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I have the following devices:

  • Ubuntu machines
  • PSP
  • iPod with Rockbox installed
  • XBox 360

My music collection is mainly encoded in OGG apart from a few bought albums in MP3.

What is the most universal file format that is commonly supported across all these devices? Up until now I have only played my music on the Ubuntu machines and the iPod, but I'm beginning to use my PSP and the XBox from time to time, and they have a smaller range of supported codecs.

So, is MP3 the only way to go (I don't want to root/similar my PSP or XBox), or would another format fit the bill?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

MP3 is the safest bet. Lots of devices use AAC/M4A these days but it really depends on the device – nearly all the ones you mentioned would be able to play AAC for certain other than the Xbox:

You can play MP3 files from your iPod on any Xbox 360 console. To listen to music stored in the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) format, you need to download the free Optional Media Update from Xbox LIVE (see the steps below).

However, I would point out that transcoding your audio files causes some loss in quality, so ideally, you'd want to re-rip files from their source (e.g., a CD) if possible.

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Apart from a few protected iTunes tracks (which I've not been able to listen to for a long time!), all my stuff is ripped from CDs that I own, save for the few albums I have legitimately downloaded as MP3s. So, while it'll take a while, I will slowly but surely re-rip my library. I'm tempted to transcode everything as a placeholder while it's re-ripped. – Rich Apr 21 '11 at 11:43

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