In This Chapter
Understanding audio file formats
Playing audio files with iTunes
Burning audio files to disc
Lugging around a case full of CDs (or even vinyl records or audio tapes) is cumbersome and bulky; which is why (since the advent of the original iPod) most people store music as digital audio files. Not only are digital audio files much easier to store and copy, storing individual songs as digital audio files means you need to carry only the songs you want to hear.
Besides storing music, audio files can also contain spoken-words content, such as speeches, interviews, magazine and newspaper articles, and radio shows. Many audio files that contain interviews or entire radio shows are called podcasts because they're commonly played on iPods.
Audio files offer tremendous advantages in storage and audio quality compared to previous forms of audio storage. However, dozens of different audio file compression types — the underlying conversion technology used to save audio as digital files — are out there. Therefore, to hear different audio files, you might need to use different programs. This would be like having to buy two separate radios where one radio receives only AM stations and the second radio receives only FM stations.
Different types of audio file compression formats exist because each file format offers certain advantages. The three most popular types of audio file compression schemes ...