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Old 08-31-2011, 03:39 PM
GohanDemon GohanDemon is offline
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Default Shuffling on j3

Hi, i just ordered cowon j3... I am wondering how shuffling is working on it... Is it possible to play all songs from internal and external storage in the random order without repeating tracks that were already played? And does j3 remembers these tracks after turning it off?
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:10 PM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Hi, i just ordered cowon j3... I am wondering how shuffling is working on it... Is it possible to play all songs from internal and external storage in the random order without repeating tracks that were already played?
Interestingly, this same question was also just asked by another new-owner of the J3 on another thread also just posted today! Very coincidental.

Anyway, if you start your music browse/play process "logically" rather than "physically", i.e. by using the "tags database" (which is developed by the J3 from ALL SONGS located on BOTH internal and external storage), then you have now have complete access to all music on your J3 no matter whether it's on internal or external storage.

So you'll be able to select music by Library -> [Artists], or [Albums], or [Genres], or [Years], of [Songs]. And, if you choose [Songs] that means ALL SONG TITLES (i.e ALL of your music collection, on both internal and external storage) as conveyed by the internal "song/title" tag field in each music file, then the "shuffle" mode now will randomly pick songs from this [Songs] playlist, which essentially means from ALL music on your J3 no matter where it lives.

In fact, whatever playlist you navigate to using this same tags-database approach is also the limiting factor for "shuffle". So, for example if you browse Library -> [Artists] and pick a specific artist, and now instead of choosing a particular album by that artist you instead choose [All Tracks], you will be developing a playlist of all tracks from all albums by that artist. And now "shuffle" will be limited to that playlist... i.e. randomly from among all the songs by that artist.


Note that if your music files do NOT have their tags properly built then this tags-based browsing function is inhibited, and those music files which do not have proper "song/title" tag fields will not even show up in the list of music files corresponding to [Songs] or any of the other tags-database available categories. So they will not show up under [Artists] -> [All Tracks], or [Songs], or any other category. Tags-based browsing obviously depends on your music files having proper tags in them. If you don't already use it, I highly recommend a program named MP3Tag for your music file tag maintenance needs.

Again, tags-based browsing is a "logical" browse of all music files anywhere, but based on tag fields and not the physical external folder or file names. But the J3 knows where each of those "logical" songs are physically located, by using its tags database.


Quote:
And does j3 remembers these tracks after turning it off?
I actually don't know (I don't use this "shuffle" feature) but I suspect it might.

It certainly remembers where you currently are playing in any type of non-shuffle sequential play mode. When you power it back on and push PLAY it will be at the same track you were last playing.

So I suspect "shuffle" mode would work the same way, and you're not likely to repeat after power off/on than had you just played continuously without an intervening power off.

But to be honest, I don't know for absolute sure.


NOTE: most people use "sleep mode" to power off the J3 during the day. This has great advantage because when powering back on the "back from sleep" boot process takes 1-3 seconds, whereas depending on the size of your internal/external music collection may take 30-45 seconds (some report even longer). The explanation for the difference is that the "cold boot" tags-database functionality and "check albumart" functionality is completely bypassed when coming back from sleep.

And when coming back from "sleep" mode, it's really like you never powered off at all... but rather were still operating exactly as you last were. So in this case, my hunch is absolutely 100% the J3 will remember where it's last been and not repeat songs in "shuffle" mode. It's as if you were running continually.

There is very little difference in the power consumption for "sleep" vs. true "power off", although there is some. But this should be of no consequence for a one-day usage. You can simply plug the J3 into its charger every night, and never worry about it. There's far more than sufficient battery life in the J3 to handle on/off "sleep" mode throughout the day while still supporting "play" throughout the day... at least with normal setup where the screen goes dark after a few minutes even while playing.

It's a fact that the screen display is the largest user of power on the J3. I myself have it set to ALWAYS BE ON, because I love looking at my album art. Also, I mostly use it in my car plugged into the sound system, with the J3 sitting on the passenger seat. I want to be able to pick it up and navigate (with one hand) and not have to fumble to get it back from dark-screen mode so that I can see what I'm doing, every time I pick it up. But I still don't have a power problem within a single day, given my usage habits.
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:05 PM
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sonorguy sonorguy is offline
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And does j3 remembers these tracks after turning it off?
It remembers exactly where you are after powering the j3 off and then on again.
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:49 AM
mtp mtp is offline
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Hi, I just purchased a J3 yesterday and I was trying to follow your posted info to set up a play list and get the J3 to play the songs randomly or to "shuffle" them, but I was not successful. I used the browser method but the menu seems very difficult to figure out, and the user manual (1.4 version) didn't help. Being new to this player, I have looked for simple instructions for actions such as creating playlists, how to set up random play or shuffle, and I couldn't find anything on the web. I guess I am looking for something simple rather than investing hours in figuring this thing out, I am 60 years old and not a fan of trial and error, but I can certainly appreciate the audio quality of the cowon, that is why I bought it, but if the menu proves too much of a challenge, it may end up as a paperweight. Any tips on learning to use this? Thanks
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:14 AM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Hi, I just purchased a J3 yesterday and I was trying to follow your posted info to set up a play list and get the J3 to play the songs randomly or to "shuffle" them, but I was not successful. I used the browser method but the menu seems very difficult to figure out, and the user manual (1.4 version) didn't help. Being new to this player, I have looked for simple instructions for actions such as creating playlists, how to set up random play or shuffle, and I couldn't find anything on the web. Any tips on learning to use this? Thanks
Is the following clear? Or do you not follow?

From the Cowon User Manual PDF for the J3 (for when actually playing music, so the screenshots are for the "player"):

(1) tap the dropdown arrow in the center of the menubar over the album art, to reveal the sub-menu with five icons on it:




(2) tapping the second icon from the left gets you into the playback settings screen. On the playback settings screen, the leftmost icon is either (a) play once, or (b) repeat. The second icon from the left is the "straight" vs. "shuffle" control.

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Old 02-22-2012, 03:37 PM
mtp mtp is offline
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Hi DS, what I get when I tap the down arrow is a list of file properties, MP3, 320kbps, 44khz, etc. What is a major source of confusion for me so far is that every time I have tried to walk through something with the manual or tips from the web or this forum, I have reached a point where the options on my J3 menu do not match the instructions. Not once have I been able to get through a task with success, other than just loading a few albums to experiment with. So no I don't follow from the very beginning. On the page you have referenced, it starts by stating "move to main menu", and my j3 main menu has battery, music, videos, pictures, flash, etc. so when it says switch to list, music favorites and music bookmarks, I'm already lost because that is not an option from my main menu. But I put it back to dynamic square view and tried tapping the down arrow and got the same menu with the file properties, not a different set of setup icons. After another hour fooling with this, it may be going back to the store rather than in a drawer. HELP
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Old 02-22-2012, 03:43 PM
mtp mtp is offline
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Hi DS, forgot to mention one other issue I find extremely weird and irritating, there seems to be no way to stop a song. I hit play on a song to check the sound and didn't need to hear the whole thing, but I could not find a way to stop the song, every time I turn on the player, that song it still there waiting for me to play the rest of it, can't stop a song, that is unbelievable.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:28 PM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Hi DS, what I get when I tap the down arrow is a list of file properties, MP3, 320kbps, 44khz, etc.
I believe you are actually tapping not on that down arrow ("3") on the "title bar" as shown in the screenshot. You are probably touching your finger tip just below it, which would be landing at the top of the album art itself. So you're actually tapping on the "4" area shown in the screenshot of the basic music interface, not "3". Granted, that little down arrow is very tiny, but you have to tap it to get the sub-menu.



With the stock Cowon J3 user interface when you tap somewhere on the album art ("4") you get that result you are describing, namely the "file attributes". As is described on page 19, item "4": touch the album art to view the detailed file information.




Quote:
On the page you have referenced, it starts by stating "move to main menu", and my j3 main menu has battery, music, videos, pictures, flash, etc. so when it says switch to list, music favorites and music bookmarks, I'm already lost because that is not an option from my main menu.
When you power on the J3 and the boot process stabilizes, what is staring at you on the screen is called the "main menu". Cowon provides three different alternative formats of main menu for you to choose from as your default opening presentation, but you can change the main menu presentation to be any of the three:

(1) Dynamic square



(2) Counting text



(3) Smart Widget, which happens to be my own preferred main menu, with icons for just the features I use arranged on a single "page".



There are actually three horizontally slidable sub-pages possible for Smart Widget, that you can arrange the contents of any way you like. You simply use your finger tip to gesture/drag the screen left or right and the next/previous page (of the three) will come into view.

I, myself, don't use all that many features from the main menu available features, so that's why I simply have what I need all on the very first page (which appears when I power the J3 on). So my other two horizontally scrollable pages appear simply as blank gray if I actually do slide/gesture left or right. Only my first page contains icons placed there from the complete set of available shortcuts and widgets which can be dropped onto any of the three Smart Widgets main menu pages.



You select which of the three main menu alternatives you want to see by dragging the power on/off button (lower right corner of all three main menu presentations) to the left, to reveal three icons that correspond to the three main menu alternatives.

You then just tap on which of the three buttons is appropriate for which of the three main menus you want to be using.

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Old 02-22-2012, 05:00 PM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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On the page you have referenced, it starts by stating "move to main menu", and my j3 main menu has battery, music, videos, pictures, flash, etc. so when it says switch to list, music favorites and music bookmarks, I'm already lost because that is not an option from my main menu.
For the sake of discussion, let's assume you have selected the Dynamic Square main menu presentation. That's a simple one, and can be used to teach from.

The two primary buttons you should become familiar with on the main menu are (a) Browser, and (b) Music. Just concentrate on those for the moment.

Having never played music before, to begin playing music for the very first time you should start by tapping the Browser button on the main menu. That will result in your seeing the top-level Browser interface screen, also referred to (by me, anyway) as "Library". It looks as follows:



At this point in your learning process you should only focus on the top SIX items shown on this top-level Browser interface.

(1) If you tap on the first one ([Folders]) you will begin "navigating downward" onto the internal/external storage of the J3... exactly as if you were using Windows Explorer on a PC with the J3 connected. Everything you see will be the true external "physical" name for folders and files, listed in pure alphabetical sequence... exactly as if you were using Windows Explorer to navigate down through your J3.

This is called a "physical browse", or "[Folders] browse", or something like that. Purely physical showing the true contents of your J3, purely external folder/file names exactly as you've named things, file extensions shown, purely alphabetical by external name, etc. Exactly like Windows Explorer.

If you tap on [Folders], the next level down is [J3] or [J3 Ext], to allow you to navigate downward through internal storage or external SD card storage, respectively. Tapping on either of these will then present to you the contents of that storage class, most likely the external folder names at that high level (again, exactly as if you were navigating downward using Windows Explorer).

And as you continue to tap on something you will next see the next lower level of sub-folders, or finally files (including the extension).

This is "physical browsing". And once you tap on an actual file, the "music player" will be invoked to begin playing that music file. What happens when that track finishes playing depends on your other settings for playback, but for now I am not going to discuss playback.

(2) If you tap on any of the next five items ([Artists], [Albums], [Songs], [Genres] or [Years]) you have now just entered the world of "logical browsing" as distinguished from the "physical browsing" which corresponds to having tapped on [Folders] as I described above.

With "logical browsing" you are not looking at external names for anything. Rather you are seeing the internal tag field values (e.g. from the ID3 tags in your MP3 files) that you've got stored in your music files. Whatever you have placed into these tag fields, either (a) by buying pre-tagged music, or (b) by creating your music files yourself and doing your own tagging, or (c) using a program like MP3Tag to edit/complete tags on your music files... that's what you are seeing in this "logical browsing".

At boot time the J3 examines ALL TAGS of ALL MUSIC FILES (on both internal and external storage), and develops a "tags database" to contain all tag fields from all music files. And it is this tags database information which is presented to you when you embark on this "logical browsing", by selecting any of the five items I enumerated above.

This is "logical browsing", through the levels and sub-levels of the "tags database" built from scratch by the J3 every time you power it on. When you navigate downward, you're looking at the next lower contents of the tags database, organized and sorted exactly as you'd expect when you start at the top level from one of those five main tag field values (i.e. five possible "main sort keys" to the database).

Eventually, you are looking at a music file... but really you're seeing the internal "song title" tag field value, not the external file name. Again, only "physical browsing" shows external folder/file names. With "logical browsing" you are seeing internal tag field values...so don't be confused.

Only if you internal tag field values and external folder/file names are different will you get yourself confused, which is why it's always a good thing to use MP3Tag to ensure that your internal "song title" and "artist" and "album" tag field values match your external folder/file names (for artist folders, album folders, and music files) ... so that no matter whether you're doing a "physical browse" or "logical browse" what you see is the same. This just makes common sense, to me anyway.


What is shown at the very very top of the screen is NOT the "main menu". The "main menu" is the 99% of the rest of the initial screen which appears when you power on the J3 and it stabilizes.

The very very top of the screen is probably called the "system information" bar. In very small icons or text it shows the clock, volume level, battery level, etc.
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:19 PM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Hi DS, forgot to mention one other issue I find extremely weird and irritating, there seems to be no way to stop a song. I hit play on a song to check the sound and didn't need to hear the whole thing, but I could not find a way to stop the song, every time I turn on the player, that song it still there waiting for me to play the rest of it, can't stop a song, that is unbelievable.
Again, for the time being do not experiment with any buttons on the main menu other than (a) Browser, and (b) Music. Don't use "music player" or anything else, to avoid confusion.

Now in my post above, you had gotten started for the very first time coming down through the Browser method. And you then could proceed to browse either "physically" (i.e. [Folders]) or "logically" (any of the next five items shown at the Library level, which really correspond to the five main internal tag fields values that the J3 uses to be the "five main sort keys" of its "tags database developed by the J3 at each power-on boot process by examining all of your music files on internal and external storage).

If you ever got down to the level where a list of actual music files was shown (either physical or logical), if you tapped on that music file it would launch the "music player" and you would now be using the Music interface.



At the bottom of the music player screen are the three intuitive player control buttons, to (a) skip back to previous track, (b) pause/play current track, or (c) skip forward to next track. I don't follow your complaint about not being able to stop playing a song, but I'm guessing you are not here at the true music interface but are probably playing the last-played music file from the little mini-player icon on the main menu of the J3.

Again... for the moment just don't explore anything else on the J3's main menu except (a) Browser, and (b) Music. And we've now seen how using Browser to navigate down to a folder (either physical, or logical artist\album), and then to see the files in that folder (e.g. the music files in that album if that's how you've got your music collection folders/files organized, all stored on the J3 under the highest-level root folder of \Music on either internal or external storage), once you tap on an indivdual music file from the Browser interface, the Music interface will automatically be launched and the main music player presentation (screenshot above) will be on your screen.


With the music player interface on the screen, if you tap on the "lines" icon (i.e. "2" in the screenshot above, and also referred to as the "browser button") on the blue title bar above the album art, you will cause the J3 to (1) continue playing the currently playing music file, and (2) bounce you back to the last shown Browser screen, logical or physical... which was where you finally were when you tapped on an individual music file to begin playing it.

And when you are now back at that last-reached level and Browser screen, you're actually in the Browser (while the music player continues to play) and you can now use the Browser's navigation controls at the bottom of the screen to "climb back up" (in reverse, going up instead of coming down) the exact same navigation tree you traversed downward to arrive at your final folder/file which corresponds to the music file currently playing.



The leftmost button ("5")on this browser navigation bar at the bottom of the screen is the "instantly take me back up to the highest-level root folder, i.e. Library.

The second button ("6") will take you back up just one folder/logical level from where you currently are. Repeatedly tapping on this "6" button will move you back up one folder/logical level at a time, until you finally ready the highest-level root level (i.e. Library).
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:29 PM
DSperber DSperber is offline
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Finally, when you power on the J3 it has remembered exactly where it last was and what it was doing when you powered it off (or put it into "sleep" mode, if you want your power-on to be just 2-3 seconds, since it does not have to rebuild the tags database when coming out of "sleep").

So if you push the Music button on the main menu, you will be instantly placed into the Music interface, with the music player immediately playing that same last music file it was last playing when you powered off the J3 or put it to "sleep".

That's what the Music button on the main menu is... to return you instantly to what you were last playing, in the Music interface.

Otherwise, if you push the Browser button on the main menu you will be instantly placed at the last-set Browser navigation level screen, wherever you last were before entering the Music interface to actually play a file shown in the list for that last-set Browser secreen. And from here you can either navigate down or up (either one folder/logical level or to the highest-level Library level).


I suggest you re-read all that I've said and shown you. I make no apologies for the Cowon "user manual" which pretty much provides NONE of the textual description I've written. So my sympathies for a true newcomer, to try and figure out how to use this wonderful sounding PMP.

But I think once you learn just the most important basics as I've documented here, how to browse (physically or logically, and what the actual difference is) and how to play music (and then get back to the browser, to navigate to other music to be played), and how to swap main menus (if you want to do that, which I personally don't since I'm perfectly happy with Smart Widget as I've customized it), I think your obvious current high-anxiety and frustration level will subside.


Please ask questions if you don't follow what I've written.

Good luck.

The J3 is a FANTASTIC SOUNDING music player, which is why we all bought it. The very inadequate "user manual" is a shame, but that's why this forum and us experienced J3 users are here... to help out newcomers.
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:25 PM
mtp mtp is offline
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Hi DS, your extensive effort to describe some of the steps is much appreciated, I will keep trying and see if I can follow your instructions and start getting somewhere. I have learned countless skills rather than hire contractors that do sub-par work for premium prices, and nothing has been to much for me to handle, but this mp3 player is going to be a challenge. One thing I did notice that I don't is right with the player, it takes an unusual amount of force to get the USB cable to plug into the j3, the first time I did it, I thought I was going to break it. It has improved slightly with a dozen or so cycles of use, but it still seems like too much force. The other thing is I see what appears to be a single dead pixel in some screen shots, usually on light colored backgrounds, the weird thing is that it is not visible on darker backgrounds, so it may not be an actual dead pixel, but it certainly shows up as a little dot of light on some backgrounds and I have the screen at a specific angle. But I am probably getting off the subject for this thread. Thanks again for the help and I will let you know if I make any headway.
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