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Hi All,

Is there anyone on here who is particularly knowledgeable about using a USB memory stick with a Mark Levinson audio system?

My previous cars have all had a 6-CD autochanger which I was always ok with but CDs are now considered passé so my newly acquired 2014 GS300H is only fitted with a single CD slot. (BTW, I did know this before I bought the car!). Anyway, No problem I thought, I bought a 128Gb USB memory and started re-ripping my CD collection in 320kbps quality to get reproduction in close to CD quality and ensuring that all ID3 tags are complete. So far so good and playing the mp3 files is fine but my problem is trying to get to grips with the folder/file hierarchy so it's easier and quicker to find a particular album, artist or folder which I will definitely need when I eventually have 250-300 albums on there instead of the 20 or so I have currently.

The handbook says that Maximum directory hierarchy is 8 levels and I'm not using anything like that just Root / Artists / Albums / tracks but when I select Media/USB it immediately starts playing the first track in an album folder (or from where it left off previously) and scrolling through folders just goes through the album folders in some sort of random and most definitely non-alphabetical order and there doesn't seem to be any way of accessing the Artist folders level from there.

The handbook shows pics of the screen in 2 play modes called Tag mode and Folder mode but it doesn't explain how to choose between them and it goes on to show a picture of what the display screen looks like for selecting Folder, Artist, Album (which is where I'm trying to get to) but again it doesn't adequately explain how to get there from where it seems to default to. Hence I'm struggling.

Is anyone able to help me with this please? Any and all help most appreciated!

Cheers

Dave

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Hi,

I had a 2016 facelift GS, so I don't know if it's exactly the same as yours, but here's what I found:

1. If you browse the USB by folder and select a track, you should find it goes into Folder mode. If you browse by artist or song and select a track, it goes into Tag mode. Mine always defaulted to Folder mode on a restart. It also sorted by filename (see below) in Folder mode and track name in Tag mode.

2. The files and folders will normally be in the order you copy them, but I found that it always listed the last folder copied first. It generally means that you have to copy the entire drive if you want to add or delete anything and maintain the order. The system uses the old MSDOS 8.3 filename structure to order the files and folders, which is generally not visible in Windows. There are programs such as DriveSort (see: https://www.techmadeplain.com/2014/how-to-sort-music-flash-drive-car-stereo/) which will allow you to sort files and folders on the USB drive itself into the order you want them using the 8.3 filename.

It's definitely not the most intuitive system, but you can usually get it to work how you want it to. Hope this helps.

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You can also use itunes and make playlists of your music i e if the cd is Tom Jones greatest hits name the playlist that also make sure in preferences in Itunes it is set for MP3 put the USB memory stick in Aand make coressopnding Folder then copy and paste, all songs will be in order then.  I used to use drivesort but since it updated it will no longer work asks for MFC140.dll that cannot be found Drivesort is simple if you can get it to work so I have now reverted to ITunes.

One more point I have got 3 16 gb usbs as i found out that the large ones take a while for Albums to display on screen I know its too much trouble, but you can get 40 albums plus on 16 gb usb sticks

mine is a 2014 Gs450

 

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I might be missing something but wouldn't it be simpler to just get some kind of aftermarket Bluetooth interface and use your phone or an ipod? Then you can ask siri or the android equivalent to play whatever you want.

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Gen 4 GS cars (and no doubt some others) have Bluetooth built in so you can play music from your phone very easily. 128Gb-worth of music might be pushing a phone a bit, though!🙂

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23 hours ago, spacenase said:

Hi,

I had a 2016 facelift GS, so I don't know if it's exactly the same as yours, but here's what I found:

1. If you browse the USB by folder and select a track, you should find it goes into Folder mode. If you browse by artist or song and select a track, it goes into Tag mode. Mine always defaulted to Folder mode on a restart. It also sorted by filename (see below) in Folder mode and track name in Tag mode.

2. The files and folders will normally be in the order you copy them, but I found that it always listed the last folder copied first. It generally means that you have to copy the entire drive if you want to add or delete anything and maintain the order. The system uses the old MSDOS 8.3 filename structure to order the files and folders, which is generally not visible in Windows. There are programs such as DriveSort (see: https://www.techmadeplain.com/2014/how-to-sort-music-flash-drive-car-stereo/) which will allow you to sort files and folders on the USB drive itself into the order you want them using the 8.3 filename.

It's definitely not the most intuitive system, but you can usually get it to work how you want it to. Hope this helps.

Many thanks Keith, that has been very helpful, especially the tag/folder modes and I have just spent a few more minutes fiddling with the system (just another excuse to sit in the car really!) and I think I'm getting there. I still can't access the Artists folder level but I have at least found my way to the Artists tab but it takes the Artist names from the ID3 tags and not from the folder names but I guess that's a viable plan B.

It seems an odd system that presents the folders in the order in which they were loaded and not alphabetically but I will check out the link you provided for resorting as you suggested so thanks for that too.

Regards

dave

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9 hours ago, KayCee said:

You can also use itunes and make playlists of your music i e if the cd is Tom Jones greatest hits name the playlist that also make sure in preferences in Itunes it is set for MP3 put the USB memory stick in Aand make coressopnding Folder then copy and paste, all songs will be in order then.  I used to use drivesort but since it updated it will no longer work asks for MFC140.dll that cannot be found Drivesort is simple if you can get it to work so I have now reverted to ITunes.

One more point I have got 3 16 gb usbs as i found out that the large ones take a while for Albums to display on screen I know its too much trouble, but you can get 40 albums plus on 16 gb usb sticks

mine is a 2014 Gs450

 

Thanks Robert, but I don't use itunes and I don't want to open another can of worms when I've only just taken the lid off one!

Cheers, dave

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8 hours ago, m4rkw said:

I might be missing something but wouldn't it be simpler to just get some kind of aftermarket bluetooth interface and use your phone or an ipod? Then you can ask siri or the android equivalent to play whatever you want.

Thanks Mark, the car does have Bluetooth connection for audio but I'm trying to set up something that is in the car permanently rather than use external devices which need to be activated every time I set off and so it's still accessible even if I don't have my phone with me, Ultimately, my intention is to have far more music available than will fit on my phone anyway. 

Cheers, dave

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8 hours ago, johnatg said:

Gen 4 GS cars (and no doubt some others) have Bluetooth built in so you can play music from your phone very easily. 128Gb-worth of music might be pushing a phone a bit, though!🙂

Thanks John, yes, 128Gb is a lot of music, even at 320kbps quality, but as I said in my reply to Mark, I'm trying to setup something that is permanently in the car rather than using external devices of which I have quite a few!

Cheers, dave

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26 minutes ago, Swanheart said:

Thanks Mark, the car does have Bluetooth connection for audio but I'm trying to set up something that is in the car permanently rather than use external devices which need to be activated every time I set off and so it's still accessible even if I don't have my phone with me, Ultimately, my intention is to have far more music available than will fit on my phone anyway. 

Cheers, dave

Fair enough! If I wanted that I think I'd use Bluetooth with something like apple Music, that way I'd have the entire apple music archive in the car. I'm boring though I tend to just play one or two albums and usually listen to podcasts rather than music.

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I use a 64GB USB stick - actually two so I just swap sticks over rather than having to go and grab the stick from the car in order to update/add stuff to it:

- this has around 150 CDs of music on it ripped to MP3 at 320K and I've only used up 16GB of space so far.

- it will take the car a few minutes to read the stick the first time you put it in, but if you leave it in it will work instantly next time you start the car.

- the stick needs to be formatted as FAT32. For larger capacity sticks you may need to download software in order to format them correctly (e.g. guiformat). Also be aware there are a lot of fake USB sticks on the market at silly prices that will crash out long before you reach the quoted capacity.

- if you're using MP3s make sure they are tagged correctly. I use a piece of freeware on windows called ID3-TagIT. It's not entirely intuitive, but I find I can fix the Album/Track Title & Number/Artist tags so that I will be able to find the tracks I want when the stick is in the car. I put each album into its own folder to make file management easier.

- Try to keep album names and track titles short because the car display is limited in length.

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Exactly David but cruzer sticks are best I have found

I have seen other peoples cars with wires hanging about all over the place and that goes through me just to play music

I have 2 16 gb sticks less than a tenner a peice and one as 40 albums on and there is still plenty of room i dont think i have used the other and i have a small USB extension that sits in the  console box as neat as a pin.

 

Perfect

I use to use a old Iphone 4 as IPod but if you dont use car for a couple of days its Battery is flat mind it does show Album art work and plays in AAC which is slightly better than MP3 or WMA but not much so thats why i use the USB stick

 

 

Robert

 

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18 hours ago, stox said:

 I use a piece of freeware on windows called ID3-TagIT.

I tend to use MediaMonkey (free version) on PC to setup the correct artists, albums and other tags.  I find the way the CD creator creates filenames and other tags can be a naffing nightmare - especially on certain compilations.  I tend to create a lot of my own very long compialtions of over 200 tracks, meaning I need to tweak the track IDs to get things to work well

I load all my music onto my phone (with 128GB card - only half full to date) and use Neutron Player on phone, so i can search by pretty much any tag I like, date, name, artist, etc.

I then plug phone into cassette adpator in my LS, or via Bluetooth in the wifes motor.

I do find sometimes that Neutron player gets a bit tangled up, but never found a totally 100% satisfactory android based player.

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On 12/21/2019 at 5:49 PM, spacenase said:

Hi,

I had a 2016 facelift GS, so I don't know if it's exactly the same as yours, but here's what I found:

1. If you browse the USB by folder and select a track, you should find it goes into Folder mode. If you browse by artist or song and select a track, it goes into Tag mode. Mine always defaulted to Folder mode on a restart. It also sorted by filename (see below) in Folder mode and track name in Tag mode.

2. The files and folders will normally be in the order you copy them, but I found that it always listed the last folder copied first. It generally means that you have to copy the entire drive if you want to add or delete anything and maintain the order. The system uses the old MSDOS 8.3 filename structure to order the files and folders, which is generally not visible in Windows. There are programs such as DriveSort (see: https://www.techmadeplain.com/2014/how-to-sort-music-flash-drive-car-stereo/) which will allow you to sort files and folders on the USB drive itself into the order you want them using the 8.3 filename.

It's definitely not the most intuitive system, but you can usually get it to work how you want it to. Hope this helps.

Hi Keith,

I've solved the problem with the folders being displayed in the order you copy them! I've discovered that I can just use a voice command to play which ever album I want to listen to and don't have to search for anything so it doesn't matter what order they're in. Simple as that. 

On the down side, I have discovered that the Mark Levinson audio system in my GS isn't a patch on the one in my 4th Gen Honda Legend which is down to the quality of the speakers so I may have to find someone who can upgrade the speakers with Bose ones which are standard in the Legend and much much better.

Dave 

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ML audio system in GS is excellent, I would not change the speakers, remember that you have separate settings for each source, if you don't make changes you risk to have flat settings except for that source you have changed it and so it seems sound is rather "neutral".

 

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Yes I too was a little disapointed in the audio and the 1 slot Cd from 6 but memory sticks and Bluetooth have solved that problem

As for the audio set the the source settings to your choice and you will find its more than acceptable plus after all it is MP3 or WMA so it has already lost a bit of quality i find mine is  perfect for my needs.

Changing the speakers will open a can of worms.

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