Finding an MP3 player in 2022: PSP

It is no secret: I am a PlayStation fanboy. I am the proud owner of a PSP 2000, a modded PSP Street, and PS Vita 1000. They all have different purposes — primarily games, of course — and each are dragged along when I take long trips away from home.

My glorious PSP 2000.

This week, I’m house-sitting and only have my PSP and Vita with me. So when I came up with the amazing idea of using my PSP as a music player, I was regulated to using my PSP 2000. The Vita has limited storage capability (thanks for that, Sony) and my modded Street is currently on my desk at home — I hadn’t thought to bring it.

The PSP comes from that PlayStation era when Sony was keen on using their devices as all-inclusive media hubs. The PSP in particular was capable of viewing photos and comics, videos, music, and browsing the internet. But let’s circle back to that music-listening.

It is possible to listen to music on the PSP with the screen off. Success! I already have music on my PSP to play Beats — I immediately got to work dropping more music onto my PSP’s Memory Stick.

At its core, it is entirely possible to use the PSP as an MP3 player. But there’re a few… issues you need to be aware of.

Thus began the cascade of problems for me.

It’s not possible to create playlists on the PSP.

That’s not to say you can’t have playlists on the PSP. It’s just that you can’t create them on the device itself. It requires you to use a PS3 (which I don’t have with me) or proprietary Sony software.

Software that Sony no longer supports, or even offers. The PSP was first released in 2004 — it’s almost 20 years old.

Theoretically, someone somewhere has this software needed to create playlists, right?

Turns out there’s another option entirely.

If you don’t have the necessary software, you can manually create .m3u8 to make a playlist.

PSP playlists use the M3U8 file format, which is editable with Notepad. For some programmers, I’m sure looking at Extended M3U and determining what does what might be a breeze. For me, trying to understand this is a little harder:

Top: a completed, functioning playlist. Bottom: a playlist in progress.

Unless I wanted to spend my evening manually writing in all the tracks, I had to find another way of composing this code. And there is!

It turns out you can use VLC Media Player to create a playlist and save it as an M3U8 file!

So long as you’re using tracks from the PSP’s SD card directly, you shouldn’t have a problem with the file locations… but you will. See, VLC Media Player is using the computer‘s file system to create the paths for the playlist, which makes the file near-unuseable for the PSP’s software.

You’ll have to go into the .M3U8 in Notepad and manually change the file:/// locations to \MUSIC\. Oh, and don’t forget to replace the %20 with regular spaces, because turns out VLC doesn’t know what a spacebar is. Remember to use Cntl+F and replace!

My PSP 2000 unfortunately has crackle issues.

Pleased with my progress, and ready to go to bed fighting off my tinnitus, I plugged my earbuds into my PSP and settled in for sleep.

And then the crackles started.

I cannot pinpoint the source of the issue, but the PSP struggled to play music without some kind of earphone-crackling about once every 30 seconds. The only song that doesn’t suffer from frequent crackles was Ideal and the Real (Persona 5 Royal).

I love my PSP, but I also love my music uninterrupted. For now, I’ll have to go back to square one while I determine why it’s crackling.

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