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Has anyone gotten the USB to work with a thumb drive and M4A?

Discussion in 'Model X: User Interface' started by Blastphemy, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. Blastphemy

    Blastphemy Member

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    My friend received his Model X and has been letting me play with it, and there's one thing that neither of us can seem to resolve: plugging in a USB thumb drive and getting music to play.

    First we tried a FAT32-formatted thumb drive with M4A lossless files on it (created in iTunes on a Mac). Titles, Artists, track length, etc. plus album art would all show up with no problem, but the tracks just wouldn't play.

    Then we tried the same thumb drive with only MP3 files on it. We got the car to play MP3 files, but it will only play one at a time! It doesn't continue on to the next track in the folder when the previous track ends.

    We tried two other thumb drives, experimenting with different formatting, but the results were the same.

    As we all know, one can't play an iPhone via the Lightning USB cable, which is ridiculous and embarrasing. Bluetooth is the only option, and the car can't even initiate playing a track! You have to start it from the phone itself, which is even beyond stupid. Tesla really needs to get its act together with iPhone compatibility. I'm not saying it necessarily needs to incorporate Apple Car Play, Siri Eyes Free, or Android Auto, but that may not be such a bad idea!

    We also couldn't figure out how to mute the audio system. The manual says to "tap the
    scroll wheel," but that never worked for us.

    And we had no control over Bluetooth streaming from an iPhone 6+. Sound would play with no problem, but the car didn't automatically adjust the volume properly like most other cars do (i.e., increasing volume to max on the phone temporarily during Bluetooth, and then returning it to the previous setting after disconnecting so that the iPhone owner isn't scared out of his wits by a full-volume alert, ring, or music track.) Trying to pause the currently playing song or skipping to the next or previous track didn't work. The car just ignored us.

    I heard that audio functionality with the Model X was poor, but I didn't realize my 2008 Infiniti would have more robust controls than a 2016 Model X costing three times as much! I hope Tesla decides at some point to really concentrate on its audio system GUI and functionality and modernize it to be competitive with most other cars on the road.​
     
  2. Blastphemy

    Blastphemy Member

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    So even though Tesla says the Model X is compatible with M4A files, apparently if the M4A file is lossless, that's not the case. Once I converted my M4A lossless files to VBR AAC files, they all worked and sounded great.

    Also figured out how to mute the audio - I was holding the volume button, not tapping it quickly. Guess I need to work on our reading comprehension since that's exactly what the manual says!

    All the other criticisms (regarding interoperability with an iPhone via USB and Bluetooth) remain valid at this time, though.
     
  3. jgallops

    jgallops Not so Well Known Member

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    I am playing .flac files which are lossless on Model S using a thumb drive (aka USB stick). Not sure how important lossless is to you vs. M4A, but flac seems to work well for me.
     
  4. TJunkers

    TJunkers Member

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    I am doing the same and it works great. The upgraded speakers sounds incredible with uncompressed audio.
     
  5. Blastphemy

    Blastphemy Member

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    Since taking delivery our Model X and checking out Slacker, I am now of the opinion that I can throw out my USB thumb drive. What's the point when - aside from specific classical and jazz recordings - everything seems to be on Slacker with CD or better fidelity? I did side-by-side comparisons with some of my favorite tracks, and in all but one instance Slacker sounded better than my lossless VBR AAC file!

    To test the available library, I searched for some out-there stuff, like "Mahna Mahna" from the Muppet Show and "Loreena McKennitt" songs, and found almost everything I tried. Only searching for specific classical or jazz music (for example: "Beethoven Symphony No. 6" conducted by Roger Norrington, "Billy Boy" played by Red Garland, Yellowjackets "Out of Town," "Brahms German Requiem" performed by Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, etc.) was a problem.

    OK, so I'll keep the USB thumb drive for my classical and jazz tracks, but I'll be searching Slacker via voice commands from now on for rock, pop, alternative, metal, folk, new age, etc.
     
  6. tomas

    tomas Traded in 9 rep bars for M3, used to be somebody!

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    I've never had a problem doing this on my S for almost 4 years. I can control the following on my bluetooth connected iphone via Tesla media app: pause, resume, change volume, go forward, go backwards.

    Agree it could overall be better, but it does do these things, and has for years. If yours is not working, take it in for service check and show them.

    PS, as several have noted, FLAC is the way to go for uncompressed. M4A is a shell.... if what is in the shell is AIF file, Tesla does not handle that. I do not buy your assertion that Slacker is CD quality. That has not been my experience at all. I have all my music in FLAC on a terrabyte USB drive (under $100).
     
  7. Blastphemy

    Blastphemy Member

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    I played an uncompressed FLAC file, then a lossless M4A VBR AAC file, then the same song on Slacker. The audio quality was virtually indistinguishable, and I've got trained ears. I'm sure the type of music matters, as I found a lot of songs on Slacker that weren't exceptional quality. But compare today's hits like Taylor Swift "Shake It Off," Robin Thicke "Blurred Lines," Meghan Trainor "No," Adele "Hello," etc. with a CD or iTunes download and Slacker sounds every bit as good to me. Some of my old CDs from Foreigner, Journey, Rush, etc. don't even sound as good as Slacker's tracks (probably because I have original pressings whereas Slacker has remastered tracks from newer greatest hits releases). My classical and jazz recordings, on the other hand, still sound better from my USB stick than from Slacker, but the quality is close.

    One thing that may be making a difference is that I went to Controls > Settings > Apps > Media Player and set Slacker to use the best possible sound quality.
     
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