This codec was developed by Sony for their portable audio players.
The main advantage of the ATRAC3 compression method is achieving twice the data compression rate of ATRAC while avoiding any sound quality loss. Files are ten times smaller than original audio CD tracks.
In order to convert tracks directly from an audio CD, you need the Sony ATRAC3 Audio Codec.
ATRAC is being constantly updated and improved since its release in 1992 and it makes it possible to reduce file size considerably while maintaining a high quality of sound.
The latest developments make it possible to reduce file size even to 1/20 of the original size; the ATRAC technology has now reached the ATRAC Advanced Lossless level.
Apart from portable players, ATRAC is also used for Internet music distribution, recording and simply listening to music on your PC.
Additionally, a study showed that ATRAC3plus at 64 kbit/s has a similar sound quality to that of an outdated MP3 encoder at 128 kbit/s. A comparison between ATRAC3plus and modern high quality MP3 has not been performed, though. The highest bit rate supported by the Atrac3+ Plugin is 132 kbps.
Using this plugin, also known as MaiAT3PlusDecoder by ryuukazenomai, you can enjoy the good sound quality provided with ATRAC3 encoding using your favorite media player.
ATRAC stands for Adaptive TRansform Acoustic Coding, a technology from Sony offering support for MiniDisc.