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F30 / F31 / F32 / F33 (2012 - current)
The sixth generation 3 series, chassis code F30. 2013 model year 328i and 335i sedans now in production. Read the F30 frequently asked question thread for all your basic question and dive into all the details in the ultimate F30 information thread.

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  #1  
Old 11-20-2012, 10:24 AM
otonimus otonimus is offline
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Problem with external hard drive

Ok so I have a seagate 1TB portable hard drive that I want to plug into the armrest port and just leave it there.

I want to run strictly WAV files for optimal sound quality.

So I ripped two flac file albums to wav files on the hard drive... annnnndddd...

One album works just fine in the car, the other doesn't read at all.

BOTH read just fine if I plug the hard drive back into my computer and run out of Foobar2000

Wav files are 32 bit ripped from Foobar 2000.

Can anyone shed any light on this?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 11-20-2012, 05:26 PM
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FrogmanF30 FrogmanF30 is offline
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I didn't think the armrest USB port supplied enough current to power an HD based device.

Have you tried powering the HD it externally to see if that helps?

It probably doesn't explain why one set of WAV files would work and the other not, but flaky power can cause weird things to happen.
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  #3  
Old 11-20-2012, 06:38 PM
hans007 hans007 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrogmanF30 View Post
I didn't think the armrest USB port supplied enough current to power an HD based device.

Have you tried powering the HD it externally to see if that helps?

It probably doesn't explain why one set of WAV files would work and the other not, but flaky power can cause weird things to happen.


standard device current on any USB port is 500mA and 5V.

2.5" portable hard drives have to work with that so there should be plenty for the newer drives that are USB powered only.

that is bizarre that it doesnt read it.
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  #4  
Old 11-20-2012, 08:42 PM
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FrogmanF30 FrogmanF30 is offline
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Right, the manual says that it will supply 500mA at 5V in the armrest port.

I know the glove box port one does not, but I don't know it's rating. I tried plugging in a USB HD in the glove box port and it wouldn't even spin.

Also, the manual states that you should not attach USB hard drives in either the glove box or armrest USB ports.
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  #5  
Old 11-21-2012, 08:02 AM
dailydriver dailydriver is offline
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A CD quality WAV file is 16-bit, 44KHz. This is a long shot, but try checking the properties of the FLAC source on the second album. Depending on the how it was encoded they may be 24-bit, 48KHz. If this is the case, you may need to force a 16-bit output WAV from Foobar when you transcode it. Another thing would be to try a thumb drive. Good luck!
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  #6  
Old 11-21-2012, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrogmanF30 View Post
Right, the manual says that it will supply 500mA at 5V in the armrest port.

I know the glove box port one does not, but I don't know it's rating. I tried plugging in a USB HD in the glove box port and it wouldn't even spin.

Also, the manual states that you should not attach USB hard drives in either the glove box or armrest USB ports.
This.
USB ports don't support hard drives unless something was changed lately. Have to use a memory stick.
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  #7  
Old 11-21-2012, 04:05 PM
otonimus otonimus is offline
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Thanks that makes sense, I guess I'll use a memory stick.

So I spoke to the dealer today, he said that I shouldn't be trying to play music from the hard drive.... rather I should be using the hard drive to download to the car's hard drive... this is unfortunate, because the car's hard drive is only 16 gigs... I insist on using WAV files, I hate compressed audio, so 16 gigs ain't that much.

The dealer told me that the glove box usb port is strictly for importing...

What about the armrest usb port? Can use it to I play files directly from a memory stick?

Thanks
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  #8  
Old 11-21-2012, 05:03 PM
Elk Elk is offline
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Originally Posted by otonimus View Post
What about the armrest usb port? Can use it to I play files directly from a memory stick?
Yes
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  #9  
Old 11-21-2012, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otonimus View Post
Ok so I have a seagate 1TB portable hard drive that I want to plug into the armrest port and just leave it there.

I want to run strictly WAV files for optimal sound quality.

So I ripped two flac file albums to wav files on the hard drive... annnnndddd...

One album works just fine in the car, the other doesn't read at all.

BOTH read just fine if I plug the hard drive back into my computer and run out of Foobar2000

Wav files are 32 bit ripped from Foobar 2000.

Can anyone shed any light on this?

Thanks!
You do realize, I hope, that you are just wasting space transcoding FLAC to WAV. FLAC (and ALAC) are LOSSLESS formats, unlike MP3 and (regular) AAC, which throw away data you "cannot hear." FLAC and ALAC simply compress a WAV file -- they are the audio equivalent of a ZIP file for non-audio data.

But before you go all postal asserting the fact that WAV is "better," you said you started with FLAC. One thing is indisputable: if something had been "lost" something in the transcoding of the original audio to a FLAC file, transcoding it back to WAV won't recover it. IOW, if you hate the way your FLAC files sound, they won' get better being transcoded back to WAV. They'll just get bigger.

So, now that other posters have hopefully convinced you to go to a flash instead of mechanical drive, why not leave the files in FLAC format and save space on that flash drive so you can store more music to play in the car

I use an iPhone, so I mostly rip/transcode to ALAC and play my library back through an iPhone with the enhanced USB on the HK (optional) system in my F30.

The sound is, in a word, awesome.
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Last edited by Yobyot; 11-21-2012 at 05:37 PM.
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  #10  
Old 11-21-2012, 06:18 PM
otonimus otonimus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yobyot View Post
You do realize, I hope, that you are just wasting space transcoding FLAC to WAV. FLAC (and ALAC) are LOSSLESS formats, unlike MP3 and (regular) AAC, which throw away data you "cannot hear." FLAC and ALAC simply compress a WAV file -- they are the audio equivalent of a ZIP file for non-audio data.

But before you go all postal asserting the fact that WAV is "better," you said you started with FLAC. One thing is indisputable: if something had been "lost" something in the transcoding of the original audio to a FLAC file, transcoding it back to WAV won't recover it. IOW, if you hate the way your FLAC files sound, they won' get better being transcoded back to WAV. They'll just get bigger.

So, now that other posters have hopefully convinced you to go to a flash instead of mechanical drive, why not leave the files in FLAC format and save space on that flash drive so you can store more music to play in the car

I use an iPhone, so I mostly rip/transcode to ALAC and play my library back through an iPhone with the enhanced USB on the HK (optional) system in my F30.

The sound is, in a word, awesome.
I'm not "asserting" anything like what you suggested... (christ, is this yet another angry car forum?)

I'm converting to WAV because according to the owners manual the car won't read FLAC files. Make sense?
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  #11  
Old 11-21-2012, 06:36 PM
Elk Elk is offline
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Sadly, the system will indeed not play FLAC - only eMPty3, WMA, WAV, AAC and M4A.

FLAC would be a nice option, but it is only car audio so it makes little practical difference.
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  #12  
Old 11-22-2012, 05:58 AM
otonimus otonimus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elk View Post

FLAC would be a nice option, but it is only car audio so it makes little practical difference.
If you mean that uncompressed audio doesn't matter in a car, I wholeheartedly disagree (thus I'm determined to get wav files to work).

If the system is upgraded to a nice level (someday I plan on upgrading the speakers, amp, etc) then uncompressed audio makes a very significant difference. My last car (Mazda 6s) had a great stereo and the difference was big.

But maybe I'm more sensitive to it than others. I'm a hopeless audiophile, and in fact one of my side business ventures is building very high end custom home and pro audio speakers from scratch... from doing this I guess I've developed a sensitivity to crappy source material.

Last edited by otonimus; 11-22-2012 at 06:01 AM.
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  #13  
Old 11-22-2012, 06:47 AM
Elk Elk is offline
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Car audio is a mixed proposition at best. We sit in an off-center position, in a corner of an irregularly shaped closet, with the upper half walled in glass, with random plastics, carpeting and odd cubicles for the remainder. If this is not bad enough, we then start the engine and and add yet more tire and wind noise as we drive off.

It is not an acoustical environment I can take seriously.

I agree uncompressed digital sounds the best. Satellite radio is particularly dreadful, which is only slightly bested by hybrid digital radio. Both are awful. Low and mid bit-rate MP3s give up too much to compression artifacts.

However, once moving, the artifacts and limitations of better quality high bit-rate MP3s are typically masked by the noises of the engine and moving car. Similarly, the advantageous of uncompressed audio are similarly masked.

As a result, I listen to little music in any car. It simply is too annoying between the awful environment and the noise.

I appreciate the interest in good sound. One of my gigs in the real world is recording symphony orchestras and chamber groups in concert halls and other performance spaces. I just finished mastering a recording of an orchestra performing Pictures at an Exhibition. Playing this recording in a moving automobile is a waste; the majority of the timbrel cues, as well as low level instruments, are wholly lost.

I suspect I would be more tolerant of car audio if I listened to pop/rock/rap.

Good luck with upgrading your system!

Last edited by Elk; 11-22-2012 at 06:50 AM.
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  #14  
Old 11-22-2012, 07:33 AM
otonimus otonimus is offline
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Agreed on all points.

To my ears, despite all of the big disadvantages of car audio, uncompressed audio certainly helps.

And yes, orchestral tracks will suffer especially. I like classical, but never in the car. That's what home audio is for...

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  #15  
Old 11-22-2012, 08:53 AM
Elk Elk is offline
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Agreed.

Let us know what mods you make to the system. I'm sure many will be interested.
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  #16  
Old 11-30-2012, 08:13 AM
trinipirate trinipirate is offline
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Anyone care to share a nifty high storage flash drive that fits nicely n the arm rest that they bought at a decent price?
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  #17  
Old 11-30-2012, 03:39 PM
jlukja jlukja is offline
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Originally Posted by trinipirate View Post
Anyone care to share a nifty high storage flash drive that fits nicely n the arm rest that they bought at a decent price?
I bought the Supersonic Xpress 32GB at Fry's Electronics. Works like a charm and stores a lot of music ripped to mp3 at 192kbps.
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