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Hey all,

I'm pretty sure I'm pulling the trigger on a 2016.5 CX-5 GT come this weekend. I've been working with several dealers since July, each time walking away from deals and waiting until one of them needed my business. Well, I think it might be happening this time.

One of the things I'm interested in doing is listening to lossless audio files. When I test drove the CX-5 back in July, I brought a couple of USB drives with music to test out the functionality. What I noticed is this:

- USB Drive with MP3 files worked perfectly fine.
- USB Drive with Apple Lossless files (ending in .m4a, encoded at standard CD-quality of 44.1kHz/16-bit) loaded and displayed the music files correctly, but the car would not play them.
- iPhone connected to USB played the lossless files just fine.

Worse comes to worse, I could load my entire music library onto my iPhone and just plug it into the car. The problem is, my music library is about 150GB, and I have a 256GB iPhone...it would eat up most of my storage.

So I guess my question is, did anyone else have any luck playing lossless .m4a files via USB? Has there been a system update since July that would have fixed that issue?

Thank you!
 

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I have the flac playback mod installed as some of my music I like to keep as flac.
It supports up to 24 / 96 just fine too (like that helps in a car with road noise and average quality speakers!)

I have had no issues playing ALAC, there must be something different with the encoder I used.

There are many reports of drives larger than 32gb being a bit iffy, and usb3 drives can sometimes not work properly on usb2.
Also, very large collections take a long time to load when you turn the car on, most people fill up a drive with a selection of music and simply swap it out every now an then, rather than keep their entire collections in the car.
My music collection is over 250gb, but i only keep 16gb in the car at any one time, mostly converted to AAC320, with a couple of choice albums as FLAC.

What software version is your system running?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have the flac playback mod installed as some of my music I like to keep as flac.
It supports up to 24 / 96 just fine too (like that helps in a car with road noise and average quality speakers!)

I have had no issues playing ALAC, there must be something different with the encoder I used.

There are many reports of drives larger than 32gb being a bit iffy, and usb3 drives can sometimes not work properly on usb2.
Also, very large collections take a long time to load when you turn the car on, most people fill up a drive with a selection of music and simply swap it out every now an then, rather than keep their entire collections in the car.
My music collection is over 250gb, but i only keep 16gb in the car at any one time, mostly converted to AAC320, with a couple of choice albums as FLAC.

What software version is your system running?
Thank you for your response!

I bought the car a few days ago, so I'm now officially a Mazda owner.

The system version is v55 I believe. I cannot get my ALAC files to play, same issue as described when I test drove the CX-5 back in July. My USB drive (a Patriot USB2 64GB drive) loads them fine, the system arranges the files into albums/artists fine, even the artwork comes up, but the songs just sit at 0:00 and never start playing. If I could get these files working via USB, I would be so happy...I'm currently thinking about buying a dedicated 128GB iPod Touch for the car, so it would save me $399.

My ALAC files are either encoded one of two ways: 1. Using XLD to convert FLAC->ALAC, or 2. Using iTunes to copy audio directly from the audio CD into my iTunes library as Apple Lossless. Both encoding types do the same.

May I ask how you're encoding yours? That may solve my problem.

Thank you!
 

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Hi,

I have the 2016 CX-9. I see you mention you are able to play ALAC and also reference a FLAC playback mod. What is this mod?

Converting my files to anything but ALAC or FLAC is going to be a pain the arse and I dont want to go that path unless necessary.

Thanks,

D
 

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2018 Mazda 3 GT
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Has anyone figured out a way to play lossless files through the Mazda Connect system without installing mods or having to buy an Apple product to play the ALAC files?

My iPod can play ALAC files natively and it works with the connect system through a USB connection just fine. When I connect my Samsung S10 via USB, the ALAC files show up but they will not play. The FLAC files, on the other hand, won't even show up as audio in the connect system.

Any input would be appreciated.
CK
 

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Thank you for the input. I hope they release an update to GraceNote that would allow FLAC to playback natively through the USB. It should be a pretty easy fix, I would think....

The auxiliary input is an option, but I like being able to use the HUD to select my music. It's less distracting than having to grab your phone and search around.
CK
 

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I use the AUX jack and my phone, but WMA can be lossless (cd quality).
I haven't tried WMA as a lossless codec. I thought that was kind of a dead codec. I'll do some research on it. Thank you!
CK
 

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Okay.. did some digging and converting to WMA lossless isn't an option.. very little support for it outside of the Windows Media Player. I'd need to install some additional components for WMP to work with the lossless content too. No thank you..

FLAC through auxiliary sounds really good. I turned on Dolby Atmos from my phone and turned off the car's Bose Centerpoint and AudioPilot. My music sounds way better now. Spatial effects sound crisper and more immersive... especially on the HD 24/192 tracks.. there's a crazy amount of detail now.
CK
 

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Okay.. did some digging and converting to WMA lossless isn't an option.. very little support for it outside of the Windows Media Player. I'd need to install some additional components for WMP to work with the lossless content too. No thank you..

FLAC through auxiliary sounds really good. I turned on Dolby Atmos from my phone and turned off the car's Bose Centerpoint and AudioPilot. My music sounds way better now. Spatial effects sound crisper and more immersive... especially on the HD 24/192 tracks.. there's a crazy amount of detail now.
CK
I never said to convert to WMA, you need to rip it in that format. I thought i was a snob making sure my collection was at 320kbps or higher till i started ripping to lossless WMA. The difference even on stock Bose is insane.

Get yourself a cheap ass Windows Mobile 10 phone for your music.
 

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I have my entire music collection stored in FLAC image files. Lossless to lossless conversion so no change in audio quality.
CK
 

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Okay... did some more digging and figured out a way to easily convert all of my FLAC lossless files to WMA lossless.


Download the encoder from the above link. Install and update Windows Media Player to it's latest. You don't need to use it, but you need the background files and codecs for this to work.

Get foobar2000 or some other program that can run command line encoders.

Right click on a lossless file of your choosing and select Convert in foobar2000. Select the very bottom of the list with the 3 ... Select Output Format at the top and then on the next screen go to the drop down list at the top and select custom at the very bottom of the list. Enter the following info on the screen that pops up.

Encoder file: C:/Windows/Program Files (x86)/Foobar2000/Encoders/WMAEncode64.exe
Extension: wma
Parameters: --codec lossless -input %s -output %d

Display Name: WMA
Setting: Lossless

That's all to generate the file. You can then select the folder naming scheme on the screen where the output format was and the file naming scheme you'd like. You can also choose to transfer the tags and attached pictures on there when performing the conversion.

I'll test out the USB tethering with WMA lossless files and compare it to the FLAC files being played through an auxiliary input tomorrow. Should be interesting.
CK
 

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Once entered you save it as a preset. Right click any track.. or group of tracks.. and select your preset. Files are saved and named.. tags and cover art transferred. All Done. :)
CK
 
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OK.. I got a 256 GB USB 3.0/2.0 flash drive from Sandisk.. transcoded all my FLAC files to WMA lossless files (flac image files with embedded cuesheets to individual wma tracks stored in artist/album folders) dropped the files onto the flash drive, which took longer than I'd like to admit...

It plays flawlessly and sounds great. I'm very happy so far. The Mazda Connect loaded the media library in less than a minute and the tags and cover art show up correctly.

The USB flash drive takes up a lot less space, which is nice since there isn't much space in front of the shifter. It is also far more affordable than an iPod Touch or some other dedicated media player. It loads the data just as fast.. if not faster.. than my iPod Classic. It also resumes play after starting your car back up very quickly. I wish I had done this sooner.
CK
 

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Okay... did some more digging and figured out a way to easily convert all of my FLAC lossless files to WMA lossless.


Download the encoder from the above link. Install and update Windows Media Player to it's latest. You don't need to use it, but you need the background files and codecs for this to work.

Install foobar2000 media player or a similar program that can run command line encoders.

Save the the 2 encoder files that you just downloaded in the c:/windows/program files (x86)/foobar2000/encoders/ folder.


Open foobar2000 and right click on a track or group of selected tracks/albums/whatever and select Convert.. a drop down list appears..Select the very bottom of the list with the 3 ... Select the bold underlined Output Format line at the top and then on the next screen go to the drop down list at the top and select custom.. which is at the very bottom of the list. Enter the following info on the screen that pops up.

Encoder file: C:/Windows/Program Files (x86)/Foobar2000/Encoders/WMAEncode64.exe
Extension: wma
Parameters: --codec lossless -input %s -output %d

Display Name: WMA
Setting: Lossless

That's all to generate the file. You can then select okay and then save it as a preset. You can then set the folder naming scheme and the file naming scheme you'd like. You can also choose to transfer the tags and attached pictures on there when performing the conversion. It makes it pretty automatic if you have properly tagged files.

I'll test out the USB tethering with WMA lossless files and compare it to the FLAC files being played through an auxiliary input tomorrow. Should be interesting.
CK
Updated instructions.. I reread them and realized I left a lot out.
CK
 

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OK.. I got a 256 GB USB 3.0/2.0 flash drive from Sandisk.. transcoded all my FLAC files to WMA lossless files (flac image files with embedded cuesheets to individual wma tracks stored in artist/album folders) dropped the files onto the flash drive, which took longer than I'd like to admit...

It plays flawlessly and sounds great. I'm very happy so far. The Mazda Connect loaded the media library in less than a minute and the tags and cover art show up correctly.

The USB flash drive takes up a lot less space, which is nice since there isn't much space in front of the shifter. It is also far more affordable than an iPod Touch or some other dedicated media player. It loads the data just as fast.. if not faster.. than my iPod Classic. It also resumes play after starting your car back up very quickly. I wish I had done this sooner.
CK
Great work CK! Can you tell the difference between FLAC and say MP3 @ 320kbps?
 

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With proper audio equipment. Yes.

On BT crappy speakers. Nope.

I have a system in my ride which delivers a lot of detail. The difference is noticeable to me.. especially at higher volumes... I can ABX it with my headphones.. I was using 256 aac tvbr files and comparing them against FLAC and ALAC. It wasn't a huge margin.. but I avgd 7 out of 10. Used a lot of Floyd and Zeppelin tracks.

Focal 6.5" component speakers/tweets.. Dynamat on all 5 doors.. Audiocontrol LC8 processor and Alpine PDR-V75 amp.
CK
 
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