Great news—the PSP plays ATRAC3plus files!
Yes, that is sarcasm. Digital music fans have actually been bitching for years about how Sony’s recent digital audio players sometimes supported only the company’s proprietary format (short for Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding, if you must know), especially since just about the only place you find it is at Sony’s online music store www.connect.com.
But now the great news, for real: The PSP also plays MP3 files, by far the most popular compression format in digital music (most songs you’ve downloaded or burned off CD are probably MP3s). Sony claims ATRAC music sounds better than
similarly sized MP3s, but public tests have been inconclusive. Honestly, unless you’re a real audio buff you probably won’t be able to tell the difference anyway.
Copying songs over to your PSP is as easy as doing it with any digital audio player: When you format your Memory Stick, the PSP creates a music folder automatically. Just dump your songs there and they’ll show up in your menu. Don’t toss your iPod just yet, though. The biggest Memory Stick currently available is 1 gig (which is enough space for about 240 songs, though a 2-gig stick was just announced), and the audio interface offers only simple options like random play and repeat; there’s no sorting by artist, album, etc. Of course, this could all change in a future downloadable PSP system update, which might just have something to do with why Apple dropped iPod prices in February....
Copyright © 2005 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Electronic Gaming Monthly.