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.