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[ Disclaimer: There are other ways to achieve the same results. This is just how I tested the SD card last night so I thought I would share my results. Please note this not about BT streaming, the Music Register, etc. and is simply a set of helpful guidance if you want to make use of the SD card functionality. ]


Hi all,

This may be old news for folks but I thought I would post a tutorial about using an SD card with the COMMAND interface. For the sake of this tutorial I’ll be using MP3s but the process is the same for other audio formats as well. Please note the software called out below is based upon a Windows PC. If you use a Mac/Linux/Unix/other, please substitute for your software of choice.

Let’s start from the beginning…

Formatting your SD card:
You may or may not need to format your SD card. If you do the easiest way to do so on a Windows PC is to simply put the card into your computer and view it in Windows Explorer. In the folder pane on the left, Right-click on the card (make sure you select the SD card!) and choose “Format”. From the options that appear look for the “File System” drop down. Choose FAT16, FAT32 or NTFS (the latter two are recommended). Under “Volume Label” type a name for the card (i.e. "Music") then tick the check box for "Quick Format” and hit “Start”. Once done your card is ready for music.

How to add album art:
In order for the album art to show up you need to make sure that the artwork is actually embedded in the file itself. Typically this is handled by the software I use to playback media on my PC but, in some cases, it does not find the right (or any cover art). When that happens I turn to a simple and awesome free program (MP3tag). Once installed you can open the file (or folder) for the MP3 in question and simply right-click and paste your album art onto the CD picture in the lower left of the screen. Just save the file and you are done.

How to make a playlist:
I did some testing on this and, surprisingly, the COMMAND interface is very flexible with the format of the playlist and supports M3U strict, M3U loose, and PLS…which was all I tested.

Typically just about any of your standard media playback software can make a playlist so check with your favorite software and use that to generate your M3U playlist. Once the playlist is created you’ll need to modify it a bit in order for the COMMAND to read it properly. Open your M3U using a text editor like Notepad, Notepad++, TextPad, etc. Do not use something like Word or Wordpad as those programs can save additional data to the file which will cause problems during playback. Once done editing, save the file and then copy the M3U to the root of your SD card.

Here is an example of a strict M3U generated on my PC
Code:
#EXTM3U
  #EXTINF:245,Imagine Dragons – I Bet My Life
  X:\Music\Imagine Dragons\I Bet My Life (Single)\01 I Bet My Life.mp3
Here is an example of a loose M3U generated on my PC
Code:
X:\Music\Imagine Dragons\I Bet My Life (Single)\01 I Bet My Life.mp3

These need to be changed in order to remove the PC drive information and to resemble the following, respectively. In my setup I copied all my music to the root of the SD card. As such the changes look like the below. Using one of the text editors mentioned above you can simply highlight a line of redundant text you want to remove (in this case "X:\Music\") and select Edit-Replace (or Search-Replace) and leave the replacement text box empty. Hit OK and all of the redundant text will be removed. For some media players the resulting M3U will have the path set with a forward slash ("/") instead of a back slash ("\"). In order for the COMMAND to read it properly, the forward slashes will need to be changed to back slashes.


The result will resemble the below.

Code:
#EXTM3U
  #EXTINF:245,Imagine Dragons – I Bet My Life
  Imagine Dragons\I Bet My Life (Single)\01 I Bet My Life.mp3
And this is how the loose M3U would look.

Code:
Imagine Dragons\I Bet My Life (Single)\01 I Bet My Life.mp3
Note, if you just copy the MP3s to the root of the SD card without having them under ARTIST/ALBUM folders you can delete the folder information altogether. The resulting strict M3U would look like:
Code:
#EXTM3U
  #EXTINF:245,Imagine Dragons – I Bet My Life
  01 I Bet My Life.mp3
And the loose M3U would be:

Code:
01 I Bet My Life.mp3
Adding your music:
This is an easy process. Just drag your music and drop it on the card in Windows Explorer. Done.

On my PC I keep my music organized in the format ARTIST\ALBUM\SONG and each has all the embedded ID3v2+ metadata. This is great for storage and maintenance but isn’t always the easiest to transfer specific genres of songs. A trick you can do for transferring the music easily to the SD card is to use Windows Explorer to sort by the metadata you are looking for. Here is a quick and easy way to do so:

1. Open Windows Explorer and the folder your music is stored in.
2. In the upper right of Windows Explorer you will see the Search box. Type “*.mp3” [ ENTER ] (without the quotes) to find all the MP3 media.
3. Just under the Search box you will see the columns you can sort by. Right-click on any column and you will see a list of columns you can add.
4. Select “More” and then tick “Genre” and “Year” and then “OK”
5. Now you can click on the “Year” and “Genre” column headers to sort by that metadata
6. You can now easily select the MP3s by genre or year that you are interested in and copy them over to your SD card. Note these won’t retain the folder hierarchy but that is OK as it is not necessary for the COMMAND interface to recognize them.

Playing your music:
Just pop the SD card into the COMMAND and the stereo should read the card and start playing. That’s it. You’re done.

While this might seem really complex, once you have done it once or twice it is actually quite fast and easy to do.



Here are more technical details about supported formats by the COMMAND system.

General information
COMAND supports SD memory cards (Secure Digital), SDHC memory cards (Secure Digital High Capacity) and SDXC memory cards (Secure Digital eXtended Capacity.

i Not all memory cards available on the market are designed for the temperatures which may be reached in the vehicle. If the SD memory card is no longer in use, you should remove it from COMAND. High temperatures can damage the card. Due to the wide range of SD memory cards available on the market, playback cannot be guaranteed for all brands of SD memory
card.

Permissible file systems
- ISO 9660/Joliet standard for CDs
- UDF for video DVDs
- FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS for SD memory card and USB storage media

Permissible formats
COMAND supports the following formats:
- MPEG1 Audio Layer 3 (MP3)
- Microsoft Windows Media Audio V8 and V9 (WMA) without copy protection
- Microsoft Windows Media Audio V2, V7, V8 and V9 (WMA)
- Additional music files in AAC format with the file extensions .aac, .mp4, .m4a and .m4b, but not copy-protected iTunesmusic files with the extension .m4p.

i. If, in addition to MP3 files, there are other music files in these audio formats stored on the disc, the loading process may require a longer time before the first track is played.
Permissible bit and sampling rates
COMAND supports MP3 files of the following types:
- Fixed and variable bit rates from 32 kbit/s to 320 kbit/s
- Sampling rates of 8 kHz to 48 kHz

COMAND supports WMA files of the following types:
- Fixed bit rates from 5 kbit/s to 384 kbit/s
- Sampling rates of 8 kHz to 48 kHz

COMAND does not support WMA files of the following types:
- DRM (Digital Rights Management) encrypted files
- Variable bit rate
- WMA Pro
- 5.1 surround sound

i. Only use tracks with a bit rate of at least 128 kbit/s and a sampling rate of at least 44.1 kHz. Lower rates can cause a noticeable deterioration in quality. This is especially the case if you have activated a surround sound function
Finally, here is how it will display on the COMMAND interface:
 

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SD Card Capacity Limit

Hello,

thank you for the detailed run-through. Do you know if there is a limit on the size of the SD card to use? I'm wanting to use a 128GB SD card.

Thanks
 

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Am using a 64GB thumbdrive in a 2015 GLA250. I created a folder on my hard drive. I set up categories of music/old radio programs, and then dropped MP3 files into the categories. I make all adjustments to the content on my desk top computer, then erase thumbdrive content and drop the folder from my hard drive onto the thumbdrive. I like to delete the old radio as I listen, and add new. By doing it from the hard drive, if something happens to the thumbdrive, you can make a new one without a problem. I don't have album art. I wish there was a way to fast forward and reverse through a file, especially with old radio programs. Also I wish the system would play WAV and Apple Lossless. My present thumbdrive accidentally got left in a pants pocket and was washed and dried, but it's been working with no problem for about two months. Makes the car smell like drier sheets.
 

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I noticed today that I do have album art displayed on the car screen from some of my music files accessed from the thumbdrive plugged into the car. (2015 GLA250) This may be relative to the original source of the music file. I use iTunes on my computer, and I add some music to iTunes directly from a CD, and some is downloaded from the cloud. iTunes does not like album art from CD's, but does save album art when an MP3 is added to iTunes. The music files I put on the thumbdrive that I use in the car do not have album art if they live in the iTunes music library as WAV files. Sometimes album art can be pasted into an iTunes CD file, sometimes not.
 

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No pixellation on my tiny screen
 

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Associated matter,

Guys what is your experience with MP3 metadata tags and changing them. Usually they display what I have then set to but ....

I am trying to change the displayed Album Name on a batch of files.

I bought the Games Of Thrones Soundtrack Albums - the Album Names are "Game Of Thrones Season 1", "Game Of Thrones Season 2" etc.

When doing an Album Name search on the Comand 20 (GLA 250 2016 Australia) it shows "Game Of Thrones: ..." which is not in any MP3 tag. So you cannot see the Season Number to select the desired album.

I've used various utilities to rename the Album names to "GOT S01", "GOT S02".

I have checked the file tags on the laptop and both the MP3 ID3v1 and ID3v2 Album tags are "GOT S01", "GOT S02" as expected.

But when I put the SD card back in the dash slot the Album names still appear as "Game Of Thrones: ..." !!!!

.... just prior to posting this I copied 4 albums onto two new SD cards - same result the Album names as stored in the MP3 tag do not appear.

Interestingly I reinserted the first SD card and now some of the tracks on Album 1 are appearing with "GOT S01" and some with "Game Of Thrones: ..."

Is there a cache that needs to be cleared ?

Perplexing !

GC
 

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Ok, I think I have sorted my issue with Album Name tag out. There must be a cache of some description because as I played each track I could visibly see the Album Name change in the first second of play back.

So hitting fast forward 187 times solved the issue.

The Albums still did not sort correctly until turned off the car and then I got back in and turned it on again.

All in order !!

GC
 
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