If you’re looking for a fun (and modern) use for your classic Mac – there’s one option you might not have considered: playing MP3s. Up until last year I didn’t even think this was possible without at least a PowerPC system – but most 040-based Macs and some 030s can actually play MP3 files quite well!
This is possible with an app called “MpegDec” (MPEG Decoder). It’s actually three separate Applications that work together: a player, an MP3->AIFF converter, and a playlist editor. The apps are a little awkward to use at first, but they generally work as advertised.
Download it here: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/2015-mpegdec
- The documentation says it’ll run on an 040 or “fast 030” – in my testing it ran perfectly on a 33mhz 040 but stuttered pretty badly on a 16mhz 030 (SE/30) – if worst comes to worst you can always convert the MP3 bit rate down or convert to AIFF format on slower systems.
- UPDATE: an MP3 is playable on an 030 LC III w/25mhz if you reduce the MP3 bitrate down to 32 kb/sec.
- To squeeze as much performance out of your machine as possible, turn off extra extensions, file sharing, AppleTalk, reduce the color depth to black and white, or run MP3s off a RAM disk if you have enough free memory.
- For convenience, make an AutoTyper using the FileTyper program. This allows you to drag MP3 files onto the AutoTyper which assigns a type & creator to them – so that you can easily double-click them to play.
- Note the player’s settings are under “File” -> “Prefs” which is only available when the music is stopped. In the Prefs window you can adjust sound quality settings and have the music start as soon as a file opens.
- To create a playlist, open the playlist editor app and drag MP3 files onto the playlist editor window. Once you have your playlist to your liking don’t forget to save it.
- I keep an alias to a playlist in my apple menu folder – for easy access to my music.
- If you do have a PowerPC system I’d recommend looking at GrayAMP which was an old favorite of mine. You can also run a Mac OS 9 version of iTunes if you’re so-inclined.