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      09-14-2020, 06:22 AM   #1
drlmiles
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Lightbulb How to play CDs in an i3

I have searched everywhere trying to find out how to play CDs in a car such as the i3, that has no CD player. The answer given everywhere is: Rip the CDs to a USB stick. This takes a lot of time and effort, and also is difficult to navigate in the i3 provided interface.
After a lot of reading, and a bit of experimentation, I have found a solution, although its not yet 100% (still testing).
You need to buy a portable CD/DVD player, that has a USB connection to connect to a PC. This needs to support TV connectivity. The one I have bought is a Hitachi-LG Data Storage GP95NW70 - but there are a few similar models available.
Plug this into a USB socket in the car - ideally, the higher powered USB-C port.
Press the eject button, and (on this model) then press the eject button for over 2 seconds - this switches the default on-power ODD drive mode to TV Connectivity mode. The LED indicator will light up, and stay on.
Then put a CD in the drive and navigate to the USB connection in Media in iDrive. The car may take a little while to recognise the drive and CD.
Turn the sound off (press the volume button in the car to do this), and select a track using iDrive.
Wait until the LED indicator on the CD drive stops flashing (the car appears to be buffering the track), then switch the sound on by pressing the car volume button.
If you don't do the last step, the track will play for a bit, then stutter as more of the track is downloaded.
If stuttering during playback occurs, then pause (turn off volume) for a short while to allow rebuffering of the track.

I have no idea how many tracks will play before buffering is needed, or even how well this will work on the move (I have only just confirmed how to do this on my front drive this morning!)
Has anyone else tried this, or wants to try it? I'd love to have feedback. I can only attest to this working in my i3, but am hoping to be able to do this in our 2nd EV that arrives in December (Mercedes EQC). I suspect other BMWs will work similarly, as long as they can recognise and play WAV files.
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      09-14-2020, 01:33 PM   #2
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The USB method has a slow and clunky interface. Just put all your songs on your phone and Bluetooth connect. If you don't have room on your phone, use a streaming service like Spotify or Apple Music. I held on to CD's as long as I could, but they are obsolete.
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      09-15-2020, 11:59 AM   #3
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Aux jack?

Wouldn't it just be easier to get a portable CD player and use the headphone jack and plug it into the AUX in beside the USB port? Control would all be on the CD player itself.

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      10-05-2020, 01:51 PM   #4
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It's ~20 years since CDs were a compelling format. Time to stop. Mine have LONG since all gone in the trash.

Ripping CDs is only a hard process because it's been so long since they were useful that most computers don't come with CD drives :P.

You can very much automate ripping-- as in, have insert the CD, it'll automatically gather the metadata and import it, and then eject it. When you see the CD ejected, insert the next one. Probably ~10 min per CD on a <10 year old computer. You don't need to be actively involved-- just stick in the next disk when you walk by and it's sticking out, and place the previous disk in the trash can.
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      01-21-2021, 09:21 AM   #5
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I too bought an external LG DVD from Target for $25 for this purpose (SP80NB80 or just SP80). I have never had to do anything with the volume nob. It takes about 50 seconds for the stereo to index/buffer the files, but once the system (on my 2017 i3) recognizes the disc within and says AudioCD then mine plays fine.

And I wish people would stop telling others to stop using CDs. Unless you rip to uncompressed files (WAV/FLAC/ETC) then CDs are objectively better sounding than MP3s/OGG/ACC, and a CD lasts practically forever. And if you do rip to uncompressed then you'd need a very large USB stick, which the i3 system probably wouldn't recognize anyway (it only reads FAT32 if I am not mistaken). I currently have about 100GB of music ripped, and still don't have all of my CDs ripped. I use the ripped files on a portable music player for when walking, biking, at work....whenever I can't use CDs. If I can use CDs, then I do. And that's not really for anyone else to decide what's best.
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      01-22-2021, 04:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SethDove View Post
I too bought an external LG DVD from Target for $25 for this purpose (SP80NB80 or just SP80). I have never had to do anything with the volume nob. It takes about 50 seconds for the stereo to index/buffer the files, but once the system (on my 2017 i3) recognizes the disc within and says AudioCD then mine plays fine.

And I wish people would stop telling others to stop using CDs. Unless you rip to uncompressed files (WAV/FLAC/ETC) then CDs are objectively better sounding than MP3s/OGG/ACC, and a CD lasts practically forever. And if you do rip to uncompressed then you'd need a very large USB stick, which the i3 system probably wouldn't recognize anyway (it only reads FAT32 if I am not mistaken). I currently have about 100GB of music ripped, and still don't have all of my CDs ripped. I use the ripped files on a portable music player for when walking, biking, at work....whenever I can't use CDs. If I can use CDs, then I do. And that's not really for anyone else to decide what's best.
Considering the varying quality of the hardware and processing settings of each individual stereo in each car, varying degrees of road, wind, cabin, and engine noise in cars, sound processing, effects and filters of modern music, the small audio details of cd vs high bitrate MP3's or streaming music is an minuscule price to pay for the convenience of having more than a few songs on one relatively large physical disk.

I stopped being so picky when I lost a good portion of my hearing in one of my ears. Also, 1 in 8 people have some form of hearing loss which means chances are good that we all hear things differently to some degree so while clarity is important, it is not the be all that end all. Enjoying music is not limited to clarity, but in rhythm, melody, composition, instrumentation etc. The, lyrics, tone, performance, and composition bring about an emotion, inspiration or even a memory. Back in the early days of recorded music, I'm sure clarity didn't impede on the appreciation of music. Clarity and fidelity has improved upon it, no doubt, but that last 0.1% of clarity doesn't bear the full weight of the ability to enjoy music.
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