September 14, 2009

Encode and sync music to your portable music player in linux

Filed under: E71,Gnome,Guides,Ubuntu — Bigbrovar @ 10:02 pm

Ok so today turned out to be a not so good day for me, and like all not so good days I try do something which would distract me, something i love doing. Hence this post. Nope I don’t want to talk about it.

So some months ago I got me an E71 Nokia phone, among other things I was hoping to use it as a music device so I slammed in an 8gb memory card, and was all set but for one factor: 60% of my music collection are in ogg format and nokia default music player does recognize ogg. Sure there are some 3rd party music apps for E71 which can play ogg files out of the box but they all lack the kind of integration which you get with the Nokia default music player. While in confused mode I decided to call up a friend nucco and he gave me the tip about .is_audio_player.

What is .is_audio_player

If like me, you have a music library made up of different music formats, and you want to be able to sync them to your portable music player in one music format say mp3. Example, my music collection is composed of different formats, .mp3, ogg, aac but I want to sync everyone of them as mp3 to my Nokia e71. This is where .is_audio_player comes in handy. Nope its not an application, nope its not a codec, its not a library either. Its just a file (yeah file) its a file you place in the root directory of the storage of your music device from where it does its magic.


First you open your favorite text editor (gedit, kate, emac, nano, vi whatever). Then you place in the following entries:





audio_folders = Here you indicate the relative path of the music folder on your portable device. On my Nokia its in Sound/Digital

folder_depth = Here you indicate the folder depth of the music folder (remember that every storage device attached to your Linux computer is mounted on /media/ hence you will start counting from the device mount point. In my case it was.


Since our final destination ™ is Digital (in my case that is) which is 3 step away from /media I indicated the value for folder_depth to be 3

out_formats = The last parameter is quite straight forward it’s asking what media format you want your files to be encoded in before sync. In my case i want them encoded to mp3 hence i added audio/mpeg

Now configure the file the way it meets your needs and then save as .is_audio_player remember the . (dot) in-front of is_audio_player. Once the file is saved, place it at the root of your music device (Nokia, Sony Erikson, China Mp3 device etc). In my case i placed it inside the memory card of my nokia phone (make sure you are using a mobile phone that can be seen as a mass storage device)

Note: Any file with a . (dot) in-front of its name is hidden by default in Linux hence you may not see the file after saving it until you tell your filemanager to view hidden files (ctrl +h) for (gnome) and (alt + .) for (kde)

Below is the .is_audio_player file inside the memory card of my nokia.

Once all is set, you can now plug your portable music player to your Linux computer and open Rhythmbox.

If all goes well Rhythmbox will detect your audio device. (in my case my nokia.)

All that is left is for you to select the tracks you want to sync. (you can always create a playlist) Drag and drop them into your portable music player’s icon. (You can also drag from your portable music player into your Music library.)

Transferring from your music library in rhythmbox to your portable music device might be slow, especially if it has to encode them to another music format before the transfer.

In the end I was able to encode all my ogg to mp3 files and sync them with my freedom hating E71 on the fly. I hope this helps someone out there.


  • I don’t know if this method would work with ipods.
  • Legends have it that Amarok supports .is_audio_player I can’t tell since I have not been able to get it to work in amarok 2.1. If you have been able to please let me know.
  • The Original ogg file on my music computer library is unaltered.

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  1. wow, that’s nice! thanks for information 🙂
    I have sony ericsson walkman-series phone and it recognize mp3 files only, so It’ll be very useful ^^

    Comment by nobu^ — September 15, 2009 @ 5:16 am | Reply

  2. this is a cool file. a keeper.

    Comment by billy — September 15, 2009 @ 6:44 am | Reply

  3. […] Encode and sync music to your portable music player in linux « bigbrovar a few seconds ago from choqoK […]

    Pingback by AmbyR00 (amby) 's status on Tuesday, 15-Sep-09 10:00:30 UTC - — September 15, 2009 @ 11:00 am | Reply

  4. […] Encode and sync music to your portable music player in linux « bigbrovar a few seconds ago from IdentiFox […]

    Pingback by Equitas IT Solutions (equitas) 's status on Tuesday, 15-Sep-09 10:13:56 UTC - — September 15, 2009 @ 11:13 am | Reply

  5. Nifty – I didn’t know about that one either!

    Comment by furicle — September 15, 2009 @ 2:22 pm | Reply

  6. thank you very much. This is the best advice I’ve seen ina while! I was looking a way to ”mount” e63 in rythmbox

    BTW amarok 1.4.x (only amarok that is good) supports automounting SD or generic players.

    Again tnx for advice!

    Comment by christooss — September 15, 2009 @ 3:57 pm | Reply

    • Oh great glad it worked for you

      Comment by Bigbrovar — September 15, 2009 @ 4:14 pm | Reply

      • It worked on Generic USB key to! So it helped to load music for incar listening 🙂

        Thanks a bunch 🙂

        The only problem that I have is no USB cable for E63 but I think I will buy one now that I can efficently use rhythmbox.

        Comment by christooss — September 22, 2009 @ 10:47 pm | Reply

  7. With large collections, my experience with Rhythmbox was that it cannot digest a huge collection (~120 GB…). So I had to use Amarok 1.x (in Ubuntu Hardy Heron) which works flawlessly – for me. I never tried sync’ing my SDHC card by the way of Amarok, though, I always copy directly to card… from the filesystem.

    Interesting idea you gave me here, I’ll try it out. Thanks!

    Comment by gz — September 15, 2009 @ 4:37 pm | Reply

    • Yeah you are right, i used to use amarok when ran hardy on my system. i used it with postgres as db. worked really well with large music collections and had a good support for portable music players

      Comment by Bigbrovar — September 15, 2009 @ 4:42 pm | Reply

  8. THANKS! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contests. Keep up the good work. 🙂

    Comment by shylove — September 24, 2009 @ 1:32 pm | Reply

  9. This is an awesome post. Thank you. I wondered why I needed .is_audio_player on my mp3 player (Sony Walkman 8gb; works flawlessly with Rhythmbox). This is a great explanation.


    Comment by gamerchick02 — September 25, 2009 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

  10. […] Show original post here […]

    Pingback by Encode and sync music to your portable music player in linux … | — September 27, 2009 @ 5:16 pm | Reply

  11. Blogs are always a main source of getting accurate information and provide you the handy results; you can get instant and reliable information which surely helps you in any field of your concern. I am post graduate in IT and HR. These days I am doing preparation of different online certifications and I found ccie practice test guide is the best helping source which is providing 100% authentic material. I also spend my extra time in surfing internet, listening music and playing games. After my exams I would like to join your group.

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    Comment by marry davidson — October 3, 2009 @ 7:27 am | Reply

  12. maaaan thanks, i googled it and it helped me a lot
    my moto w223 with mp3 was not recognized as audio player like my china mp3p and now i can sync them two as well as my mini flash drive

    Comment by Denis Franco — May 4, 2010 @ 1:08 am | Reply

  13. No need, just sync by USB cable, and when asked about connection mode, choose Media, so the phone talks MTP and Rhythmbox too!

    Comment by Otto — July 30, 2010 @ 6:16 am | Reply

  14. those generic mp3 players that are made in china are really cheap but i still prefer to use my ipod ‘~~

    Comment by Lyman Vautour — November 17, 2010 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  15. you can always tell the quality of USB cables by looking at the thickness of the cable. thicker usb cables have higher quality ~.’

    Comment by Bottled Water — December 3, 2010 @ 10:12 pm | Reply

  16. This made me go 😀

    Comment by Allen Saxon — August 12, 2011 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

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    Comment by Numbers Majestic — October 12, 2011 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

  18. Darn thing worked! I can now see my Coby MP601 in Banshee! Now, I have to figure out how to use Banshee with it! LOL Thanks!!!

    Comment by lefo — October 13, 2011 @ 1:39 am | Reply

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