Music Making on the Sony PSP! Seriously!

(updated: Feb 2009) 

On April 2007 I finally got a Sony Play Station Portable (PSP). What a great piece of hardware! Beside playing games, the console revealed an interesting potential for music making, but first of all you have to enable homebrew applications, which requires PSP firmware downgrade/modification. Using the so called custom-firmwares (i.e. hacked official Sony firmwares) opens to you  a lot of possibilities in "homebrew" applications. The most notable to me are: emulators (MAME, Sega Genesis, Game Boy etc.),  GPS  driving applications and, of course, audio/music applications. You'll soon discover how fun is to make music without staying in front of a computer monitor and interacting with a mouse and keyboard.. Much more fun by using the controls provided by the console. The only thing missing in the PSP is a touch screen, but for that you have Nintendo DS ;-)

PSPSEQ

A very interesting program is PSPSeq. As far as I know, it's the first experiment of real sound synthesis on the PlayStation Portable. The author, Ethan Bordeaux, is really nice in answering questions about it. PSPSEQ is a bit tricky to program but the results are quite interesting, fm-ish, 8bit-ish, ... well have a look at it! Unfortunately it's not open-source. Now (beginning 2009) it's in 3.1 release.  A nice review on CreatDIgitalMusic is hereafter: 

http://createdigitalmusic.com/2009/01/21/psp-music-making-love-pspseq-video-tutorials-little-piggy-tracker-in-progress/

Few .SEQ files by myself: AZL4FAZL2Drockon.seq.  Place them into the \seq directory of PSPSeq. NOTE: these files only work with PSPSEQ version 2.10-2.11. Unfortunately they do not work with the new PSPSEQ 3.1. You don't need to have a PSP system in order to run them. Ethan ported the program (release 2.10) also for Windows here. Have a look at the H-Seiken's http://runjump.iiichan.net/ webpage for music produced entirely on the PSP. That's astonishing


PSPRythm

Another great application for music making on PSP is PSPRythm. This application is sample-based but results are comparable with desktop sampling software. Version 8.0 is out since 2008. Closed-source application, here is the  forum. From  the PSPRythm Site:
PSPRythm organizes sounds into rhythmic and melodic patterns, and then organizes the patterns into complete, exportable songs. Up to 16 sounds can be simultaneously sequenced with a precise degree of control in up to 64 patterns. These patterns can then be arranged into a song which can consist of up to 999 song steps. The user can then export the completed song as CD quality PCM wave files. ...
RHYTHM uses four pattern mode views (PATTERN, TRACK, WAVE, & EFFECTS) and one song mode view (SONG) to display all song information. Each view has similar control and data input. Each view displays a specific type of information. PATTERN VIEW displays an overview of each pattern. TRACK VIEW displays sound specific pitch information. WAVE VIEW displays sound specific sample information. EFFECTS VIEW displays an overview of the effects applied to each sound
Definitely a must if you are used with sample-based music composition.

 

PSPKick
 
Originally conceived as a drum machine, with a great graphical user interface. Not maintained anymore. 

Traxpad
 
First commercial Music Game for the PSP.
 
Beaterator
 
Rockstar Games did this application for the PSP. Despite the vocation of being based on Timbaland samples you can load your own sample to make music. Editing capabilities seems quite good.
 
 
LittleGPTracker
 
A music tracker optimised to run on portable game consoles http://www.littlegptracker.com/lgpt_PSP.rar
 
 
 
My final dream would be to port the Pure Data audio engine on the PSP (no hopes to port the TCL-Tk graphical interface on it). I did few attempts, but much work has to be done....   

 



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