#327: Flash! (saviour of the musicverse!) (RSTs Mk II: Getting More Tale)

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RECORD STORE TALES Mk II: Getting More Tale

#327: Flash! (saviour of the musicverse!)

My current vehicle is my first to have a built in USB port.  What a revelation!  Only in the last few years did I finally make the digital leap with my Sony mp3 player.  Now with the car USB port, I finally have the ability to bring music with me in the car, without worrying about damaging a CD or packaging.  It’s a very liberating little gadget.  Listening to a Deep Purple box set in the car is no longer an exercise in delicacy.

The first music that I began ripping and loading onto a flash drive were in fact my box sets.  Let’s face it: some box sets (Pearl Jam’s Ten, Pink Floyd’s Shine On, Deep Purple’s Listen Learn Read On) are not very portable.  I find the car to be a great place to listen to a box set.  This week, I decided to revisit my 12 CD Marillion singles box sets, straight through.  Everyone who drives to work on a daily basis probably spend a lot of time in their cars.  It works for me to listen to something really long and involved on my drives, over the course of a week.  Many of my reviews have been mentally composed in my vehicle.

Unfortunately it’s not the perfect setup.  The GM factory stereo has some flaws.  One thing that bugs me is it doesn’t display the track times, unless you’re fast-forwarding or rewinding.  It also doesn’t interface well with the big 32 gig flash drives I’ve tried.  The stereo can’t remember where it left off on a drive that big.  Now I use a couple 8 gig drives, which work much better.  I can pick up the tunes exactly where I left off.

The biggest and most annoying flaw is that it will not play certain mp3 files.  I have never figured out why.  I get an “id3 tag error” on some files.  Some cassette rips, and some bootleg CDs will give me that error when ripped and played in the car.   Some official CDs even give me an issue once ripped.  Anthrax’s Anthems EP for example won’t play in my car after I ripped it.  (I should try re-ripping and see what that does.) Others are no problem.

It’s incredible how much things have changed since I was a kid, when it comes to listening to music.  When I think back to packing cassettes, and then CDs, for road trips…and now just loading up a flash drive, it’s amazing.  Yet the process remains the same: I still go through album after album trying to find the perfect batch for a particular trip.  The ease of doing so has been a massive shift for my listening habits.  I don’t know if they still make vehicles without USB ports, but unless something better comes along, I will never do without one.

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16 comments

  1. Both our vehicles have the aux port – no usb. My hubs’ honda fit displays track names from cd and radio which is awesome. Even though I don’t have the usb, I think it’s a total step up for me not to have to bring cds in the car. By the time this car bites the biscuit, my next newer to me car will hopefully have one.

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    1. Whether you use an aux-in or USB port, it’s all goodness!

      Now I was driving my dad’s new SUV last month…his interface makes mine look like one from the 80’s. On his dash screen (a touch screen no less) I could see the album art and everything. Very cool.

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        1. Similar experience here. A friend of ours had a $4 mp3 player for her kid. I bought the same one to see if I liked it. I did an upgraded to the Sony within two weeks (which is how long it took for the $4 one to die.)

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  2. No USB ports in our cars…

    Our 2005 Honda doesn’t have any way to hook in any digital widgets. It’s a CD player and a radio, that’s it. I tried an FM tuner but that sucked.

    Our 2008 Subaru has an AUX jack in the center console. That thing made my life awesome. Now I can hook up my 120GB iPod, which contains my entire music collection! The CD player also reads CD-Rs full of MP3s. It’s a little slice of heaven. I agree, I wouldn’t be without this stuff now (if I can at all help it).

    As you know, I do my most of my listening (for review on KMA) in the car. It’s a great spot to block out the outside world and listen. Your commute is a great time for listening, for sure.

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    1. I agree. You wouldn’t think of a moving vehicle as a place for reviewing. However: I’ll be driving home listening to something, and all the sentences will gradually form in my head. I’ll race indoors and head to the PC to type in my thoughts before I lose them! Well, I do pee first.

      Maybe it’s the sonics of the car, but I do come up with great sentences in there, sometimes.

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  3. So convenient! I remember going on road trips in the 90s. Me n two good friends and a whole 4th seat taken up with a box of 200 CDs. Now if they can make mp3s sound better….

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    1. Hey Mike! Yes unfortunately we sacrifice sound quality for the ease of portability. That’s one reason why I will always have a library of physical product to back of my mp3 files.

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  4. My car stereo has issues too. I go through aux and use the iPod manually. It is annoying how lame they design the car audio interfaces. Why don’t people get we need features like time remaining…etc

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