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BMW i3 120AH
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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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2020 BMW i3S 120Ah BEV
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A laudible effort, and it works because the drive has firmware smart enough to rip the disk to a data audio format. You could also just use the drive to .. rip the disk and copy the content onto an SD card for reliable playback without buffering!

I do think that most people are ok with the blend of ripped or streamed audio solutions via their existing smartphones over bluetooth, or in fact BMW offers exactly the same for a monthly fee over the car's built in SIM card. I do agree that the browse interface in the car isn't that great so I stick with using the sheer horsepower of a smartphone to browse rather than relying on the car's head unit.
 

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2020 Corsa E
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Where were the CDs bought from? Amazon has MP3 downloads of bought music. A normal CD player and not a walkman one ie one designed to be jiggled about will be a disaster in a car and you'll probably damage the player.
 

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Kia e-Niro MY20 64 kWh - Gravity Blue
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There are portable CD players with bluetooth. Might be worth it to find out if they can hook up as an audio device to the car´s media system.
 

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42k miles on public charging. Am I an expert yet?
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I have to say that sounds like a hell of a lot more effort than just ripping the CDs, or using a streaming service!
 

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I have to say that sounds like a hell of a lot more effort than just ripping the CDs, or using a streaming service!
There was a guy in training (pilot) who swore blind that CDs sounded better than ripped mp3s.

There's always one.
 

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I have wondered this as well. Thought there might be a standard 3.5mm jack but no such luck.

You can buy portable CD players with Bluetooth but I start to wonder what kind of quality these no-name devices will actually output and think just using the highest quality Spotify from my phone over bluetooth is easier!

Also, does the i3 have a USB type C port? I haven’t seen one but perhaps I haven’t looked hard enough! Seen the USB type A port.
 

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There was a guy in training (pilot) who swore blind that CDs sounded better than ripped mp3s.

There's always one.
He was correct. Bitrate has a direct impact on sound quality. When an original recording is compressed into an MP3 file, a lot of information is lost. ... There's no question that CDs sound much better than MP3s.
 

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I have wondered this as well. Thought there might be a standard 3.5mm jack but no such luck.

You can buy portable CD players with Bluetooth but I start to wonder what kind of quality these no-name devices will actually output and think just using the highest quality Spotify from my phone over bluetooth is easier!

Also, does the i3 have a USB type C port? I haven’t seen one but perhaps I haven’t looked hard enough! Seen the USB type A port.
Later models have USB C, but lose the Aux input.
 

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2020 BMW i3S 120Ah BEV
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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!)
I think you'll find the delay is not the buffering in the sense of the playback system reading the bytes from the player over the USB, it's the ripping process of the drive attempting to read the audio, reliably, more rapidly than it would have to if it was treating it just as audio data.

When a CD player reads a redbook audio CD, it just reads the data stream sequentially. If a checksum doesn't match, it literally is allowed to make something up to fill the gap and carry on. The chances of this made-up bit being audible to the user is very low, and because the type of signal is "audio" it's easy to make something that sounds reasonably unobtrusive.

When you ask it to produce WAV files from the disk, however, this process is not allowed so it has to keep re-reading sectors over and over until it gets them right. Worse, when you ask a transport to read "audio sector X" it can't reliably seek to it as there's no formatting data embedded in the data stream, so it has to read larger buffers before and after the physical area on the disk it thinks it might be at and do the maths in memory to work out where the overlaps are and calculate the correct alignment.

Thus to "rip" the disk to a WAV file like this it will read at least twice the amount of data as if it were simply playing the audio to a DAC, and the load on the transport is way higher than just reading the audio off normally.

This is a cool feature of the drive though and if I were you I'd stick it in my PC and drag and drop the audio files off the CD to a USB stick and play the audio off that in the car instead.
 

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I added all my CDs to iTunes Match about 12 years ago.

The base sound system in the i3 isn't good enough to faff around with lossless encoding.

I use iTunes on my Android phone and connect to the car with BlueTooth. Android has native support for AAC and iTunes for Android works.

I download what I can to the phone.

Download tracks are 256kbs AAC. So is WiFi streaming. Cellular streaming is selectible between high and low which might be 256 and 128kbs AAC. (anyone know?)




 

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KIA Soul EV 64kWh
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Presumably a similar approach could be used to play my vinyl collection on the move :cool:
How good is the suspension on the i3...?

PS All my CDs ripped to FLAC and played at home via Squeezebox (Logitech Media Server) > Player > DAC > Active Speakers. Vinyl > Phono Pre > Preamp > Active Speakers
 

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He was correct. Bitrate has a direct impact on sound quality. When an original recording is compressed into an MP3 file, a lot of information is lost. ... There's no question that CDs sound much better than MP3s.
I think my argument at the time was it depended on the codec and bitrate, etc. I pointed out there were lossless formats, but he was having none of it.
 

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2020 BMW i3S 120Ah BEV
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Now you're talking. My Squeezebox has just been retired in favour of a PiCorePlayer.
I still have six hardware squeezebox devices around the house.. and still very, very happy with it all. I have FLAC files ripped from my CDs and a 192Kb Ogg replica directory tree ready for copying to phones for portable use..
 

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I think my argument at the time was it depended on the codec and bitrate, etc. I pointed out there were lossless formats, but he was having none of it.
There are people who claim WAV sounds better than FLAC. (They also worry about falling off the edge of the flat earth one day.)
 

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Definitely agree with you there.. !
I can hear the difference between 128kbps mp3 and lossless at home. I use Sennheiser HD 580/600/660 (mix of parts) + home built DAC and amplifier.

256k AAC vs. lossless is hard for me to hear. I think I can tell with some tracks but I've never tried a blind AB test. I'm 60 and my hearing isn't as good as it was when I was 20.
 

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BMW i3 REx 2014
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Vinyl > Phono Pre > Preamp > Active Speakers
My audio system has not been without a turntable, ever. Due to tinnitus, my Rega Planar is fine through the 'networked AV receiver' into old Wharfedale 508s and the other 5.1 speakers. Whole house music via google kit.
 
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