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      05-12-2011, 01:42 AM   #1
sfax
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USB music and album artwork

Just wanted to report back on a few things regarding USB flash drives and music. Hope some of it proves useful:

1. You can copy music onto pretty much any USB flash drive. I bought a cheap 32GB one for 20 to use solely for the car and it works well so far. You can get a 64GB drive for about 90. You pay more for flash memory with higher data transfer rates but you really don’t need high data transfer rates for this purpose.

2. There is a list somewhere of which files are supported but I would only use mp3s as I think they are the only files which allow you to embed artwork in ID3 tags and they are the most universally compatible.

3. Album artwork only gets displayed if it’s embedded in ID3 tags in the actual mp3 files. iTunes doesn’t do this correctly in my experience and I had to use a 3rd party app http://dalepreston.com/Blog/2009/07/...art-fixer.html which will sort out your whole library pretty quickly and pick up any jpgs in the album folders and embed them correctly.

4. Also, don’t use iTunes to try to get artwork either as very limited. WMP is much better and there are other 3rd party apps out there too.

5. Once you have an mp3 library with embedded artwork you can copy it to a USB flash drive and plug it into the armrest USB socket. Music can then be played directly using Music Collection – External Devices.

6. You cannot play music direct from the 2nd USB socket in the glove box. This can only be used for importing music to the HDD.

7. If you play the music directly from the USB stick you see the artwork straight away



8. If you import the music from the USB to the HDD, you never see the artwork, regardless of whether it’s embedded as an ID3 tag or not

Advantages of dedicated USB flash drive over large capacity iPods

1. You can get a 32GB USB flash drive for a fraction of the price of any iPod

2. it’s solid state so less likely to be affected by the movement of the car

3. It takes up much less space in the armrest and doesn’t need a cable

4. Arguably less of a security risk than leaving an iPod permanently in the car

5. If you don’t leave an iPod permanently in the car you have to remember it every time you use the car

Disadvantages

1. You don’t get playlists and “easy” management other non-music stuff through iTunes

2. You’ll probably end up maintaining an iTunes or similar library elsewhere and having to manually add new stuff to the USB flash drive rather than just synching

3. You only have 32GB of storage in the 20-40 price bracket and then prices in increase to 90 for 64GB

Advantages of using a dedicated USB flash drive over the internal HDD

1. The biggest one by far is that you don’t get the ridiculous bug where iDrive plays album songs in alphabetical order

2. Again, it’s solid state so less likely to be affected by the movement of the car

3. You get album artwork

4. Not restricted to 12GB capacity

5. Much easier to manage a USB flash drive than to use the import utility which only gives an all or nothing option when importing and is quite slow

Disadvantages

1. You permanently tie up the USB socket in the arm rest. I still haven’t tried USB charging from the glove box but I assume that this works OK

2. You can’t rip directly from a CD whilst playing it in the car



I've noticed another bug that seems to affect USB and HDD music (maybe iPod too but not sure) and that is where you have an album split over 2 or more CDs. Search by album and play and it plays CD1 track 1 then CD2 track 1, CD1Tr2, CD2Tr2 etc. Doh!
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Last edited by sfax; 05-12-2011 at 04:10 AM.
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      05-12-2011, 02:14 AM   #2
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Fantastic assesment, More reasons why I don't need to buy any Apple product, regular USB playback is all i need.
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      05-12-2011, 03:02 AM   #3
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great summary~ good job!
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      05-12-2011, 06:31 AM   #4
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Thanks this has been really helpful! Enjoy your music and enjoy your ride.
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      05-12-2011, 07:00 AM   #5
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Thanks sfax for filling in the gaps. Great job as ever.

The bugs I hope will be gone by the time my x3 arrives. I was wondering if the centre usb will power and read a v.small 500Gb Buffalo external drive I got foc just now with no other use for?

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      05-12-2011, 07:11 AM   #6
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Good comparison. I already have been using iPod in BMWs for several years, but it's good to know that the USB is another alternative or supplement.
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      05-12-2011, 07:31 AM   #7
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Thanks for sharing sfax Did you try media monkey at all, for your music collection?

I do not have the problem below with my M3. Annoying that it's now present in new cars.

I've noticed another bug that seems to affect USB and HDD music (maybe iPod too but not sure) and that is where you have an album split over 2 or more CDs. Search by album and play and it plays CD1 track 1 then CD2 track 1, CD1Tr2, CD2Tr2 etc. Doh!
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      05-12-2011, 07:54 AM   #8
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Great post!
I hope the mods make this a sticky!
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      05-12-2011, 08:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max3Factor View Post
I was wondering if the centre usb will power and read a v.small 500Gb Buffalo external drive I got foc just now with no other use for?
I would have thought that would work OK as it can power iPods which have hard drives. I have a 500GB Seagate so will check for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max3Factor View Post
The bugs I hope will be gone by the time my x3 arrives.
Let's hope so! I would urge as many people as possible to complain to BMW about their software bugs rather than just putting up with them. Hopefully this will make it more likely that they'll fix them but who knows.
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      05-12-2011, 08:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ant Man View Post
Thanks for sharing sfax Did you try media monkey at all, for your music collection?

I do not have the problem below with my M3. Annoying that it's now present in new cars.

I've noticed another bug that seems to affect USB and HDD music (maybe iPod too but not sure) and that is where you have an album split over 2 or more CDs. Search by album and play and it plays CD1 track 1 then CD2 track 1, CD1Tr2, CD2Tr2 etc. Doh!
It may not affect all albums with 2+ CDs but I've noticed it on two of mine which were on a USB flash drive. You only get this problem if you search by album name first (perhaps because both CDs share the same album name and it decides to merge them). If you go the folder route, it's OK
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      05-12-2011, 08:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ant Man View Post
Thanks for sharing sfax Did you try media monkey at all, for your music collection?
I did have a look at Media Monkey but only for artwork. Might take another look because I'm not a big fan of the iTunes interface (despite being a big iPhone/iPod fan!). Thanks for reminding me
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      05-14-2011, 03:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfax View Post
Let's hope so! I would urge as many people as possible to complain to BMW about their software bugs rather than just putting up with them. Hopefully this will make it more likely that they'll fix them but who knows.
Keep pestering BMW UK and your local dealer. The M3 DCT that came out in 2008 has had so many software updates in unreal. BMW usually fix bugs that are reported back by dealers. When the car is in for a service and is plugged into the computer, it will show if any of the software models are not the latest ones and can update them. Some dealers do not do this but my local Styner does as a matter of course.
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      05-14-2011, 03:43 PM   #13
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I find "mp3tag" much faster than using Media Monkey for tag editing.

Just picked up my car on Thursday and started playing round with the external drive last night. No problems playing "wma" or "m4a' files and showing artwork off external laptop HD. Plugged in my daughter classic ipod and only some of the artwork showed. My bet is that her tags need editing. The biggest problem is when pluging and unpluging the ex. laptop drive the file system seems to get corrupted and will not play after a couple times. I'll probably end up using the ipod or thumb drives.
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      05-15-2011, 01:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfax View Post
I did have a look at Media Monkey but only for artwork. Might take another look because I'm not a big fan of the iTunes interface (despite being a big iPhone/iPod fan!). Thanks for reminding me
Hi Sfax, I dont have an ipod, but memeory disk, hardisk music and Creative mP3 player. i am only interested in USB port and shows album art on i drive. which is the right option? is 6NH all i need?
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      05-17-2011, 06:16 PM   #15
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Problems with IPOD artwork on 2011 5 Series

Guys, just got my 5 (demo unit with 7k miles) and it wont display my artwork. It had to go back into shop and the loaner (a newer 5) had no problems showing artwork. I've tried using the BMW standard cable and my old one but to no avail. Do you think I need to go back into dealership for software update? I've even noticed some of the screens are different.

thanks!

Mark
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      05-18-2011, 12:54 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inamik75 View Post
Hi Sfax, I dont have an ipod, but memeory disk, hardisk music and Creative mP3 player. i am only interested in USB port and shows album art on i drive. which is the right option? is 6NH all i need?
Only just noticed this question. It's 6FL that you need (USB Audio Interface). This is part of the business and pro media packages in the UK or part of the bluetooth packages, which are 6NH, 6NL and 6NK. You can't order 6NH in the UK at the moment. There are rumours of production delays relating to 6NH and it no longer appears on the UK website so I would double check if you are even able to order it with your dealer.

If you can't get 6NH, then anything that has a description like "with USB audio interface" will have 6FL and allow you to play the music you have mentioned with artwork
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      05-18-2011, 01:41 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markcmurphy View Post
Guys, just got my 5 (demo unit with 7k miles) and it wont display my artwork. It had to go back into shop and the loaner (a newer 5) had no problems showing artwork. I've tried using the BMW standard cable and my old one but to no avail. Do you think I need to go back into dealership for software update? I've even noticed some of the screens are different.

thanks!

Mark
Depends on what options you have now and what was on the loaner you used (assuming everything else is the same). You should get artwork if it's embedded in the files with a normal white USB cable if you have the tech package/nav. You'll need a BMW Y cable if you don't have the tech package/nav.
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      05-18-2011, 02:14 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfax View Post
Only just noticed this question. It's 6FL that you need (USB Audio Interface). This is part of the business and pro media packages in the UK or part of the bluetooth packages, which are 6NH, 6NL and 6NK. You can't order 6NH in the UK at the moment. There are rumours of production delays relating to 6NH and it no longer appears on the UK website so I would double check if you are even able to order it with your dealer.

If you can't get 6NH, then anything that has a description like "with USB audio interface" will have 6FL and allow you to play the music you have mentioned with artwork
ok, on pricelist only have only, 6NH, 6NF, 6NR and 6NK, seems 6NH should fine ,dont need bluetooth
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      05-18-2011, 02:40 AM   #19
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ok, on pricelist only have only, 6NH, 6NF, 6NR and 6NK, seems 6NH should fine ,dont need bluetooth
Technically that's correct but I think there is a good reason that 6NH has been removed from the UK website. You might find that you have to order bluetooth as well. See this link on the "other" forum

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=534594
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      05-19-2011, 11:02 AM   #20
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Technically that's correct but I think there is a good reason that 6NH has been removed from the UK website. You might find that you have to order bluetooth as well. See this link on the "other" forum

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=534594
thanks, since you like Apple products, here is the reason i don't have one http://theoatmeal.com/comics/apple
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      05-19-2011, 11:43 AM   #21
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One more disadvantage:

You can't FFW or Rewind while playing a track
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      05-19-2011, 11:49 AM   #22
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thanks, since you like Apple products, here is the reason i don't have one http://theoatmeal.com/comics/apple
So True

Here is my first one. Do any of the adapters work?
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