SBCLeaf
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FLAC & HD Radio Support

Sat Oct 31, 2020 6:31 pm

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the 2020 Leaf audio system supports FLAC even though the owner's manual doesn't mention it. Just thought I'd throw it out there for anyone who doesn't know.

EDIT - Apparently it's in some places in the manual, but not others.
Last edited by SBCLeaf on Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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SBCLeaf
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Re: FLAC & HD Radio Support

Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:01 pm

Regrettably, experimentation finds that it does not understand FLAC+CUE or embedded CUE sheets.

I was also surprised to learn the radio doesn't support HD radio. I didn't even know you could buy radios that weren't HD radio capable anymore. Kind of like buying a car with no FM radio in the 1980's. I'm pretty sure even Toyota's crackerbox Corollas come with HD radio.
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cwerdna
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Re: FLAC & HD Radio Support

Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:22 pm

SBCLeaf wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:01 pm
Regrettably, experimentation finds that it does not understand FLAC+CUE or embedded CUE sheets.

I was also surprised to learn the radio doesn't support HD radio. I didn't even know you could buy radios that weren't HD radio capable anymore. Kind of like buying a car with no FM radio in the 1980's. I'm pretty sure even Toyota's crackerbox Corollas come with HD radio.
MANY MANY vehicles do not have HD Radio. My '19 Bolt doesn't have it. If you look at https://hdradio.com/get-a-radio/ under Chevy, very few Chevys have it. I've never ever owned nor leased a vehicle with "HD" Radio.

https://hdradio.com/new_car_manufacturer/nissan/ claims it's standard on Leaf. On many other brands, it's available but not standard. https://hdradio.com/new_car_manufacturer/toyota-3/ has it available on many cars but not standard on Corolla.

As someone who doesn't care much about somewhat esoteric file formats, I couldn't personally care less about FLAC or CUE sheets. I'd never even heard of the latter. Often, the support for digital music playback from flash drives on cars has pretty poor UI or features or just is a bad experience. It's not something that's even worth the time IMHO. Long ago, I used to just use an 80 gig iPod Classic via headphone jack. Why bother w/the complications of directories, weird tools to make playlists, no song ratings, etc.?

For my Bolt, I just use my iPhone 8 w/CarPlay. I have a bunch of music synced to my phone via iTunes but also play some streaming music via Spotify, Pandora, etc. and also listen to some SiriusXM (yeah yeah, the sound quality is poor).

On the note of FM radio, when Tesla started offering $2500 MCU1 to MCU2 upgrades (for older Model S and X), one would lose AM, FM and Sirius XM: https://electrek.co/2020/03/02/tesla-mc ... t-upgrade/. After months of complaining, news come out about another $500 on top of that (https://electrek.co/2020/10/28/tesla-br ... -retrofit/) to restore AM and FM.

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Re: FLAC & HD Radio Support

Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:30 pm

cwerdna wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:22 pm
As someone who doesn't care much about somewhat esoteric file formats, I couldn't personally care less about FLAC or CUE sheets. I'd never even heard of the latter. Often, the support for digital music playback from flash drives on cars has pretty poor UI or features. It's not something that's even worth the time IMHO. Long ago, I used to just use an 80 gig iPod Classic via headphone jack. Why bother w/the complications of directories, weird tools to make playlists, no song ratings, etc.?
It only matters because that's how a large number of audiophiles store their music collection. You save compact discs to a single FLAC file with cue sheet. That allows you to create a bit-for-bit identical copy of the original CD as needed, to listen to an album with the pre-track gaps or gapless tracks as they are on the original recording, store album artwork, and other features all in a single file. Supporting that format eliminates the need to convert your entire audio collection to some other format or arrangement that is supported by the car. To me it's much less messy to have 150 FLAC files, each one a CD, rather than 2,000+ tracks with the common problem of no gapless playback and having to name them in a peculiar way just to make sure the car's audio system plays them in the order they are on the CD.

It's not a big deal, but I often wonder why it's not supported since there's any number of open source software available for them to cut and paste into their units.
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cwerdna
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Re: FLAC & HD Radio Support

Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:39 pm

SBCLeaf wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:30 pm
It only matters because that's how a large number of audiophiles store their music collection. You save compact discs to a single FLAC file with cue sheet. That allows you to create a bit-for-bit identical copy of the original CD as needed, to listen to an album with the pre-track gaps or gapless tracks as they are on the original recording, store album artwork, and other features all in a single file. Supporting that format eliminates the need to convert your entire audio collection to some other format or arrangement that is supported by the car. To me it's much less messy to have 150 FLAC files, each one a CD, rather than 2,000+ tracks with the common problem of no gapless playback and having to name them in a peculiar way just to make sure the car's audio system plays them in the order they are on the CD.

CDs? I don't know when I last bought one. From my Amazon history, the last time I bought a physical music CD from them was in 2011. I don't recall if I bought any from other places more recently than that. I probably won't be buying many more as my Bolt doesn't even have a CD player. And, the CD player in my '13 Leaf I've almost never used. I remember using it for a bit to make sure it was working right before the car's 3 year/36K warranty expired.

I have a multi-disc CD changer for my stereo I bought at least 15 years ago that is almost never used now and was hardly used even before. IIRC, Apple stopped shipping any computers w/optical drives for awhile. And, most laptops don't have them any longer.

I couldn't care less about what order there are on a CD. In most cases, if I'd bought an album, I only actually like maybe 1/4 or less of the songs on it. Gapless playback? Seems like a minor problem and something I wouldn't care about either.

As for naming in peculiar way, that's a problem. That's why if one cares, iTunes takes care of this for you, You can make playlists for an album to play in any order you want. And, IIRC, from iPods and iPhones, you can select to play a given album from an artist (I almost never do this). No need to rename files, do goofy stuff or be at the mercy of a car stereo's UI or conventions.
SBCLeaf wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:30 pm
It's not a big deal, but I often wonder why it's not supported since there's any number of open source software available for them to cut and paste into their units.
Maybe because I've never even heard of your use cases.

I suspect probably some of the more important features that automakers are interested in putting in all their head units (if not already there) is supporting both CarPlay and Android Auto. That can sometimes make a difference being customers choosing one car/brand over or another (e.g. if one car only has CarPlay but buyer uses Android and competing car supports both). And, they want other marketing/marketable bullet points (e.g. we have this and that telematics-related feature). I doubt you'd find most car buyers picking one car over another over FLAC or FLAC+CUE.

Too bad I can't post a poll about FLAC usage here as I'm not currently a paid member. For kicks, searched for FLAC on this site (https://www.mynissanleaf.com/search.php ... mit=Search) and found a whopping 14 hits, so it's not a real popular discussion topic here w/this thread, prior discussion from 2016 and some from 2012 back to 2010... There would only be 9 hits if it weren't for this thread. :)

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salyavin
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Re: FLAC & HD Radio Support

Sun Nov 01, 2020 4:06 pm

Why not just play the FLAC files from your phone and have it connect via android auto, carplay or even just bluetooth?

cwerdna
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Re: FLAC & HD Radio Support

Sun Nov 01, 2020 7:48 pm

salyavin wrote:
Sun Nov 01, 2020 4:06 pm
Why not just play the FLAC files from your phone and have it connect via android auto, carplay or even just bluetooth?
For Bluetooth A2DP streaming, from what I've looked at briefly before, depending on what the source and the target device support, there might be transcoding to another format going on behind the scenes, possibly introducing lossiness.

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jlv
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Re: FLAC & HD Radio Support

Mon Nov 02, 2020 9:43 am

cwerdna wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:22 pm
After months of complaining, news come out about another $500 on top of that (https://electrek.co/2020/10/28/tesla-br ... -retrofit/) to restore AM and FM.
Minor correction: the newer digital radio only does FM (with HD support) and Sirius/XM, but not AM.

I had the MCU upgrade done on my Model S and have lost the FM radio, but I realized that I stream music 99% of the time and almost never used the radio. The two radio stations I did listen to I stream via the built-in Tunein app.
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Re: FLAC & HD Radio Support

Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:28 am

In 2005 I was all excited by the FLAC support on the PhatBox I installed in my Passat, so that I could have gapless playback of my ripped CDs. Of course then I had to upgrade the 20MB harddrive to a 120MB one (at a cost of $100). Eventually I went with all MP3s simply to get more music into the system.

On a trip yesterday I was listening to Vocomotion's Dark Side of the Moon - A Cappella and surprised that the Spotify playback in my Model S did gapless playback.
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SBCLeaf
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Re: FLAC & HD Radio Support

Mon Nov 02, 2020 8:09 pm

cwerdna wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:39 pm
CDs? I don't know when I last bought one.
I like my music collection stored in a way that can't be remotely wiped, modified, or edited by Apple/Amazon.
cwerdna wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:39 pm
As for naming in peculiar way, that's a problem. That's why if one cares, iTunes takes care of this for you, You can make playlists for an album to play in any order you want. And, IIRC, from iPods and iPhones, you can select to play a given album from an artist (I almost never do this). No need to rename files, do goofy stuff or be at the mercy of a car stereo's UI or conventions.
iTunes is the worst software I've ever had to use in almost 40 years of using PCs. It is not allowed on any computer I use. Any encoding or tagging software can do a better job naming and organizing music files. The objection is having to futz with all that stupidity in the first place.

I do not own Apple hardware as for me it is overpriced given its limitations.
cwerdna wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:39 pm
Maybe because I've never even heard of your use cases.
I think you're just used to the limitations of Apple software/hardware.
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