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Windows 7: Which format will sound the best in my car?

17 Jun 2012   #1

7 Ultimate 64 bit Service Pack 1
 
 
Which format will sound the best in my car?

I have a bunch of lossless music files which I assume is almost as good as having the actual retail cds, which I no longer have due to loss/theft.

Now, my new car has a nifty cd changer, first for me haha, and I would like to play those songs in the car. I tried burning the lossless files to cd but they did not play in the car.

So, what do I need to do for these lossless files to play in the car and will they sound just as good as the retail cd's? Thank you


p.s. can you recommend software to handle this task that will also allow me to label the song info? I think the car reads ID3 tags etc..

If you need more specific info I can go to the car and get the manual and read all the format info.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2012   #2

 
 

For the best quality - you'll need to convert the FLAC files to .wav


There's heaps of freeware apps out there or plugin for Winamp etc. I haven't used any so I can't recommend any, just do a search for FLAC to wav
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2012   #3

7 Ultimate 64 bit Service Pack 1
 
 

thank you very much. I'm gonna start looking for some software.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Jun 2012   #4

 
 

Good luck mate.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2012   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Consider riding in a car---you are constantly bombarded with tire noise, engine noise, wind noise, traffic noise, etc.

And car sound systems typically have inferior frequency response and greater distortion than home playback systems.

The net result is that the advantages of a lossless sound file are very very unlikely to be noticed in a car--all of that noise masks the advantages. That is---a disc burned from lossless files is unlikely to sound different in a car than a disc burned from high bitrate mp3s that were made from lossless files.

You need to use a format that is compatible with your car player---whatever that may be. Some car players will play mp3s and some won't.

I burn car discs from hard drive mp3s using ImgBurn. The resulting disc contains CDA files that are playable in my car. My car player cannot play mp3s directly.

Use high quality CD-R blanks, such as Taiyo Yuden (available online at major suppliers). Burn at relatively low speed--8x or 12x.

You should be able to get 79 plus minutes on a single CD.

ImgBurn is free and an excellent choice for all-purpose disc burning. For music discs, you make a "playlist" of the songs in the desired order within ImgBurn, and then burn the tracks from that playlist.

Most likely you will want to insert a second or two of silence between tracks. This is easily done within the burning software.

You will run into the problem of getting the playback volume to be about equal across all tracks on a CD--so you do not have to constantly fiddle with the volume control when listening. This is not easily done, particularly if you are making "anthologies" that contain songs from various singers from various CDs.

You will find software that supposedly addresses this volume issue (sometimes referred to as "normalization"), but I can tell you from much experience that it does not work very well. MP3Gain is probably the best known such software.

However, I would advise you to be prepared to re-burn CDs after a test listening reveals volume differences between tracks. Just adjust the "too quiet" tracks to a slightly higher volume on the re-burn. You will need an audio editor such as Audacity to do this.

You can try to examine the volume levels before your first burn attempt and that may help. But the fact is that perceived volume levels on playback are difficult to determine before the fact---particularly when dealing with songs that vary widely in musical content and compression levels over which you have no control.

Just be prepared to experiment and waste some discs--they're cheap enough.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2012   #6

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
Consider riding in a car---you are constantly bombarded with tire noise, engine noise, wind noise, traffic noise, etc.

And car sound systems typically have inferior frequency response and greater distortion than home playback systems.
This is why I use those car USB MP3 players which you plug into the lighter slot. They're dirt cheap, and you can load up thousands of songs on a single USB thumbdrive.

I once considered purchasing a CD player for my car, but they were (and still are) very expensive. On the other hand a USB MP3 player is extremely cheap and can load way more songs, and your library of songs can be changed easily since it's basically a USB thumbdrive. No disc burning/swapping hassle at all.

Edit:
Just wanted to add, I love to change the songs on it all the time, it makes for more interesting car pool conversations.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2012   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

I use an iPod in my car. Much easier than burning CDs.
The Kenwood that I bought for my sports car doesn't even play CDs, just digital media from an iPod or USB thumb drive, or from the internal memory.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2012   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Trucidation View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
Consider riding in a car---you are constantly bombarded with tire noise, engine noise, wind noise, traffic noise, etc.

And car sound systems typically have inferior frequency response and greater distortion than home playback systems.
This is why I use those car USB MP3 players which you plug into the lighter slot. They're dirt cheap, and you can load up thousands of songs on a single USB thumbdrive.
Trucidation:

Can you recommend any particular USB drive MP3 player and a source?

One that is reasonably durable and works well in your car?

I've never tried one of these, but might just to get more variety in the car without burning discs.

Do they provide any control at all over play order or navigation within the thumbdrive? Or are you stuck with alphabetical or just walking down a folder in a fixed order with no way to jump forward, back, etc?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jun 2012   #9

 

Unfortunately all the cheap ones here (local $30, so about USD$7.50) are "unbranded" - they're simple listed as made in China on the packaging, while the device itself has no logos.

All of them come with a remote control - play/stop, prev song, next song, change frequency. They're flat and small (they use those round flat watch batteries), and i lost mine immediately after unpackaging the thing It has the same functions on the device face though so I just press those.

No order control at all that I can tell of, heh - it pretty much follows some internally consistent order, but new songs loaded into the same thumbdrive (the USB thumbdrive is a separate item) can appear pretty much anywhere in this list. Songs play consecutively in this order, no shuffle function that I can see. Ditto if you insert folders.

Well, that's what I get for being a cheapskate; I'm sure there are higher tier devices with some actual control over the song list - I've seen models that show the song's ID4 info on the LED display - but I didn't care about other features at the time.

Sorry couldn't help much. For what it's worth, I have a pretty short attention span and I change the songs on the thumbdrive every day. I'm fairly certain you could simply load your entire library of songs onto your thumbdrive, but you'd need a more featureful device that lets you change the play order. How many songs it can play is entirely dependent on what you cram on your thumbdrive. From testing though it seems these el-cheapo models only recognize drives up to 4GB in size.

Durability? These things are plastic and light. I simply chuck mine into the glove compartment when I leave the car (after removing the thumbdrive). It's lasted 4 years now, so for a seven buck fifty thing I'd say it's durable enough.

Edit:
Here's a look at one of these buggers. It even looks cheap
Name:  car_mp3_playa.jpg
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Size:  87.6 KB

Basically you shove the cylindrical end into the cigarette lighter slot in your car for power; the face buttons control the device - the left/right "+" and "-" buttons double as previous/next song or decrease/increase frequency (the former by default, for the latter you press that fat middle button first).

First time you ever slot the thing in you will need to have both your radio and this thing on the same frequency: this thing to broadcast, and your car radio to tune into it. Just pick an unused frequency (I use FM 107.5); each press of the +/- buttons to adjust the frequency will increase or decrease it by 0.1.

I thought of using an already-allocated frequency for shits and giggles, until I realised the range of this thing is extremely short (i.e. just your car). So: no, you won't be able to make the guy in the car next to you go WTF when he tries to tune in to the local radio station and gets your battle hymn collection instead.

Forget the remote control; with your eyes on the road and one hand on the steering wheel, you can simply grope around until you have the thing in your hand, then press whichever button you need. And in practice this boils down to "next song" or "previous song". Really, you don't need a whole remote control for that. Or you can tell the annoying passenger to quit backseat driving and press the buttons for you.

Your USB thumbdrive goes into a slot located underneath the face buttons, so it sorta hangs/juts out from it. Note: it can get in the way of an enthusiastic gear-shifter or the knee of the guy in the shotgun passenger seat; this is fixed by simply rotating the entire thing, since the cigarette lighter slot you plug it into doesn't care about orientation. If "straight" is 6 o'clock, rotating it to 7 o'clock generally does the trick (the driver is on the right side in this country). Since you guys drive in the left seat, rotate it to 5 o'clock and it should be out of the way of your gear-shifting hand. If your passenger is an obstacle, put him in the back seat, or if full, the trunk.

There is no pause/rewind/forward mid-song; you can only fully go to previous or next song. It immediately starts playing the last song played before you yanked it out of the power slot, unless you messed with the mp3s loaded into the USB thumbdrive. To stop playing, you just yank the thing out of the slot.

Finally, you wipe with your left hand, and you eat with your right. Any questions?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jun 2012   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Trucidation:

Real fine job. I appreciate the detail.

After I asked you about these things, I did some research here in the US and found a little more variety.

Satechi Soundfly AUX MP3 Player

http://www.amazon.com/Soundfly-Playe...mp3+player+usb

Above is a similar device from Amazon for $50, which according to the reviews is sturdy, lots of features, and good customer support:

Plays both through FM transmitter and the "aux" input of a car stereo.
Uses up to 32 GB USB drives
Recognizes up to 99 folders on the USB
Shuffle play across ALL songs, but not across a single folder
Plays MP3, WMA, and possibly other formats.

I also discovered that numerous current generation car stereos now include a USB port on the front side. You just plug your USB thumb drive directly into the port, with no need for a cable connection or separate player. Due to Internet buying, I had not even been inside a Best Buy in 5 or 6 years and was totally out of the loop regarding features on current car stereos.

The major brands (JVC, Alpine, etc) sell the units for around $160. Since my current car stereo is over 10 years old, I may just wait for it to die and then buy one of these with the USB port, rather than the cigarette lighter device.

What I don't know is how well they work in practice, particularly regarding durability and the details of song navigation. There may be some show-stoppers that would really turn me off, so I'd like to hear from anyone who has experience with these car stereos with a front USB port.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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