Can CUE play iTunes music (files) from a hard drive in the same way it does an iPod?
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**Cadillac User Experience (CUE)** Discussion, Can CUE play iTunes music (files) from a hard drive in the same way it does an iPod? in Item Specific Cadillac Discussion; Having a lot of problems playing my iPod library of 7,000+ songs on CUE. I am sure many of you ...
  1. #1
    NJRonbo is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Can CUE play iTunes music (files) from a hard drive in the same way it does an iPod?

    Having a lot of problems playing my iPod library of 7,000+ songs on CUE. I am sure many of you have been following my struggles in this forum.

    Had a thought....and maybe this would work....and maybe it wouldn't....

    I don't keep my music on my computer. I copied all my iTunes music (and folders) to an external portable hard drive. I can plug it into my desktop iMac or Macbook laptop, launch iTunes, and the software will find the appropriate iTunes file to properly index my music in the iTunes software no matter what computer I use.

    Sooooo.....

    Could I simply plug my portable hard drive into my vehicle's USB port and hope that it recognizes all my playlists and songs without the need of an iPod? Or, is the iPod and its internal software the thing I need for CUE to properly place my playlists?

    After all, I am copying my iTunes folders and file structures onto an external hard drive.

    Yeah, I could simply go out to my vehicle now and test it out, but I thought I would simply ask first.

    If this could essentially work, I could ditch my iPod and put all my music on a SOLID STATE 250GB hard drive. Access time would be phenomenal, I would have more HD storage space, and I could still transfer music using iTunes and have CUE recognize the hard drive in the same way it would an iPod.

    It might also solve the problem of CUE not being able to play that amount of music.

    Is this possible, or is the key to CUE playing music as it would appear in iTunes essential to having it played through an iPod?

    ----------EDIT:

    You know, I could have saved myself and all of you a lot of time by just testing it myself....

    Plugged my portable drive into the CUE USB port. This drive contains the iTunes file structure. If it were plugged into a computer iTunes would properly index all the music on it.

    ...but that seems to be the magic mojo missing here. Apparently, you can't just plug a hard drive into the USB port with iTunes files and expect it to work. You would need an iPod, which contains the necessary software to translate everything to CUE.

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  3. #2
    jeffpaletz is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Can CUE play iTunes music (files) from a hard drive in the same way it does an iP

    I copied just the songs in Itunes to an SD card. Put the SD card into the CUE system and it plays the songs. Here's what I did: In Itunes I clicked on music so all songs were displayed. I clicked the first song, scrolled to the bottom of the list and clicked the last song while holding the shift key. All songs were highlighed. I right clicked on the list of songs and selected copy. I navigated to the SD card and clicked paste. This copied all the songs to the SD card. After putting the SD Card in the car, I was able to play the songs. Play lists from Itunes won't work not only because they are the wrong format but also because the location of the songs in the play list is different due to being on an SD card. Note that CUE won't display artwork in M4a files however if you convert the files to MP3 format it will display artwork if it's there.

  4. #3
    danscrim is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Can CUE play iTunes music (files) from a hard drive in the same way it does an iP

    I'm pretty sure CUE doesn't support hard drives. There is a fundamental difference (apparently) between removable storage and HDDs and somewhere in the CUE manual it says HDDs will not work.

  5. #4
    CDN XTS is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Can CUE play iTunes music (files) from a hard drive in the same way it does an iP

    Not trying to hijack this thread, but on a related iTunes issue I had problems with playlists as used by CUE but I finally succeeded after lots of tries and for information to others who have problems here is my feedback:
    • Initially I tried by just having the iTunes file with its library copied together with all my music. That library (in two versions – one readable for other programmes and one as used by iTunes. That file includes almost everything, including playlists. (you can read the “.xml” file yourself to see what’s in it.) I thought, incorrectly, as I know now, that CUE simply uses that library to create whatever it needs when indexing, generating also the appropriate playlists as the exist in iTunes. No joy.
    • I then used iTunes to export my playlists to an “.m3u” file. Looking at it I noted the full path as per my PC, which obviously would not work. So I used search and replace to change "D:\Music\" by "..\" .
    • I also used Windows Media Player to generate a test “.wpl” file which does not include the PC portion of the path. Based on the manual such a “.wpl” file should work. Alas, neither one worked.
    The original M3U file had entries like this:

    #EXTINF:605,poet and peasant - Neville Marriner
    D:\Music\Neville Marriner\Favorite Overtures\02 poet and peasant.mp3

    The revised M3u file had entries like this:

    #EXTINF:605,poet and peasant - Neville Marriner
    ..\Neville Marriner\Favorite Overtures\02 poet and peasant
    .mp3

    The wpl file has entries like this:

    < media src="..\ABBA\Gold- Greatest Hits\01 Dancing Queen.mp3"/>
    • I was in contact with another CUE user, who had also problems. He eventually used another program (Media Monkey) to create a “.m3u” file and sent me a copy of that file which he said worked (he has all music in the root directory). Thanks Jeff.
    Entries looked like this:

    \ABBA - Thank You For The Music.mp3
    • So I then edited my previous file to have the entries read like this:
    \Neville Marriner\Favorite Overtures\02 poet and peasant.mp3
    • It still did not work and I then had a further look at that the now very basic “m3u” file, this time looking at it which a hex viewer and I noted three hex characters at the very beginning - FF BB BF - which will not show any other way. I could not delete those until I used a HEX editor. I then replaced this further revised “.m3u” file in the root directory on the SD card and took a short drive. Tried it after 11 minutes and indexing was finished (probably even earlier) and the playlist showed up and was usable. After restarting the car, I still could select that playlist right away and use it.
    • I have since amended 2 more (larger) existing iTunes playlists that way (they all had those 3 hex characters, so that is something iTunes seem to put into exported playlists.) I also now removed the iTunes folder from my SD card. This time it took 15 minutes for initialization (nothing else connected) and all works now within 10 seconds after starting the car. As to this “basically immediate working” Cody informed me that the system is designed to be able to remember the index from up to 5 devices that were connected via USB and not have to reindex the device fully after it's been done once. Thanks Cody. So, to me that explains why one can browse a USB stick or SD card for songs, albums, artists, genres as well as playlists and select any of those to play prior to the automatic reindexing. Cody informed me again that they are working on finding a better method regarding indexing at a high priority. So gals and guys, keep faith with CUE.
    Obviously using a “.m3u” file exported from iTunes, making all those changes to the file and even using a Hex editor to delete those three characters is a rather time-consuming and difficult way to do it. Although some can be done via search and replace. Perhaps someone from GM can write an appropriate programme to automate that and make it available to users of CUE, or even better for CUE to translate the data from the iTunes Library file, ignoring the PC path portion. Hint, hint. Well the latter suggestion may be somewhat complicated. The other option of course is re-generating playlists from scratch via some other programme as long as the “.m3u” file is in the basic format outlined above. This is basically a plain text file which must be saved in windows-1252 format http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows-1252 with a “m3u” file extension.

    I have not investigated the requirements for any other of the playlist file versions outlined on page 31 of the CUE manual, but at least for the “.wpl” version as generated by Windows Media Player (running on a Windows 7 64-bit system) CUE also doesn’t recognise it. So just like for “.m3u” file which in its extended version can include comments and extended M3U directives, prefaced by the “#” character, (like the type iTunes exports which CUE does not recognize), similar rules may extend to those other supported playlist files CUE supports.
    So hopefully GM will provide additional guidelines as to the technical requirements associated with those listed playlist file version outlined in the CUE manual to assist users in generating playlists.

    Now as to artwork, it looks like it is required to be inside each MP3 files, rather than an appropriate JPG file in the album folder, as it is on my PC. I’ll look into that when I have some time after my holiday at a nice sunny beach. As Jeff reported in his earlier post above embedded artwork works in “.mp3" files work but not when embedded in “m4a” files. Again hopefully GM will provide additional guidelines regarding artwork. It would however be nice it CUE could be programmed to employ the “.jpg” files Windows Media Player and iTunes place into album folders to avoid the need in using some other programme to embed artwork into each and every “.mp3" file.
    NB: I noted that iTunes does not read those “.jpg” files downloaded by Windows Media Player but only those downloaded by iTunes. However iTunes seems to have less access to artwork than the Windows Media Player.
    And before anyone asked, no, I am not a programmer or IT specialist, just an 78 old retired banker who still enjoys technology and loves driving his new XTS Platinum. LOL.

  6. #5
    kevinr is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    If you're going to try the SSD approach, try using the app DoubleTwist to sync your iTunes library to your SSD. I do this with a subset of my iTunes library to an SD card and it works fine (including playlists).

  7. #6
    CDN XTS is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Can CUE play iTunes music (files) from a hard drive in the same way it does an iP

    @ kevinr

    Thanks for your input. Great to know there is yet another way to get the system to work. Have to try that. Then there is winamp. But CUE already worked with my music library from the outset, except for playlist. Many of these aps report good and bad experiences. So as to CUE all I need is an easy way to translate my existing playlists. Anyway since I have been able to get my original iTunes playlists working under CUE, I will wait until a different way has been found by the CUE team to the indexing aspect in general which may or may not use the iTunes library file when using USB sticks or SD cards for music input v/s iPod, etc, including more informative information in future reprints of the manual - and, for existing customers, an appropriate page on the Cadillac web-site including a link to it posted on the forum.

    The missing documentation details is the only real problem I think, as this resulted in all of us spending a lot of time trying numerous ways to get it working. But to be fair, given there are numerous ways, it also adds to the problem of defining the best way and documenting it. Paricularly as the "best way" for one person is not necessarily the "best way" for another. And then it would have to be a way for CUE doing this as I doubt tht GM is going to tell customers to use specific outside application, until they get into "by them approved apps development". But then there are those who do not even read a manual. LOL.

  8. #7
    jeffpaletz is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Can CUE play iTunes music (files) from a hard drive in the same way it does an iP

    I tried DoubleTwist and it worked great. Do you have a utility to cut off the silence at the end of most songs, either M4a or MP3s without bringing up every song and manually cutting off the silence?

  9. #8
    drsketch is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Can CUE play iTunes music (files) from a hard drive in the same way it does an iP

    OP are these MP3 files? I believe in the other thread you noted these are backups to your cd's? As I noted I put MP3 on a 8gb flash drive and plugged it in and it plays. I can also sometime between now and the weekend put 160gb of music on a portable hard drive and plug it in and see how it plays. Let me know, and if you want PM me and we can keep in touch via email.

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    NJRonbo is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Can CUE play iTunes music (files) from a hard drive in the same way it does an iP

    Appreciate your help.

    It's a mix of backed up CDs and downloaded MP3 music. I don't know how Apple saves ripped CD music, but I did transfer it in lossless.

    There's something going on this end with my situation that I will have more to talk about in the next day or two. Wait until then to go to the trouble of putting all that music on a drive, that is, unless you want to.

  11. #10
    drsketch is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Can CUE play iTunes music (files) from a hard drive in the same way it does an iP

    I kind of want to for testing purposes. I'll see what I can do and report back.

    ----------

    I have some at work, however my wife is going to go to target and buy me a drive so i'll test this tonight.

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    drsketch is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Can CUE play iTunes music (files) from a hard drive in the same way it does an iP

    Hello,

    at roughly 5 minutes my car was still syncing. I will see what it does on the drive into work. Note that at 5 minutes I would say roughly 60-70% had synced and I was able to scroll through what had synced and play music. Also note that this was a portable 1TB USB 3.0 drive with roughly 165gb of MP3 and album art.(jpg). No other files types reside on this disk.

    Also note that several music sites I am on state that itunes screws with the ID3 tags, small files containing information about the song, song name, genre, artist, album etc. so maybe this has some to do with your issue as well.

    Does this sound similar to your experience or is this improved from what you are experiencing?

  13. #12
    drsketch is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Can CUE play iTunes music (files) from a hard drive in the same way it does an iP

    I left the drive plugged into my car and it didn't have to resync this afternoon

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    NJRonbo is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Can CUE play iTunes music (files) from a hard drive in the same way it does an iP

    How can you do it and preserve the playlists set up in iTunes? If moving all my music to a stick or hard drive means having to forego the managed structure that iTunes provides it doesn't seem like it would be worth the effort. The last thing I don't have time to do is move 7,000 songs over to a hard drive and manually put them in their own playlists so that CUE recognizes them properly.

  15. #14
    jeffpaletz is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Can CUE play iTunes music (files) from a hard drive in the same way it does an iP

    Try DoubleTwist. It took a playlist from Itunes, copied the songs to a USB memory stick and created a play list on the memory stick. I put the USB memory stick in the car and after a couple of minutes CUE saw the songs and the play list showed up. Worked Great! Doubletwist.com

  16. #15
    NJRonbo is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Can CUE play iTunes music (files) from a hard drive in the same way it does an iP

    It's that easy?! And it has to work on a hard drive as I have 160GB worth of songs to transfer.

    I know of DoubleTwist for Android. There is a standalone application that will do this? Is it for Mac or for Windows?

    And, really, it retains all the iTunes playlists? There is no extra work I need to do?

    Thanks

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