The Shareware Review People


Type of Program: MP3 Player
Supported Platforms: Win '95
Author's Name: Stefan Kraus & Ulrich Walther
Version: Beta
Installed Size: 850 KB


Before I review the program, here's a little newsflash: MPEG (a motion picture compression standard organization, in case you didn't know - compare ANSI, OSI, CCITT etc.) has got a new format which can compress CD-Audio (172kb/s!!!!) by 12.6 times, without any loss, and decode it in real-time, called MPEG Layer-3. (This was released some time ago.)

The knowledge that the compression is possible has been around for a long time - the first I knew of it was a couple of years back, with a now-primitive sound compressor SONARC, which could compress stuff this well. But at that time the computers weren't powerful enough for real-time decompression.

So anyway, that means something that would normally take around 40 MB (a normal 3-minute song) will take only around 3MB, while still maintaining perfect quality. All this has been present in all your MPEG cards and all that for your movies, but the sound compression itself is now picking up.

Now here comes museArc. It offers the standard features of a CD-Player, including a timebar, general information, and stuff like that, plus a playlist, which is always very helpful. However it doesn't look much like a CD-Player - for that go for WinPlay. One single reason why this is a sample-only format, is because even at this stage, real-time decompression is very costly; there's no way you're going to run this in the background while multitasking (though on a powerful Pentium we could probably manage this plus a couple small programs). A 486 will have limited functionality; a Pentium or higher is needed for optimum quality - but even on my Pentium 133 it takes up around 60% of my CPU processing power.

One more thing: this program supports long filenames all the way, and is probably the only program which does.WinPlay takes up less processor time.

Anyway, try it - you'll be impressed.

User Friendly
Ease of Installation
Reviewed by Betanik

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