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MPEG Audio General information

MPEG-1 Audio (ISO/IEC 11172-3) provides

  • single-channel ('mono') and two-channel ('stereo' or 'dual mono') coding at 32, 44.1, and 48 kHz sampling rate. The predefined bit rates range from 32 to 448 kbit/s for Layer I, from 32 to 384 kbit/s for Layer II, and from 32 to 320 kbit/s for Layer III.

See also the MPEG-1 Overview.


MPEG-2 Audio (ISO/IEC 13818-3) provides

  • a backwards compatible multichannel extension to MPEG-1; up to 5 main channels plus a 'low frequent enhancement' (LFE) channel can be coded; the bit rate range is extended up to about 1 Mbit/s;
  • an extension of MPEG-1 towards lower sampling rates 16, 22.05, and 24 kHz for bitrates from 32 to 256 kbit/s (Layer I) and from 8 to 160 kbit/s (Layer II & Layer III).

See also the MPEG-2 Overview.


MPEG-2 AAC (ISO/IEC 13818-7) provides

  • a very high-quality audio coding standard for 1 to 48 channels at sampling rates of 8 to 96 kHz, with multichannel, multilingual, and multiprogram capabilities. AAC works at bit rates from 8 kbit/s for a monophonic speech signal up to in excess of 160 kbit/s/channel for very-high-quality coding that permits multiple encode/decode cycles. Three profiles of AAC provide varying levels of complexity and scalability.

MPEG-4 Audio (ISO/IEC 14496-3) provides

  • coding and composition of natural and synthetic audio objects at a very wide range of bit rates.

See also the MPEG-4 Overview (PDF).

The MPEG-4 Version 1 Final Draft International Standard was approved in October 1998 at the 45th MPEG meeting.

The MPEG-4 Version 1 Final Committee Draft approved in March 1998 was made publicly available: Audio Reference Software. The Committee Draft approved in October 1997 was also made available: Audio, Reference Software

The MPEG-4 Version 2 Final Draft International Standard (AMD1) was approved in December 1999 at the 50th MPEG meeting.

The MPEG-4 Version 2 Final Committee Draft (AMD1 FPDAM) approved in July 1999 was made publicly available: Audio. The Committee Draft approved in March 1999 was also made available: Audio


MPEG-7 (Multimedia Content Description Interface) will provide

  • techniques for the description of Audio-Visual Content.

The MPEG-7 Call for Proposals (CfP) was issued in November 1998 at the 45th MPEG meeting. MPEG-7 has reached Working Draft status in December 1999 at the 50th MPEG meeting. Further information is available from the following web pages:

See also the MPEG-7 Overview.

Frequently Asked Questions MPEG Audio Frequently Asked Questions

The updated MPEG Audio FAQ is available now!

Some selected questions:

MPEG Web Sites MPEG Web Sites on the Internet
Links MPEG Audio related links
Mirror Sites MPEG Audio Mirror Sites

Contact Address:

Please note that questions submitted to this address will be answered on a voluntary basis!

The MPEG Audio Subgroup
MPEG Audio Subgroup (Maui, Dec. 1999) Maui, Dec. 1999
Dublin, Jul. 1998

(MPEG Audio Web Page) (Tree) (NoUp)

Heiko Purnhagen 07-Nov-2001