How to Play Music from N64 Games Losslessly (FAQ)

Previously, we posted a little guide to show you how to play music from Nintendo 64 games losslessly. However, there are still some questions you might have with regards to the process or maybe you have come across a problem somewhere along the line. So, we put together this complimentary FAQ that might answer some of your questions.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

I want to listen to (insert game here), but I don’t see it anywhere in the miniUSF directory, what gives?

Not all games have been “ripped”. Some may be unrippable for the time being. In other cases, the people who rip the music might be too busy with other things these days.

I get an error that says “Unable to open item for playback (Object not found)”, what’s going on?

This error is typically caused by the “.usflib” file being missing. This file is a critical component of playing miniUSF files. It should be included in every .7z file available on the USF website. Think of the files as a piano player. The USFlib file is merely a piano that contains all of the sounds contained within the game. The MiniUSF files are the scores which essentially are all the notes needed to play the music. Without the piano, you can’t play music and without the scores, you have no idea what notes to hit. It’s a similar idea to these files. The USFLib contains all the samples (drum hits, samples, etc.) and the MiniUSF files are the necessary files to make the music work. This is also why you can’t just open up the files within the 7z file because it’s searching for that file in the same directory. So, make sure all associated miniUSF files are in the same directory as the corresponding USFLib file.

Hey, that sounds cool! I’m a musician and I want to use some of those samples, how do I get them?

The short answer, apparently, is that you can’t. There’s no known way of simply ripping the sample for musical composition.

I did all of what you asked and it gives me error messages when I try to play the files, what gives?

Try shutting down FooBar 2000 and starting it up again. That worked for me.

I downloaded the music from another game and all I see are “parse(whatever)” instead of actual names of the music. Where’s the music?

This simply means that they were not tagged. This all stems from the fact that some of these are called “preliminary rips” where the only step so far was to “rip” the data from the ROM image.

Some of these files end way too early. What gives?

That means the files weren’t “Timed” yet. There is a fadeout inserted at a predetermined time, but no one has gotten around to making sure the actual loop is fully played out before the fadeout. Again, probably a preliminary rip.

Some of these games include “unknown” files, what’s that about?

The audio is obtained by “ripping” the data from the ROM image. This means that every song that is inside the image is retrieved. Sometimes, the games came with music that is never used in the game. It is only from ripping the ROM image that these “unused” songs come to be.

There’s a game that I want to listen to, but it just gives me error messages. Why?

Some files are preliminary rips. Sometimes, that means they don’t work period. The only real way to know for sure if the files work is to test them out. Not every single game featured exactly works.

I want to put some of the music into a YouTube video, but the files are not compatible with my editing software. How can I use these files for something other than simple playback?

Open the file up in FooBar 2000. Right click on the file in the FooBar 2000 playlist and hover the mouse over “Convert” Click on the “…” option to open up a conversion menu. By default, you should be set to convert to WAV (which is compatible with many pieces of editing software) Under the “Output Path, you can manually set where you want the files to go or, by default, let it ask you where the files are to go. In the end, you should have a WAV file ready to go.

It takes forever to put the seek bar to a particular spot on the song!

The MiniUSF file is not actually a recording of actual audio, but rather, a file with note data instead. This may be why there’s a delay when you try to skip ahead to a certain part of the song.

I know my way around hacking and I think I can do some work on this. Where do I go?

USF Central links to a forum. You can either browse around USF Central for more information or talk to others in the forums to see if there are any ways to help.

Is this truly “lossless”?

N64 games use a lot of compression in the first place, however, the audio you get from the USF files is, to our knowledge, lossless because it’s playing back the direct data that would otherwise be used in the game. So, unless the audio is available in CD format, this is as lossless as it gets in terms of quality.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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