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MP3 & FLAC solutions?

Discussion in 'Model 3: User Interface' started by ianc, Dec 31, 2019.

  1. ianc

    ianc Member

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    Hi folks,

    I'm pondering how to make listening to my music collection a more pleasant experience in the car. My previous car had an AUX jack (yay), so I bought an MP3 player and a 256 GB SD card and I was off to the races. The MP3 player was smart enough to sense when power was interrupted at its charging port and turn on and off with the car. I never had to do anything except listen. Ahh...

    With no AUX port, the situation is more problematic. The MP3 player (FIIO XI II) does have bluetooth, but I can't seem to pair it with the car and stream music from it, so back to the drawing board.

    My understanding thus far is that there are basically two options:

    1) Copying the music files to a USB drive and using the car's media app to play\manage them. The problems here seem to be that if your collection is very large (mine is 20K+ songs) it takes the car up to a quarter of an hour or more to scan the drive, during which time no media is available, and this must happen each time the car is driven. Additionally, the Tesla media app is not very robust or feature-rich and offers no way to create or play pre-existing playlists, m3u files, etc. which is key. The only way to get this type of functionality seems to be to wait for Tesla to introduce it, or offload it to a third party device, leading to:

    2) Using some device to stream music via bluetooth. Currently, out of necessity, I'm using my phone, but this, while functional, is very inconvenient, as the player must be started from the phone each time, and managing it while driving is a hassle. Additionally, one repeatedly reads that streaming music via bluetooth yields lesser quality, although I've not noticed noticeable degradation.

    Has anyone reached any quallity, workable, convenient solutions to enjoy their music collection the car?

    Thoughts on particular devices if a USB solution is not used? Thoughts on bluetooth sound quality?

    Thanks for reading,

    Ian
     
  2. Tam

    Tam Well-Known Member

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    #2 Tam, Dec 31, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2019
    I have more than 4,000 songs and although it is true that the scan takes a long time each time I plug the USB drive in but that only takes once. Once it's been scanned, it's good until you unplug it and replug it again. So the trick is to leave the drive alone and don't unplug and replug for each drive.

    True. Same way with Tesla Navigation which is nowhere near a standard stand-alone system like a Garmin...

    Same with Autopilot...

    But that doesn't mean I can't use them.

    Same is true that if I don't like Tesla navigation, I can use my phone too!

    True.

    The transfer rate of Bluetooth is too slow when you compare it with USB transfer rate.

    If you don't hear the difference then don't worry about it because you are doing it for yourself, not for others.

    I used to not be able to hear any difference between the music coming from a small single speaker to a stereo one with a subwoofer.

    I used to not be able to hear any difference between mp3 and flac.

    But then one day I could and when I pointed the difference to someone else, they can't hear the difference either!

    Once I started to hear the difference, I can't go back to the low quality like mp3 or a full-range speaker anymore!
     
  3. Stach

    Stach Member

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    Since Option #1 is basically free, if you have a thumb drive laying around, I would give that a try to see how you like it. There are definitely some fairly major issues with the Tesla Media player (i.e. doesn't restart where it leaves off after sleeping, can't show a mixed artist CD together, etc...), but it does Not Rescan the thumb drive every time you start the car, that only happens the first time that you insert it after removal. Don't get me wrong, there are many, many more minor issues that Tesla could and should fix with the media player (it's basically been forgotten), but it does work fairly well and gives you by far, the best audio quality, as long as your music files are high quality to begin with.
     
  4. sduck

    sduck Mr. Duck

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    #4 sduck, Dec 31, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2019
    I've been using USB to play my own audio for over a year with few problems. There have been some big improvements recently, and it's mostly working satisfactorily for me. It DOES remember where it is over power cycles now, at least in the model 3, or at least in my car.

    The trick is knowing its limitations and working around them. First - do you really need 20K songs with you at all times? Most of us can narrow down our listening choices to a much smaller number and still be satisfied. I typically have an ssd with between 15 and 20 gb of mixed flac and mp3 files, and that's like several months of listening without repeating things. Currently there are 50 albums in there. I tend to take the ssd out regularly and massage the collection, cull stuff I've listened to, add new stuff, etc, fairly regularly - this might not be a practice that works for everyone.

    Playlists are great, and it would be nice if the car supported them, but it doesn't currently. So - take the playlists you want to listen to, and make folders with all the tracks in them. Then you can have your playlists, sort of.

    Two tricks (maybe 3) that make USB audio work - use a ssd, and format it in ext4 (with no partitions) if possible. For most of us that involves buying an extension from paragon software so that our mac or windows computers can use this linux/unix based file system, but it's the native file system the car uses. This will drastically speed up the loading time, depending on how much stuff you have - if you have a similar sized disk as mine, it loads almost immediately. And plug it directly into one of the front usb plugs, without using a hub or anything - the idea is to cut down on the number of usb controller chips the signal needs to jump through to get to the car. The car doesn't seem to be doing any buffering (like any proper audio system would), so you don't want to add any lag anywhere.

    I really wish there was some kind of aux jack, or something similar that worked. I've got a large collection of DAPs, and lament not being able to use my modified rockboxed ipods and such. I tried a pile of bluetooth connector devices, and while I could get some of them to work, it was such a hurdle to do so, and you have to do it every time you get in the car, that it just wasn't worth the bother. I also have one of those Fiio players, and it actually worked quite well, but again, you had to repair it every. single. time. you got in the car, which got old on the second day. For quite a while before the USB optioon started working, i was using the Neutron app on my iphone to stream music, which does audiophile type streaming, which works well, but you're still stuck with the limited quality of bluetooth audio, which in the car isn't much better than mid-quality mp3.

    Note that there is a way to add an aux jack, if you're willing to jump through all the hoops of adding cables and such to the antenna amplifier and overriding its signal. There's a thread about that somewhere here. I have all the stuff to add one, but haven't found the time to do so yet.
     
  5. linux-works

    linux-works Active Member

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    no need to buy anything; download a 'live linux iso' to a thumbdrive, boot into that, format your other thumbdrive as ext4fs, eject the music drive, shutdown the pc, remove the iso boot thumbdrive and you're back to windows/etc again.

    ubuntu, linux mint, lots of places to get a bootable .iso image, and you can find free utils to 'burn' that iso to a thumbdrive under windows.

    fyi
     
  6. linux-works

    linux-works Active Member

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    dacs? do you mean players?

    ideally, I'd like to inject audio directly over spdif or i2s (not easy over i2s unless you are really close and careful with cables. I'm not expecting i2s input, lol). but it sure would be nice to have an opto spdif feed as an aux-in. no noise, no left/right confusion issues, no gain setting or voltage level worries. just plug and play up to about 96k samplerate, which is MORE than good enough for car audio ;)
     
  7. sduck

    sduck Mr. Duck

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    That's a great idea (the linux iso idea). Hadn't thought of that, but of course it would work. I used to carry one of those around back when I was doing computer tech work, saved the day numerous times.
     
  8. sduck

    sduck Mr. Duck

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    Woops, I meant DAP - digital audio player, and have edited my post.
     
  9. linux-works

    linux-works Active Member

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    I have an older FIO dap that has actual spdif line-out (coax style). you could run that cable quite long and not have any issues with sound quality. I don't think any phones have spdif-out, but they can do usb audio, which is the 'next generation' spdif, so to speak.

    bluetooth - I'm not a big fan of that. even apt-x (in all its current HD forms), which is as good as BT gets, these days.

    anyway, a digital line-in would sure be nice to have. it would not be hard for tesla to add it. I didn't say free, but I did say it would not be too hard.
     
  10. jdw

    jdw Supporting Member

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    If you use iTunes on OS X, TeslaTunes is a great app for transferring existing playlists to a USB drive in a way that organises and keeps them intact for the Tesla browser. It will duplicate songs if the same song is in multiple playlists, but that is a result of the way Tesla browses file folders.

    Handles and converts lossless files to FLAC etc. I don't think 20,000 tracks is a good idea, but certainly I've handled a few thousand and updating/changing contents is quick enough.

    Tesla Tunes by tattwamasi
     
    • Informative x 3
  11. ianc

    ianc Member

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    Hi guys, thanks for the thoughts and responses. I kind of don't want to winnow down the collection into smaller groups, or do a lot of copying things into different folders, or really mess with it at all. What I really want is just to copy the whole schmear over, folders and all, and have the car shuffle through them endlessly.

    TeslaTunes looks neat, but I'm sitting on the Windows\Android side of the aisle, so wouldn't really work for me...

    Very interesting suggestion on adding an AUX port. I'll have to look that thread up and see what's entailed. I'm fairly handy, but in the past it's been more on the nuts & bolts side and less on the electronics side. Don't want to blow stuff up. :)

    Ian
     
  12. Kevy Baby

    Kevy Baby Dis-Member

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    Just remember that with an AUX port, it is an analog signal. With that comes some additional degradation. Personally, I tough it out with the USB.
     
  13. drtimhill

    drtimhill Active Member

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    This is ok advice from a power perspective, but USB hubs dont any significant lag at all since they dont buffer .. they are essentially electrical switches (vastly simplifying here, but you get the idea).
     
  14. sduck

    sduck Mr. Duck

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    Yes, they don't buffer, which is why you don't want anything potentially stealing data packets. When I switched my music ssd from a shared hub to it's own port was when I stopped having intermittent playback problems.
     
  15. drtimhill

    drtimhill Active Member

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    That's probably related to power delivery issues. The hub won't be losing packets unless its really awful, in which case it won't work at all for anything.
     
  16. linux-works

    linux-works Active Member

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    that's why I wanted spdif in (optical). its noise-free, essentially error-free, left and right are mixed on the same 'wire' so no l/r swap issues. no gain setting or levels to worry about. no ground loops. low cost, too. analog in the car is lots of trouble ;) usb is fine, but you have to plug and unplug (generally) to update your collection. having the collection be outside tesla's domain and just feeding it spdif audio stream data would really be a nice alternative.
     
  17. ianc

    ianc Member

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    Hey guys, I've done some searches here for 'aux port' and 'aux jack', but not coming up with anything on adding one; just a LOT of people complaining that the car doesn't have one.

    Can anyone help with a URL to the thread for a DIY AUX add? Was it even at Tesla Motors Club?

    Wish these Model 3 boards had a 'DIY' section like my old car's had...

    Ian
     
  18. Kevy Baby

    Kevy Baby Dis-Member

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    DIY stuff will be FAR less for the Tesla as you will be heavily restricted by the car's electrical and operating systems. Not to say there aren't things one can do, just that it won't be as simple as an ICE vehicle.
     
  19. sduck

    sduck Mr. Duck

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    installing satellite radio (or other aux input) via FM direct adapter
     
  20. sduck

    sduck Mr. Duck

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    Could be. All I know is the pragmatic results. If it works, it works.
     
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