For the impatient

If you are new to audio compression, you should read section 1.1 for an introduction about audio compression and MPEG Layer-3.

If, however, you want to jump right into the business of sound compression, then Section 1.2 will show you some prefabricated command lines that will give you compressed audio streams right away.

If you are an expert in audio coding already, the command line switch reference page might come in handy.