how to use the Sony NW-A3000 without that godawful connect software….

*update-nov 2016* – sorry, i’ve not used my NW-A3000 in quite some time, and i’ve not tried it on anything newer than winXP (i went to macOS years ago, and only really use windows for work these days) – i’m happy to update this post if anyone has any new info/links though…
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ok, I got me a Sony NWA3000 20gb mp3 player recently. I was fully aware of the horror that was the connect software that came bundled with it, and only knew about the Sonicstage software that sony were providing as a replacement. I wanted to try and find some alternatives for sonicstage. Preferably of the opensource variety… Normally this site doesn’t do geeky stuff like this, but I thought there was a distinct lack of decent articles on what to do, so publishing here was the best bet.
So what did I find?

There are currently a few promising alternatives to the official sony software, all of which (that I have found) are discussed on the ATRACLIFE forums. Here is a rundown of what i’ve found so far…

Update the Firmware! – normal units ship with the V1.0 firmware. they are now on V3. Its easy to upgrade. just charge your battery fully, then plug it into your PC and run the installer.
Volume Limiter Hack – make your NWA3000 (or other unit) louder… visit the techlounge website for more info on accessing this function.

Service Manual – gives info on what the rest of the service menu does. unlikely you’ll need it, but a useful reference all the same

Heres how to get your player working with ml_sony and various other programs (stolen from the atraclife ml_sony FAQ: )
INSTALLATION/BACKUP:

Here is what you need to do:

  1. plugin your device
  2. backup your files by renaming your directory “OMGAUDIO” to something else like “OMGAUDIO2” (or at least make a zip of the .DAT files inside OMGAUDIO)
  3. Create a new directory “OMGAUDIO”
  4. Create a file named “04CNTINF.DAT” in this directory
  5. If you have a NWA1000, NWA3000 or any player that is not protected: create a file named “nocode.txt” (still in the OMGAUDIO directory);
  6. or:
    If you have a protected player make sure you have at least ONE of the following:
    1) MP3FM correctly installed with a MP3FM/DvId.dat file: see the official Sony page about MP3 File Manager; or
    2) the decodeKey.dat from the keywizard in the directory “GYM”: see “Grab Your Music” for more info at: http://clientes.netvisao.pt/~sonygym/index.htm
  7. Copy ml_sony.dll in your winamp/plugins directory
  8. run winamp

You can then use winamp to copy to/from your nwa3000 mp3 player. for those of you (like me) who use winamp, this program is a godsend.

but what of those of us who want normal explorer-like functionality?

you want to be using something like voidmp3fm or SWEx. Both will let you get the files off the player as well as upload mp3s.

But wait, there’s more!

Once the device is installed and running, it adds itself as a removeable drive. the genius of this is you can store portable apps on the player… best yet, how about portable winamp? – or grab a pre-built copy – all you need to do is add in a copy of ml_sony into the plugins folder, drop the whole lot into a folder on your mp3 player, and you have a portable way to grab files off other people’s PCs! job done!
Anyway. I’ve only had the player for a day, but already I’ve figured out the bulk of its features. It’s just a shame that it has taken over a year from release (and a *lot* of frustrated customers) to get anywhere with it software-wise. If only companies like Sony would listen and provide devices with lots of functionality, that use standard features (like USB removable drives) and then provide the opensource community the tools to hack about with it and create alternatives to the nasty proprietry software you get bundled with it. that way people start buying the product because they know they can do other stuff with it.

I’ll post more info and updates when i find them, but if you found this useful, please leave a comment (and take a look at the rest of the site, maybe subscribe to the infolist?)

****UPDATE MAY 2010****
this article still gets quite a bit of traffic to the site, unfortunately, my NW-A3000 was stolen last year, and ever since then, i have been using my phone as my main source of music when out and about.
I’ll try and have a look at some of the questions, and answer what i can, but my recent experience is limited. especially as i now use ubuntu as my main OS.

43 thoughts on “how to use the Sony NW-A3000 without that godawful connect software….”

  1. THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!! I NEEDED THIS BADLY!!! CONNECT AND SONICSTAGE ARE THE WORST….ONCE AGAIN THANK YOU FOR TELLING ME ABOUT THESE PLAYERS
    YOU ARE A GODSEND ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. I would like to echo above comments.The Sonicware and Connect software are awful and i have wasted many hours trying to download upload music files-making me MP3 geek that i didn’t want to become!!!.I find it hard to believe that Sony are still selling their hardware when they only offer half the package-it makes it effectively a piece of rubbish.

  3. Thank you! Didn’t help me so much, because I’m mainly using my Mac, but now my NW-A3000 _could_ play music again ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Are there any other (maybe newer) solutions to use the player without Connect/CP software? Googles didn’t find very much, seems that the player didn’t become very popular ๐Ÿ˜‰

    xenonart

  4. Great guide- I picked up a 2nd hand Aw3000 for a measly 60 quid, a bargain once you get it running this running with winamp.

    It might be worth adding for less tech capable people that when you say ‘create a new 04etc.DAT file’ that what you should do is copy the existing file, open it up with notepad, delete everything and save, then switch it back. I initially tried a blank TXT file called 04etc.DAT but since it wasn’t a PROPER .DAT file it didn’t work.

    Oh, and don’t forget to back it all up!

  5. This is Brilliant! Thank you so much! I was having so much trouble with the STUPID Sonicstage i Hate it soo Much. I brought a secondhand NW-A3000 20GB for only ยฃ20 good deal. at least i think so. i have an ipod classic 80GB with alot of music on it and, I needed an mp3 player for taking out like School/College and others. I wanted a good brand name, good quality, big HDD space, ipod kinda syle, with an easy to use interface and this was it. and now it’s Working fine thanks to this!!! :D:D ๐Ÿ˜€ :)!

  6. This Website was a saviour. I have spent probably eight total hours over today and yesterday trying to work out how to get this plugin to work.
    I was using a NW-A1000, and as far as i know it wasn’t protected
    Here’s a brief rundown of what happened to me for anyone interested:
    Tried to find an alternative for creative player, ATRACLife website was down so had to search google for obscure people talking about this, Realised the Ml_Sony plugin existed, downloaded winamp, downloaded the plug in, read the readme file but couldn’t make sense of it, deleted music off player, attempted to load music through winamp (but didn’t create OMGAAudio folder and DAT file so had only loaded the original files which won’t play), deleted music off player again, thought my player might have been protected so tried to get mp3 file manager and keywizard but couldn’t, searched google some more, loaded connect player again deciding i’d just use that, connect player wouldn’t work at all anymore, found this page, realised my problem was not having the OMGAudio folder and DAT file, because my player was formatted i had no OMG folder at all. Tried to get one by loading a single song onto my player, the stupid connect player wouldn’t even do that, decided to download sonic stage, was able to load a song onto the player, created the right files, opened winamp, found success. I’m so relieved i finally figured this out.

    Thankyou to the author of this blog and also to RICH who commented above. RICH, i wouldn’t have had a hope of getting this right without your tip.

    TIPS FOR ANYONE WHO CAN’T GET IT TO WORK AND ARE NOT VERY TECH SAVVY: (This would have made life very simple for me)
    1. The directory means a folder. This is found on the actual player, not on the computer anywhere.
    2. Use RICH’s tip above for creating the DAT file, just choose any file in the OMGAudio folder, ‘open with’ in notepad, delete all and then rename it to the right name
    3. For me, sonic stage worked a lot better than connect player, in all respects.

    I’m so glad i got this to work. If anyone wants any help i’d be happy to try my best. It would at least mean i’d save someone else all the hassle i went through. You can e-mail me at rocktrap@hotmail.com

    Josh

  7. Hey. I’ve had my NW-A3000 for a year or so now, and have avoided added music since I initally first set up the MP3 player because of how horrible SonicStage is. I found this page and thought it sounded ideal. I’ve followed all the stages, but I keep getting the message “no database found. connect compliant software”.

    I thought at first this could be because I didn’t have any tracks on the mp3 player – it had gone a bit crazy so I’d formatted it, with the intention of starting again from scratch. However, I’ve since transferred a couple of tracks using SonicStage and they played ok, but when I went through the stages above again, they won’t play anymore. Can anyone shed any light on this for me? Thanks.

    Jen

  8. Update: Typically after I submit my message I can get the tracks I referred to to work. However, I can’t get the ones I’ve added using wimamp to play. Do I need to convert them? Sorry to be a pain but I really want to make this work!! Thanks

  9. jenny. are the files in mp3 format or some other type (m4a/wma/etc)?

    i get the “connect compliant software” message a fair bit. just ignore it and carry on.

    i’ve not updated my nwa3000 in a while (i got an ipod touch cheap!), but i remember there were problems running the latest versions of winamp with the ml_sony plugin.

    for now, i would say to give symphonic a try – http://sourceforge.net/projects/symphonic/

    i’ll have another look around and see about updating this article, and maybe post up a copy of portable winamp with a working ml_sony plugin somewhere

    bear with me ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Hi, thanks a lot for this great tutorial. I was wondering if this same method would allow me to transfer aac or mp4 files. It seems to work perfectly only for mp3. Whenever I try to transfer any mp4/acc it seems to do so, but what it does is it creates a file/folder in the Disk Drive, which is not playable once you to do so form the device. It basically recognizes the sony as 1. Under Devices as “sony walkman” and 2. under Portables as “USB Device”. Mp4 files are being saved to the later one, but unfortunately they aren’t playable on the device.

    Best.

  11. Really great workaround!!
    I was searching for something like this for over a year ;-| But now I’m glad that this sony software sh*t belongs to thee past… Reply to Jenni’s Post: There is a button in Winamp to apply the changes made to the NW-A – maybe overlooked this?? Thanx a lot!!!

    Have Phun Guys

    Cheers & Oi,

    Mom

  12. None of your tips worked. Ive tried everything that has been listed here and Swex or whatever its link is leads to a useless forum and nothing else. Simplefy your process and get some damn detail into your explanations.

    thanx for nothing.

  13. I abandoned my NW-A3000 player a while back because CONNECT was so awful and iTunes was working better for me. I’ve now gone through all the suggestions you’ve listed here (apart from SWEx, because as far as I can tell it doesn’t exist any more) in an attempt to get some use out of it, and nothing works.

    And I can’t find this “apply” button in Winamp either.

    I’ll check back in case anyone can help.

  14. HELP NEEDED got the nwa3000 for a present, but didnt get any cds or anything to install the software. can i just download it or what? cheers

  15. This has kinda worked abit. I’ve downloaded winamp and done the steps outlined above, including Rich and Josh’s clarifications which were a huge help also. My NM-A3000 is now working well as a glorified memory stick, it’ll play if it’s connected to my stereo which has a USB port but when I try to use it on its own it keeps saying ‘No songs. Connect compliant software and transfer songs’. PLEASE HELP???

  16. thanks dude it worked, and i was thinking that i was going to use my mp3 player as an external HDD since i couldn’t put any music on it and it works faster now thanks a lot

  17. Yea I get the Connect compliant software and transfer songsโ€™ error – I think I deleted ALL the files off my NW-a1000 trying to use ITUNEMYWALKMAN – I think I need to re-create the OMGAudio file but also need the .DAT file but dont have one to copy ๐Ÿ™ Any ideas where I can download one?

  18. I’ve had an NW-A3000 for sometime now but not used. Originally downloaded Connect and currently have over 800 songs on my A3000. Obviously now looking for software to use but quite technically challenged. Before I start with the above, what will happen to the music already on the player? Any advice gratefully received. Thanks

  19. PLEASE I HAVE A NW-A1000, TRYING TO DELETED SOME SONGS I INITIALIZING HARD DISK AND AFETER THAT MY SONICTAGE CANT TRANFERS ANY FILE ALLWAY ERROR.AND MY PLAYER SAYS NOT FOUD DATA BASE MAYBE PLEASE I WANNA FIX IT MAYBE ERASER SOME FILES WHE WAS FORMETED? PLEASE HELP MEEEE PLEASE

  20. I have the same problem as mARIE above. When i initialized the disk it wipedout the OMGAUDIO file which hasn’t happened when i have initializedit before. Where do i get a copy of the file?

  21. please please help…i have deleted some files and now when i try add music it says connect compliant software…i am not brill on computers and really would like t be able to use my nw-A1200 8gb mp3 player, i have tried t look online but seem to be sent in circles

  22. I have a problem of adding a song to my Sony NW a3000 iPod because even if
    i put asong with an mp3 format it does not show or play it.

  23. I have just bought a 2nd hand Sony Walkman NW-A3000 20 gb mp3 player but I am unable to play any of my music on it. The previous owner had loaded audio books and a few mp3s, so I know it works (I’ve tried listening to them etc and they play).

    However I don’t seem able to delete them; I have followed advice from this website (and others) and installed SonicStage on my PC. S-S has copied music from my library (in Windows Mediaplayer) and when I connect the Walkman I get a message on my PC screen saying the Walkman now has my own music on it (it’s the D drive) – however I cannot find them when I try to listen to the songs on my Walkman.

    Any advice you can give would be gratefully received, thanks – I also have a newer 4gb Sony Walkman mp3 player but I bought that one new in 2008 (so I presume by then, Sony had sorted out the “drag and drop” manner of transferring music from a PC to an mp3 player).

    I just don’t seem able to listen to any of my music onto the 20gb one, and I want to begin using it! I am not the most tech-savvy person and my 25 year old son (who lives at the other end of the country) tutted at me on the phone last night and said I should’ve bought an iPod …

    Please help?
    Thanks , best wishes, Gillian

  24. i loss the software of my NW-A3000 SONY WALKMAN ant it shows me message that please connect compliant software .will you please suggest me that which software i havw download and from where.

  25. ave just got this player but i want to play the music on it it tells me i dont have the right software so am stuck with it i dont know wat to do

  26. How do I go about to upload symphonic on the NW-A3000, bout it with Connect V1.0
    firmware. I am not a computer fundi. TKX

  27. i hate this! i got a sony walkman from my brother and i cant even use this! its a pile of poo. its so complicated and it could of been made to be so much more easer!

  28. Oh, no, Pleeeeease help!
    I did all of the steps, but when i copy ml_sony.dll in the winamp/plugins directory, winamp doesn’t work anymore. It says that “winamp doesn’t work correctly” or something like that, and then closes winamp.
    Has anyone an answer or a solution?
    My email: malinka_3@hotmail.com

  29. Hi,
    I was clearning up my room and found my sony connect player which i bought years ago and realise i have some really great songs that i would like to download on to my itunes account which is on my mac. Is there away of doing this????

    cheers

  30. i have a sony a3000 this long time and never seemed to get it to work right,
    i did manage with great difficulty to get songs on it however i plugged it into a different computer and wiped all the songs or at least they do not show up on the unit
    it now tells me to connect complaint software
    i have since switched to a net book without a disk drive how can i get this piece of crap to work right.i paid a lot of money at the time
    where can i get the correct software and how
    anyone any ideas

  31. Anyone thought of a class action against Sony ? My MZ-RH1 and Net MD players have become all but useless after losing 100’s of hours of meticulously collected music using sonicstage – which won’t play on newer computers and one where had to reinstall the operating system. The over 5,000 petitioners on another site, if ยฃ100 a time, could probably fund it.

  32. I’m surprised the Jsumphonc software converts everything to OMA. I’d got the impression it was making use of the A3000’s ability to play mp3 files as they are. At least, I heard or read a while ago that it could play mp3.

    That was the real reason I persevered with working out how to use the software, because I don’t like convertion artifacts.

    So, it seems that the best route is to start with WAV files and select the highest ( 320 ) bit rate, juat as before, with SonicStage.

    It’s a crying shame this portable player is cursed by Sony’s stupidity. It actually SOUNDS GREAT !

    My very best wishes, to all who suffer these frustrations Sony robbed us for……….

    norman.

  33. i tried to listen to the songs but i can`t.the player is telling me to connect a compliant software and transfer songs. How can i transfer songs to the digital music player NW-A3000 SONY

  34. Hi, By luck I found this site there is a wealth of interesting posts, I have just bought a NW-A1000 from eBay, I had the speaker system SRS-NWM10. But as they say “fools rush in”. I forgot all about the usb cable to connect speakers to PC to attempt to get some music on the player. If anyone has a usb cable that’s lying around and not being used please email me. I know it’s a long shot but may be lucky. Thanks to everyone how has posted I’ve got more to try at least, if I can find a usb cable.
    John

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