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Discussion Starter · #1 ·


I have posted previously - http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread...cal-Not-By-Track-Number&highlight=music+order - about an issue the Chevy Volt (And all GM Vehicles with a HDD Infotainment System). In short, when you import music from a flash drive or CD, the imported music is no longer displayed in track order, but only alphabetical order. This alpha-listing is present regardless of what sorting you try (sort by artist, album, genre, etc). The problem stemmed in the system sorting the music tracks by the ID3 metadata listing for track title, instead of sorting by the file name (typically a track number followed by the track title). So if you're listening to, say the Broadway musical The Music Man, the first track to play will be " 'Til There Was You" and not "Overture" as an apostrophe comes before O. See the problem?

I'd like to report that some progress has been made in this problem.
Two days ago, at the behest of two calls from my Volt Advisors, another call, and later an email from my car dealer, I was basically begged to come in and update my vehicle software for some issue regarding my SES light (service engine soon - the light lit up as the dealer was taking it through its paces and it delayed delivery by a day. I hadn't had a problem with it since). They even went so far in the email to suggest a day for me to bring in the car, and offered a free loaner for the day. OK, says I, since you apparently really want to take care of this imaginary issue, I'll bring my car in and enjoy my 'free' loaner that i'll have to put $7 in gas back into for the day.

Now my trials and tribulations with the Volt's Hard Drive Music System are well documented, both in the pages of this forum, ChevroletVoltage.com and also on numerous calls with my Volt Advisor and dealer technicians. In all cases, whenever I was speaking to a GM representative of some form, never once did they acknowledge this as a problem, or apologize for the general lack of software engineering that went into the system. They kind of blankly stared at me, probably thinking I was a lunatic. I'm not right?? The closest thing to an apology came from my Volt Advisor Kelley who was sorry that there was nothing he could do, as it was a GM-wide thing. BUT I digress.

Getting the car back that night, I didn't think anything of the fact that all my settings for the car had been switched back to default, and i had to go through the process of setting my lock light timer, auto-volume adjustment, etc. But then I thought, 'wait a minute, this could have been a sneaky music system software upgrade...' So this morning I checked it out. With promising, but not perfect results.

I am now able to insert a music CD into my car and import the songs, and have it retain the proper order! OMG This is promising indeed.

I am NOT, however, able to keep proper track order on songs imported through thumb drive from itunes as an AAC or MP3. Yes yes, these tracks have proper ID3 tagging information and the Track number is present. The car still alphabetizes them.

So yes, mixed blessing. At least I can import songs from a friend on a road trip who brought some CDs. BUT. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is the 21st century. WHO uses and buys actual physical CDs anymore? Before this slight adjustment was made, my only way of importing songs that maintained proper track order was to physically go in and edit the ID3 tag information for each track. 3MB per track, 30GB of storage. 20 seconds per song to change the metadata. That's about a week of pains-taking work just to get my car to talk to music the way ALL other music systems in the world do. A horrible proposition.

Now, all i have to do is buy hundreds of blank CDs and, one by one, burn all my mp3 albums onto disc, taking care to make sure the car's built-in cd naming system will recognize the disc as the correct album, and then wait 5 minutes (instead of 30 seconds for mp3 importing) for the car to rip each CD one at a time. Average 10 songs per album. 30GB of hard drive. 1000 albums. 5000 minutes of importing, not to mention the 5000 minutes of burning onto CDs and the $200 i'd spend on blank CDs.

So which way is easier? Honestly, I don't know. OH wait, yes I do! It's easier for GM to fix the freaking problem the right way so that EVERYBODY, not just me, can actually us their shiny pretty beautiful and (now not quite as) useless infotainment system without re-writing the title information on all of their mp3s. Yeah, that seems like a plan. GM? Wanna help a guy out??

Now, I must admit that if this problem I'm having with my Volt is basically the only problem I have with my Volt, that I am pretty far off. I LOVE MY VOLT. I'm not sorry I bought it, I would buy it a hundred times over. LOVE IT. That said, this is a legitimate problem that can be easily fixed through a proper software update. I applaud GM's attempts thus-far to fix the issue, but they still have a ways to go.

I plan on making a phone call to my volt advisor and telling him the mixed news, and let him know, again, that this is still not over. I intend to squeak my wheels as loudly as possible until this major software error is resolved. Help me out if you notice the same problem. And if you haven't noticed, give it a shot, import some music from a thumb drive and see how annoying it is to think you are about to listen to your favorite album, only to see the album order has been pillaged and misaligned.
 

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I think that's great that you're pushing this issue with GM, and I hope they fix it. Please keep us updated! :)

In the meantime, I'm going to use my iPod if I want to hear a CD in track order. Normally, I just have it on Random, so I really don't care about the track order.

Waiting for "the call" from my dealer to take delivery of my Volt!
 

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Perfectly stated, silyman1! I am in total agreement, though I think that the system has always played back tracks from album cd's you directly copy onto the system as long as you go through selection by album (for some reason this does not work with music you already have on your computer and copy to either a thumb drive or mp3 cd and then copy to the hard drive). I cannot imagine what the programmers/usability analysts were thinking when they devised this scheme.

I have renamed and copied some of my music to the hard drive (and copied a lot more before I realized the problem :-( ) so I am enjoying having the hard drive, but the process has been a lot more painstaking than it needed to be because of this alphabetical ordering design flaw.

I too have complained to my Volt advisor, suggesting she try listening to the Beatle's Abbey Road in alphabetical track order to see what I mean.

Hopefully they will fix the problem!
Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I wasn't sure, quite honestly, about the import from cd thing, as it was a long while ago. but I thought I remembered a try and fail. Either way. I'm going to keep on squeaking the wheel. Squeak squeak Squeak!
 

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I've also called GM and suggested they use the Track Number field in the ID3 tag to sort by track number if a user desires.

For the time being, I used "MP3-Tag Studio 3" to auto rename my song titles prefixed with the track number. This isn't ideal, but it solves the sorting problem. The only issue is if you want to search for a song by title, the ordering gets messed up. But I rarely do that and would prefer songs to play in track order.
 

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All of my mp3s use this naming convention: Artist-Album-Trackno-Songtitle.mp3. I also have my ID3 filled in too for itunes. If I import a CD/Flashdrive of mp3 files that have this file name format, will it work correctly in the Volt? If not, that is a pretty big oversight.
 

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I would have taught that there would be the option of turning off the idtag display in the system's option, that could solve that problem, then the system would sort by file name and not by idtag.
A lot of music from the net often have empty tags, how would they be sorted then?
A taged mp3 is usually a plus, but obviously, not in the Volt (or any GM cars).
In the mean time, you should try turning off or erase the idtag for each mp3 (you can do that with a bulk mp3tag editing tool from the net).
My guess would be that, then the songs would read in the right order.
Should be a fast solution for now.
The reason CD's are playing in the right order is that every song on a audio cd are taged: Track01.cda, Track02.cda, Track03.cda, and so on....
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I would have taught that there would be the option of turning off the idtag display in the system's option, that could solve that problem, then the system would sort by file name and not by idtag.
you may have something here. The system probably defaults back to the file name if the ID3 title is empty. that would be easier to do, erase all of my ID3 titles, than to rename each one. I'm going to give that a shot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
you may have something here. The system probably defaults back to the file name if the ID3 title is empty. that would be easier to do, erase all of my ID3 titles, than to rename each one. I'm going to give that a shot.
Before, when i tried to mess with my ID3 tags, I was trying to make the ID3 title match my file name which by default are named by track number and then the track name. But instead of trying to rename all the title tags, I just deleted the title tag. Once deleted, the Volt defaults to the file name for its title information. I kept the metadata for artist and album. I tried before to use Tritag to do custom renaming. But this time around I used Stamp. http://www.nch.com.au/tageditor/index.html Stamp is free and for windows. Here's the order of operations I used to make sure I don't ruin my itunes music library.

This only seems to work for mp3 formatted music and not m4a or m4p files. Pick out the songs you want transferred to your Volt. COPY the music to a new location away from where itunes or your music program is looking. Then open up Stamp and navigate to the newly copied folder. Stamp has the option, which opening a folder with many subfolders of music to select every song inside the full folder tree. Go ahead and do that. You should see all your music you want to transfer in the window. CTRL A to select all, and under title, you need to enter something. anything really. I tried entering what stamp said would work for renaming %title% and press stamp. But all stamp did for me was rename all my ID3 titles "%tltle%" Funny, but we only need that title window populated with text. Next step, you erase the %title% text from the title field and make sure no spaces or any text remains, and click on stamp. Poof. Stamp just removed all the title track names from all your songs. Move that folder onto your favorite thumbdrive and copy to your Volt. Your volt will now read the file name which most likely has a track number in front of it.


Ideal? Hardly. GM still needs to work on a fix, because now all the music will have numbers in front of it and it's annoying to look at. But it's yet another type of work-around that's easier than renaming the title info manually.
 

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GM probably subcontracted that whole system, so reprogramming it is probably like an act of congress. We'll be lucky if they ever resolve this issue. I also doubt we'll get the option of upgrading to the MyLink interface, but of course they'll be happy to take your Volt on trade for a 2012.
 

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Glad i could help;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
GM probably subcontracted that whole system, so reprogramming it is probably like an act of congress. We'll be lucky if they ever resolve this issue. I also doubt we'll get the option of upgrading to the MyLink interface, but of course they'll be happy to take your Volt on trade for a 2012.
You're probably right. Still though, I'm going to keep on nudging my volt advisors until they block my phone number from their system. I'm also planning on toting along as many of my old CDs as i can on my next road trip, so i can have an excuse to sit in my car uploading cds for hours and hours in order to get the songs ordered correctly.
 

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I am about to venture plugging in this $12 flash drive I purchased from staples and see what happens. I'm thinking the only organized and enjoyable way to keep doing music is with the iPod I normally keep in there, (sometimes my iPhone.) It sucks that there is a huge hard drive built into this thing that is practically useless!

-Brad
 

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I am about to venture plugging in this $12 flash drive I purchased from staples and see what happens. I'm thinking the only organized and enjoyable way to keep doing music is with the iPod I normally keep in there, (sometimes my iPhone.) It sucks that there is a huge hard drive built into this thing that is practically useless!

-Brad
Hmm... I have 53 audio books loaded on my Volt hard drive.

It's a long way from practically useless to me.
 

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Well, you know I mean from an organizational standpoint. Not that the storage space itself is useless. I just wish they had some organization by album, artist, etc...
 

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Well, you know I mean from an organizational standpoint. Not that the storage space itself is useless. I just wish they had some organization by album, artist, etc...
I am confused, mine is loaded with Artist, Album information. Loaded from Burned MP3 CD off my iTunes.
 

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I am heading to the garage now to see. :) I haven't tried yet, but all my reading lead me to believe it throws the mp3s in with alphabetical order of track names, and that was the only option. I could be totally wrong though! *crosses fingers*
 

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I am confused, mine is loaded with Artist, Album information. Loaded from Burned MP3 CD off my iTunes.
It's not that they're not organized by either artist, album, genre, etc., It's that particularly in album view, the songs don't appear in the order they do on the actual album. They appear in alphabetical order and there's nothing (easy) you can do to change that.

This of course refers to mp3 or aac files loaded via a flash drive. I've not had the car rip a CD but apparently it keeps song order correct when you do that.
 

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I have a "sort of" solution that may help some people out there. This works for mp3 and m4a files.

First: I'm another one that has complained about this to my Volt Advisor enough times to probably be annoying, I'm sure. And the answer was always "you can manually edit your tags in each file and it will work" which I thought was a ridiculous solution. And it is, but I've now found at least an easier way to do this, so I thought I'd share it here for people that care. Please note that this worked well for me but may not work for you (see below) so apologies in advance!.

The most important thing to know is that the player does *not* use the track number specified in the tags (even though that's what the GM people told me). Even when the track num is there, it is taking the song title *from the tags* and playing the tracks in alphabetical order based on this -- and if you're trying to listen to an album you love, this gets annoying very fast.

So I have an iTunes lib with about 60GB of music in it. And I don't want to go hacking the tags of all of my music files just to play them in the Volt (especially hacking the actual *song titles* -- that's just unacceptable), so I figured I would just pick 10 or 20 albums, make a *copy* of those files to somewhere else, hack the tags there and the load those onto the Volt HDD. And so that's what I did.

And yes, the thought of manually changing 400 music files one by one was unpleasant. But I found a tool that changed them as one big batch, so that made it a whole lot more acceptable!

The trick is though: in my case all of my music files are named as follows: <two digit track num><space><song name>.<extension>. I have no idea whether I decided that should be the file name years ago or whether that's just what it does. But the key is that the file name of every song has a two digit track number on the front of it. (and it has to be a two digit track number or else track 10 will show up between track 1 and 2...)

Of course, this makes the Volt bug all the more annoying -- if they just used the *filename* instead of the track name in the tags to alphabetize things, it would have still worked for me.

Ok, so for me at least, this file name format is what made this whole change into just a few mouse clicks instead of hours of editing file by file. (although even doing it this way with the tag editor I found looks to be *very* easy because of the way the application lays out the old and new tag values and let you make changes).

So after googling a bit I found something called "MusicBrainz Picard". The nice thing for me is that it runs on a Mac. (not trying to push that particular software, that's just what I found and it worked great for me).

So open the program, click on "Add Folder" and point it to the folder where you put the *copy* of your music files -- don't hack your original files. It then loads in all of the music files (I just dumped all of mine into one big directory/folder).

Then all of your tracks should be listed under "Unmatched Files" (with a track count in parens). So just click on Unmatched Files to highlight it.

Then click on "Tools" and select "Tags from File Names".

It pops up a window and there's a line that looks like "%artist%/%album - %tracknumber% - %title%" (or some such thing)

In my case I just changed this to %title% (basically, use the entire file name as the track name). Then click "ok".

To make sure things look right you can then select individual tracks and look at the "New Medadata" area.

Your song titles should now have a 2 digit track number prefix -- which the Volt will then use alphabetically to properly order the tracks.

Last step: click "Save" -- you will then see in the lower right corner of the Picard window that it is ticking down the file count as it actually makes the changes.

That's it -- I copied the tracks to my Volt HDD and now I finally have things in track order.

So it's not perfect, but hey it's better than what I had! :)

Hope it helps folks out there.

And BTW: I've only used 18.7 gal of gas over the last 3500 miles in my Volt -- so yeah the music player has been annoying -- but I *love* this car! Truly the best car I've ever owned in my life :)

Drew
 
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