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Once I had copied music from my iTunes folder to the Linkstation, I made sure not to copy anything that had been purchased from the iTunes music store, because these encrypted files are not supported. Instead I copied a number of MP3s that I had ripped myself from CDs. Figure 8 shows the top-level Music menu, with various categories that are automatically populated from the MP3 tags.

Figure 8: Music Categories

Figure 8: Music Categories

When I went down into a directory and attempted to play a known-good MP3, the mini started to show the song information, but then the screen flashed and I was dumped back to the very top level - it appeared to be a mini crash and reset. I tried this a few more times with other MP3s and got the same result. Sigh. After some checking to make sure that the files hadn't been corrupted somewhere along the way, I remembered previous problems I'd had with MP3s and UPnP devices, especially related to album art.

Almost all of my MP3s had album art added to them using the iTunes player. My standard LinkTheater didn't have a problem with these files, nor did iTunes or MS Media Player, but maybe the LinkTheater mini did. To test this idea, I found an obscure "Music of North Africa" CD for which I had never gotten around to adding album art. I moved a ripped song over to the Linkstation and the mini played it fine. Then, using iTunes, I added an image of the CD cover to the song and moved it over to the Linkstation. Crash - the mini couldn't handle it. This was a bit of bad news for me, since I have hundreds of MP3s, all with album art, and none of them would play on the mini.

On a brighter note, I did find that I could play a song and display a photo slide show simultaneously, which was a nice feature. By the way, the only other audio format supported by the mini besides MP3 is LPCM, more commonly known as WAV format.

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