Move over, Nintendo DS. You may win on quantity and you certainly have some interesting apps, but when it comes to hardcore, deep apps with rich sounds and capabilities, the PSP has turned into a mobile music creation powerhouse. And if you think mobile music production is a novelty or a toy or only for chipmusic fans, take a good long look at PSPSEQ and Little Piggy. These are serious, grown-up trackers that can put your current computer workstation to shame. (And yes, when it comes to accurate timing, I’m afraid that includes the app-of-the-week Ableton Live.)

Two big developments: a Little Piggy port (video above) and growing PSPSEQ documentation (video playlist below).

This Little Piggy Went to PSP

“Little Piggy”, aka LGPT, aka Little GP Tracker (which awesomely also stands for Laser Gated and Pumped Thyristor) is making its way to the PSP. Originally built for the Linux GamePark platform, creator nostromo got this LSDJ-inspired tracker working in basic form on PSP in just a weekend and an evening.

Grab the beta at:
http://www.littlegptracker.com/lgpt_PSP.rar

LGPT is inspired by LSDJ on the Game Boy, but brings some twists of its own – and is nice and easy to see on a bright PSP screen. Now, LSDJ still has its place, thanks to the unique sound of the chip on the vintage Game Boy and the absurd cheapness of those machines, but it’s still good news.

PSPSEQ Documentation

PSPSEQ is already mature, but it tends to baffle newcomers. And creator Ethan Bordeaux has enough DSP technique in his head that you really want to know every little detail of the software he created. He’s working on copious tutorials. They already cover basic workflow, though the real gems should be once he gets into synth editing – PSPSEQ’s synthesis capabilities can rival a lot of desktop soft synths, and you can get into tweaking sounds instantly – no messy, gimicky UI getting in your way.

I’ve got a playlist below. I’m also working on a more compact guide to getting you up and running quickly – once I digest all the work Ethan has already done.

Updated: Watch on your PSP. Ethan sends along a video with direct-downloadable tutorial videos that should play nicely on a PSP. (Ethan recommends the homebrew video player PSPlayer, or you can try a conversion utility like the free PSP Player. Of course, you can’t watch and use at the same time, so you may wind up loading these elsewhere.)

http://dspmusic.org/psp/pspseq301_videos/ [easy on that link - only download if you really need it; i.e., have a PSP and PSPSEQ running on it!]

Both apps are free, though you will need a hacked PSP as with any PSP homebrew. I’ll keep dreaming of officially-sanctioned online distribution, in the meantime.

Next stop: we need a hardware MIDI hack for the PSP.

  • http://dspmusic.org/psp ethan

    Thanks Peter! This is definitely an exciting time for making music on the PSP. I'm happy to get the lgpt crew working on this platform.

    FYI, the synth part of the tutorials starts at part 16, and I covered the BAM generator (my version of a 2 oscillator virtual analog synth) in parts 18-20. I'll be making a bunch more over the next couple weeks to cover the rest of the generators, FX, and perhaps a couple more to talk about composition techniques and other little tricks to making music with PSPSeq.

    Lastly, there's talk of a PSPSeq/lgpt compilation over at 8bitcollective:

    http://8bitcollective.com/forums/viewtopic.php?pi

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  • Heliocastro

    About Hardware MIDI, PSP have wi-fi capabilities, so why not MIDI over network ?

  • http://www.gorehole.org/nostromo/ M-.-n

    @helio: although wi-fi based is not totally exciting (since you need a computer near), it is one of the possibility. The best option in my option would be to port DSMidiWifi (that provides MIDI & Osc over wifi) to the PSP. That would releave from writing the server app and would provide some 'uniformity' bewteen DS & PSP app.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I agree, DSMidiWifi would be ideal for over-network MIDI to get everything working together. Wonder who would be up for such a port? :)

    That said, hardware MIDI would be really great to have with all that's happening in hardware.

    Someone has already hacked RS-232 serial:
    http://nil.rpc1.org/psp/remote.html

    Any thoughts on the ideal way to do this?

  • http://www.gorehole.org/nostromo/ M-.-n

    I guess it's doable… we just need a soldering tek on board and update midiwifi lib to accomodate both the wifi & serial, as they do on the DS.

    unification !

  • http://truechiptilldeath.com peter swimm

    m-.-n fixed my sample loading bug in record time.. awesome!

  • http://www.jonbro.tk JonBro

    yessss! thanks for covering this peter. these two apps are a killer combo, and the psp is one heck of a cool piece of consumer hardware.

    Put me down for fucking pumped about the possibility of dsmi getting a port to pspmi… would be hecka beautiful… or maybe an arduino wifi based sync box?!?

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  • http://TobW.net 0xtob

    M-.-n : I'd be happy to accept a port. Since the DSMI protocol is really just sending raw MIDI messages via UDP, it should be straightforward to port. Btw: Rumor has it that an iPhone port of DSMI might be coming as well :-)

  • Onyxmizer

    How much memory can the PSP handle (compared to how much you can load in nitrotracker on DS)?

  • http://www.gorehole.org/nostromo/ M-.-n

    @0xtob: I was pretty sure you'd be up for it tobias :)

    @Onyxmizer: supposedly fats are up to 32megs, slims 64megs. I never really hit the memory barrier to be honest

  • http://dspmusic.org/psp ethan

    @Onyxmizer: PSPSeq has room for 7 MBytes for samples, or at least that's the case on the first gen PSPs. That's about 80 seconds of 44.1kHz mono audio. I'm not sure if I have access to the other 32 MBytes if it's running on a slim.

    However, PSPSeq also has a ton of synth/fx options so you don't need to rely so much on sample mem. Most songs I've seen tend to only have a couple WAV tracks, at most.

  • http://megamillionslotterynumbers.net/ MegaMillionsLotteryN

    nice blog!

  • http://www.jonbro.tk JonBro

    n0s has been posting some lgpt tutorial videos over at vimeo: http://www.vimeo.com/discodirt/videos

    also worth noting is that lgpt clones the interface of lsdj, so wrapping yourself around that one first may be a good idea.

  • http://www.sellsignals.net/ Sell Signals

    Whoooaaaaaaaaaaa who programming this app…this is so crazy!!

  • http://www.jonbro.tk JonBro

    @Sell Signals: n0s or m-.-n

  • WhiteNoise

    A good one you missed is http://www.psprhythm.com/