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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I took ownership of a T8 last week which included B & W Audio. While I am impressed with the audio quality, especially the filtering they used to make SiriusXM not sound like the extreme crap quality that it is, two fairly big turn-off's is the file format support and audio navigation restrictions. Most surprisingly was the support for FLAC and "WMA 10 Pro", but not for lossless WMA 10 Pro. WTF?! How you would support FLAC and (basic) WMA but somehow skip WMA Lossless support is beyond me. Obviously they had extreme audio quality in mind with B & W audio, but it seems like they specifically omitted (full) support for WMA...and that seems to be the case with a lot of other file formats, too, including FLAC. I have at least 3 CD's I converted to FLAC myself that have select tracks on them that won't show up in my XC90 for some reason. They play just fine elsewhere, but I can't even make them show up in the XC90 to play. The other tracks that were made the exact same time for the same album show up & play just fine. VERY odd, and I'm still trying to figure this one out. If anyone has any guidance on the persnickety file format requirements, I'd like to hear your advice. I'm told by others that the MKV support is essentially worthless as well, but I care far less about that than I do for audio format support (I never wanted to watch widescreen movies on a portrait display while parked on the side of the road...)

Also, the lack of direct file/folder browsing sucks. If your audio files aren't tagged properly, trying to use the Sensus' lackluster audio navigation is tedious and awkward. I feel sorry for the guy that just copies a massive amount of MP3's over and then tries to use this system to shop for something to listen to... Definitely not the experience I was hoping for given the price. I really do hope they address flubs like this in future updates.

The FLAC's I've made that do work properly work amazing. The system picks up embedded album artwork, and the audio works as expected. Ones that don't fit whatever formula is required just don't show up, apparently. Has anyone done a tried & true format test on this system to see what's "really" supported versus what's claimed to be supported in the owner's manual?

USB drive support is EXTREMELY sketchy, too - I had to go through 6 different drives before I found one that the Sensus system "liked" and would allow me to use. I very nearly thought the USB receptacle was broken. All drives were formatted FAT32 with the exact same content on them. I've seen this particular gripe posted elsewhere, so I know this issue isn't limited to me.

Finally, what's up with the lack of AM radio support in the Hybrid T8? We originally thought it was due to potential electric motor noise issues that could reasonably eliminate any possibility of receiving AM radio, but the more I think about that, the less plausible it seems. Anyone have any data on that? I guess we just have to do without all those Department of Transportation announcements regarding road conditions that are only transmitted via AM radio (snow conditions, pass conditions, road closures, etc...).

There's some real mysteries in this car...
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THREAD UPDATES & SUMMARY

I'll try and update this section as discussion progress below, hopefully to save some people time and keep from stepping in Troll poop.

  1. Lossless WMA Support / Some FLAC's don't play and generate a "Media reading error" message: WMA 10 Pro support doesn't mean support for WMA Lossless, and Sensus for XC90 2016 doesn't support WMA Lossless. Recommended work-around is to transcode to MP3 or FLAC, depending on your needs. Sensus for XC90 2016 does support full tagging and embedded album art, so you can at least make your audio files "pretty". If you have a lot of tagging to do, there are a lot of options out there, including Tag & Rename ($) and a fantastic free Windows Shell extension called 'AudioShell', both available from SoftPointer. Also note that some versions of FLAC don't play in Sensus, either; one example of this is a FLAC file that's formatted with a first-field ID3 tag (See THIS post for more information). Volvo (so far) won't supply any truly useful technical details about supported file formats (or detailed file system requirements).
  2. Media files not showing up: Likely either caused by unsupported encoding (i.e., WMA Lossless, certain FLAC's) OR the folder/filename length may be too long. After doing more extensive testing, this seems to be more of a Sensus software bug than a Linux file system limitation. I have proven that certain files only show up and play when they're 40 characters or less, and some others have to be 50 characters or less to play/show up. It seems to be kind of random, and I haven't figured out why some are 40 and others are 50. Also, long filenames in other folders can actually cause normal files in other folders to NOT SHOW UP. I've asked Volvo for some explanation, but I really think this is a genuine Sensus software bug since it's completely inconsistent (and very tedious to test). Also note that if you have this issue, it might be keeping you from seeing a large part of your music collection. When it misbehaves, you'll either get a confusing "Media reading error" message, or the file(s) won't show up at all, or Sensus just won't open the USB device at all, and will instead issue a "No USB Media/Video Content" error message. If you have additional testing data that might explain this crappy behavior, please add it to this thread AND the thread on Volvo's site.
  3. No direct File/Folder structure browse functionality: No workaround for this as of yet. The best theory I've read so far as to why this functionality isn't present is because Volvo wants you concentrating on driving, not browsing file and folder structures looking for your copy of Pink Floyd's Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict. This issue will definitely irritate some people more than others, especially those people who compiled music files from multiple sources over the past 20+ years and sorted them using the file system instead of using ID3's et al.
  4. Sketchy USB Support: Still working on this, but Sensus for XC90 2016 doesn't seem to play well with a lot of USB thumb drives. Symptoms include device not showing up, "device unsupported" errors, or drives that vanish and return mysteriously. Theories as to why this problem exists seem to suggest a wiring length or routing issue in the car that may be impacting USB voltage (or voltage stability). I'll probably start a separate thread on this given the number of USB devices likely to be used for this purpose. We do know that Patriot thumb drives seem to be working well, and I have successfully tested a 256GB Patriot Supersonic Rage2 USB 3.0 drive (formatted exFAT with 1 partition). Failures/sketchy results for Patriot s-mini, Lexar plastic drives (Costco combo packs) and most Corsair rubberized drives I tried.
  5. No AM Radio in the T8 XC90: All fingers are pointing to the idea that noisy hybrid electrical system interference from motors, generators, etc... would degrade the AM listening experience to such a point that it wouldn't be useful, so it was omitted in the T8 Hybrid. No 'official' explanation has been supplied yet. This theory has been confirmed by a Telsa owner and a few others, but some people do have other hyrbids that have functional AM radio. A similar issue exists for the BMW i3. BMW told consumers: "AM is not offered due to negative performance influences of the electromagnetic interference of the electric drivetrain. Electric motors cause interference on AM which is why BMW decided to remove this option. While it could be offered, BMW’s performance standards are very high and we don’t offer a product that meets less than those high standards,” Rebecca K. Kiehne, a BMW spokesperson, said."
 

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With the exception of AM radio, these are all very obscure use cases, so I wouldn't hold out much hope. BTW, do you buy music in the WMA format or is that just something you encoded in?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
About 6 years ago, I converted all of my CD's to WMA Lossless, since it was natively supported in Windows. I didn't have a need for FLAC then (or now, beyond my XC90), and I honestly don't remember if FLAC was even an option in the OS I was using at the time - I doubt it was, however, and certainly not natively supported without installing a CODEC pack. Anyway, it was a good way to "permanently" preserve the plastic and it's served me well until Sensus came along and decided not to support that version of WMA for some reason.

So you think browsing for music using folder/file search is a very obscure case? I guess that just depends on how you got used to doing business with your audio. Kids today get EVERYTHING digital - I doubt the vast majority of them even know what a CODEC is, let alone how to convert PCM to another format and add ID3 tags after the fact. If it didn't get stuffed directly into their ear-hole from iTunes, "it doesn't exist." I have LOTS of untagged, ancient music that the XC90 wouldn't consume just because it's 'most unclean', and it's unfortunate that the XC90 essentially requires tagged media to work. I guess I need to re-install Tag & Rename. :-\
 

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The tracks that are not showing up, do they have really long filenames or file paths in the directory structure where they're stored?

No clue if this is the cause, but I've seen it as the culprit on other audio players.
 

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Oh, don't tell me you have USB flash disc with your music sorted in various folders - and you cannot see the folders in Sensus ?? (like Jazz - Classical etc ?) It would be a real disaster. Picking the car today from the dealer, I already bought two 128 GB USB flash discs just for this purpose. Can't believe that such an essential thing does not work (seing files and folders). Even my present XC70 can easily do that
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Holy crap. Well done, Mr. McGee - I think you're onto something!

  • 01 - Concerto for Piccolo and Orchestra, Op. 50_ I. Andante comodo.flac
  • 02 - Concerto for Piccolo and Orchestra, Op. 50_ II. Adagio.flac
  • 03 - Concerto for Piccolo and Orchestra, Op. 50_ III. Presto.flac
#1 above doesn't even show up. #2 and #3 show up & play normally. I'm inspecting the other "afflicted" flac's now. Looks like we have a filename MAX length to contend with...

I won't say it... Oh, yeah, ok, I'll say it - and I know I'm feeding the trolls. Here goes... "Smells like LINUX." Oh, crap. I said it. Don't hate me; it was reflex :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You, Sir, have a 'very obscure' use case - like me.

Yeah, you don't get folders. According to page 430 of the owner's manual:

Storing information on a USB device
In order for the system to read data stored on a USB device, the following specifications must be met. Any folder structures will not be shown in the center display during playback.


That vague and somewhat misleading text also means "you can't manually search or view files in a file/folder structure" either, so if you sorted music like (we) did, apparently you (we) weren't doing it right. I was pretty dumbfounded by that asinine discovery, too. Perhaps you'll join me in a Tag & Rename party? We can commiserate over our apparent recent loss of basic common sense UI design :confused:
 

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I will tell you today how it works - I have a massive music library full of folders and files. I can't imagine you cannot browse between folders to reach something you want to listen to ...
 

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About 6 years ago, I converted all of my CD's to WMA Lossless, since it was natively supported in Windows. I didn't have a need for FLAC then (or now, beyond my XC90), and I honestly don't remember if FLAC was even an option in the OS I was using at the time - I doubt it was, however, and certainly not natively supported without installing a CODEC pack. Anyway, it was a good way to "permanently" preserve the plastic and it's served me well until Sensus came along and decided not to support that version of WMA for some reason.
Supporting the range of WMA codecs has always been a little dodgy if you're not running Windows. I imagine the Sensus computer, which I believe is Linux-based, would have a considerably easier time playing FLAC than WMA lossless. I totally understand why a non-Windows OS might not have very wide support for more unusual codecs.
 

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WMA? CDs with audio files on them? Wait... I think I hear 2005 calling, it wants its files back.

Seriously though. This is a car designed for 2016 and beyond. They need to accommodate the devices and formats that people are most likely to have now and in the future. A Microsoft proprietary format and CDs with music on them are a rarity these days. Most laptops don't even have CD/DVD drives to burn with.

If you really were as savvy about Codecs as you think you are, you would have used FLAC even 6 years ago. You'd also know that converting from one lossless format to another would be a lossless transition. So fire up your encoder and move to a format that isn't proprietary to Microsoft.
 

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B].

Finally, what's up with the lack of AM radio support in the Hybrid T8? We originally thought it was due to potential electric motor noise issues that could reasonably eliminate any possibility of receiving AM radio, but the more I think about that, the less plausible it seems. Anyone have any data on that? I guess we just have to do without all those Department of Transportation announcements regarding road conditions that are only transmitted via AM radio (snow conditions, pass conditions, road closures, etc...).

There's some real mysteries in this car...
The AM reception in my Tesla Model S is horrible due to the interference with the electric motor. The new Model X dropped AM as well for that same reason. Good thing most AM stations simulcast on FM or via TuneIn.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wow, then we did have that one right. Seems odd they couldn't be bothered to explain that even to the dealerships. Bellevue Autonation had no idea when I asked the question and didn't even know AM wasn't supported in the T8. Thanks for the confirmation!
 

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This has got to be the most fun and somewhat informative discussion on swedespeed right now ;) WMA has been on deathwatch for some time - this is the first time I have seen it discussed in years. I moved my older songs off WMA due to iPhone issues. That said, I can see it would be a pain if I had used WMA a lot.

Who knew Tesla and the T8 don't support AM radio? This should be okay for liberals listening to NPR, but what about conservatives listening to Limbaugh? Conservatives will accuse the manufacturers of having a "liberal bias".
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This has got to be the most fun and somewhat informative discussion on swedespeed right now ;) WMA has been on deathwatch for some time - this is the first time I have seen it discussed in years. I moved my older songs off WMA due to iPhone issues. That said, I can see it would be a pain if I had used WMA a lot.

Who knew Tesla and the T8 don't support AM radio? This should be okay for liberals listening to NPR, but what about conservatives listening to Limbaugh? Conservatives will accuse the manufacturers of having a "liberal bias".
"Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time." When I did my move from CD's to File many years ago, FLAC was less useful to me than WMA was at the time, so I went with it knowing I could change it as needed without a loss of quality. Doesn't mean I want to change it if I don't have to, however, and in my book if you say you're going to support "WMA" et al, then you actually should support it - Especially since they decided to support WAV - talking about ancient! "When FLAC isn't good enough, there's (still) WAV". 'Designed for 2016 and beyond'... HAHAHAHA!
 

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Conservatives will accuse the manufacturers of having a "liberal bias".
This will just confirm what they've feared all along: reality has a liberal bias.
 

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I can live with lack of support for WMA but the lack of folder navigation is really really silly. If it is 2016 design, honestly, I don't care. I'd like to have it :)
 

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"Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time." When I did my move from CD's to File many years ago, FLAC was less useful to me than WMA was at the time, so I went with it knowing I could change it as needed without a loss of quality. Doesn't mean I want to change it if I don't have to, however, and in my book if you say you're going to support "WMA" et al, then you actually should support it
I would bet that they use some open source library or another to implement this support. Supporting WMA unless you're microsoft is non-trivial, and at one point a real moving target.

I suppose that having things in a lossless format might be good for listening when sitting in your garage or driveway, but once you're on the road, a well encoded AAC or MP3 is probably indistinguishable from a FLAC / ALAC / WMA Lossless.
 

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Damn, dude, put it back in your pants! Did you just get a speeding ticket or something? The troll belongs under the Fremont bridge, not here.

My gripe is why they support WMA Pro 10 and FLAC, but it's unusual they didn't include any one of a number of open source WMA Loseless decoders that have been available since 2012. But you already knew that, I know. Nothing's lost on someone like you who's more busy being a defensive prick (for no good reason at all) than actually providing anything of actual substance. I'm sure you can make a valid case to support the lack of AM radio, too, right? Of course you can - you're one of those that can't resist the urge to reply.

By the way, your iPhone & head sock called - it wants your head back.
This is extremely unnecessary.

I understand you are probably upset but the reality is that you should be more upset with yourself for using WMA. You are the only person I've ever seen (that isn't a Microsoft shill/employee) that has everything in WMA. That is what is meant by "obscure case" because it most certainly is.

You wanting to call someone a defensive prick is pretty transparent because that's exactly what you are doing right now. Defending your WMA choice and being a prick about it. Essentially calling Linux and OSX dumb. If that's not being a prick and being defensive, I don't know what is.

So you can either behave and friendly and get some help and maybe have Volvo look at this case and put in support later or you can continue to be a defensive prick about it.

Your choice.

The folder format is pretty sucky but who rips music and doesn't have tags now? This is ultimately your own fault.
 

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I don't understand half of what's said here. Man, do I feel old now...
 

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I don't understand half of what's said here. Man, do I feel old now...
To help, lossless audio is audio that hasn't been compressed. It's "better" in some senses but in my opinion overkill for car audio solutions. We could get into a huge debate about lossless vs lossy (compressed) audio but it's honestly beside the point in this scenario.

FLAC is Free Lossless Audio Codec and is used in many places. These files can be tagged (labels put on the file to sort by genre, for instance) and are pretty great. The downsides is they take longer to convert but they play back quicker. FLAC can be played almost everywhere.

WMA is Microsoft lossless audio format. It is not universally accepted. You can tag these files as well. They can be compressed quicker but take more processing power to decompress and playback.

A Codec is an algorithm that stands for COmpress/DECompress...meaning it is a piece of "software" that decodes these coded files for better distribution. It allows you to save and store huge uncompressed files in a smaller file format. It's kind of like a zip file in this measure but in its own format for audio compression.
 
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