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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This post aims at explaining how to properly use and setup the sound system in premium Mazda 3 trims.
The Mazda's user manual does a very poor job of explaining how to use this system correctly, and these forums do not currently have any guides on audio for the new Mazda generation. I hope you find it useful.

Mazda connect Firmware in use for this guide: 11002

Supported Audio formats: MP3, WMA, AAC, MP4, 3GPP, WAV, FLAC, OGG.


USB audio setup:
Format your USB drive to FAT32.
USB drives can only contain up to 600 songs per folder, this includes the root directory.
If you have more than 600 tracks you must create new folders.
It is recommended to have only a directory depth of two, this means root directory plus one folder at the root level, please do not create sub folders.
Failure to follow these guidelines will cause the system to omit tracks and present error's reading metadata.

USB Playlists setup:
1) Install playlist creator: Playlist Creator (Windows)
2) In playlist creator go to settings>playlist details>saving playlist entries> absolute, without the drive
3) Drag and drop files directly from the USB into playlist creator.
4) Name your playlist
5) Save it at the root directory of the USB drive as .m3u.
6) I have not noticed any limitations as to the maximum number of tracks that can listed in a playlist.

Setup Bluetooth audio:
Note: The Mazda connect system supports the AAC codec and it will default to it if your phone's Bluetooth has it.
To ensure the highest audio quality go to your Bluetooth settings in your smart phone and ensure that HD audio is enabled under your Mazda's connection.
Offline music listening:
Android:
1) Connect your smart phone via USB to your PC and set USB mode to transfer mode.
2) Create a Music folder at the root directory of your phone.
3) Transfer your music into the new music directory.
4) Install PowerAmp in your smart phone.
5) Set PowerAmp to scan only the Music folder.
Iphone:
- itunes :)

Mazda Connect setup:
Under connection settings ensure that Apple Car play and Android Auto are set up to always ask. This measure ensures that Bluetooth streaming resumes smoothly after connecting or disconnecting your phone.

Tips:
1) In my OnePlus 6T at least, Bluetooth sound quality is higher than USB's. This was not the case in my previous 2017 3 GT.
2) Using a USB music works very well with voice commands, such as "Play Metallica". Please ensure metadata is correctly written in your audio files.
2) You can use equalization and DPSs in your phone via PowerAmp, but I haven't had any positive results with improving audio quality. I recommend leaving Poweramp's sound settings at stock and only use Mazda Connect sound settings for audio tuning.
4) Do not leave your phone plugged to the USB port if it is already charged. Only charge your phone to 80%. You will degrade your phone's battery very quickly otherwise. I highly recommend getting the navigation SD card with SiriusXM Traffic Plus to make up for the lack of AA, when the phone is not plugged.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Correction, on closer inspection the system does not read all of the music files in the USB. I have 20gb worth of music in a 32gb USB stick formatted as FAT32.
One of my music folders contains 783 songs, and anything beyond the letter M does not show under the folders menu.
The playlists are formatted as .m3u.

Edit:
Checking the manual and I arrived at a very disappointing limitation, one that was not present in the previous generation infotainment system:
"The maximum number of playable files on a single USB device is 9999 files. In addition, the maximum number of playable files for a single folder is 255 files. "

I hope there aren't any limitations for playlists as well... but I suspect that system limits the amount of songs per playlist as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Renamed this thread and created a guide, because there was no useful information to be found in these forums regarding this subject.
 
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