[Image tool]/ Album Grabber is basically a bot that
grabs album covers off of and Google images.

*All2Lame* /[Encoder front end]/ All2Lame is a free Windows front-end
for the LAME MP3 encoder. It's very easy to use.

*All Music Guide* /[Website]/ Source for CD info, track lists, band and
musician bios, and generally all else pertaining to recorded music. Huge
database, but lots of graphic content and java scripts can make it slow
to access with a slow connection.

*Apollo Player* /[MP3 Player]/ Apollo is a music player GUI front-end
for Linux. It aims to make it easy to choose and play music, currently
MP3s, using a clean and functional interface. No skins.

*Audacity* /[Wave Editor]/ Audacity is free, open source software for
recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft
Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.

*Audiograbber* /[Ripper/Encoder]/ Audiograbber is software that grabs
digital audio from cd's. It copies the audio digitally-not through the
soundcard-which enables you to make perfect copies of the originals. It
can perform a test to see that the copies are perfect. Audiograbber can
also automatically normalize the music, delete silence from the start
and/or end of tracks, and send them to a variety or external MP3
encoders). *FREE*
*Burnatonce* /[CD Mastering]/ Burnatonce can master data and audio
discs, read/write image files and copy on the fly. It's drag and drop
interface has multi-language support and is fully compatible with XP
themes. Multisession and bootable disc mastering is supported as well as
long filename support using Joliet, Long Joliet and Rockridge. Extra
long filename support is provided with the ISO9660:1999 and UDF file
systems. *FREE*

*Burrrn* /[CD Burner]/ Burrrn is a little tool for burrrning audio CDs
with CD-Text from various audio files. Supported formats are: wav, mp3,
mpc, ogg, aac, mp4, ape, flac, ofr, wv, tta, m3u, pls and fpl playlists
and cue sheets. You can also burn EAC's noncompliant image + cue sheets.
*FREE*(optional cardware)

*CDex* /[Ripper/Encoder]/ CDex is a tool to do all sorts of things audio
related. Mainly focused on ripping and converting. Built in support for
many encoders although most users of the a.b.s.m.* groups opt for Lame.

*CDRCue* /[Cuesheet creator]/ CD-R cuesheets are short text files
specifying the contents, order, and spacing of your CD-R disc, as you
wish to burn it. Almost all major CD-R burning applications support
cuesheets. *$19.95*

*CDR FAQ* /[Website]/ An excellent source. Useful stop for anybody new
to burning CDs of any kind.

*CDText* /[Website]/ Essentially CD Text is a extension of the existing
audio CD standard ("Red Book") that adds the ability to store text and
graphical information like album titles, artist names, and song titles
on a music CD. This website is full of information about

*CDWave* /[Wave editor]/ CDWave is a program designed to aid in
CD-Recordable mastering. It was built for splitting WAV files from any
source, like LP, tape or even CD. After recording, you can let CD Wave
automatically calculate split points, or you can manually add and delete
split points. *Uncrippled Shareware: $15.00* to

*CKRename* /[File Renamer]/ CDRename is a compact, powerful, highly
configurable file renaming utility that features a very intuitive user
interface. Odd URL though.

*Cool Beans (NFO)* /[NFO Creator]/ CoolBeans NFO Creator is a small
program that generates detailed .nfo text files based on nearly fifty
user-input fields. *FREE*

*CoolEditPro (now AdobeAudition)* /[Music editing]/ Adobe® Audition™ 1.5
software is a professional audio editing environment. Designed for
demanding audio and video professionals, Adobe Audition offers advanced
audio mixing, editing, and effects processing capabilities.

*CoolPlayer* /[MP3 Player]/ Small and fast freeware skinnable mpeg audio
player. Uses MAD decoder.*FREE*.
*dbPowerAmp* /[Ripper/encoder]/ dbPowerAmp calls itself the "Swiss
Knife" of audio. Basic (free) program will rip, convert, and do some
other things with audio. More features available for upgrade pricing.
Site also has a ton of codecs available for download. *FREE* (basic)
with Optional Power Packs $14 and UP

*EAC* /[Ripper/encoder]/ Exact Audio Copy is a program used to copy
audio data from an audio CD to a stereo WAV file. Uses DAE to get a
perfect digital copy and will do a check to verify that copy is perfect.
Will also write a log file that shows this for sharing. Will function as
a front end for either the Lame .dll or Lame .exe to make MP3s from the
wave files. *FREE*

*EAC Advice* /[Website]/ Website with much good advice about making high
quality MP3 files with EAC. Also has some downloadable presets for EAC
which eliminate the user having to set up the program for themselves.
Worth a look.

*EasyMP3* /[Ripper/encoder]/ Ripper/encoder. Website says it is
intuitive, powerful and fast with jitter correction and ID3

*EasyMP3 Recorder* /[Analogue Recorder]/ Easy MP3 Recorder 3.0 offers
professional recording features with mp3 support. Easy MP3 Recorder can
record almost all audio from your sound card at near-perfect quality.
And, It can also record directly to mp3 format if you choose, *$24.95*  URL

*EncSpot* /[MP3 Checker]/ EncSpot is an application which reports useful
facts about your mp3 collection. The most famous feature is its ability
to guess which encoder was used to encode each file. It will also give
you a general idea of the audio quality of the file. *FREE* <>

*Flexible Renamer* /[File renamer]/ A file/folder renaming utility,
which can use Wildcard or Regular-Expression and Tag-information (MP3,
EXIF). *Free*.

*Folder Playlist Builder* /[Playlist creator]/ Creates .m3u playlists
based on folder names. *Free)*.

*Foobar2000* /[MP3 Player]/ Foobar2000 is an advanced audio player for
the Windows platform. Some of the basic features include ReplayGain
support, low memory footprint and native support for several popular
audio formats. *FREE*

*GoldWave* /[Wave Editor]/ GoldWave is a top rated, professional digital
audio editor. It contains many great features, and is a favorite tool of
many vinyl rippers. *$45.00*  URL

*GrabIt* /[Binary Downloader]/ Multi-threaded Binary Downloader. Now has
search features and more.

*Gravity* /[Newsreader : Binary Downloader]/ Gravity is a very powerful
and configurable newsreader that was released by its former owner as
open source a few years ago. Since then some folks have made
improvements, particularly in the area of using it for viewing and
downloading binary posts. Lots of tutorials and helpful information on
this website. *FREE*

*Hydrogen Audio* /[Website]/ Forums, forums and more forums. Lots of
highly knowledgeable (and highly opinionated) discussion of all aspects
of digital audio. Lots of information about Lame, the various presets
and switches available to best use

*ID3-TagIT* /[ID3 Tagger]/ ID3-TagIT is a program for editing, adding,
or deleting ID3 tags in MP3 files. Single file and batch editing are
both supported. Able to read information from the directory structure
and put it into the tag, organize files into folders, handle several
comments and genres in the ID3V2 tag, get tag information from a FreeDB
Connection, has some analyse functions, libraries for your genres and
artist and some transfer and copy functions for the

*ISOBuster* /[Data recovery]/ IsoBuster is a highly specialized yet easy
to use CD and DVD data recovery tool. It supports all CD and DVD formats
and all common CD and DVD file-systems. Some features*FREE* Full
functionality *$25.95*

*Jet Audio* /[MP3 Player]/ Multimedia player. Audio/Video Playback.
Supports all major file formats. Internet broadcasting. Basic version

*LAME* /[MP3 Codec]/ Lame is pretty universally accepted as the best MP3
codec available. It is free and it has been extensively tuned and
re-tuned for quality over any other consideration. Some recent versions
have added more speed and user friendliness but Quality still remains
the most important factor with the volunteer development team. *FREE:*
Info page:
More info and download links:

*ListMaker* /[Organizer]/ ListMaker is an easy way to catalog and manage
all your files. Many features for MP3 files, including bitrate info,
song length and integration with Winamp. Keeps track of removable disks
like floppies, CDs and Zip disks. You can search for your files and
ListMaker will tell you which disk they are on and launch them from the
disc once you insert it. Will export a list of all your mp3 files in
.html format. *Uncrippled shareware.* Voluntary registration $10

*Lossless audio* /[Website]/ Some folks have decided that quality is
much more important to them than any file size savings or space savings
such as those realized by mp3 encoding. For these people, lossless
compression codecs are a very logical way to go. This page at is a good start for explanations and

*MAC (Mpeg Audio Collection)* /[Organizer]/ MAC is designed to organize
your audio file collection. It is fast and easy to use, scans selected
drives for supported audio files and lists them in an Explorer-style
tree-view interface. You can retrieve all information about your audio
collection and you can play files as well.*FREE*. <>

*MAD front end* /[MP3 Decoder]/ Graphical front-end for the MAD decoder.
Decode your MP3 to high quality wav

*MP3DirectCut* /[MP3 Editor]/ mp3DirectCut is a small tool for editing
mpeg audio directly. You can remove parts, change the volume, split
files or copy regions to new files. All without the need to decompress
your mp3 into pcm/wav. This saves work, encoding time and disk space.
And there is no quality loss through any re-compressions.

*MP3Ext* /[Organizer : ID3 Editor]/ MP3Ext is an extension for the
Windows Explorer. It enhances it, so you can get information in many
ways, perhaps the most interesting is that it installs a different icon
for varying bitrates of MP3 so you can see at a glance what bitrate your
files are. Also displays tool-tips and a property page which allows you
to edit one or a whole playlist full of ID3

*MP3Gain* /[MP3 Editor : Normalizer]/ MP3Gain analyzes and losslessly
adjusts mp3 files to a specified target volume. It does not simply do
peak amplitude normalization. Instead, it performs statistical analysis
to determine how loud the file actually sounds to the human ear. Uses
Replay Gain specification so all changes are completely reversible.

*MP3TagStudio* /[ID3 tagger, organizer, MP3Editor]/ Powerful tagging and
renaming program. Also trims, organizes, creates playlists, repairs
headers and more. *Uncrippled shareware*

*MPTrim* /[MP3 editor]/ Used to by called MP3Trim. Small utility that
trims silence from the beginning or end, does fade in and fade out and
adjusts volume of mp3 all without decoding/re-encoding.

*MusicCutter* /[MP3 Editor]/ MusiCutter is mp3 and ogg vorbis
joiner/cutter that works without need to decode and re-encode. Cut
points can be imported from cue sheets, XMCD file or even plain text
files. Some posters use this utility to cut large seamless rips into
individual tracks, then post them with a cue sheet so they can be
reassembled by the downloader to produce seamless audio CDs from them.

*MusicMatch Jukebox* /[MP3 Player : Ripper/encoder : Burner : Organizer
: Tagger : Subscription Music Download service]/ "Full featured" audio
program. Plays, rips, organizes, tags, burns, looks up cover art, etc.
Some consider it indispensable, some consider it "bloatware". If you
choose to use it to make mp3s with you should know that it uses a Fhg
codec that is not quite as highly thought of as Lame. Use your ears and
some careful listening to your own rips to make your choice. *FREE
(basic)* Optional Premium Version available as well as subscription
based downloading service.

*Nero* /[CD Burner : Ripper/encoder : Organizer]/ Popular burning
software now claims to be "what you need to manage all your digital
media" *$69.99 plus* more for various

*Netjuke* /[Streaming media]/ Netjuke is an Open Source, cross-platform,
web-based streaming media jukebox powered by PHP 4, an increasing choice
of databases, and all the media that constitutes your digital music
collection. *Free*.

*NewsLeecher* /[Binary Downloader]/ Newsleecher is a Usenet downloading
(leeching) application. NewsLeecher can download from multiple usenet
servers at the same time, using up to 99 download threads per server,
and will download file parts spread over different servers. Maker claims
superior speed. *Various Pricing* Seems to be subscription based. from

*NewsReaders* /[Web site]/ Links to many newsreaders. Some comments,
some other links, but mostly links to

*NewsRover* /[Newsreader : Binary downloader]/ Powerful
newsreader/downloader program. Frequently updated to keep up with new
developments. Currently supports yEnc, .nzb files, .rar combine/decode
all internally. Also has search function that will search for mp3 or any
other attachment across multiple news services even if you aren't
subscribed to them. You can also program it to check for files fitting
your criteria at intervals you specify and download them if they are on
your servers. *$29.95*.

*Newsgroup server comparison* /[Web page]/ Good comparison of usenet
service providers. Rated according to clearly defined criteria so you
can decide which one fits your needs.

*Newzbin* /[Website]/ Usenet Indexing and search service. Listings of
what is currently available on Usenet. The main (and still free) feature
of Newzbin is to provide you with detailed list of what is recently
posted to Usenet. *Web Site*: Paid premium account needed to access some
advanced search features.

*NFO Sighting* /[.nfo creator]/ Make those .NFO files quickly and easily
with this .NFO generator. NFO Sighting digs deep into your MP3 files to
gather as much information as possible.

** /[Web site]/ "Because newer is not always better."
Large (and growing) archive of older versions of many popular

*Oscars Renamer* /[file re-namer]/ Oscar's Renamer takes and enhances
the idea of editing files in directory in a full featured Text editor
and then writing all the changes at once into the files. Easily create
macros to do repetitive tasks.

*Post Assistant* /[.nfo creator]/ A small utility for all you posters
out there, that creates a SFV-file, an info file (including track list)
and a Winamp playlist file all in once. Works easily and quickly from a
right click in Explorer. *Free*.

*PowerGrab* /[Binary downloader]/ Binary grabber from the guy who made
PowerPost. Version 2.6-RC1 has enhanced header sorting routines that now
allows Power-Grab to handle very large groups, with millions of headers.

*PowerPost 2000* /[Binary poster]/ Binary poster for those who want to
post in UUEncode. The source code is the code on which a few other
posters which post with yEnc have been based. New versions have been
rumored but haven't happened just yet. *Free*.

*Quickpar* /[PAR2 Creator]/ Quickpar is a utility for creating Parity
Volumes using the Reed Solomon algorithm. For details of the algorithm
used, see the parchive website at
Parity Volumes may be used to verify that a set of files have not been
corrupted, or to reconstruct damaged files (providing that you have a
sufficient quantity of Parity Volumes to match the missing or damaged
QuickPar uses the PAR version 2.0 specification.

*Quintessential Player* /[MP3 Player : Organizer : Ripper/encoder]/ A
full-featured digital jukebox, with straightforward interfaces for
playing, recording, and organizing your digital music collection.
Version 4.5 adds video support, new plug-in types, new skinning
features, improved CD ripping and encoding, simultaneous audio playback
while ripping CDs, and an updated

*Radified Guide* /[Website]/ Lots of information. Lots of links. Lots of
guides to ripping and encoding digital audio.**.
*RazorLame* /[encoder front end]/ Simple and easy to use GUI for Lame.
Does batch encoding, makes setting parameters a snap even for the novice
but allows the experienced user complete control.

*ShufflePlay2* /[MP3 organizer]/ ShufflePlay is an MP3 file manager,
playlist manager, player-front end, and database utility integrated into
one fully featured package. One caveat, it has no ID3V2 support.*$10

** /[website]/ Thorough and detailed guide to using binary
groups. Not completely specific to the mp3 groups but still has lots of
good information and is presented very clearly with lots of screen-shots
and links to other information. **.

*Sound Forge* /[Music creation : editing]/ Sound Forge® software is the
tool of choice for media professionals who want to create and edit
digital audio files with absolute speed and precision.
< >

*TAG&Rename* /[ID3 Tagger/renamer : Organizer]/ Tag&Rename is a very
popular tagging utility. (quote website) "Tag&Rename supports many files
and tags standards in an easy and intuitive way, so you can work with
music metadata and not have to think about files codecs and tags
versions - Tag&Rename does it all." Trial version of Tag&Rename has
limitations: nag-screen and 30 days trial period.

*TagScanner* /[Organizer : Tagger : Renamer]/ TagScanner is a
multifunction program to organize large music collections. It can edit
tags of several progressive audio formats, rename files based on the tag
information, generate tag information from filenames. Also you may get
album info via internet music database Supports ID3v1,
ID3v2, Vorbis comments and APEv2 tags. Worksheets technology. Powerful
TAG editor with batch functions and special features. Playlist maker
with ability to export playlists to HTML or Excel. Built-in

*The Gimp* /[Image editing]/ The GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation
Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as
photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on
many operating systems, in many languages. Used by some to create CD or
CDR covers. *Free*.

*UltraTagger* /[ID3Tagger/renamer : Organizer]/ Full featured ID3
tagging shareware utility. Does freedb lookups for albums, rewrites tags
from file info, renames files from tags, and many more features.

*VBRFix* /[MP3 editor]/ Reconstructs Mp3 files removing unwanted data
Recreates VBR Tag with seek information if it's VBR Can remove ID3v1,
ID3v2, FHG, VBRI tags *Free*.  URL

*Vinyl to MP3 help* /[Web site]/ Web site with much helpful information
for those wanting to turn a vinyl album or whole collection into MP3

*Vinyl to MP3 help (more)* /[Web site]/ Another web site with much
helpful information for those wanting to turn a vinyl album or whole
collection into MP3 **.
*Wikipedia MP3 Page* /[Web site]/ Wikipedia MP3 page…informative lots of

*Winamp* /[MP3 Player : Ripper/encoder : Organizer]/ Long a favorite mp3
player for Windows, Winamp lost some fans when its parent company was
bought by AOL. Lost some more when it added full list of features moving
away from its original concept of a small footprint audio player. Still
available free. New full versions play audio and video, have a music
library, visualizations. Pro versions also rip audio, and burn CDs.
Basic versions *FREE* Pro version *$14.95*

*Winface* /[image creator]/ Program to make XFace icons for use with
some newsreaders. *Free*.

*XNews* /[Newsreader : Binary downloader]/ Free and powerful binary
downloader and newsreader. Has a very loyal group of users. Interface is
a bit different from other readers but those who take the time to get to
know it seem to really like it. Regularly

*yEncPowerPostA&A* /[Binary Poster]/ PowerPost-A&A is a custom version
of Power Post 2000 with many additional features. Features: yEnc
posting, .nzb support, par2 creation, .sfv creation, .md5 creation,
multi-threaded posting. *FREE*.

*ZINA* /[MP3 player : streamer]/ Zina (Zina Is Not Andromeda) is a
graphical interface to your MP3 collection, a personal jukebox, an MP3
streamer. It can run on its own, embedded into an existing website, or
as a Postnuke/PHPNuke/Xoops/Mambo module. It is similar to Andromeda,
but released under the GNU


These are all programs that are currently being used by contributors to
or downloaders in the a.b.s.m.* groups. There are other programs
available that do the same or similar things...if you have a favorite
that you don't see here please let us know and we will try to include it.

Email here <> with any suggestions for
programs you think would be worth adding. Post suggestions to the
alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.d group also.

Neither the writer of this page nor any other users of the
alt.binaries.sounds.mp3 groups can take any responsibility for any
damage resulting from the use of these programs or links. They are being
used safely and productively by contributors here, use them wisely but
use them at your own risk.

Contact the folks who update the FAQ via

User Contributions:

Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 15, 2022 @ 4:04 am
I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I love seeing all the information here. Thank you!

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM