Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Basics

While you can cram a few MP3s on the 32MB Memory Stick Duo card that came with the PSP, you are going to need to invest in a larger Memory Stick to really get the most out of the PSP as an MP3 player. I recommend keeping an eye on Memory Stick pricing at DealNews ( or their sister site DealRam (, since they regularly have links to 1GB sticks for less than $100 USD.

Once you have the extra space, you need to know where to put your tunes. If you mount your PSP on your computer (attach the PSP via a USB cable, navigate to Settings USB Mode, then hit the X button) you can simply copy the songs from wherever they reside on your computer to the MUSIC folder inside the PSP folder at the root level of the Memory Stick.

If you have a PSP with Version 1.01.52 of the firmware, then your PSP will recognize any MP3s placed within this folder. If you have a PSP with Version 2.0 of the firmware, your PSP will recognize any MP3s, songs in Sony's ATRAC3plus file format (although these files need to be in /OMGAUDIO/), and even files you have encoded with Apple's AAC format (although DRM-protected tracks purchased from the iTunes Music Store will not play on your PSP, and you will need to change the file extension of the AAC files you have encoded to .MP4 for the PSP to recognize these files).

Are you looking for a quick way to convert your iTMS-purchased songs to DRM-free AAC tracks? Simply burn the tracks to audio CD and then rip them back to your computer, making sure that you have AAC selected under the encoding section of the Advanced menu in iTunes.

If you want, you can use this method to manually manage the songs on your PSP: mount your PSP, copy the songs over to the MUSIC folder inside the PSP folder, dismount your PSP and navigate to Music Memory Stick, hit the X button, then select the song you want to hear and again hit the X button. There are, fortunately, easier ways to do this, described next.

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