Audio data compression explained

Electronic Musician takes a look at how audio data compression works in this comprehensive feature:

Audio- (as well as video-) data reduction, also known as data compression, is one of the most important media technologies to come along in recent years. Many capabilities that you take for granted — streaming audio, fast music downloads, and DVD surround sound, to name a few — simply would not exist without the ability to reduce audio data to a fraction of its size while retaining most of its fidelity.

But many people have only a vague idea of how those key technologies operate. Other articles in EM have covered the how-tos of compression in various formats. This one examines the principles that underlie audio-data compression in order to help you get the most from the technology. When you know what’s under the hood, you’re in a better position to understand when using audio-data reduction is appropriate, what the impact will be on fidelity, and how to select the right data-reduction scheme for the application.

Read the full feature on audio data compression here.