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In software, an "audio codec" is a computer program that compresses/decompresses digital audio data according to a given audio file format or streaming audio format. The object of the algorithm is to represent the high-fidelity audio signal with minimum number of bits while retaining the quality. This can effectively reduce the storage space and the bandwidth required for transmission of the stored audio file. Most codecs are implemented as libraries which interface to one or more multimedia players, such as QuickTime Player, XMMS, Winamp, VLC media player, MPlayer or Windows Media Player. (Excerpt from Wikipedia article: Audio codec)
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