How to run the PS3 Music visualizer on PC or Mac using RPCS3

I’ve always loved the Playstation 3’s built-in music vizualiser. And now that it’s possible to boot the PS3 XMB (XrossMediaBar) in the RPCS3 emulator, we can finally play mp3’s with the amazing PS3 music vizualizer on Windows, Mac or Linux PC’s.

First of all an important disclaimer, since it has limitations:

  • YOU CAN NOT SKIP/CHANGE TRACKS.
    That’s right. It will only play ONE track you selected. So it is best to use with long recorded livesets or full album compilations.
  • THE COLORFUL/BLURRY MUSIC VIZUALIZER WORKS BEST.
    Both the Earth visualizer and PS3 XMB vizualizer also work, but the audio becomes annoyingly choppy. Perhaps this is just my system and you’ll have better luck.
  • It’s best to keep the window active
    If you just run it in the background, it may suddenly stop playing for some reason… Results may vary.
  • I’ve only tested this on Windows 11
    It should also work on Linux and Mac.

How to install the PS3 Music Visualizer

  1. Download the latest version of RPCS3 + the PS3 System Software (Firmware).
  2. Extract RPCS3 (e.g. using 7zip)
  3. Go to [RPCS3 directory]/dev_hdd0/ and create a new directory called music. Copy-paste your mp3’s to [RPCS3 directory]/dev_hdd0/music
  4. Now run RPCS3
    1. File – “install firmware” and select the PS3UPDAT.PUP file
    2. Configure your controller/keyboard input
    3. File – “Boot VSH/XMB”
      A window pops up and it will take about 20 minutes to compile +/- 1.410 modules. Don’t worry this only needs to be done once.
    4. Once done, it will ask to ‘rebuild local database‘. Press ‘X’ and wait a few seconds.
      When completed, nothing will happen anymore. You will need to close the window and again “File – Boot VSH/XMB“.
  5. It should now boot up the PS3 XMB. Go through the initial setup
    (tips: activate the HDMI output at 1080p. + Internet/LAN does NOT work yet, don’t bother and just cancel at that point)
  6. You should be able to see your MP3 file(s) under the music tab.
    Once a track is playing you can start and change the visualizer with the SQUARE button

Some interesting tips on downloading and using the PS3 Music visualizer for PC

  • It runs at 60fps on at 1080p and uses just 10% of my CPU / 8% of my GPU, so nothing to worry about there!
  • Internet/LAN streaming does NOT work in the XMB environment, so you won’t be able to use DLNA yet.
  • You can manipulate the visuals with the RIGHT joystick (or with keyboard-keys you’ve binded with it)
  • You can hide the HUD and track info with select

I’ve looked for ages to get my all-time favorite visualizer ported and working on PC. I’m not sure if I’ll use it that often yet, but I’m happy to see it’s finally working. I hope this worked for you as well!

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3 thoughts on “How to run the PS3 Music visualizer on PC or Mac using RPCS3”

  1. I’d forgotten the PS3 had a music visualizer! Before the PS3, the Atari Jaguar had the amazing (for its time) music visualizer by Jeff Minter (who created Tempest 2K, amongst many others). I wanted that to run on PC for ages.

    1. Hi Frank! Thanks for your comment.
      Wow, I’ve looked it up on youtube and yeah that sure does look trippy as well! I’ve never heard of Jeff Minter, but it seems this guy was already making visualizers in ’84 for the c64! Awesome. Have you tried emulating the Jaguar?
      *update* Seems like there’s a project on Github which allows you to run the “Virtual Light show” on Windows!

      Some of its presets do remind me a lot of “Milkdrop” for Winamp, maybe you can try that one too?

      1. One of the things about the Jaguar visualizer was that it was a lot more interactive than most. You could do a lot more with the joystick to manipulate the visualizations. It was meant to be a sort of “video DJ” tool. They actually used to project the video output at some raves and clubs back in the day.
        I actually got a vintage Jaguar a few years ago to play around. 🙂
        I do remember Milkdrop for Winamp. You saw that Winamp got a new release a few days ago, right? *[By PowrUsr: Indeed I did :-)]

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