MP2 – Definition

MP2 is the file extension for the MPEG-1 Audio Stream, Layer II. This file type is not a common audio file format to those who are laymen of radio and television production industries. Similar to the format we’re more familiar with, for example, MP3 format, MP2 is also designed to reduce the file size while maintaining the same reproduction sound of the original. With soar of the technology, MP2 is mainly replaced by the ubiquitous MP3 format but it is still the dominant standard of the audio broadcasting.

Note: The MP2 audio file is different from MPEG-2 video file. An MPEG-2 video file typically uses MPG as its file extension.

Filename Extension: MP2

Category: Audio File

Popularity: Popular in the radio broadcast industry

Developer: Derived from the MUSICAM and defined by ISO/IEC

Facts about MP2

  • Previously, MP2 is incorrectly called Musicam or MUSICAM.
  • MP2 remains the standard format for radio and television broadcasting.
  • MP2 is the predecessor of the widely known MP3 format for audio compression.
  • MP2 is a potential competitor to Dolby Digital, the industry standard for DVD-Video.

Pros: Despite the fact that MP2 was replaced by the MP3 format, MP2 is still the predominant format used in broadcasting due to its higher error resilience and better sound quality than MP3 when the bitrate is 256kbps and above.

Cons: MP2 file format is commonly utilized within the television digital broadcasting and digital radio. As a result, it is lack of support by audio players.

Technical Details of MP2 format

In the late 1980s, the Moving Picture Experts Group (also known as MPEG, a group of ISO) began to make efforts to standardize the coding of audio and video files for digital radio and TV broadcasting. Based on the existing MUSICAM audio codec, the MPEG-1 audio standard was developed, which included three separate audio layers: MP1 (Layer I), MP2 (Layer II) and MP3 (Layer III). In the mid 1990s, the MP2 was developed and started to use for broadcasting audio. The development of the MP3 format is to further compress files but still remains a faithful reproduction of the original uncompressed audio files.

Technical Specifications:

  • Bitrates: 32, 48, 56, 64, 80, 96, 112, 128, 160, 192, 224, 256, 320 and 384 kbit/s
  • Sampling rates: 32, 44.1 and 48 kHz

Programs that can play MP2 files

Apple iTunes – iTunes is a multi-functional program developed by Apple Inc., which can be used to play, manage and download digital audio and video files (as well as media types available on the iTunes Store) on personal computers.

Apple QuickTime Player – QuickTime is a multimedia player developed by Apple Inc. for the playback of various formats of digital audio, video, images, etc. There are versions available for Windows XP and later, as well as Mac OS X Leopard and later operating systems.

Microsoft Windows Media Player – Microsoft developed its Windows Media Player to play audio, video and view images on Windows PC as well as other Windows-based portable devices. There is also an edition released for computers running Mac OS but the development is discontinued.

RealNetwork RealPlayer Cloud – RealPlayer Cloud is a great cross-platform tool that enables people to watch, share and move videos with maximized flexibility among different devices. Videos uploaded to the cloud are automatically adjusted for devices with different screen size.

VideoLAN VLC Media Player – VLC is a full-featured multimedia player running on a broad range of operating systems including Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc. It supports playback of audio and video in any file format. It is also able to transcode media files and stream media over computer networks.

KMPlayer – Also known as K-Multimedia Player, KMPlayer is a player for Windows which can handle a large number of media file types. It was then acquired by Pandora TV, a Korean streaming video company in August 2007.

MPlayer – MPlayer is a free open-source media player available for cross platforms including Linux, Unix, Windows, Mac OS, etc. MPlayer supports to play a variety of formats including the physical media, container formats, video formats, audio formats, subtitle formats and images formats.

Complete-set of Solutions for MP2 file


Convert MP4 to MP2 – MP4 is an extremely popular video format that can be used on nearly all sorts of devices in the market today. The only drawback of this format is that files in MP4 format cannot be viewed on standard DVD players because DVD players can only read MP2 file format. If you wish to enjoy your MP4 movies in a DVD player, you’d better convert the MP4 files to MP2 before burning them to DVD.

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