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Discussion Starter #1
I spent lots of time and wasted loads of CD's, but I think I now know exactly what should be done to burn an MP3 CD that the COMAND system will accept. Thought I would share my experience.

1. When you first rip your music, do so at a bit rate of at least 128kps. I use 160kps. I believe the COMAND will recognize up to 320kps. Anything less will not give your good music quality and, if you have LOGIC7, may not work properly, as per the COMAND manual.

2. MAKE SURE YOU REMOVE ALL ID3 TAGS! I've burned several MP3 songs that played well on my computer and other players but would not function in my car. Finally came to the conclusion that those ID3 tags (information such as artist, track number, music genre, album artwork, etc.) sometimes confuse the system and the song will not play. Worse yet, some songs with ID3's caused the unit to freeze up. You can find some great freeware programs to remove those tags. I use this freeware program (http://www.marre.org/id3remover/) for my Windows XP machine. I'm sure there are many others out there that will perform this task. Do a Google search.

3. Once you have your music files cleaned of ID3 tags, arrange them in folders. I like to put folders of the artist's name in the root directory and put their music inside. This is a personal preference. You can of course name folders by music type, mood, etc. Use your imagination. Just remember that there is a limit to the number of folders that COMAND will recognize. My manual says 255 songs or folders in the root directory and 255 songs or folders in each folder. I have seen some postings where only 32 or 99 folders are recognized. Your system may vary. My system (2006 SLK COMAND) recognizes the 255 as stated.

4. Burn your CD's as Data files. MP3 CD's that I've burned in the music mode (i.e. as an MP3 music CD) have occasionally given me problems. I use Roxio's Toast and you have the choice of burning as a data disk or a music disk - use the data disk option. Your computer by default will probably burn your files as pure data, but it might be 'smart' enough to recognize .mp3 as music and may automatically make a music CD. Try to turn this option off.

5. Burn at a slow rate. When you choose the burn speed, don't use "Maximum Possible". This is a general rule of thumb to maximize accuracy in burning. I'm not sure that it is necessary in this situation, but I do it anyway.

That's it. By the way, the above works if you are burning a CD or, in some COMAND units, a DVD. My system recognizes DVD's even though I don't have NAV. This allows for A LOT of music on one disk. The rules are the same for both regular CD's (about 700 Mb) and DVD's (over 4 Gig).

Hope the above is helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't know - maybe someone out there does. My 2003 C320 (without COMAND) doesn't play MP3's (it has the 6-CD changer and no front loading slot). The easiest way to find out is to burn an MP3 CD and load it in the slot. Try it and see.
 

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I've been using iTunes to burn mp3 DVDs just because someone recommended it here. Ordinarily I would use Nero for such things, but since I don't have Nero installed on the machine with the DVD writer, I thought I would give iTunes a go. It does simplify the process because it makes sure that there is a simple folder structure consisting of one folder per album within the root folder. However, it has an annoying habit of renaming folders and tracks. It insists on putting a number at the beginning, and it mangles some characters in names. If anyone knows how to stop it doing this (it's not obvious) then I would be interested to hear about it. Otherwise, I will just have to install Nero on yet another machine [:)]

I always leave the ID3 tags intact, incidentally. I see no reason to remove any of the tags. I've played hundreds of files with them in, without incident. However, I never embed the cover art in a tag. This might be what causes your problems. I use VBR at approximately 230kbps (Lame standard) when encoding. This sounds good at home (AudioTron) and on the portable (Creative Zen) but is somewhat lacking bass-wise on COMAND, even compared to FM. It's not bad otherwise though.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You might be correct about the artwork. Many of my songs have artwork and that might be the problem. It was just easier to remove all the tags instead of trying to find which one was the problem. Besides, COMAND does not have the ability to read ID3 tags so they are not necessary. I try to have as little uneeded data on the disk as possible.

BTW - I like to use iTunes too. To get rid of the track numbers, go to "Preferences", choose the "Advanced" tab, then choose the "Importing" tab. Uncheck "Create file names with track number". That should import songs without the pesky numbers. The above are for a Windows machine with XP, but iTunes preferences for other machines should have a similar set of preferences and tabs.
 

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steve-p - 9/21/2005 11:59 AM

I've been using iTunes to burn mp3 DVDs just because someone recommended it here. Ordinarily I would use Nero for such things, but since I don't have Nero installed on the machine with the DVD writer, I thought I would give iTunes a go. It does simplify the process because it makes sure that there is a simple folder structure consisting of one folder per album within the root folder. However, it has an annoying habit of renaming folders and tracks. It insists on putting a number at the beginning, and it mangles some characters in names. If anyone knows how to stop it doing this (it's not obvious) then I would be interested to hear about it. Otherwise, I will just have to install Nero on yet another machine [:)]

I always leave the ID3 tags intact, incidentally. I see no reason to remove any of the tags. I've played hundreds of files with them in, without incident. However, I never embed the cover art in a tag. This might be what causes your problems. I use VBR at approximately 230kbps (Lame standard) when encoding. This sounds good at home (AudioTron) and on the portable (Creative Zen) but is somewhat lacking bass-wise on COMAND, even compared to FM. It's not bad otherwise though.
Can you please be more specific abouth i tune burning cd/dvd:
When you play bach in the car are you able to scroll from one folder to other folder, or all 100 songs are in order say from one to 100 in the same one folder.
I see on my playback screan the folder name with arrow on both side but there is no functions all my songs are in the order i have burned, i thing i burned wrong, if so can you be more specific how do Ican burn cd 's an same disk but in more than one folder . Thanks in advance.
Sorry for my bad Inglish writing.
 

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Our brand new E280 was delivered 3 days ago, so now the beloved W202 C180 has a mate......Over a number of years the sales+service people at our local have been unfaulted, but on Friday the sales rep astonished me by strongly recommending that we do not used "burned" CD's (to use his phrase) in the in-dash 6-stacker or the single-slot.

Claimed that the sometimes poor QC of blank CD's resulted in the ever-so-slightly thicker ones jamming occasionally, as the auto audio systems had narrower tolerances in the CD carrier.

Trouble is, once is enough - disassembling a new dash is not a nice thing to do - so its not as if I would want to test it....

At first I considered an RIAA conspiracy re MP3's :>)) But seriously, maybe he has something, though I've never heard of it happening. So, to the readership out there - has anyone experienced it, heard of it or have a comment?

Further to MP3's, for obvious reasons outlined above, I have not confirmed that the audio decks of current E Class deliveries in our area will even play MP3. Should, but who knows - and no-one around here can tell me.

Regards, Graham P
 

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Discussion Starter #10
This must be a stock answer that service people are told to give. I, too, was told that I should use only commercially made CD's in my system even though the COMAND manual has a lengthy description of how to properly burn CD's to use in the unit. I've requested that they provide me with commercially made MP3's to test the unit, but they know of no such thing (nor do I).
The problem here is that we're on untested ground. MP3 players in MB's are relatively new and the repair people haven't caught up with the technology (IMO). I had a tech ask me how many seconds were allowed between songs on a burned MP3 CD. For those of you who are not familiar with the technology, commercially made regular CD's (not MP3's) have a set number of seconds between songs and, if you burn your own regular CD's, you can adjust the time between songs. MP3 CD's are data disks with the time between songs determined by the system playing the CD. Their questions demonstrate an ignorance of the technology. Hopefully this will improve as in-dash MP3 players become more common in MB's. I also believe in the Tooth Fairy![:D]
 

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Thx for your thoughts, gmabli. Yes, I've never encountered commercial MP3's, either (hadn't thought of that as a test.....!).

Once I'm a little more clued-up on it I'll drop in to the dealer next w/end and do a bit more questioning though I dont expect too much success, for the reason you outlined.

The E280, here, it seems, doesn't come with the Comand system (Aust$7K option!!), only the E350/500/55's have it standard. Anyway, now the initial rush is over, I'll spend an evening reading the manuals and see if they make a similar comment for non-Comand, as you quoted re MP3 burning for your Comand system.

By the way, you mention "in-dash MP3 players" - I presume you mean the normal CD + stacker unit, but it just includes s/ware to read the MP3 coding, in addition to the normal Cd .cda code - not a separate physical unit?.

BTW I recollect a thread in these pages talking about overcoming problems of non-playing of MP3 files (when it should have) by ensuring you do not have a mix of formats on the same CD e.g. MP3 plus CDEA plus wav for instance.

Cheers, G.
 

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I would like to add... That if you are trying to get your Itunes music .m4p or .aac format to .mp3 there is a sweet little proggie called JHymn... Just if you guys are wondering!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yes, gpit, I'm referring to the in dash unit that is part of the COMAND as opposed to the 6-CD changers in the glove box. I believe the changers don't play MP3's on any model.

And yes, you cannot mix formats. The MP3 players ONLY play MP3 files and not AAC or AIFF files. As mentioned elsewhere, there are plenty of free converter programs to convert AAC or others to MP3 including the grandaddy of all, iTunes.

Let me know if you have any more questions. If I can help, I'd be glad to do it.
G.
 

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pretty sure the it will only stay in aac..

that is Itunes will not convert to mp3 from what i understand.
 

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First off can I use a variable bitrate?

Secondly I am unsure why something like the Phatbox that I have in my Audi was never created for Mercedes considering every model I know of has a CD changer option.

Thank you for the How To, I was actually unaware of the NAV system having this capability.
 

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Once again, thanks, G. and TT. Interesting - variations on variations - my 6-CD stacker is, I'm pretty sure, a non-Comand type, but mounted in the centre console below the radio LCD display and accessed by the wood-trim panel which swings out and up. Very presentable. I'll chuck in a photo sometime with an update on how this whole thing pans out.

Bit off-topic, but I'm typically in .shn, .ape and flac format (so-called "non-lossy") downloads of legal soundboard recordings of live concerts from the US. Each has good decompression utilities to wav and mp3. D/L files are still large, but great quality.

Cheers, G.
 

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gmabli and ttaleric,

as promised, a note or two on how the MP3 thing panned out. Firstly, the MB is an E280, ie the 3litre version of the new 2350 (3.7litre?) engine and that superb 7G-tronic box. Delivered 2 weeks ago - pure nirvana... until the next one >:)) and for what its worth, the dealer service (Westpoint Star, Perth, Wwestern Australia) has been faultless throughout.

The audio system is a thing called Audio-20, a 6-stacker CD changer in the centre console just ahead oh the gearstick, plus a single-slot CD player immediately above it. Over here the Comand system comes in with the E350 and above, so I missed out.

The single-slot does not play MP3 or other formats, only standard CD's. The stacker plays standard CD (cda), also MP3 and I suspect wav or wma. Tried a mixed format burn of MP3 and cda and it would only play the first track, recognising the first track's format, but not subsequent tracks of other formats. This merely confirms what many have noted re mixed-format burns in CD readers whether in cars or computers.

Dealer's service mgr was more concerned about skipping on home-burned MP3 CD's (ie poor audio quality), rather than the jamming the sales rep was talking about, and was moderately relaxed re extracting jammed CD's. The LCD display in this system gives only the Track #, etc, not the file title from the CD TOC header, up to a max of 99 tracks per CD.

Rgds, Graham.
 

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ttaleric - 10/3/2005 11:00 PM

pretty sure the it will only stay in aac..

that is Itunes will not convert to mp3 from what i understand.
iTunes for Mac will convert any of its compatible music file types to .mp3, except protected AAC (the file format for music purchased through the Apple Music Store).

Further, you can rip your CDs and other files into iTunes in the .mp3 format by choosing that option in your import preferences; and you can choose a high bit rate (192 bps) if you wish (but not VBR).

Having developed a 30 MB music library recorded largely in AIFF (the original CD format) and AAC, I just converted a copy of it to .mp3 and recorded my library on 2 .mp3 DVDs; it's under 8 MB.

However, on my instrument cluster display, the typeface for the DVD song title is very large, preventing all but short titles from displaying (they do display properly on the COMAND screen). By contrast, my music CD titles display in variable size type, and usually the whole title appears on the instrument cluster display. Does anyone know if the size of the type displayed is related to the font size that the file name is saved in, on the computer, when burning the disc? The name of the folder containing the song is in the same font on the computer, but displays in small type on the instrument cluster.

Also, iTunes will only let me burn one folder (playlist), and that is limited in the number of songs you can burn; so I copy my multiple playlist contents to individual folders in Toast. When I do that, the song title transfers (it's the file name, of course), but the rest of the ID Tag information does not transfer. That might be a good way to get rid of extraneous info if it causes problems, but you lose artist, composer, album info (unless you put it into the song title).
 

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Skylaw - 10/21/2005 5:43 PM

However, on my instrument cluster display, the typeface for the DVD song title is very large, preventing all but short titles from displaying (they do display properly on the COMAND screen). By contrast, my music CD titles display in variable size type, and usually the whole title appears on the instrument cluster display. Does anyone know if the size of the type displayed is related to the font size that the file name is saved in, on the computer, when burning the disc? The name of the folder containing the song is in the same font on the computer, but displays in small type on the instrument cluster.
Actually, the variable size typeface on my instrument cluster display was for names in the phone book, not CD song titles (will have to check this with a commercial CD - my home-burned ones display the same as the DVD. Still wonder if the size of the font in which the song title is stored on the computer (and therefore burned to disc) is a factor.
 

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Skylaw - 10/21/2005 5:43 PM
Having developed a 30 MB music library recorded largely in AIFF (the original CD format) and AAC, I just converted a copy of it to .mp3 and recorded my library on 2 .mp3 DVDs; it's under 8 MB.
Just going back over this post, and saw a gross error - sorry. The music library was 30 GB, and was reduced to under 8 GB.
 
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