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  #1  
Old 05-24-2011, 11:09 PM
Bja70 Bja70 is offline
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Default Noob question

This might be a silly question but what is the easiest way to play music?
I press music from the main menu but then I have to select j3 then library then music.
There must be an easier way then this.

Thanks

Brad
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  #2  
Old 05-25-2011, 11:20 AM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Originally Posted by Bja70 View Post
This might be a silly question but what is the easiest way to play music?
I press music from the main menu but then I have to select j3 then library then music.
There must be an easier way then this.
Even though you started using the Music icon, you are now proceeding using this [J3] vs. [J3 EXT] method, which really is the "folders" method of browsing the internal/external storage of the J3 just like using Windows Explorer to navigate down through the folder/file structure of your "drives".

And then, when you ultimately do arrive at the album folder which contains the music you want to play, you are seeing the external file names of every file in that folder, including their extension. You also see "cover.jpg" in that folder which of course is not music. And the order of presentation of these external file names in this list is ALPHABETICAL by external file name.

This is the direct result of your starting method of browsing, i.e. [J3] vs. [J3 EXT], i.e. "folders" method.

The totally separate approach to browsing is based on the "tags" in your music files, and the five tag fields that the J3 uses to create its tag database at each boot: [Artists], [Albums], [Genres], [Years], [Songs]. There are several other alternative tag-related methods, i.e. [New Music] and [Playlists].

The various alternative "tag-related" methods of browsing, as well as the [Folders] method of browsing, is presented at the highest-level menu list (shown with "Library" in the title bar at the top of the screen) which is reached instantly by pushing the "left/up-arrow" icon at the leftmost position on the bottom control bar of the screen in any "list presentation" which can be reached from the Player by pushing the 'lines/list" button at the left side of the title bar in Player.

You can also navigate back to that highest-level "Library" presentation by repeatedly tapping on the 'left-arrow" icon which is the second-to-the-left icon on the bottom control bar of the screen. Each tap on this icon backs up to the next higher level in the multi-level menu structure, from whereever you are now (when you press the "lines" button from Player).


Summary: to get to the highest-level Library menu list (which is where you can then navigate down through your music collection using the "tag fields" method of browsing, by tapping on [Artists], etc., instead of [Folders]) you first press the "lines" button at the left side of the title bar in Player. That will present the list of the music files in the current playlist, or most commonly the music files in your currently selected album folder if that's how you got to what you are currently playing.

Once you've pushed "lines" to get the current playlist, you'll have the control bar at the bottom of the screen. You can either push the leftmost "left/up-arrow" button, to immediately put you back at the top of the menu structure, "Library", or you can repeatedly push the second-to-the-left "left-arrow" button, to navigate back up the menu structure one level at a time from where you are, allowing you to choose something else at each level or eventually getting you back to the top, namely to "Library".


If you use a tag-based browsing method from Library (instead of [Folders]), your albums names, artist names, music file names, etc. that are listed will NOT be from the external folder/file structure on internal/external storage.

Instead, the lists presented will be from the tag field values inside of the tags on your music files. The "title" tag field value will be the song name or track name or whatever you call it, but the value shown in the list will be from the "title" tag field value and NOT from the external file name. There will be NO EXTENSION shown... you'll only see the "title" value, i.e. the track/song name as found in the "title" tag field value.

Obviously, if you want to take advantage of "tag-field browsing" (which is extremely convenient, as it covers ALL music files on both internal and external storage), your music files should have valid tags in them, else they will not be placed into the tag database correctly and thus will NOT be available for selection using the tag-field method of browsing.


Final note: if you use the "tags" method of browsing, if you do eventually navigate for example from Music -> [Artists] -> artist -> SINGLE album by that artist, and you now see the list of songs in that album (again, based on the tag field artist, album and title field values in the tags), the order of music files presented for that SINGLE album list will be in TRACK NUMBER SEQUENCE based on the track number field value in the tag.

In other words, in tags browsing mode, a SINGLE album's tracks are presented in PHYSICAL TRACK NUMBER SEQUENCE (just like a CD would appear in a real mechanical CD player), based on the track number tag field values. Again, this assumes you have a valid track number value in the tags of each of your music files. I honestly don't know what the J3 will do if not every track value is present in tags... perhaps something hybrid like (a) all files with track numbers get presented first, in track number sequence, followed by (b) the rest of the tracks in alphabetical sequence. But again, the song names shown in the list is from the "title" field of the tags, NOT from the external file names.

Note that this tags-browsing SINGLE ALBUM FOLDER list arrangement (by track number) is different from how the arrangement is when browsing using [Folders] and arriving at the same SINGLE ALBUM FOLDER. In this latter folders-browsing case, the list shown is alphabetical purely by the external file names (plus extension) and shows everything physically stored in the album folder, just like Windows Explorer.


Also note, when you use the [Artists] method of tag browsing, the next level down from [Artists] will be the albums under that artist, shown in a list. At the top of that list is a special item [All Tracks]. This item will produce a single consolidated list of ALL the songs from ALL the albums for this artist (again, based on the internal artist, album, and title tag field values). It really is ALL the tracks on the J3 for that artist, no matter what album they came from.

And in this [All Tracks] list, the songs are presented alphabetically... on the basis of the song name from the "title" tag field.


So:

(1) [Folders] browsing, single album list in alphabetical sequence by external file name (and extension shown).

(2) [Artists], etc. tag-based browsing, single album list in track number sequence by internal tag field track number value. Songs shown are from "title" tag field value, as was the "artist" and "album".

(3) [Artists] -> [All tracks], multi-album combined list of all songs from all albums for that artist, list in alphabetical sequence by internal "title" tag field value.


NOTE: you can start this process at the main menu screen in either of two ways: BROWSER or MUSIC. They are two different (but essentially identical) starting points, and they share a common "memory" for where you last were.

The next time you push either of these two buttons from the main menu you will be placed right back exactly where you last were (typically, playing a song from an album folder), with one small difference. If you use Music to start and you were playing a song in Player, when you next tap Music from the main menu screen you will be placed right back in Player again, actually playing that same song. In contrast, if you use the Browser button to start from the main screen, you will be presented simply seeing the list of songs for the album/playlist you were last in, but not actually into the Player itself.

Otherwise, Browser and Music are essentially identical, and you can use either starting point to come down through your music collection using either (a) [Folders] method of browsing, or (b) tag-field method of browsing. For both Browser and Music, if you use the [Folders] method you will see external files names and extensions in lists, just like with Windows Explorer. If you use the tag-field method, you will see tag-field "title" values and no extensions in lists.

Obviously, if you're using Browser to start, and you'd previously ended up playing music from some other method than through [Folders], (e.g. [Years], [Playlists], [Genres], etc.) then the current playlist you see presented by Browser the next time you re-enter is whatever that last selected playlist of songs shown was however you got there previously, whereas with Music you're actually IN the Player and actually playing that last song you were playing from that last selected playlist of songs.


Hope this helps.

Last edited by DSperber; 05-25-2011 at 05:48 PM.
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  #3  
Old 05-25-2011, 11:00 PM
Bja70 Bja70 is offline
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Thanks for the detailed reply.
That does make sense.
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Old 05-26-2011, 02:26 AM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bja70 View Post
Thanks for the detailed reply.
That does make sense.
So??? Can you now play music the way I described? The way you wanted to???
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  #5  
Old 05-26-2011, 03:21 AM
nodirectionhome nodirectionhome is offline
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It's perhaps the one and only thing I dislike about the J3 - it is kind of complicated switching between Music and Browser, Folder and Tags etc. to play music.

You explain it really well, DSperber, I can do it ok for 45Gb of music, it's just not quite as intuitive as, say, a Sony.
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Old 05-26-2011, 04:17 AM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Originally Posted by nodirectionhome View Post
It's perhaps the one and only thing I dislike about the J3 - it is kind of complicated switching between Music and Browser, Folder and Tags etc. to play music.
I think it also depends on how your music collection is organized. In my own situation, it is all in album folders, with albums under the artist, and all artists under \Music. Purely \Music\Artist\Albums.

Also, 100% of my music files (mix of FLAC and MP3) have completely accurate tags, including track numbers in the track number field of the tag.

I do not use track number to prefix the external file names. So the external file name of each music file exactly matches the internal "title" in the tag of that file.

Same with "album" in the tag, matching the \Album folder in which that music file is located. Same with "artist" in the tag, again matching the parent \Artist folder in which all of the subordinate albums live.

I do not use imbedded album art in any tag. Album art is 100% "cover.jpg" in each album folder.

===> I NEVER USE "FOLDERS" METHOD OF BROWSING. No need to.

I only use tags-based browsing 100% of the time, almost always on [Artists] and then picking an artist, and then either using [All Tracks] if I just want to play that artist for a "concert", or perhaps just a single album if I have a particular favorite and feel in that mood (e.g. "Rubber Soul" instead of [All Tracks] for The Beatles).

I don't really browse or play music based on true genre, although I realize that others might. So instead, I've used the "genre" tag field to hold an artificial "genre-playlist" value (e.g. Playlist1, Playlist2, etc.) as my way of overcoming the J3's firmware limitation that does not support single M3U playlist files referencing music files on BOTH internal and external storage of the J3. I realize that means any track can only appear in one "genre-playlist", but I can live with that limitation.

Furthermore, if I choose to have a music file in FLAC rather than my high-quality MP3 form, that defines a "super favorite". And I use FLAC as the "genre-playlist" value for those files. So I can play my #1 favorite playlist that contains only my "super favorites", by browsing Music -> [Genres] and choosing "FLAC" as the genre. By definition, since this plays all FLAC files in the collection, it is guaranteed to be nothing but "winners" (in my mind).


===>> I never use [Folders]. I only use tags-based browsing. So there is nothing complicated, and there's just no reason to use Browser instead of Music. If I start up the J3 I might just as well push Music and immediately go right back into Player, playing the last track I was playing when I last powered it off.

Why use Browser which puts me into a display of the last album/playlist in effect, rather than actually playing the last track I was playing? If I want to see the playlist I can easily just tap the "lines" icon on the player and be there? But 99.9% of the time I'd just as soon go from Music -> playing music. Why require an extra tap with Music -> playlist -> playing music when I don't really want that 99.9% of the time?

Obviously, it just depends on how you use the J3 and play music. My use is pretty basic, but 100% tags-based.


I know nothing about Sony devices. The J3 is my first and only PMP.
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