: Playlists on USB devices



Huey Driver
11-05-11, 04:40 PM
I posted this over on the entertainment forum a couple days ago, but dont know that it is followed as much as this one is... So forgive me...

I have the base radio (AM/FM/XM/single CD) on a 2012 SRX. Instead of leaving a $200 ipod in my center console, I went out and bought a 16gb thumb drive for $20. It works great, even if you have to be a little more particular about filenames. For example, I found that the radio will not use the file metadata (that has the track number in it) when sorting, so if you want to play an album in order, you have to put the track number at the beginning of the file name (which everyone probably knows)...

Anyway, two questions, I guess.

Has anyone been able to create playlists on generic USB devices? I'm pretty sure my IPOD playlists came through on the radio display. Some of the old MP3 devices I have used just allowed you to create a text file with a list of filenames in it. I havent tried that yet, but the manual says it will play playlists if it finds them. The trick will be how to name them on a generic thumb drive. Anyone had success with this?

Second, since I have a large number of songs, the radio seems to index them every time I start the vehicle. This seems to take several minutes or longer, making selecting an album or something unavailable until the index is done. Is there any way to 'save' the index, or manually create it so that it doesnt have to re-index all the time?

sube5186
11-05-11, 08:33 PM
On a thumbdrive playlists are nothing more than folders. Dump whatever songs you want into a folder, name the folder and there you have it. The radio only indexes tracks the first time you plug in the thumbdrive. If you leave it in, it won't have to reindex them every time you turn the radio on. If you're in the process of adding songs to it, you've probably been constantly disconnecting and reconnecting the thumbdrive, thus the constant reindexing. Once you get all of you music/playlists organized, you can just leave the thumbdrive plugged in. That's what I do. I have about 2,000 songs on my thumbdrive thus far, also a 16 GB capacity.


Sube

SoCalSRX
11-05-11, 08:45 PM
On a thumbdrive playlists are nothing more than folders. Dump whatever songs you want into a folder, name the folder and there you have it.

Sube is correct. I have one word of caution, however. If you have a song both in a folder for the artist (or album) and also in a playlist, the song will show up twice when you go to artist mode, for example, or use the track list. I had Genesis playlist folder and one for an album, and for the life of me couldn't figure out why I had duplicate songs until I realized that the radio was seeing both the track in the playlist folder as well as in the album folder.

SoCalSRX
11-05-11, 08:46 PM
Dreaded double post. Sorry.

sube5186
11-05-11, 09:30 PM
Sube is correct. I have one word of caution, however. If you have a song both in a folder for the artist (or album) and also in a playlist, the song will show up twice when you go to artist mode, for example, or use the track list. I had Genesis playlist folder and one for an album, and for the life of me couldn't figure out why I had duplicate songs until I realized that the radio was seeing both the track in the playlist folder as well as in the album folder.

Yes, you're correct. I noticed this early on. This is true in the Artist mode, Genre mode and All Songs mode. For me personally it's not a problem. I almost always play my USB music by folder, so repeats aren't an issue.

I wish the HDD had this capability. Playlists are almost impossible to create on the HDD. You have to do it one song at a time. Who has time to do that? What were they thinking?


Sube

Huey Driver
11-06-11, 03:50 PM
I guess I should have done more research, but I was being lazy WHILE I looked...

I was able to create a playlist on my thumbdrive, with an 'm3u' extension (ie, "playlist.m3u") that was read by the radio, showed up in the 'playlist' section of the search AND played when selected. The random feature appeared to work with this list (ie, it randomized the entries in the playlist). You dont have to put the playlist in a special directory, it finds it fine in the root directory.

The format of the playlist file is plain text, on each line is the word 'file' and a space then the path to the song.
ie
file .\Jimmy Buffett\License to Chill\01-Hey Good Lookin'.mp3
file .\Jimmy Buffett\License to Chill\02-Boats to Build.mp3
file .\Jimmy Buffett\License to Chill\03-License to Chill.mp3

I played around with various paths to files and all I could really find out was you must have the full path name to the file. It appears you dont need quotes, and that special characters (spaces, apostrophe, etc) work ok, but YMMV. The format I have here, with the playlist in the root dir, works. I was also able to get it to work by putting all my playlists in a separate directory (titled 'playlists') and using two dots in front of the path (ie, 'file ..\Jimmy Buffett\...') but dont know if that is absolutely required.

If you go to the root directory of your thumb drive, and type the command "dir /b /s *.mp3 > playlist.m3u", it will create a nice text file (output of the 'dir' command is sent to the file 'playlist.m3u') that you can edit down. If your thumb drive was the 'F:' drive, for example, when you get into your editor, use the find/replace function and replace all 'F:' with 'file .' and it will create a perfect playlist. Delete out the songs you dont want on the playlist and save it as a new file and create multiple lists.

No need to have multiple copies of songs!

As for the indexing, it still seems to do it most of the time when I start the car but of course I only notice it if I am immediately trying to play from the USB. About 2500 songs seems to take about 3 minutes until the 'indexing device...' line goes away in the display.

The MP3 play seems to be fairly feature rich, but could likely be tempermental. It seems to read file metadata (contrary to my original post) but uses that only for display and sorting (ie, in genre) and not for the track listing. Gathering and collating all the metadata is probably what is involved with the indexing. So, like I said, based on all the features I keep finding, I'm not ready to make any firm will/wont statements about it... :bouncy:

sube5186
11-06-11, 11:30 PM
Maybe I'm missing something, but other than avoiding duplicate songs, what exactly is the advantage to this method of creating playlists? Using folders is very easy and works well. Is there a benefit to this method that I'm missing?

As for the indexing, as I mentioned before, it should not be reindexing every time you start the car. This should only happen if you unplug the thumbdrive and then replug it in. Even if I plug my thumbdrive in and select a different source, the thumbdrive indexes while I'm listening to that different source. Then, when I switch to USB it's ready to go and plays instantly.


Sube

Huey Driver
11-07-11, 09:54 AM
Really, as long as it does what you want it to do, I would say do whatever works best for you. If someone was using a software program to manage their music (like Windows Media Player or Winamp) then making playlists may be more preferred. If you are just using 'drag and drop' then folders may be the better way. There's a limit of 10,000 songs, so probably not going to hit that, even with 2 or 3 copies of a song. If you were somehow pressed for space on your USB device, the playlist allows one song to be in several lists without taking up all the space.

This seems to be better than in the past. I read various GM forums looking for my answer, and even as of a year or two ago, people were complaining that while playlists worked, the random (shuffle) function would not work within them.

As for the indexing, you are right. It continues 'behind the scenes' if I select another source. And it just takes a couple minutes, so no big deal.

sube5186
11-07-11, 10:22 AM
OK, gotcha. Yeah, I've reorganized my folders so I no longer have any repeats, so folders are working great for me. It's good to know there are other options for playlists. Just so have this correct, your files are still being indexed every time you start the radio, or just when you first plug in the thumbdrive? I leave my thumbdrive plugged in. Is this option not feasible for you?


Sube

Huey Driver
11-07-11, 11:25 AM
The reason I got the $20 thumbdrive was so I could leave it connected, rather than having to swap out an ipod. I leave it connected all the time. Usually during the week I am listening to the radio for traffic. This weekend I left the radio set on the USB device. It started playing immediately, but if I tried to change to a different album (using the 'search' function) it would say "Not available during indexing". I just had to wait a couple minutes until indexing was done and it worked fine. No big deal.

sube5186
11-07-11, 11:32 AM
Apparently, either this is something they changed for 2012, or yours is not working correctly. I can't think why they would have changed this. Maybe some other 2012 owners can chime in. If it is normal, no biggie, since you said you really don't mind the wait. However, if it isn't normal, maybe it needs a software re-flash. Just some food for thought.


Sube

xrs01
11-07-11, 11:58 AM
Sube:

Huey Driver stated in his first post: "I have the base radio (AM/FM/XM/single CD) on a 2012 SRX."

I seem to remember that you have the NAV infotainment system (as do I), not the base radio.

Perhaps the base radio actually does re-index each time, even when the USB drive is left plugged in (as opposed to the NAV infotainment system). This could be due to memory limitations.


Huey Driver:

With the NAV infotainment system, the word "file" and the period (.) are not necessary in each line in the playlist. A leading slash (\) is also not necessary - the system assumes that the text leading up to the first slash is a folder name on the root.

For example, here are 5 lines out of one of my playlists (that the system recognizes, plays correctly, and will also randomly shuffle the songs in the playlist if you choose):

Sleeping Gypsy\07-Chain Reaction.mp3
Sleeping Gypsy\08-Down in Brazil.mp3
One Bad Habit\01-Baseball.mp3
One Bad Habit\02-Inside You.mp3
One Bad Habit\03-All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go.mp3



.

sube5186
11-07-11, 12:08 PM
xrs01, you're right. I did miss that in his first post. I always forget there are two different audio systems. Unless there's somebody else out there with the base stereo and there's works differently, I guess that explains it. Thanks for clearing that up.


Sube

xrs01
11-07-11, 12:17 PM
Sube:

See my edit in my last post on playlist format.

I like the folder playlists (I can play songs in the order they are on the CD by putting the track number as the first two chars in the filename).

But I also like 'custom' playlists (these m3u text files), and use them for things like "Christmas Music" or "Best of" or "Greatest Hits". Given all you need is a text editor and a bit of time to think about your playlist order, it's a nice feature. And of course, it's a nice way of avoiding duplicate tracks on the drive.

And I agree with you, it would be nice to be able to download a playlist to the HDD in the Infotainment system...


.

sube5186
11-07-11, 01:03 PM
I like the folder playlists (I can play songs in the order they are on the CD by putting the track number as the first two chars in the filename).

My entire music collection has the track no. as the first two characters in the file name. However, the only time I want tracks playing in order is on comedy CDs or other vocals. I always play everything in "random".

Actually, I rarely use the HDD anymore. The USB has better organization capabilities and greater capacity, as much as 32 GB compared to only 10 GB. Besides, my HDD is already full and I'm always adding new music.


Sube

xrs01
11-07-11, 01:38 PM
My entire music collection has the track no. as the first two characters in the file name. However, the only time I want tracks playing in order is on comedy CDs or other vocals. I always play everything in "random".

Actually, I rarely use the HDD anymore. The USB has better organization capabilities and greater capacity, as much as 32 GB compared to only 10 GB. Besides, my HDD is already full and I'm always adding new music.


Sube

My entire collection also has the track no. as the first two chars, although I can change the entire collection at any time.

There are quite a few albums/CDs that I choose to play in order. Take Moody Blues "Days of Future Passed" for example, which would make no sense out of order (title-wise, or music-wise). Or some Pink Floyd albums. Artists from years ago often deliberately put songs in a particular order and/or had songs 'run into' the next song. (and then there are classical recordings...). Also - there are the albums that I had listened to so many times, that it seems weird not to listen to them in album order.

I still can randomize them if I want to. Really, to each his own. It's nice to have the ability and options to listen either way.


I also do not use the HDD anymore, other than to occasionally show somebody that it exists. You're correct, the USB is much more functional.

Perhaps the best improvements they could make to the USB would be to expand beyond a 500 folder limit, and have the ability to bring up a 'pop-up' keyboard, that when searching, could bring you right to a letter of the alphabet. For example, it would be nice when 'scrolling' thru artists, titles, etc, to get directly to the "P" section for Pink Floyd, instead of having to scroll 'forever' (this is assuming you have hundreds/thousands of songs, artists, etc.).


.

Huey Driver
11-07-11, 01:49 PM
This was probably the final straw that got me to buy my SRX 2 weeks ago. I was only debating AWD vs FWD and the sound system. AWD just seemed to be too good for the price, to have in DC winters where we dont measure snow in feet, but sometimes the roads dont get cleared right away.

As for the radio, as long as I had bluetooth and USB, I didnt need the hard drive, but I didnt know how the USB actually worked until I saw it. I didnt want to spring for the rear seat entertainment (to get the mid-level radio) and didnt need Nav as long as I have my phone...

After seeing the color I wanted, with the exact options I wanted, there on the lot, I couldnt rationalize waiting another couple months to pick it up...

As for using a thumb drive, I got a 16gb from Radio Shack for $20, and I guess it does just about everything the HDD would have done. All the Ipods that were big enough to hold my music just seemed too expensive (in contrast to the thumbdrive) to leave sitting in the console all the time...

JimmyH
11-07-11, 03:15 PM
I guess I should have done more research, but I was being lazy WHILE I looked...

I was able to create a playlist on my thumbdrive, with an 'm3u' extension (ie, "playlist.m3u") that was read by the radio, showed up in the 'playlist' section of the search AND played when selected. The random feature appeared to work with this list (ie, it randomized the entries in the playlist). You dont have to put the playlist in a special directory, it finds it fine in the root directory.

The format of the playlist file is plain text, on each line is the word 'file' and a space then the path to the song.
ie
file .\Jimmy Buffett\License to Chill\01-Hey Good Lookin'.mp3
file .\Jimmy Buffett\License to Chill\02-Boats to Build.mp3
file .\Jimmy Buffett\License to Chill\03-License to Chill.mp3

I played around with various paths to files and all I could really find out was you must have the full path name to the file. It appears you dont need quotes, and that special characters (spaces, apostrophe, etc) work ok, but YMMV. The format I have here, with the playlist in the root dir, works. I was also able to get it to work by putting all my playlists in a separate directory (titled 'playlists') and using two dots in front of the path (ie, 'file ..\Jimmy Buffett\...') but dont know if that is absolutely required.

If you go to the root directory of your thumb drive, and type the command "dir /b /s *.mp3 > playlist.m3u", it will create a nice text file (output of the 'dir' command is sent to the file 'playlist.m3u') that you can edit down. If your thumb drive was the 'F:' drive, for example, when you get into your editor, use the find/replace function and replace all 'F:' with 'file .' and it will create a perfect playlist. Delete out the songs you dont want on the playlist and save it as a new file and create multiple lists.

No need to have multiple copies of songs!

As for the indexing, it still seems to do it most of the time when I start the car but of course I only notice it if I am immediately trying to play from the USB. About 2500 songs seems to take about 3 minutes until the 'indexing device...' line goes away in the display.

The MP3 play seems to be fairly feature rich, but could likely be tempermental. It seems to read file metadata (contrary to my original post) but uses that only for display and sorting (ie, in genre) and not for the track listing. Gathering and collating all the metadata is probably what is involved with the indexing. So, like I said, based on all the features I keep finding, I'm not ready to make any firm will/wont statements about it... :bouncy:


sweet :thumbsup:

sube5186
11-07-11, 03:30 PM
Perhaps the best improvements they could make to the USB would be to expand beyond a 500 folder limit.

You're probably already aware of this, but just in case you're not, you don't have to put your tracks into folders at all. You can put them into the "root" folder and the ID3 info will pull albums, artists, Genres and songs from wherever they are on the thumbdrive. If you select some tracks that are in folders and others by the same artist that are not, it will still find and play them all together.


Sube

JimmyH
11-07-11, 03:56 PM
There might be a limit on how many files are allowed in a single folder.

xrs01
11-07-11, 04:34 PM
You're probably already aware of this, but just in case you're not, you don't have to put your tracks into folders at all. You can put them into the "root" folder and the ID3 info will pull albums, artists, Genres and songs from wherever they are on the thumbdrive. If you select some tracks that are in folders and others by the same artist that are not, it will still find and play them all together.
Sube

Yes. But in that case, there doesn't seem to be a way to play in album/CD order of an album. Once you select the album, it plays in alphabetical order of the song titles (not the filename). Correct me if I'm wrong on this - or point me to a better way.

Another issue I've had with all files in the root is duplicate file names. (same song by different artists). Sometimes the track number is the same, resulting in the same file name. And even though I can build a filename for all files in the library with "Artist-track-song", that often results in a name that's too long for the SRX's display.

So - no perfect solution for all, but plenty of "do-able" solutions depending on what's most important to each user.



There might be a limit on how many files are allowed in a single folder.

I seem to remember reading something in the manual about 2500 in a single folder (I could be wrong on that). I have a flashdrive with 2800+ files on it (in multiple folders) that the SRX reads correctly. I also seem to remember that Sube said somewhere that he had quite a few in one folder. If I get a chance, I'll load up several thousand in a single folder and try it.


.

sube5186
11-07-11, 05:43 PM
I have a total of seven folders with a maximum of 556 tracks in one of those. The other folders have a couple of hundred each. I checked both the reg manual and the Nav manual. The Nav manual (page 24) talks about the maximum number of folders being 255, but this refers to an MP3 CD, not a thumbdrive. I can't find anything about the maximum number of folders or tracks per folder on a thumbdrive. xrs01, from the section below, you're pretty lucky all of your tracks play. Notice it doesn't say whether those 2,500 songs are in folders or the root directory.

From 6-30 of the manual:

Connecting and Controlling a USB Drive

The infotainment system can only
play back .mp3 and .wma files from
a USB drive. Only the first 2,500 songs are
recognized on the device.


Sube

xrs01
11-07-11, 06:17 PM
I just built a thumbdrive with 5873 files in the root directory.

5841 mp3's.
15 wma's.
17 wav's.

The SRX correctly recognized all 5856 of the mp3's and 15 wma's.

I was able to access the folder and title list.

However, it never seemed to be able to build the artist list, album list and other lists. I may not have waited around long enough (only about 10 minutes). The system may have still been building the lists, but whenever I checked, there was no progress on the bar graphs.

Not sure what the limit is per folder, but apparently quite a few.

The problem with that many in one folder or list is trying to get to one in the "middle" of the list. It takes quite a while spinning the wheel, or pushing the scroll down/up button on the screen.

I have two other thumbdrives I've been using for the last 2 years with 2300+ and 2800+ songs on them, but those songs are in multiple folders.

The limit on folders, files, and files/folder may be dependent upon what version of the Nav/Infotainment software that is currently installed on your system.


.

JimmyH
11-07-11, 06:20 PM
None of this would be an issue for me. With my ipod, I simply have it set to shuffle all songs.

11RavenBlack
11-09-11, 03:04 PM
Apparently, either this is something they changed for 2012, or yours is not working correctly. I can't think why they would have changed this. Maybe some other 2012 owners can chime in. If it is normal, no biggie, since you said you really don't mind the wait. However, if it isn't normal, maybe it needs a software re-flash. Just some food for thought.


Sube

I have a 2011 with Nav and the unit will index everytime I turn it on, whether it is my iPod or USB thumb drive. Doesn't take very long.

:pow-mia: Never Forget

sube5186
11-09-11, 09:35 PM
I have a 2011 with Nav and the unit will index everytime I turn it on, whether it is my iPod or USB thumb drive. Doesn't take very long.

:pow-mia: Never Forget

:hmm: Weird! Anybody have a 2010 with the 10 speaker Premium Bose system that indexes every time too? I'm thinking this may have more to do with the read times of the specific thumbdrive used. What brand/model thumbdrive are you guys using? Mine is a SanDisk Cruzer 16 GB, with U2 security software uninstalled and reformatted to FAT32. I just checked their website. I didn't realize the 64 GB model is out. This really makes the HDD obsolete. I got the 16 GB because I'd heard the file transfer times for the 32 GB model were slow. If that's true, it may be worse for the 64 GB model.


Sube

JimmyH
11-10-11, 11:31 AM
On my CTS, it only indexed the first time it was plugged in.

inspectorudy
11-14-11, 02:10 AM
Speaking of the HDD has anyone found a use for it?

Huey Driver
12-23-11, 06:50 PM
Problem discovered. I finally had time to try and figure out why my playlist only seems to be partially working. It never seemed to play a lot of my songs on my thumbdrive.
I thought it might be that it wasn't really randomizing, or ever getting to those folders. It turns out, that the radio only appears to read 255 lines out of the playlist file. Thats a nice, round, number; so I figure its a limit somewhere. I dont see that there is a limit on the size of an M3U file, and at least at this point, gotta blame it on the radio.
For smaller playlists, this works. For mine (1400 entries), I will continue to try and figure out an answer. I know that the M3U format at least supports nesting playlists.
This limit may be inadvertant and related to the limit in some GM systems that only allow 255 files in a directory.

xrs01
12-23-11, 09:00 PM
.

255 is a nice round round number: 2 to the 8th power, minus 1.


I suspect you are correct, the radio software is the issue.

The radio software also only recognizes 499 folders on a flashdrive (not really a nice round computer number), whether those folders are on the root, or are sub or sub-sub folders (the root is the 500th folder).

Let us know if the radio recognizes nested playlists within an M3U playlist. That could solve the issue.




Problem discovered. I finally had time to try and figure out why my playlist only seems to be partially working. It never seemed to play a lot of my songs on my thumbdrive.
I thought it might be that it wasn't really randomizing, or ever getting to those folders. It turns out, that the radio only appears to read 255 lines out of the playlist file. Thats a nice, round, number; so I figure its a limit somewhere. I dont see that there is a limit on the size of an M3U file, and at least at this point, gotta blame it on the radio.
For smaller playlists, this works. For mine (1400 entries), I will continue to try and figure out an answer. I know that the M3U format at least supports nesting playlists.
This limit may be inadvertant and related to the limit in some GM systems that only allow 255 files in a directory.

TheCaptain
12-25-11, 03:02 PM
Speaking of the HDD has anyone found a use for it?

Yea, i have a few songs ripped to it from cd's.

xrs01
12-25-11, 04:31 PM
Yea, i have a few songs ripped to it from cd's.

And it's very useful as the built in Digital Audio Recorder.

TheCaptain
12-27-11, 04:49 PM
Yea, i re-listen to a lot of songs on XM too! :D

Lenpot
05-17-14, 11:18 AM
I have a similar problem with my 2012 SRX. THE CAR's computer plays the tracks in alphabetical order by track name. It's very frustrating. I have tried adding "A,B,C" to the beginning of the track name but it must be reading the embedded names. If anyone has a solution, I would appreciate it.

SoCalSRX
05-17-14, 11:49 AM
I have a similar problem with my 2012 SRX. THE CAR's computer plays the tracks in alphabetical order by track name. It's very frustrating. I have tried adding "A,B,C" to the beginning of the track name but it must be reading the embedded names. If anyone has a solution, I would appreciate it.

I downloaded a free program to edit MP3 tags. Then I put (1), (2), etc. (with parentheses) at the beginning of each song title. That did the trick!