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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
OK, well, maybe it's not EPIC, but it's stuff to which I give a FAIL, and Chrysler should be embarrassed to do what they have done. I am going to keep updating this 1st post to include every bug, missing feature, missed opportunity, and general disappointment we have with these radios. Please post your additions/corrections below, and I will add them here.

EPIC FAIL #1: Engineer an extremely complex radio back in 2010, built it into many different car models through 2014, and issue only one bug fix in 2011! It is ridiculous to suppose that you can get such a complex radio to work right from the start; Uconnect engineers need to iterate and issue bug fixes and feature enhancements on a regular basis.

Edited to add: Tanbam says they're updating the radios all the time, because he has never seen two radios with the same firmware build number. Chrysler just never updates radios in the field. (Mine's a late 2012.) Tanbam also thinks our radios were actually engineered back in 2008.

Edited to add: Tanbaum and Cool_V reminded me of the iPod playlist update.

Edited to add: There is reputedly another flash avaiable that "fixes" the H/K system subwoofer rattle by putting a notch filter in the radios. If you care about your sound, don't ever flash that!

Edited to add: An update became available c. August 8, 2014 for 2013 and '14 radios! See post here http://www.300cforums.com/forums/ca...nect-update-13-14-vehicles-2.html#post2060210 for what's changed: Short synopsis, nothing notable. Also note this caution regarding Akamai NetSession, which is set to run at startup:
If you read the EULA, you are agreeing to let it join a peer-to-peer network to reduce the load on Uconnect's servers by allowing other users to download from your hard drive.
Edited to add: An update became available Sept 15, 2014 for 2011 and '12 radios! None of the epic fails in this post have been addressed.

Edited to add: An update became available (released July 14, 2015) for 2012 radios! Again, none of the epic fails in this post have been addressed.

EPIC FAIL #2: Put a woefully incomplete and outdated database of CDs on board, and never update it even once. How many albums come out every DAY in this old world? It should be obvious to a child that you can't put a CD database on board the car. Just incredible.

EPIC FAIL #3: Music "cleanup" function powered by Gracenotes is yet another brain-dead idea. Those of us who take the time to tag our MP3s properly, and embed album art in the metadata, obviously care what the tags show. But oh, no, we can't have that! You turn on Music Cleanup and artist names are mysteriously transformed into somebody different. David Pack becomes David Pabon. John Jarvis becomes John Davis. David Wahler becomes Ginger. If you turn off Music Cleanup, you get to see the right artist names, but then you don't get to see any album art.

EPIC FAIL #4: The radio never displays album art from MP3 metadata. Unbelievable! Are there any other music players anywhere on earth that discard album art already present in the MP3? When there is no match to the munged Album/Artist tags found in the Gracenotes database, you don't get to see album art. The number of popular artists I have which do not display album art is jaw-dropping. Many "best of" albums do not show album art. Many remastered CDs of very popular albums do not show album art. Foreign issues? Forget it! Your own music? Ha! You can buy an MP3 player for less than $50 that displays album art from metadata correctly. Why can't our $1300 radios do the same?

EPIC FAIL #5: Chrysler never published a list of supported media or playable file formats. Apparently the list is really short (must be FAT32, and MP3, WMA, or AAC). SDXC cards will not work.

EPIC FAIL #6: No support for bluetooth standard avrcp1.3 (or later). This prevents track names from being displayed when playing back songs via bluetooth from any device.

EPIC FAIL #7: No update available for iOS7 devices, including 5th gen iPod Touch, iPhone 4 and up, and iPad 2 and up. If you dare to plug your iOS7 device into your Uconnect system via USB, you will be amused to find that (1) the media player may get into an infinite loop playing a few seconds of sound and require turning off the car to reset, (2) playing a few seconds of a song and then skipping to another, and (3) displaying the wrong title. See post #83 http://www.300cforums.com/forums/ca...nect-touch-8-4-n-epic-fail-9.html#post1770794 and post #98 http://www.300cforums.com/forums/ca...ect-touch-8-4-n-epic-fail-10.html#post1771794 for a complete list of anomalous behavior when using iOS7 devices.

EPIC FAIL #8: No update available for iOS8 devices, which appear to be completely incompatible. Reports are showing up that the radio cannot index music on iOS8 devices, even after being plugged in for hours, and therefore cannot play off iOS8 devices at all.

EPIC FAIL #9: No support for Message Access Protocol (text messaging) on any current generation smartphone.

EPIC FAIL #10: No official map update for Uconnect 8.4N for the 2013-14 model years. 2011-12 hopelessly outdated. Just incredible.

FAIL #1: Inability to play tracks in original track order. Alphabetical is all you get.

FAIL #2: On skip, player cuts to digital zero, introducing a "tick" sound before the next track is played. We know the radios can fade out (and fade in) because the satellite part of the radio does just that when it suffers loss of signal.

FAIL #3: No lossless formats.

FAIL #4: No way (after ignition/accessory/start) to acknowledge reading the nag screen so that it goes away permanently. It shows every time you start your car.

FAIL #5: Six title iPod playlist does not automatically scroll when radio advances to 7th title.

FAIL #6: No true reset function, e.g. to get the radio to rescan the SD card.

FAIL #7: No gapless playback of ripped CDs with continuous music across tracks.

FAIL #8: No scrolling of artist name, album name, or track name. If these names are too long, they get truncated. We get no help from the info screen either; they're truncated there as well.

FAIL #9: Compression/limiting and auto-loudness built into amplified systems (and possibly base-model unamplified systems as well), making it difficult to get audiophile quality sound.

FAIL #10: A three-band equalizer. :eek: There is also the issue that the equalizer controls have a dead spot both + and -3 bars, and do precious little beyond that. After applying the mysterious do-nothing update that became available in 2014, this dead spot is gone with base model sound systems, and disabled completely in Beats sound systems.

FAIL #11: Shuffle track list is regenerated from scratch every time you start your car. (Also, you can get a different shuffle track list simply by toggling the Shuffle soft key.) When you start your car, the radio resumes playback of the track you were on when you stopped, but if skipping forward or backward quickly, the track you're on is no longer in the list!

FAIL #12: SMS message function of our radios has largely been broken with Android phones from Kit Kat on. Some phone manufacturers, e.g. Samsung, fixed it with 4.4.4 and still more worked with 5.0 (Marshmallow). But it remains broken on Nexus phones. See some details here: http://www.300cforums.com/forums/ca...ion/231570-messaging-works-2.html#post2494258

FAIL #13: SMS message list (if you can get it to work at all) is limited to 34 entries. Once the 35th (or more) message reaches your phone, you receive notification and you can have Uconnect read it to you. But the 35th (and older) messages are not displayed. See details here: http://www.300cforums.com/forums/ca...ect-touch-8-4-n-epic-fail-37.html#post2501937
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
By the way, I have several CDs by the German guitarist Friedemann. One of them, Aquamarine, displays a different album cover than the CD I own. Bah, humbug.

Thought of another one: no lossless formats available, not even wav files. Don't know if this is an EPIC FAIL or not. Quite the oversight, IMHO.
 

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EPIC FAIL #1: Engineer an extremely complex radio back in 2010, built it into many different car models through 2014, and never issue a single bug fix! How many of these radios have been foisted onto unsuspecting customers?
Great system so far. I haven't come across any major issues yet and I really prefer this new 8.4 system over the old 7" in my 2011 Ram.


EPIC FAIL #2: Put a woefully incomplete and outdated database of CDs on board, and never update it even once. How many albums come out every DAY in this old world? It should be obvious to a child that you can't put a CD database on board the car. Just incredible.
Even bigger fail is that there is still people listening to CD's. I didn't know anybody still bought those, I'm amazed there would have even been any effort put into making this CD database you speak of.


EPIC FAIL #3: Music "cleanup" function powered by Gracenotes is yet another brain-dead idea. Those of us who take the time to tag our MP3s properly, and embed album art in the metadata, obviously care what the tags have in them. But oh, no, we can't have that! You turn on Music Cleanup and artist names are mysteriously transformed into somebody different. David Pack becomes David Pabon. John Jarvis becomes John Davis. If you turn off Music Cleanup, you get to see the right artist names, but then you don't get to see any album art.
I don't even know what this function is that you're talking about? I haven't had a single problem yet with the system displaying my artists or song titles incorrectly.


EPIC FAIL #4: The radio never displays album art from MP3 metadata. Unbelievable! Are there any other music players anywhere on earth that discard album art already present in the MP3? When there is no match to the munged Album/Artist tags found in the Gracenotes database, you don't get to see album art. The number of popular artists I have which do not display album art is jaw-dropping. Many "best of" albums do not show album art. Many remastered CDs of very popular albums do not show album art. Foreign issues? Forget it! Your own music? Ha! Uconnect engineers just laugh at us.
I just plug in my iPod and all my album art displays just fine. Even if it didn't though, I am looking at the road when driving, not at the album cover of a song that is playing. What is the concern with needing to see Album Art?


EPIC FAIL #5: Chrysler never published a list of supported media, or playable file formats. Apparently the list is really short (must be FAT32, and MP3 or WMA).
How many file types does it really need to support when 95% of users are just going to plug in an MP3 player and be on their way?

From what I am gathering about reading your post is that you are probably trying to do everything through a stone age system of CD's. If you spent 50$ on a decent MP3 player I'm willing to bet half your problems would disappear. Plus you would save yourself the hassle of burning CD's, do not have to burn a new one every single time you find a new song you want to add to your library, and you don't have all the waste of consistently turning old CD's into garbage when you burn a new updated one, also you don't have the hassle of changing CD's in the car or even carrying them around for that matter.

An Ipod was easily one of my top 5 best investments. Heck, most people have smart phones nowadays. You wouldn't even need to buy anything new, just download all your music to your phone and just plug that in like an MP3 player.

These things might seem like a big fail to you, but you have to look at it from the engineers side. Why would they spend copius amounts of time and R&D money to perfect a system that nobody really uses anymore? It's the same reason you can't get a manual transmission in an SUV or a truck anymore. Because there just isn't enough market for it to recoup the money that would be spent in integrating it.
 
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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I'm amazed there would have even been any effort put into making this CD database you speak of.
Correct, and the only point you made with which I agree. I've used the grand total of TWO CDs in my 300 since I bought it. (For the record, one of them showed album art, and the other did not.) Does anybody fiddle with CDs any more? I sure don't, except to rip my collection. I never play CDs anymore. (I never play DVDs directly either! Hate hate hate that FBI copyright notice.) I have over 1500 songs on the SDHC card in my 300. The medium doesn't matter to our radios: USB drive, iPod, smartphone streaming, SD card... It's all just storage.

Regarding the iPod being a good investment, are you aware of the fact that you aren't using it for anything but it's flash memory when you plug it into your 300? How much memory does your iPod have, and how much money did you waste on it compared to an equivalent SD card? I think if you have album art displayed on all your albums, you must not have many albums stored on the thing, and zero new releases. I first noticed missing album art on recent Amazon downloads. About 50% do not show album art, even though Amazon embeds it just fine in the file.

P.S. I owned and used 4 or 5 dedicated MP3 players before the iPod was invented. They all used CF cards! The CF standard was from the beginning capable of large capacities. None of this SD, SDHC, SDXC crap. :rant: I have a number of SD card readers that are stuck back in 2GB land, and others (like our 300s) stuck in 32GB land.
 

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My 2-cents:

Epic Fail #1 - Yes, it's an extremely complex radio, but I'm sure that it was designed YEARS before 2010. I wouldn't be surprised if it was designed pre-'08. It takes a ridiculously long time to get licensing, reliability, certifications, manufacturing, etc to get these things integrated. The new 8.4A systems were probably developed in 2010. Even smartphones, which folks think are latest-and-greatest, are designed a couple of years before they're released - I know, because I work on the parts that go inside of them...

There have been several bug-fixes, though most of them are transparent to the end users because they simply go into the newer cars and we never see them. I've worked on dozens of these radios, and each one has a different build number.

There was an update for the early 2011 models, but nothing has been released to the public since then. We get to live with our bugs. That being said, I'm overall happy with the 2013 system I have - after investing a ridiculous amount of time on figuring out how to 'beat' it.

Epic Fail #2: The CD database does indeed stink; there's no other way to look at it. It wouldn't be a horrible thing for them to have, if it was regularly updated like it is from other car manufacturers. I think that if it was done the 'right' way and was ONLY used for displaying information for physical CD's AND had regular updates that we could easily install to accommodate disks released after 2011, it would be a great idea.

Epic Fail #3*: I'm in total agreement with you here. Music Cleanup works correctly if the music tagging is compatible with what is in the database. Everyone has their own idea of how they like to tag their music, and if a popular album (pre-2011) doesn't show artwork, it simply means that something in your tags is causing the cleanup to fail.

I have successfully gotten about 95% (or more) of my artwork to display correctly, but it required me to adjust my tagging to the point where I am required to maintain two different libraries - one for my car and one for everything else. An example of this are compilation albums, where the Artist tag on each track needs to be "Various Artists" in order for all of the songs to be displayed in one album and have correct cover art.

It's not enough to simply have Artist and Album tags; you need to include a number of other tags in order for everything to display properly.

I've never had the wrong artist/album displayed, like your "John Jarvis" problem, but I'd be willing to look into it and see if there's anything that I can do do fix them. If you give me the artist/album of one of the incorrectly displayed items, I'll try it out.

Epic Fail #4: Again, in total agreement. I would rather have my own album art override the built in art, if it's embedded into the track. I was playing a Beatles track in my car a couple of days ago and the art was horrible. The CD must have been released sometime with a t-shirt, and the artwork was a promotional ad for the album and the t-shirt. It was kind of comical, because there was a tiny CD cover in the bottom right corner, a t-shirt overlapping it, and some illegible text in the top half. I've got another couple of albums that have the displayed artwork rotated 90 degrees, so they're sideways.

I've fixed all of my remastered tracks and most of the "best of" and foreign releases, but it is part of the two-library setup that I need to maintain for my car.

Epic Fail #5: I've never really encountered this problem. I used to use my iPhone for music, until iOS 7 started borking things up. Since then, I bough an iPod classic to use in the car and never looked back. It's much better than a phone or normal storage media.
 

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The medium doesn't matter to our radios: USB drive, iPod, smartphone streaming, SD card... It's all just storage.
Actually, if you ever plug an iPod classic into the USB port, you'll find that it works completely different than normal storage. iPhones and iPod Touches are similar in that they're also a little different, but the frequent updates that they get have caused issues over time. My radio will actually lock up after while while using an iPhone with iOS 7 and iTunes Match enabled.

Since the iPod classic firmware has been 'frozen' for years, it works VERY well with the system in our cars.

In addition, I think that the music is decoded on the iPod and streamed down the USB cable, so it sounds better than the DAC that is in the radio that decodes the data from a regular storage device. I've heard details in music that I've listened to years and never noticed until I started using the iPod.

Regarding the iPod being a good investment, are you aware of the fact that you aren't using it for anything but it's flash memory when you plug it into your 300? How much memory does your iPod have, and how much money did you waste on it compared to an equivalent SD card?
Personally, I feel that the iPod classic has been one of the better investments that I've made regarding this system. It's completely plug-and-play, has 160GB of storage space, and adding new music is as easy as simply plugging it into my PC and letting it sync.

I think if you have album art displayed on all your albums, you must not have many albums stored on the thing, and zero new releases. I first noticed missing album art on recent Amazon downloads. About 50% do not show album art, even though Amazon embeds it just fine in the file.
There won't be ANY album art displayed for anything newer than 2011 - even in 2014 vehicles, unless Chrysler starts putting a more recent database in the radios.

P.S. I owned and used 4 or 5 dedicated MP3 players before the iPod was invented. They all used CF cards! The CF standard was from the beginning capable of large capacities. None of this SD, SDHC, SDXC crap. :rant: I have a number of SD card readers that are stuck back in 2GB land, and others (like our 300s) stuck in 32GB land.
I remember buying an MP3 player back in 2003 to strip the CF card (which was actually a hard drive) out of it to use in my PDA. It was $200 to buy the player, and $400 to buy the card. 4GB, which was HUGE back then.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I bough an iPod classic to use in the car and never looked back. It's much better than a phone or normal storage media.
I edited the OP to include your fascinating build number statement. Do I need to edit my other post regarding the iPod? What does it do that fixes any problems within our radios? You're not playing back via the aux in, are you?

Since you've worked on these radios, can you tell us what kind of memory the firmware resides on?
 

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Sorry for your troubles. I know my REC/NAV is outdated and I don't use the CD function anymore (I still buy CD's ... read on) but I like the NAV interface. I guess I've gotten used to it.

I still buy CD's of new music I haven't downloaded via a website in 24bit/96 to 192 kHz lossless FLAC, with the CD's being ripped to 16 bit / 44.1 kHz lossless FLAC. I use those files on an Astell & Kern AK100 portable player that feeds its headphone out into an AUX jack I wired into the REC. Now I have high rez files in the car, the truck and at home.

I'm just glad I don't have these new fangled head units you all are having EPIC FAIL problems with. ;)
 

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I edited the OP to include your fascinating build number statement. Do I need to edit my other post regarding the iPod? What does it do that fixes any problems within our radios? You're not playing back via the aux in, are you?

Since you've worked on these radios, can you tell us what kind of memory the firmware resides on?
There are lots of subtle differences between the radios, but I don't know what bugs they fix. There have been a lot of slight changes to the icons and background colors. Each year (I haven't really looked at any 2014 models yet) looks a little bit different. The biggest change was 2011 to 2012, but the 2013 radios look a bit more refined than the 2012's. I haven't seen much change in 2013, but if you look at an early 2012 vs. a later 2012, you can see that there has been some color added to the icons and the background shading is also different.

If any bugs were squashed, it is probably more 'urgent' things like radios locking up or such. They have also been adding features to the cars that need to be in the newer builds of the radios. In any case, someone has been updating things throughout the radio's run that we never get to see.

There are a few things that used to bug me when I was using my iPhone via the USB cable. This was when I was either using music loaded on the phone or via iTunes Match:

1) The album tracks were listed in alphabetical order. Bugged me to no end, especially when the indexing was going on and I couldn't browse to another song without scrolling through 12,000 tracks.
2) I got really tired of the song with the title "A" because it was frequently the first song that I played when I plugged my iPhone into the USB jack.
3) It was very slow when indexing the music whenever I added any new music to my library.
4) I'm sure that there were other things, but I've forgotten them by now.

Other than that, it worked fine until I upgraded to iOS 7. After that, when I had iTunes Match enabled, my system would play a few songs and then lock up. The only way to get it going again was to turn the car off. After that, I decided to get the iPod classic.

I had similar things that bugged me when I used an SD card. The tracks were often out of order, and there was an occasional "pop" that would occur between tracks. Other than that, I didn't have much issue with the SD card, but I don't really like having to pre-select what I wanted to listen to and load up the card with only a portion of my library.

The max size SD card that you can use is 32GB; I tried a 64GB card and the system wouldn't read any music off of it. I've also heard some folks having trouble with numbers of tracks per folder, but that hasn't cropped up for me since I don't really use it except to see if the artwork is good for a particular album.

With the iPod classic, it's much better.

1) The song list that pops up when you plug in the iPod the first time is sorted by album, so the first tracks on the screen are from David Gilmour's About Face in my library. The system finishes indexing by the second song, so it's many, many times faster than the iPhone ever was.

3) Songs are ALWAYS listed in the correct album order - regardless of if you put the track number in the title of the actual file.

2) The iPod never leaves my car unless I'm syncing new music, so it always starts where I left off - though that might be same with an SD card, too.

3) It's big enough that I always have any music that I'd like to listen to.

4) It sounds better. As I mentioned earlier, I suspect that music is decoded on the iPod and streamed to the radio over the USB cable, so I think it follows a different signal path than raw files that are decoded by the radio. It could be that the iPod hardware does a better job at decoding the audio files than whatever was designed into the radio, which wouldn't be too surprising...

5) (Cheese alert) The iPod displays a really cool Dodge logo on the LCD when you plug it into the car. Not that anyone ever sees it, since it's inside the center console, but I know it's there!

Aside from that, taking care of the tagging issues fixes the majority of the artwork.

I've got a radio taken apart on my lab bench at work, so I can look to see where the firmware is loaded. It's either on a soldered-down flash memory IC on the circuit board, or possibly on the internal SD card module. I haven't really looked into that too much yet.
 

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Correct, and the only point you made with which I agree. I've used the grand total of TWO CDs in my 300 since I bought it. (For the record, one of them showed album art, and the other did not.) Does anybody fiddle with CDs any more? I sure don't, except to rip my collection. I never play CDs anymore. (I never play DVDs directly either! Hate hate hate that FBI copyright notice.) I have over 1500 songs on the SDHC card in my 300. The medium doesn't matter to our radios: USB drive, iPod, smartphone streaming, SD card... It's all just storage.

Regarding the iPod being a good investment, are you aware of the fact that you aren't using it for anything but it's flash memory when you plug it into your 300? How much memory does your iPod have, and how much money did you waste on it compared to an equivalent SD card? I think if you have album art displayed on all your albums, you must not have many albums stored on the thing, and zero new releases. I first noticed missing album art on recent Amazon downloads. About 50% do not show album art, even though Amazon embeds it just fine in the file.

P.S. I owned and used 4 or 5 dedicated MP3 players before the iPod was invented. They all used CF cards! The CF standard was from the beginning capable of large capacities. None of this SD, SDHC, SDXC crap. :rant: I have a number of SD card readers that are stuck back in 2GB land, and others (like our 300s) stuck in 32GB land.
Unfortunately an SD card has no plug in for headphones. So I figure instead of having both an MP3 player AND an SD card simply for the car. I would just use the iPod in the car as well as everywhere else, and then it is a multi tool. My iPod is 160gigs, can't say I have ever heard of an SD card that big?

If you're using a SD card I'm not sure what the issue is with your album art? Any song I play that was downloaded from iTunes seems to display fine IIRC, I will double check to make sure. Either way, what is the epic fail of not being able to see album art? It displays the song title, what else does a guy need? If you're burning off music videos and it isn't displaying the video, that would be something I could understand being PO'd about.

Not trying to crap on your thread or anything, this just kind of seemed like another SPARTAA thread.

EDIT- From what I'm reading here, are you guys trying to say that this device does not use the album art that is imbedded right into the song on your iPod? And instead takes it from some internal database it has? If that is the case then yes that is absolutely the stupidest thing I have ever heard of.

Oh, and the iPod has a built in equalizer(or whatever you want to call it) if you use the data/usb cable for it. That's why it sounds better. If you have a lot of old downloaded MP3's from Limewire or whatever, you will notice when you use headphones on your iPod, that some songs just blast the volume, and others are quiet. When played through the USB they all come out volume levelled.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Unless you are like Maddog and plug your iPods into the aux in jack, I don't see how it could possibly do anything different than my SD card. USB is digital. Are you telling me that your iPod has the guts to decompress, alter the volume or equalization, recompress, and then finally ship the data out the USB jack in real time? I would be rather surprised if so.

The track ordering is more plausible for the iPod to correct. How is that accomplished, exactly? This is an issue I don't have, because my ripping software adds track numbers to the title, or I add them manually to get the ordering I want. I know other people are bugged by an alphabetical list, but I actually like it this way. I want the tracks in my order, not the original artist's order. This is particularly important when I throw tracks from different albums into one folder. How does one do that without the track-number workaround?

Indeed, Someguys300c, you've got me on the capacity of your iPod! The biggest SDHC card our radios can read is 32GB. Our radios won't play video from these media; just the DVD while parked, so it can't be video taking up all that space.

I've got a radio taken apart on my lab bench at work, so I can look to see where the firmware is loaded. It's either on a soldered-down flash memory IC on the circuit board, or possibly on the internal SD card module. I haven't really looked into that too much yet.
At one point our contact in executive resolutions, after discussing our case with Uconnect managers, stated that our radios were not upgradeable. Perhaps it's not field programmable. :(
 

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Unfortunately an SD card has no plug in for headphones. So I figure instead of having both an MP3 player AND an SD card simply for the car. I would just use the iPod in the car as well as everywhere else, and then it is a multi tool. My iPod is 160gigs, can't say I have ever heard of an SD card that big?

If you're using a SD card I'm not sure what the issue is with your album art? Any song I play that was downloaded from iTunes seems to display fine IIRC, I will double check to make sure. Either way, what is the epic fail of not being able to see album art? It displays the song title, what else does a guy need? If you're burning off music videos and it isn't displaying the video, that would be something I could understand being PO'd about.

Not trying to crap on your thread or anything, this just kind of seemed like another SPARTAA thread.

EDIT- From what I'm reading here, are you guys trying to say that this device does not use the album art that is imbedded right into the song on your iPod? And instead takes it from some internal database it has? If that is the case then yes that is absolutely the stupidest thing I have ever heard of.

Oh, and the iPod has a built in equalizer(or whatever you want to call it) if you use the data/usb cable for it. That's why it sounds better. If you have a lot of old downloaded MP3's from Limewire or whatever, you will notice when you use headphones on your iPod, that some songs just blast the volume, and others are quiet. When played through the USB they all come out volume levelled.

Display of album art is a feature that is advertised by Chrysler. However, what was left out is that in order to see album art, the media that you are playing must be present in the on board database that is included in the Uconnect system. This database is provided by Gracenotes. This is the problem in a nutshell. Unless you bought certain albums released at a certain time for a given artist that happens to exist, you will not see album art. An additional bug in that approach is that sometimes, a different artist will be matched and you will see that artwork, but in addition, you will see track info that is totally unrelated to the artist.

You can correct the display of track info by disabling the Gracenotes feature, however, in their infinite wisdom, Chrysler's supplier, or by Chrysler's own design requirements, decided that turning off Gracenotes turns off album artwork display. This is plain stupid because the user can embed any artwork of their choosing and even a $15 mp3 player is capable of reading that data.

What then happens unsigned artists information may not display correctly (wouldn't exist in Gracenotes), custom albums with custom artwork will not display correctly (wouldn't exist in Gracenotes), and even well known movie sound tracks and artist collaborations will not display correctly (Gracenotes announced this as a new feature to be soon available, but Chrysler isn't issuing any updates, especially one that new functionality is being provided). The final straw is, there will come a date, depending upon your car's build date, that you will purchase new music, and your Uconnect will not find an entry in its database, or worse it will match it to the wrong album.

So though the problem manifests itself as a simple artwork issue, it goes much deeper than that.

I don't know for certain that ipods are immune to this as any other usb connected device is not.

If you are getting artwork consistently, perhaps you are lucky to own the music as the Gracenotes database expects it or you have done as Tanbam has and identified exactly what Gracenotes has looked for and modified your mp3 tags to accomodate it (making those files perhaps have issues for every other system in the world), or you have the problem for some of the 160 Gb files on your ipod and haven't yet encountered it.
 
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I completely left out the fact that there are no loss-less formats supported, not even WAV.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I completely left out the fact that there are no loss-less formats supported, not even WAV.
I mentioned that in post #2. I moved it into post #1 as FAIL #3. It will play back CDs, so why not wav files too? :rant: Nevertheless, stupid as this situation is, I didn't think it rose to the level of an EPIC FAIL. ;)
 

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Unless you are like Maddog and plug your iPods into the aux in jack, I don't see how it could possibly do anything different than my SD card. USB is digital. Are you telling me that your iPod has the guts to decompress, alter the volume or equalization, recompress, and then finally ship the data out the USB jack in real time? I would be rather surprised if so.
I've done a little bit of research, now that I'm really curious, and looked into what's going on.

Once the iPod is connected, it sends pre-decoded USB audio data down the cable, and I highly suspect that the quality of the decoder in the iPod is superior to the one in the radios. I think the radio simply routes the USB audio data to the DAC and processes it somewhat if you've got Beats or HK. If you use an SD card or other normal USB storage, the radio uses it's own onboard decoder - which doesn't seem to do quite as good a job.

I've also confirmed that iPhones newer than the 4 use a different protocol which also make use of the radio's onboard decoder; this explains why I've noticed the improvement in sound quality when I went from an iPhone to an iPod.

Those iPods are pretty well designed and use good hardware - there's more to the higher price than simply an Apple logo stamped on the outside. Of course, I'm a bit biased due to being on a design team that makes those parts in the first place...

The track ordering is more plausible for the iPod to correct. How is that accomplished, exactly? This is an issue I don't have, because my ripping software adds track numbers to the title, or I add them manually to get the ordering I want. I know other people are bugged by an alphabetical list, but I actually like it this way. I want the tracks in my order, not the original artist's order. This is particularly important when I throw tracks from different albums into one folder. How does one do that without the track-number workaround?
I have no idea how it works on the iPod or why it's different, but it sure seems to work well. For most albums, I don't care about the order too much, but for some albums it's kind of important to the flow. I assume that the iPod simply has a better on-board track management and the radio uses the iPod information.

As far as mixing-and-matching tracks into a new folder, it's just as easy (if not easier) to select the files in iTunes and create a playlist. You're not actually moving or copying any files around; everything stays in the same place and just uses the playlist file to manage the playback. You can just drag-and-drop to change the order around, without having to worry about track numbering.

Indeed, Someguys300c, you've got me on the capacity of your iPod! The biggest SDHC card our radios can read is 32GB. Our radios won't play video from these media; just the DVD while parked, so it can't be video taking up all that space
With an iPod and a Lockpick, you can play video straight from the iPod onto the screen if you have the right cable. Also, with a Lockpick, you don't need to be parked to watch DVDs!

At one point our contact in executive resolutions, after discussing our case with Uconnect managers, stated that our radios were not upgradeable. Perhaps it's not field programmable. :(
Of course the radios are update-able. As a matter of fact, if you plug in a USB stick with the update that was released in 2011, the radio will attempt to update itself until it realizes that the file that you're using is older than what's already in it. There's quite a difference between not being physically possible to update vs. the manufacturer refusing to provide the update.
 

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Of course the radios are update-able. As a matter of fact, if you plug in a USB stick with the update that was released in 2011, the radio will attempt to update itself until it realizes that the file that you're using is older than what's already in it. There's quite a difference between not being physically possible to update vs. the manufacturer refusing to provide the update.
This for me was the reason I decided to move on from Chrysler after 6 vehicles. They released an update for 2011 to resolve playlist handling with the ipod. They have the capability to update the radio and have made the choice to ride out the many thousands of complaints (maybe more than that) with the current radio until the 2015 refresh for the 300.

I had my own complaint heard with executive referral and Uconnect. They initially appeared to take it seriously, but as time went on, it became clear to me that they really had no plans for a solution. I actually started to feel as if they were stringing me along. This was after I initially said a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" was acceptable. Either you will fix it or not, but don't continually tell me a fix is coming when I can see nothing happening.

For me the epic fail was my experience with Chrysler's Uconnect support and executive referral process.
 
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Discussion Starter #17
Once the iPod is connected, it sends pre-decoded USB audio data down the cable, and I highly suspect that the quality of the decoder in the iPod is superior to the one in the radios. I think the radio simply routes the USB audio data to the DAC and processes it somewhat if you've got Beats or HK. If you use an SD card or other normal USB storage, the radio uses it's own onboard decoder - which doesn't seem to do quite as good a job.
Forgive me, but I am still skeptical. ;) I think you are hearing things. What exactly do you mean by "decoded", and "audio data"? The MP3 is compressed. All that it needs is to be de-compressed and converted to analog. This has to happen somewhere prior to our speakers, which are analog. (I have heard of precisely one digital speaker in my entire life, and it was not a hi-fi speaker, and anyhow I've seen my own speakers and I know with metaphysical certitude that they are analog.)

The USB is a digital bus. No analog is possible, unless somebody has rather seriously altered acceptable signaling on that bus. So, if the music is traversing over the USB, it must be digital. That means that the DAC has to be in our radios. Well, those of you who have amps might have a DAC residing in the amp. I have the base model 6-speaker system and there is no amp external to my radio. So the DAC resides in my radio.

So, I am guessing by "decoded" you mean "decompressed". This still allows "audio data" to flow over a digital USB. Now I see no reason for Uconnect engineers to take a decompressed digital audio data stream over the bus, since that merely increases required bandwidth on the bus. They already do not support uncomperssed wave files, so I'm skeptical even of that. But let's say that they did it. The decompressed digital data comes into the radio, and it must still run it through the DAC in the radio. Now we all agree that the DAC in an iPod is probably a higher quality DAC than the one in the radio, and that these DAC differences can be audible.

Are you saying that a purely digital decompression algorithm can result in higher or lower audio quality, depending upon the decompression algorithm? I always thought that the decomrpession part of decoding an MP3 was either exact or wrong. (The lossy compression algorithm of course makes a big difference.)

As far as mixing-and-matching tracks into a new folder, it's just as easy (if not easier) to select the files in iTunes and create a playlist. You're not actually moving or copying any files around; everything stays in the same place and just uses the playlist file to manage the playback. You can just drag-and-drop to change the order around, without having to worry about track numbering.
Aha! Eureka! Our radios can read an iPod playlist. I like it. It makes sense. It's all digital.

Of course the radios are update-able.
Whew! My outrage, had the radio contained no field-programmable memory, would have gone up exponentially. Glad they did that part right at least.

On the other hand, the nice lady in Excecutive Management was just plain wrong about our radios not being upgradeable. She got this word from somebody in Uconnect management, and they told her "not upgradeable". Frank, who wrote letters first to Zenios (Uconnect manager), and then to Marchionne (Chrysler's CEO), go this response. We are just being put off by Chrysler, who refuse to fix anything in radios already in the field. Why why why? :rant: I call that "unconscionable" for such a complex piece of consumer equipment never to get but one update.
 

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What really bothers me is that they don't even deny the problems. That's the frustrating thing about this. They know people aren't happy with this. And they also acknowledge the issue and are fully aware of it.

Another unkind cut is that they have issued updates for the 8.4A/AN radios as problems have been encountered. Imagine that.
 
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Forgive me, but I am still skeptical. ;) I think you are hearing things. What exactly do you mean by "decoded", and "audio data"? The MP3 is compressed. All that it needs is to be de-compressed and converted to analog. This has to happen somewhere prior to our speakers, which are analog. (I have heard of precisely one digital speaker in my entire life, and it was not a hi-fi speaker, and anyhow I've seen my own speakers and I know with metaphysical certitude that they are analog.)

The USB is a digital bus. No analog is possible, unless somebody has rather seriously altered acceptable signaling on that bus. So, if the music is traversing over the USB, it must be digital. That means that the DAC has to be in our radios. Well, those of you who have amps might have a DAC residing in the amp. I have the base model 6-speaker system and there is no amp external to my radio. So the DAC resides in my radio.

So, I am guessing by "decoded" you mean "decompressed". This still allows "audio data" to flow over a digital USB. Now I see no reason for Uconnect engineers to take a decompressed digital audio data stream over the bus, since that merely increases required bandwidth on the bus. They already do not support uncomperssed wave files, so I'm skeptical even of that. But let's say that they did it. The decompressed digital data comes into the radio, and it must still run it through the DAC in the radio. Now we all agree that the DAC in an iPod is probably a higher quality DAC than the one in the radio, and that these DAC differences can be audible.

Are you saying that a purely digital decompression algorithm can result in higher or lower audio quality, depending upon the decompression algorithm? I always thought that the decomrpession part of decoding an MP3 was either exact or wrong. (The lossy compression algorithm of course makes a big difference.)



Aha! Eureka! Our radios can read an iPod playlist. I like it. It makes sense. It's all digital.



Whew! My outrage, had the radio contained no field-programmable memory, would have gone up exponentially. Glad they did that part right at least.

On the other hand, the nice lady in Excecutive Management was just plain wrong about our radios not being upgradeable. She got this word from somebody in Uconnect management, and they told her "not upgradeable". Frank, who wrote letters first to Zenios (Uconnect manager), and then to Marchionne (Chrysler's CEO), go this response. We are just being put off by Chrysler, who refuse to fix anything in radios already in the field. Why why why? :rant: I call that "unconscionable" for such a complex piece of consumer equipment never to get but one update.
There are lots of different ways to skin a cat, as there is for converting an MP3 file to audio.

A similar example would be how a video signal can look different on the same TV when using different sources yet the exact same source material. A TV with a USB jack and an HDMI input could very well have inferior playback over the USB jack vs. an HTPC over the HDMI cable while playing the exact same video file. The USB jack might be designed to simply provide the customer a convenient method to easily watch a file, but it isn't optimized to provide as good of a picture - because anyone concerned about getting the best possible picture is likely to have a premium signal source over HDMI. It's just not worth investing the resources to design a super-high quality system for a convenience feature.

Inside the radio, the processor (I presume) will read the file from the USB storage or SD card, then likely convert it into an I2S audio signal, then feed it to the next block, probably some sort of hardware CODEC, where it is finally converted into analog.

Once the MP3 file has been converted to I2S, it has become a completely different beast that is totally dependent on how the processor was designed to do the conversion.

Without analyzing it, it is impossible to conjecture what the quality is like at that point. There is no telling if they are using 16-bit data or 24-bit data, if they have scaled the sample rate to a different frequency, or anything else they might have done.

Based on the very limited number of formats that the radio can accept, I cannot believe that much time was spent on the design of this initial raw data file-to-I2S conversion and that the bare minimum is being handled.

In contrast, the iPod doesn't simply send raw digital files down the USB interface. When an iPod is plugged in, it communicates with the radio and switches into a bidirectional communication mode. This bidirectional mode includes a protocol called "USB Audio" which is a high-speed method of streaming music across the cable.

Instead of sending the raw file to the processor in the radio to convert the data, there is another dedicated IC inside the radio that takes over and converts the USB Audio packets into I2S data. This dedicated IC is very, very likely to do a better job doing this conversion than what the software designed by Chrysler can do - but it only works with iPods or iPhones earlier than the 4.

The radio's designers could care less about the bandwidth taken up by this communication, because it's all handled by the iPod and the off-the-shelf IC that they stick on the other end. In fact, it probably made their design even easier, since someone else did the work for them.

In short, look at it this way. The same folks who designed the whole Gracenote fiasco are also the same ones who designed the raw file conversion to I2S from USB and SD card media. The same folks who also decided not to add .wav file or other format support.

On the other hand, a completely different design team designed the raw file conversion to USB Audio on the iPod, and Apple would have had a HEAVY hand in dictating how the receiving IC inside the radio converts the USB Audio into I2S was designed.

I know from painful experience how involved Apple is when you're designing components that go into their products, and I'm positive that they're the same way when granting licenses to use their formats for the IC's that receive their USB Audio streams.

As far as hearing the difference goes, I can give this example: I have some music tracks that have multiple voices talking in the background. I've heard these voices on these tracks since I was a teenager, via Walkmans, Diskmans, boom boxes, home stereos, headphones, and earbuds. I had never been able to single out any of the individual voices; it was like listening to a crowded restaurant. The first time I played one of those tracks via the iPod Classic plugged into my system, I was able to single out and understand what the background voices were saying for the very first time. These were the exact same digital files that I'd been listening to for a long time now; they weren't new remastered files or anything like that. It was actually kind of startling.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Thank you tanbam for that most excellent technical discussion. If I understand what you stated above, the DAC (IMHO the most likely source for audible differences) in our radios is where the conversion from digital to audio takes place, regardless of source (iPod, bluetooth, USB thumb drive, DVD, CD, or SD card). Everything else (upstream of the DAC) is digital. I'm still having a tough time getting my mind around audible differences arising purely in the digital domain. :(

Anyhow, to show you I've been doing my homework ;), there are different protocols available for different devices to communicate over USB. The one tanbam highlighted above is called USB-audio, and this is (according to tanbam) the protocol iPods and older iPhones use. It is NOT used for other media (maybe bluetooth?), so the USB is being used in a different way for iPods than it is for my SDHC card.

For an iPod, (correct me if I'm wrong) MP3 decompression and conversion to USB-audio is happening on the iPod. Now I thought that everybody was decompressing the same way, so I'm surprised that any audible differences can arise at this stage. Maybe there aren't, and tanbam is only talking about the transfer over USB.

There are several data transfer mechanisms available via USB-audio: bulk, isochronous, interrupt, and control. From my study, isochronous is the only method used for audio data. But if there are bus errors, the iPod user is in big trouble because there is no opportunity for a retransmission via isochronous transfers. With bulk data transmission, the receiver (our radios) could in principle send a NAK and get the iPod to transfer the frame again, as it would if it were reading an mp3 data file directly. Tanbam, do you know for a fact that your iPod is using isochronous transfers?

Quick aside: the control transfer over USB-audio allows for such stuff as volume control. So someguys300c, who claimed that his iPod did a better job of volume leveling, was not just imagining it. It really could happen via USB-audio.

Anyhow, the bottom line is that an MP3 file on an iPod is being decompressed on the iPod, and converted to a different digital protocol for transmission over USB than what we see from other media. Given the limitation of isochronous transfers (error detection but no correction), I'm surprised this makes the sound better.
 
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