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Offline EV607797

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Downloaded music format question
« on: March 15, 2021, 11:52:07 PM »
I know this isn't related to any of our categories, so I just picked the closest one.  I know there's someone here who might understand this stuff.

I recently treated myself to a new (used) car that has a USB port for audio input.  I made the assumption that I could save my recorded music onto a thumb drive and listen away, but not so.  At least so far.  If my stereo system even attempts to play one, it usually gives an audible message indicating that the media is not supported.

Much of the music that I have is from YouTube and saved in the MP4 format.  I'm pretty sure that this format is part of the problem, since the files include the audio and video associated with the song.  I made the assumption that the video part was causing the system to reject the files, so I located an MP4 to MP3 converter and tried it out on a few albums.  In this instance, the system didn't even try to play it, to include no audible message after converting the files to MP3.

I did manage to get two albums recorded onto a DVD-RW to play, but there's no functionality, such as FF, Rewind, skip, etc.  Just play and stop.

This MP4 converter tool allows files to be converted to a variety of different file formats.  The system in the car has a logo on it indicating "Powered by Microsoft", so I'm sure that this is a case of their prohibiting bootlegging music.  Is that the case in my situation?

Note that it DOES allow me to connect my iPhone to this USB port and play the same YouTube music.

Is there a different format I should try for saving audio-only files on the USB drive that doesn't include any identifying header information?
Ed Vaughn

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2021, 01:16:29 AM »
It's always going to be mp3. Mp3 is an audio file. You are downloading a video which is mp4 (an audio and video format file). I don't know how you can even convert mp4 to mp3. Apples and oranges. You are going to have to strip off the audio and save that as an mp3.

What did you use to download the YouTube mp4s? Most downloaders like Video Download Helper won't work, however VLC will.  If you want to know how let me know. Also check out 4K Video Downloader because VLC may not always go to even 1080P.

I see that VLC Media player will strip off the audio from an mp4. It's something I have had on my machines for years. Here's a video that explains how to do it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nij0s8RUki0

Oh, one more thing- once you have your mp3's you should be able to click on them and play them on your computer. Quick way to make sure they work. Then put them into the root of the USB flash drive.

Another thing to check is what formatting of the flash drive the Microsoft Sync expects. Many audio players want FAT32 and many flash drives come NTFS, player won't read it. If so you will have to reformat it before you put anything on it. I think I had to use an external formatter to format a drive larger than 4GB FAT32 but that was before I had WIN 10. I don't know if WIN 10 can do it, you won't know until you try.

ETA: Just checked, it does need to be FAT32. Maybe that's why what you have won't play? Do they play off the USB drive on your computer now?

-Hal
I gotta get out of this business...

COMSYSTEC- Phone Systems | paging systems | background music systems | foreground music systems | retail music | restaurant music

Offline EV607797

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2021, 06:01:53 AM »
Bravo, Hal!  I knew I'd find the knowledge here, just like with about anything else.

I've downloaded VLC and it definitely looks to be exactly what I'm looking for.  I converted a few albums and loaded them on a USB drive.  I'll check back and let you know how it goes.

Many thanks for the guidance.
Ed Vaughn

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Offline MacGyver

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2021, 10:46:14 AM »
Mp3 is not a lossless format, but for the most part it isn't going to matter.  Like Hal, for cross platform compatibility, it's mp3 all the way.
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Online hbiss

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2021, 01:30:39 PM »
Quote
Mp3 is not a lossless format, but for the most part it isn't going to matter.

Well, you could save them as .WAV but don't expect to get nearly as many in a drive. .MP3 is the standard unless you are going to listen to them on something where you can hear the difference.

And at my age I'm lucky to hear it at all.  :016:

-Hal
I gotta get out of this business...

COMSYSTEC- Phone Systems | paging systems | background music systems | foreground music systems | retail music | restaurant music

Offline MacGyver

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2021, 04:06:25 PM »
Quote
Mp3 is not a lossless format, but for the most part it isn't going to matter.

Well, you could save them as .WAV but don't expect to get nearly as many in a drive. .MP3 is the standard unless you are going to listen to them on something where you can hear the difference.

-Hal

True, and there are other issues.  I'm with you, Hal.  mp3 all the way.  Even on Apple I wouldn't go with their proprietary format.  It just causes platform issues later if you move to another device. 
-I'm only here because my flux capacitor is broken.

Online hbiss

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2021, 07:02:45 PM »
Quote
I've downloaded VLC and it definitely looks to be exactly what I'm looking for.

That thing will do things I haven't even found out about.

-Hal
I gotta get out of this business...

COMSYSTEC- Phone Systems | paging systems | background music systems | foreground music systems | retail music | restaurant music

Offline EV607797

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2021, 10:28:02 PM »
One thing that I did find during this was that with Windows 10, downloading the VLC program via the Windows Store gives you a player-only version.  You must bypass this "feature" or switch out of S mode in order to get the real thing.  I couldn't get anything like what they were showing in the how-to video and now I know why.
Ed Vaughn

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Online hbiss

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2021, 01:59:49 AM »
https://www.videolan.org/index.html

No idea what you got. ALWAYS download from the original software site because the second party downloaders sometimes tack on other stuff and that could include spyware and viruses. You should have the 64 bit version also.

-Hal
I gotta get out of this business...

COMSYSTEC- Phone Systems | paging systems | background music systems | foreground music systems | retail music | restaurant music

Offline Marc Haycook

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2021, 07:33:41 AM »
My Ford plays WMA files, which is a Microsoft Codec. I'll look at the various convertors I have stashed in my archives. The WMA files are a little bigger than the MP3s, but they sound better.

I started archiving audio to MP3 in the late 90s. When the cost of drives came down, I moved to uncompressed WAV files.

The earlier MP3s just sit in a folder, likely to never be touched again. Every now and then, I find out I don't have a song in WAV and I go back to that MP3 folder because I likely have it as an MP3.

I can still hear the difference between the various codecs. In fact, now that I've started streaming - I really got back into the various codecs. It's amazing how things have changed over the years. As I'm finishing the station's web site, I 'll be offering two different audio streams... one is a 32kbps stream encoded using HE-AACv2 and the other stream is a 320kbps stream encoded using MP3. Both streams sound very good, but the MP3 stream is as close as I can get to what you hear on the actual radio broadcast. The "effects" added to the AACv2 stream make it sound good on an iPhone, but it doesn't sound as good when it's coming through some good speakers in a car or home.

Now I need to learn about digital transmitters. If all goes well with the LMA, I'll own the radio station at the end of the year and I'll be upgrading the signal and that means a new transmitter.

Wow... that got side-tracked. Sorry Ed... I saw a squirrel. :-)

I'll see what various convertors I still have and get back to you.

I do have a great piece of software for doing bulk tag editing. As you're doing things, if you save the songs as "Artist Name - Title of Song" it can pull that information from the windows folder structure and then rebuild the tags with proper formatting.
Marc Haycook
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Offline EV607797

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2021, 01:26:22 AM »
Well, no joy with the USB drive that I loaded a few albums in MP3 format using the VLC converter.  Nothing happened at all, as in the sysetm not recognizing it all other than detecting the drive being inserted.

The VLC converter that Hal suggested doesn't offer many formats and WMA is definitely not one of them.  Marc, I"m open to anything you might come across, but if I can't get anyting to work, I will just have to accept it and plug my iPhone in.  I was just hoping for something a bit neater and more graceful to operate.
Ed Vaughn

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Online telemarv

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2021, 07:11:59 AM »
Stupid question, have you consulted the owners manual? It usually has an extensive section on the entertain centres available. I had a Dodge Journey that required the files to be uploaded to the built in hard drive. Also be sure you select "Source" as media.
Marv CCNA


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Online hbiss

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2021, 01:17:17 PM »
Well, no joy with the USB drive that I loaded a few albums in MP3 format using the VLC converter.  Nothing happened at all, as in the sysetm not recognizing it all other than detecting the drive being inserted.


Okay. Let's take this step-by-step.

"The system" meaning your computer?
Where did you tell VLC to save the mp3 files to? That should be a folder on your C drive. Pick one, make a new one- Ed's music. Where VLC saves by default I don't remember, probably C:\users\Ed\my music. I would change it to someplace you can find.

Once you do that and save some files to that folder, go to it and play some on your computer. They should play using something you have. VLC will play them if you get that option.

Now, insert your USB drive and copy those files to it. Now, see if you can play them from the USB drive.

Now, as I said before, the USB drive must be formatted with FAT32 for the Ford Sync to be able to read it. Open that drive and click on Properties up in the tool bar. Right there under "file system" it will say what it is. If it's exFAT leave it alone because I think that because it's a newer version of FAT32 and supposed to be compatible see if Sync recognizes it.

If it's NTFS you can reformat it to exFAT, and that is available under drive tools under the green
"Manage".

If after doing that exFAT won't work with Sync let me know and I will direct you to a utility that will format FAT32 on drives larger than 9GB.

I really don't know why you are having these problems. I have mp3 MOH and AA announcements sent to me all the time and I have no problem working with them.

I will admit though that I have never tried playing files from a USB drive with Ford Sync. Let me look and see if there is any special folder requirement or it will just start with the first file in the root.

Edit: Nope, not seeing anything special in any owner's manual on on-line. I do see people saying exFAT will work.

-Hal



 
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Offline TexasTechnician

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2021, 12:19:08 AM »
As mentioned FAT 32 is a key requirement that I've discovered for using USB drives for music. You don't need any fancy software to format a USB for FAT 32. Windows 10 will give you the option when formatting the drive.

Offline EV607797

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2021, 01:16:35 AM »
I did skip one step, Hal.  That was that I saved the converted file directly to the USB drive instead of saving it in a new file on my PC first.  The USB drive I'm using is definitely formatted for FAT32 and I am able to play directly from it to my PC.  When I said "system", I was referring to my car's stereo system (I'm not sure what today's terminology is for them).  I have copied one album onto a new USB drive and will give it another go tomorrow.  Thanks to everyone for keeping an eye on this subject for me.
Ed Vaughn

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2021, 01:20:32 AM »
Windows will only let you format a USB drive with FAT 32 if it is 32 GB or less.

-Hal
I gotta get out of this business...

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Online hbiss

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2021, 01:29:49 AM »
Quote
(I'm not sure what today's terminology is for them)

Ghetto blaster.  :011:

Give it a try and let me know. The manuals for both vehicles I have say to just plug it in and it should come up. Depending on what display you have it should show the tracks.

Keep in mind that the Ford Sync is prone to problems. So don't be surprised if it isn't you. The one in my pickup (09') won't connect with bluetooth to my phone anymore.

-Hal
I gotta get out of this business...

COMSYSTEC- Phone Systems | paging systems | background music systems | foreground music systems | retail music | restaurant music

Online hbiss

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2021, 07:38:47 PM »
So Ed, were you out cruising around today with your top down, blasting your tunes and picking up chicks or is it still not working?  :058:

-Hal
I gotta get out of this business...

COMSYSTEC- Phone Systems | paging systems | background music systems | foreground music systems | retail music | restaurant music

Offline MacGyver

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2021, 07:41:28 PM »
So Ed, were you out cruising around today with your top down, blasting your tunes and picking up chicks...


"Hey there sexy mama.  Wanna see my punch tool?"   :008:
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Offline EV607797

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2021, 12:51:08 AM »
Well, I was at the beach, and I was in my cruising vessel, but it was in the 40s with a stiff wind blowing, so there wasn't much cruising going on.  My sister and I sat inside at her beach house drinking beers and watching basketball.  Oh well, a bad day at the beach is still better than a good day at the office, right?

Anyway, I've had marginal success.  Hal, I'm sure there's something that I'm missing.  While I don't profess to know a whole lot about computers, I am pretty sure that I'm doing it the right way.  I thought I had managed to get four albums to convert to MP3 and hoped I'd be listening to them on the drive down.  Nope; my ghetto blaster system in the car said no way, it was not going to play it.  I looked at the file names on the converted files and despite the fact that they were supposedly converted, they still showed as MP4 files.

This got me to thinking:  There must be a better way.  I know that I had an app on my laptop that crashed last year that allowed me to save YouTube videos, but it offered me the option of saving just the audio or both the audio and video.  These were check boxes, so there was no mention of MP3, etc.  After my laptop crashed, I lost that app.

I went looking on the internet last night for it and it was nowhere.  I did find however that C*Net had an article listing their top-ten pics for YouTube downloader apps.  Most really didn't look like what I wanted, but one stood out.  It was called 'Airy' https://www.eltima.com/products/youtube-downloader/ that looked like what I'm looking for.  It's a paid service, but only $20.00.  Because it offers a 24 hour free trial, I gave it a go and it worked perfectly.  Straight from the YouTube link to an MP3 (or other) file in a single operation.  I tried it out and got four full albums on a thumb drive in about 15 minutes.  The pros:  It is super easy and inexpensive.  The cons:  It only offers about four MP4 versions and one MP3.  It also requires a software download.  That's fine for what I'm looking for, but maybe not for others.  Airy makes it perfectly clear that their service is there solely for people to copy and convert their OWN material and not to bootleg protected material.  If they only knew how many cassette tapes I made back in the day...

I found and tried another one tonight, called 'Easy MP3 Converter' https://www.easymp3converter.com/v1/, which is free and does not require a download, but it is loaded with embedded pop-up ads (the kinds that ad blockers can't reach, like on Facebook).  Not a big deal for what I'm doing since they're easy to skip.  I converted and downloaded about 40 albums in a little over an hour directly to a USB drive.  The fact that it's free and has so much junk advertising leads me to believe that it's probably something I should stay away from.  Still, none of my malware or virus detection caught anything, at least for now.

Using both of these, the files on the USB drive show as MP3 and through a random sampling of media players, they all seem to play.  I'm not saying that this is the definitive solution, but for $20.00, I may just go with Airy and hope for the best.  The simplicity is what I was seeking, rather than having to download, convert, save and then copy the files.

I will say that one thing I noticed when using my Ford "ghetto blaster", it gives an audible warning when ANY USB drive is plugged in stating that it does not support protected material, however after waiting a few seconds, it plays them just fine.  That may have been my issue all along; I was hearing that warning and just assuming that it wasn't going to play.

My quest is far from over, and I'll be sure to post back once I've figured out the best solution.  As always, thank you all for your ideas and advice.  I can't imagine going anywhere else when I really need an answer.
Ed Vaughn

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Online Keighlar

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2021, 08:31:06 AM »
I use this free online converter and have for years.  It hasn't failed me yet, and it's not advertising overkill:

https://www.zamzar.com/
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Offline EV607797

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2021, 06:59:31 PM »
Stacey, that was the first one I tried and it's how I managed to download a little bit of music.  When I signed up though, it cost $9.00 per month.  I went ahead and paid for it for one month, but I'm not sure if I'm going to keep it.
Ed Vaughn

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Online hbiss

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2021, 09:59:14 PM »
With all the converters Ed has tried he should be ready to write a review article.  :003:

-Hal
I gotta get out of this business...

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Online Keighlar

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2021, 07:25:01 AM »
With all the converters Ed has tried he should be ready to write a review article.  :003:

-Hal

And we know he's capable.   :066:

I didn't know they had a paid version.  I suppose I've never had to bulk convert.
“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
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Offline EV607797

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #24 on: March 23, 2021, 10:42:04 PM »
Ha!  Thanks for the compliments, but no, I'm not all that on computers.  I don't know where I'd be if not for the assistance I get here from time to time.

Stacey, they offered a free 24 hour trial period, but after that, it was $9.00 per month.  I had signed up, but got whizzed when the amount they actually charged me was more, supposedly due to exchange rate differences.  It was less than a dollar more, but I thought that was shady.  I cancelled it and they assured me that I am free to keep using it for the month I paid.
Ed Vaughn

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Offline MacGyver

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #25 on: March 23, 2021, 11:02:31 PM »
I just use one of the free youtube to mp3 downloaders. 
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Offline EV607797

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2021, 12:41:04 AM »
Well, these free downloaders and converters for MP3 files may have been too good to be true.  I'm now getting a message from Zamzar.com that they have agreed with YouTube to stop directly converting their material.  In addition, the one that I've been using, EasyMP3Converter.com, is returning a "something went wrong" when I tried that one. 
Ed Vaughn

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Offline MacGyver

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #27 on: March 25, 2021, 10:57:20 AM »
There are a lot of ways to make it happen.  I have a desktop program that I use often for pulling down lectures and CE classes so I can fast forward.  You can also stream them to Audacity or Wavepad.  This online one seems to work well:

https://www.converto.io/

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Offline MacGyver

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #28 on: May 18, 2021, 01:04:17 PM »
This one seems to be working for me right now:  https://youtube-to-mp3.org/youtube-to-mp3/

-I'm only here because my flux capacitor is broken.

Offline EV607797

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #29 on: May 18, 2021, 01:37:42 PM »
This is the one that I had been using before I lost my hard drive.  Fortunately, I paid for a lifetime license on one device and was able to track down the payment.  From there, I was able to get the link and also got them to transfer my license.  It's amazingly simple and lets you peel out the video and audio from an MP4 right at the top.  It's the only one I've been able to get that will let me put music directly from YouTube videos onto USB drives that will actually play in car sound systems.  I'm happy.

http://youtubemusicdownloader.us/
Ed Vaughn

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Offline MacGyver

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2021, 08:34:13 PM »
Glad you got it working well, Ed.
-I'm only here because my flux capacitor is broken.

Offline silversam

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Re: Downloaded music format question
« Reply #31 on: May 19, 2021, 04:11:15 PM »
Well done, Ed! You've been beating on this one for a while!

Sam