REVIEW: "MP3: The Definitive Guide", Scot Hacker
- BKMP3TDG.RVW 20000630
"MP3: The Definitive Guide", Scot Hacker, 2000, 1-56592-661-7,
%A Scot Hacker
%C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
%I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
%O U$29.95/C$43.95 707-829-0515 fax: 707-829-0104 nuts@...
%P 400 p.
%T "MP3: The Definitive Guide"
The interest surrounding MP3 files, for the general public, centres on
the ability to obtain and exchange music over the Internet. Most of
the flock of recent MP3 books reflect this emphasis: Underhill and
Gertler's "The Complete Idiot's Guide to MP3" (cf. BKCIGMP3.RVW) is
subtitled "Music on the Internet." Hacker has chosen a different
approach, and, while discussing file transfers and legal issues,
concentrates on the production and management of a good quality sound
Chapter one introduces the basics, by starting off with a kind of
glossary of the terms and technologies used, and then giving a brief
overview of the legalities and politics of the recording industry.
Some details of the encoding process, and the MP3 data format, are
given in chapter two, although if you want to examine the format in
depth, or program it, you will definitely have to go to the references
pointed out in the text. Getting and playing MP3s is discussed in
chapter three. This is not as integrated as it might sound. The
chapter starts out with a great review of some of the major players
for Windows, Linux, Mac, and BeOS, including a number of helpful tips
for usage and operation. But then it gets into a rather generic
section on downloading files (including such mundane matters as file
management) and ends up with a look at speaker placement. The
coverage of MP3 options, in chapter four, is, again, rather
disjointed. First there is a section on equalization and sound
quality, then a large and helpful discourse on playlists, tags, skins,
and plug-ins, and finally some points on system performance. Chapter
five, on creating your own MP3 files, is a solid explanation covering
every facet of the operation, and handing out more than a few useful
tips. How to use MP3s with home stereos, portable players, car
players, and other hardware is dealt with in chapter six. Chapter
seven looks at a number of legal issues related to MP3s, encoding, and
distribution. Most of the legislation discussed is from the US, but
there is a solid awareness of international factors. Web serving,
Webcasting, and related matters get a thorough treatment in chapter
eight. Chapter nine reviews other audio file formats that may be able
to challenge MP3.
In general terms, the "definitive" appellation is deserved. This book
covers the field thoroughly and well, and addresses a number of areas
not commonly dealt with. As previously noted, the emphasis is not on
the interests of the average "track grabber," although certainly all
the basic information is here. Certain biases are apparent: although
Windows gets priority and the greatest amount of space, Linux comments
pop up frequently. Also, some sections will bemuse the reader who is
not a really serious audiophile. Still, if you want to know what is
what with MP3s, this is the resource to use.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2000 BKMP3TDG.RVW 20000630
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