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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
https://facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2501727756534901&id=1181595818548108

Some of you have been trying to figure out how to make playlists for using with USB sticks in your 2019 Ascents and Outbacks.

Some of you have even been told it's not possible. Fortunately, that's not accurate.

Here's how to make playlists and make them work on 2019+ Subarus.



It's really pretty simple.
  1. Load up your USB stick with your music.
  2. Use your favorite media player app and create playlists in it.
  3. Save the playlists to the root folder of the USB stick in m3u format.
  4. Edit the playlist using a text editor (do not use Word or Wordpad unless you know how to save as plain text).
  5. Remove all drive letters (in my video, mine is "J:" - yours will likely be different) and leave the leading "\".
  6. Do NOT change any other part of the file name/file path lines.
  7. Edit the TRACK name IF you want to - this is not necessary, but nice if you want to tidy up the names shown on the screen. Do NOT change anything but the track name portion of the line.
  8. Save the file.

That's it! You're done!!! Safely "Eject" the USB stick and then put it in your car.

On that note, with LOTS of music, I find that a NTFS formatted stick works a LOT quicker in the car, even though it takes longer to copy things to on the computer.

#Subaru #SubaruofAmerica #SubaruAmbassador #SubaruAmbassadorRobert #SubieLove #SubaruAscent #SubaruOutback
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I've edited the original post and added text instructions for those of you who don't like watching videos. Ironically, as many videos as I've made, I'm often one of those people. :grin: :tango_face_wink:
 

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Nice! The NTFS trick is interesting -- I'll have to try that. It definitely takes some time to index my thumb drive when I first turn on the car (~800 songs in 5 different playlists).

Older Subarus had trouble reading data from storage devices with more than 16GB of storage. Have you successfully used a drive with anything greater than that in the Ascent?

I've been using a slim USB drive ("SanDisk Ultra Fit 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive", which is like $7 on Amazon) in the lower front USB port. It's great. It's super discrete and also doesn't stick out like a traditional USB drive, so I'm not afraid of breaking the thing if I do some aggressive coffee drinking or play dashboard drums in a traffic jam.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Same one you're using - except 128GB

Nice! The NTFS trick is interesting -- I'll have to try that. It definitely takes some time to index my thumb drive when I first turn on the car (~800 songs in 5 different playlists).

Older Subarus had trouble reading data from storage devices with more than 16GB of storage. Have you successfully used a drive with anything greater than that in the Ascent?

I've been using a slim USB drive ("SanDisk Ultra Fit 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive", which is like $7 on Amazon) in the lower front USB port. It's great. It's super discrete and also doesn't stick out like a traditional USB drive, so I'm not afraid of breaking the thing if I do some aggressive coffee drinking or play dashboard drums in a traffic jam.
Hi! If you watch my video, you will barely see the thumb drive I am using - which I like. It's 128GB. You may recognize it - it's the same model as the one you're using - just a lot larger. So, yes, I have confirmed that at least 128GB works - I have 975 tracks in 83 folders for a total of 23.6GB of music on it so far.


It's this thing here:

exFAT was super fast on the computer, but after 5 minutes of it trying to index in the car, I gave up and formatted the way I originally had - NTFS. It's blazingly fast when formatted NTFS and there's no re-indexing when I start the car - the car indexes once and remembers it.
 

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I tried creating a .m3u playlist with VLC using a non-Windows OS and had mixed results. In particular, the Subaru medial player does not like paths with spaces in them. If like me you prefer to save songs in different folders and the folder name has a space in it, the resulting playlist created with VLC does not show up. The solution is to replace the ASCII characters created by VLC with actual spaces in the m3u file (i.e. replace '%20' with a space itself, using a text editor). On MS Windows OS the VLC playlist function creates m3u files with actual spaces in paths and song names, rather than translating the space in ASCII characters. So this problem won't manifest itself if you're using MS Windows as your OS.

An alternative solution is to save the playlists within their corresponding folders. The media player scans each folder on the USB and reads the various playlists stored in there.

The same problem exists with songs which have spaces in their names.

Also, I noticed any accented characters like umlauts result in the song not showing up in the playlist. I tried replacing the corresponding ASCII character string with an umlaut with a text editor in the m3u file, but this didn't work.

By the way, neither .m3u8 nor .xspf playlists are read by the medial player, but the modified m3u file as I described above seems to work fine.
 

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You don't necessarily have to make a playlist. I loaded allllll my music on to a flash in the same folder structure I use on my workstation, where top level folder is Artist Name, then filename is Artist - Title. Just nowadays, like with Google Play Music, VLC, or almost any other media player, the Starlink OS reads file metadata instead of just using the folder and filenames. So to my dismay, 800 of my songs were thrown in to an Unknown Artist folder since the data tags were empty on the files. Back on the workstation, I found this little app, https://www.mp3tag.de/en/, added my music folder, and it has a conversion feature that will take Filename->Tag. It will also do a lot more if you're so inclined, like find release year, album, and other data tags. But just simply letting it take the filename Artist - Title and put that in to the proper data tags, Starlink now sees the files as it should.
 

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You don't necessarily have to make a playlist. I loaded allllll my music on to a flash in the same folder structure I use on my workstation, where top level folder is Artist Name, then filename is Artist - Title. Just nowadays, like with Google Play Music, VLC, or almost any other media player, the Starlink OS reads file metadata instead of just using the folder and filenames. So to my dismay, 800 of my songs were thrown in to an Unknown Artist folder since the data tags were empty on the files. Back on the workstation, I found this little app, https://www.mp3tag.de/en/, added my music folder, and it has a conversion feature that will take Filename->Tag. It will also do a lot more if you're so inclined, like find release year, album, and other data tags. But just simply letting it take the filename Artist - Title and put that in to the proper data tags, Starlink now sees the files as it should.



I tried a dozen different ways of editing the mp3 tags, but the Ascent will still only play my album tracks in alphabetical order instead of the original album older. I wound up creating a separate playlist for every album I own during a lot of conference calls on mute. I used mp3tag. Very simple process that doesn't require editing of any file info for me. Just load a folder into it, ctrl-p to create a playlist for everything in the window (or from the file menu), and save with your preferred name for the m3u file. For me I'm doing it for each individual album to force the Ascent to play the songs in correct order, so doing one at a time. Ctrl-d to change directory, pick the next album folder from the USB, ctrl-p, rename, save. You can also load more folders into the software at once and highlight individual tracks and create a playlist just from the selected songs. The playlists are showing up in the Ascent and playing in correct order.
 

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You don't necessarily have to make a playlist. I loaded allllll my music on to a flash in the same folder structure I use on my workstation, where top level folder is Artist Name, then filename is Artist - Title. Just nowadays, like with Google Play Music, VLC, or almost any other media player, the Starlink OS reads file metadata instead of just using the folder and filenames. So to my dismay, 800 of my songs were thrown in to an Unknown Artist folder since the data tags were empty on the files. Back on the workstation, I found this little app, https://www.mp3tag.de/en/, added my music folder, and it has a conversion feature that will take Filename->Tag. It will also do a lot more if you're so inclined, like find release year, album, and other data tags. But just simply letting it take the filename Artist - Title and put that in to the proper data tags, Starlink now sees the files as it should.

I've done the playlists - I listen to audiobooks mostly. But you do realize you can also play your music by "folder". If your albums are already in folders on your usb drive, you scroll on the left and choose "folder". The only pain is that folder is the last option so every time you want to listen to another album, it takes a bit of scrolling. I do that for my audiobooks on occasion when my playlists end up having a few glitches. I wish it was smart enough to remember your last selection and default with the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have about a dozen playlists that span multiple artists and sometimes genres, so, they also span 5-20 folders.
 

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As long as you enunciate pretty clearly, the "Talk-to-your-car" feature is fairly accurate, too. Tis also hilarious to hear Lucy say "Now playing Move, Bitch, Get Out The Way by Ludicris." It can actually pick out some pretty random songs that I have, such as anime themes and such. Only artist it cannot for the life of me is Jidenna no matter how I pronounce it.
 

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Mostly asking because I havent used a USB drive in a car since about 2010...
Can a USB drive be used while a phone is plugged in with CarPlay? I know Bluetooth drops out when CarPlay is connected, but like I said, I've never tried a USB drive...or even the CD player! :dunno:
Also, is there any benefit to using a USB drive rather than music stored on your phone or streaming thru you phone?
 

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Mostly asking because I havent used a USB drive in a car since about 2010...
Can a USB drive be used while a phone is plugged in with CarPlay? I know Bluetooth drops out CarPlay is connected, but like I said, I've never tried a USB drive...or even the CD player! :dunno:
Also, is there any benefit to using a USB drive rather than music stored on your phone or streaming thru you phone?

I don't know about Carplay, but I keep a USB with my music plugged in with AA running too. No problems. For me it's easier to keep the USB (it's a low profile USB with a microSD card) plugged in all the time rather than to keep plugging/unplugging my phone. The head unit picks up all the attached devices whether it's the music USB, USB (phone) or BT (phone). I do disable the BT music on my phone though.
 

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Hi! If you watch my video, you will barely see the thumb drive I am using - which I like. It's 128GB. You may recognize it - it's the same model as the one you're using - just a lot larger. So, yes, I have confirmed that at least 128GB works - I have 975 tracks in 83 folders for a total of 23.6GB of music on it so far.


It's this thing here:

exFAT was super fast on the computer, but after 5 minutes of it trying to index in the car, I gave up and formatted the way I originally had - NTFS. It's blazingly fast when formatted NTFS and there's no re-indexing when I start the car - the car indexes once and remembers it.



I bought one of these thumb drives but the Subaru doesn't seem to see the files. I have an old cheap flash drive that works fine. Is this because of the password protection on the new one? Any workaround?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Format NTFS with no password protection.

Hi! If you watch my video, you will barely see the thumb drive I am using - which I like. It's 128GB. You may recognize it - it's the same model as the one you're using - just a lot larger. So, yes, I have confirmed that at least 128GB works - I have 975 tracks in 83 folders for a total of 23.6GB of music on it so far.


It's this thing here:

exFAT was super fast on the computer, but after 5 minutes of it trying to index in the car, I gave up and formatted the way I originally had - NTFS. It's blazingly fast when formatted NTFS and there's no re-indexing when I start the car - the car indexes once and remembers it.



I bought one of these thumb drives but the Subaru doesn't seem to see the files. I have an old cheap flash drive that works fine. Is this because of the password protection on the new one? Any workaround?
 

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I got it to work. Simple as deleting the password protection from the USB stick. Working great now! I guess thats the same as "Format NTFS with no password protection". Sorry I don't speak tech very well...lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I got it to work. Simple as deleting the password protection from the USB stick. Working great now! I guess thats the same as "Format NTFS with no password protection". Sorry I don't speak tech very well...lol
lol, pretty much. The format suggestion is just for the event that it was not formatted with the correct file system (NTFS). Glad you're up and running!
 

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i learned that my old iPod (which worked flawlessly in my '12 Forester) is not compatible with the Ascent. so i switched to a USB stick and formatted with NTFS (as suggested here). it will play fine for some time, but my head unit also freezes now and then where the touchscreen nor the steering wheel controls work, or i might here the click sound that something is going to happen but there's a long delay before the headunit acknowledges the command. does anyone know what's causing that? is it the USB stick (it's brand new), a faulty head unit, or something else? i have a 128gb and about 15K songs loaded. thanks! and thanks for the info on how to create playlists, I really liked having that on the iPod and would like to do the same with the USB stick.
 

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The Mac doesn't allow me to format in NTFS, will FAT 32 work?

My first real effort in trying this with an iTunes created playlist, and I can get one song to play on the playlist. The only way I got "I Don't Care" to play was I reversed the slashes(same direction as the original text when exported from iTunes). Any thoughts?

#EXTM3U
#EXTINF:293,Filthy - Justin Timberlake
/Now/Justin Timberlake/Man of the Woods/Filthy.m4a
#EXTINF:233,Shape of You - Ed Sheeran
/Now/Ed Sheeran/÷ (Deluxe)/Shape of You.m4a
#EXTINF:263,Perfect - Ed Sheeran
/Now/Ed Sheeran/÷ (Deluxe)/Perfect.m4a
#EXTINF:212,If I Told You - Darius Rucker
/Now/Darius Rucker/When Was the Last Time/If I Told You.m4a
#EXTINF:234,Don't - Darius Rucker
/Now/Darius Rucker/When Was the Last Time/Don't.m4a
#EXTINF:207,One Day - Matisyahu
/Now/Matisyahu/Light (Bonus Track Version)/One Day.m4a
#EXTINF:278,Say Something (feat. Chris Stapleton) - Justin Timberlake
/Now/Justin Timberlake/Man of the Woods/Say Something (feat. Chris Stapleton).m4a
#EXTINF:173,Sunflower (Remix) - Shaun Reynolds & Esmée Denters
/Now/Shaun Reynolds & Esmée Denters/Sunflower (Remix) - Single/Sunflower (Remix).m4a
#EXTINF:158,Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) - Post Malone & Swae Lee
/Now/Compilations/Spider-Man_ Into the Spider-Verse (Soundtrack From & Inspired by the Motion Picture)/Sunflower (Spider-Man_ Into the Spider-Verse).m4a
#EXTINF:256,On to the Next One (feat. Swizz Beatz) - JAY-Z
/Now/JAY-Z/The Blueprint 3/On to the Next One (feat. Swizz Beatz).m4a
#EXTINF:214,Happier - Marshmello & Bastille
/Now/Marshmello & Bastille/Happier - Single/Happier.m4a
#EXTINF:355,Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
/Now/Compilations/The Platinum Collection (Greatest Hits I, II & III)/Bohemian Rhapsody.m4a
#EXTINF:215,Another One Bites the Dust - Queen
/Now/Compilations/The Platinum Collection (Greatest Hits I, II & III)/Another One Bites the Dust.m4a
#EXTINF:210,Don't Stop Me Now - Queen
/Now/Compilations/The Platinum Collection (Greatest Hits I, II & III)/Don't Stop Me Now.m4a
#EXTINF:122,We Will Rock You - Queen
/Now/Compilations/The Platinum Collection (Greatest Hits I, II & III)/We Will Rock You.m4a
#EXTINF:180,We Are the Champions - Queen
/Now/Compilations/The Platinum Collection (Greatest Hits I, II & III)/We Are the Champions.m4a
#EXTINF:246,Under Pressure - Queen & David Bowie
/Now/Compilations/The Platinum Collection (Greatest Hits I, II & III)/Under Pressure.m4a
#EXTINF:219,I Don't Care - Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber
/Now/Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber/I Don't Care - Single/I Don't Care.m4a
 

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The Mac doesn't allow me to format in NTFS, will FAT 32 work?

My first real effort in trying this with an iTunes created playlist, and I can get one song to play on the playlist. The only way I got "I Don't Care" to play was I reversed the slashes(same direction as the original text when exported from iTunes). Any thoughts?

#EXTM3U
#EXTINF:293,Filthy - Justin Timberlake
/Now/Justin Timberlake/Man of the Woods/Filthy.m4a
When I format my playlists, I have to make 3 alterations. I have to remove the drive letter, change the HTML "%20" to a space, and change all "/" to "\". I setup a macro in my editor to do that easily.

Playlists, for me, work most of the time. It does occasionally just go off on its own and start playing a different folder. I've double checked the playlists and there is no error/typo but the Ascent sometimes has a mind of its own.

I'm also playing mp3 files - not sure how well the Ascent likes .m4a. I don't use iTunes anymore.
 
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