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Short for either Coder/Decoder or Compressor/Decompressor; often refers to an optimization or sample conversion of audio information in order to compress audio file sizes while either maintaining, decreasing or increasing sample resolution and frequency. Software CODECs are utilized in the creation of all of the popular web formats today, such as .mp3, RealAudio, Windows Media, and Liquid Audio, to name a few. Also can refer to the hardware component of a sound card that converts analog to digital and vice versa (also commonly referred to as the ADC and DAC, or A/D and D/A Converter).

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