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  #1  
Old 05-12-2011, 05:47 AM
Jettgod Jettgod is offline
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Default Cowon J3 Playlists and SDHC card problems

I have a 32GB Cowon J3 which include 200 playlists and it all works ok, but as I have a lot of FLAC music tracks I have managed to fill up the memory. Consequently, I have now added a 32GB SDHC memory card but am having problems with the J3’s behaviour.

My latest playlist has 8 tracks on it, 4 of the tracks are on the J3 in the flash memory, and four tracks are on the 32GB SDHC card. However when trying to play the playlist (stored on the J3 main flash memory) it only sees the four tracks on the J3, it does not “see” the 4 tracks on the SDHC card memory. However, the J3 does see all the 8 individual tracks and will play them – so the SDHC memory is recognised.

As a test, I also copied the playlist into the new playlist folder on the SDHC card, and when I looked up the playlist menu on the J3, and as expected it showed both the playlists.
However, when you try and play them the J3 main memory playlist will only show the tracks that are on the J3 main memory, whilst the other playlist (SDHC CARD) will only show the tracks that are on the 32GB SDHC card!!

As The J3 seems to see the tracks as one memory, I cannot understand how the playlists are not working in the same manner?

As a secondary point, when connecting the J3 in MSC mode Windows explorer does not find or list the extra memory and only see the base 32GB of the J3. However, when you take the 32GB memory out of the J3 and load it into a card reader and put the card reader into the USB slot on the PC, then it sees the directory structure and music files............. this what I thought the J3 would do?

Not sure if it is relevant but I am using Windows Vista 64bit Operating system, and although I only use it in MSC mode, and it has not caused any issues with my S9 or J3 (before I added the extra memory) could this be the cause of the problems with the additional memory?

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  #2  
Old 05-12-2011, 06:39 AM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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The firmware design of the J3 (even right up to the most current 2.25) unfortunately does NOT support music files referenced by M3U playlists unless they are located on INTERNAL STORAGE of the J3.

As you've observed, music on the EXTERNAL STORAGE CARD are obviously playable (either through Browser or through Music). And the tags (FLAC, ID3 and APE) from all music files on both internal and external storage is picked up at J3 boot time and stored in the tag database, so that you can use the Music method of browsing through tag fields... for music files anywhere.

However also as you've observed, if your M3U playlist contains references to music files on both internal and external storage, those references to external storage will SIMPLY BE IGNORED. They don't cause any harm to the J3, but nor do they actually function. It's like those references to external storage music files were simply absent from the M3U playlist.

Sorry... that's just the way it is... if you want to use M3U playlists and MSC connection mode.


Now if you absolutely must have playlists that refer to music files on external storage, your only solution is to use PLA playlists (rather than M3U playlists), and use MTP connection mode (rather than MSC mode).

PLA playlists built and maintained by Windows Explorer CAN REFER TO MUSIC FILES ON BOTH INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL STORAGE OF THE J3. But PLA playlist support REQUIRES THAT YOU ALWAYS BE IN MTP MODE, and NEVER RETURN TO MSC MODE (or else you'll lose all of your PLA playlists).

Note that to the best of my knowledge, it is ONLY Windows Explorer which understands PLA playlists correctly (along with the J3, interestingly, as well as a number of other PMP's apparently) and can manage PLA playlists that refer to music files on both internal and external storage of the J3.

While other Windows programs may theoretically support PLA playlists, they do not support it insofar as referencing music files on both internal and external storage. They only support PLA playlists pointing to music files on internal storage... meaning you're back to the same limitation as with M3U/MSC.


Sorry... there's nothing we can do about it. J3 users have lived with this limitation ever since the player was released. Complaints to Cowon have so far fallen on deaf ears, apparently. There still is no solution, but rather only this limitation.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:00 AM
Jettgod Jettgod is offline
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Thanks DS for yet another clear and detailed explanation. To say I am annoyed is a clear understatement. I only upgraded from an S9 to a J3 because of the supposed capabilities of the extra memory. Amazing, that because you don’t know what won’t work before you get a product - you can’t ask in advance about specific issues!!

You are right about the PLA playlists, because of the issues about not using MSC mode, this is not an area I want to go down.

For me playlists (M3U) are the big thing, so I now have to assume that if I am staying with Cowon then I guess that I will have to go down the X7 route.

As far as you are aware will the X7 do what I want to do in respect of playlists? And, does the X7 (as a generic statement) in other respects behave like a S9/J3? Or, are there some Dark secrets about the X7 that I will have to discover on my own!!

Thanks again


Jettgod
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:10 AM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jettgod View Post
For me playlists (M3U) are the big thing, so I now have to assume that if I am staying with Cowon then I guess that I will have to go down the X7 route.

As far as you are aware will the X7 do what I want to do in respect of playlists? And, does the X7 (as a generic statement) in other respects behave like a S9/J3? Or, are there some Dark secrets about the X7 that I will have to discover on my own!!
Well, I'm really an amateur on this stuff. The J3 is the only DAP I've owned, and I really have no firsthand knowledge or experience with any other... expecially for the X7. Only know what I've read in pre-reviews of the X7, etc.

But it does seem plausible that since there's only one "drive" (and a real 160GB one) involved, this 2-drive issue that Cowon never decided to solve would seem to be non-existent. If its physical size is acceptable to you I would think it probably would sound identical to the J3... which was really for me the major criteria in my J3 purchase.


I understand completely how playlists provide great convenience and would clearly be very important to you if you've gotten used to them (both for PC players like Winamp, as well as for portable players) but my music collection which is now about 49GB (both MP3 and FLC) simply has to span both internal and external storage of my J3. So I don't have too many options... as I am NOT going to fool around with MTP/PLA.

Furthermore, because I've simply split my music collection across internal/external storage alphabetically (say, dividing it a "L") for management convenience, it's really not convenient or possible to restrict M3U playlists to internal storage and have it be satisfing.

As I've described previously my "workaround" is really just to limit my playback to one artist at a time and then selecting [All Tracks], or to use my one FLAC "genre-playlist". I've re-done my true "favorites" into FLAC (replacing the original MP3 versions), and for each of these I've stored "FLAC" as the genre. That means I can now select my one-and-only "playlist", which is nothing but my absolute favorites... which are all in FLAC form. Obviously this one-and-only playlist is going to only get larger and larger, and doesn't provide much flexibility... but I've learned to live with it (and "random" play mode if I want to be surprised).

If you can live with music files being in no more than one playlist (since there's only one "genre" value that is databased by the J3 from each music file tag from each music file no matter on internal or external storage), this "genre-playlist" trick can be used to overcome the M3U playlist limitation of internal-storage only. Just create a genre value of "Playlist1", "Playlist2", etc., and put it in each music file you want to be in that "genre-playlist".

These "genre-playlists" will thus by definition show up in Music -> [Genres] and by definition will support ALL music on your player, regardless of location on internal or external storage.

So, yes it's a workaround, and there are some consequences and limitations (most significantly that a given music file can only be in one "genre-playlist"). But at least it is a workaround that conquers the problem, and works exactly the same way as any real M3U playlist would.
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  #5  
Old 05-12-2011, 11:59 PM
Ravnefar Ravnefar is offline
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Default A possible workaround

I had the same problem like you, but am now using the Aero Music Beta UCI by Kitsune. It will among other things allow you to make playlists also from the external memory, although it doesn't use the m3u format. You make your playlists directly on the J3. Has been working great for me so far.
You can find the download and further information in sub forum Cowon J3 UCI (Skins/Themes).

Ravnefar
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