The APE format is a popular audio format which uses lossless compression and a very effective compression algorithm. Many prefer to use Monkey Audio's main competitor FLAC which offers more features and hardware support. Most modern media players do not support the APE format and a number of users look to convert into more freely available formats such as MP3 and FLAC.
Monkey's Audio does not discard data during the process of encoding the file. APE adopts file compression to reduce file transfer time, bandwidth and storage with no loss in quality with the ape file sounding exactly the same as the original digital recording (for example, CD). APE offers better compression rates than FLAC and has multithreading/multicore support in built.
MP3 is a digital music format which allows CD tracks to be reduced to around a tenth of their normal size without a significant loss of quality. MP3 gets rid of a lot of the information recorded in a song that our ears are not able to hear and then uses complex algorithms to reduce the file size. This then enables you to get hundreds of songs on to a CD and it also has opened up a new market over the internet - the download market as download times have been significantly reduced.
The MP3 format is a lossy format. That means that an MP3 file does not contain 100% of the original audio information. Instead, MP3 files use perceptual coding. In other words, that means it removes the information that your ear doesn't notice thereby making the file smaller. The reason lossy formats are used over RAW is that RAW audio files are too large to travel over the internet at any great speed. By using lossy formats it enables even dial up users to download mp3 files at a reasonable speed. RAW file formats generally require 176,000 bytes per second compared to a lossy format which requires 17,600. The difference is massive and so are the download times.