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USB Flash Drive recommendations for car, non surround/surround.

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marpow

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I was wondering if there where any recommendations for a flash drive, that I would only use for music in my car. I have random flash drives, they all work.
But I am always wondering if I can take things to the next level, like maybe there are better ones than others. There are those little DAC's, Dragonfly, etc.
Would one of those be good or am I just wasting money. This would be stereo only. When I drive I of course am paying attention to driving, there is the outside noise, road, wind etc, which makes me think any quote "improvement" would just be a waste of money?
 

windhoek

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Great topic, Mark. I reckon the main improvement would be in the device's robustness. I've been using USB drive in my car for years and eventually, they all start glitching during playback. Admittedly, I've been using Sandisk Cruzer USB drives which are on the cheap side of things so maybe I need to start buying USB drives that have a proven track record for everyday use in this regard. I look forward to seeing what follows as I expect I'll 'upgrade' as well :)
 

quicksrt

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I find that USB3 drives are less glitchy potential even when plugged into a USB2 socket.

Pay a couple bucks more and always look for USB3 on the package as USB2 are still out there being made and sold.
 

svengaleekie

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Since September 2018 I've had a 256GB SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1 Flash Drive for my Mercedes, I can fit all my music on it at the moment but it won't be long before it's full and I have to delete something, I think it will be the classical as I rarely play it in the car.
 

JediJoker

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There are those little DAC's, Dragonfly, etc.
Would one of those be good or am I just wasting money.
Those aren't going to do anything at all. They are essentially USB sound cards/audio interfaces, which take the digital audio from a computer and covert it to analog for listening on headphones, powered speakers, or stereo systems. They are not storage devices, so you won't be able to load them with audio files. And since the "magic" is in the DAC, even if you could use one as a storage device, you would reap none of the benefits of that DAC.

I'm of the opinion that even if you can measure a difference in sound quality objectively, if you can't hear it, it doesn't matter. The chances of hearing a difference in audio quality between two different USB sticks in a car are extremely low, even for someone with "golden ears." If what you're using works, then DFWAB. If/when it stops working, then worry about what to get as a replacement.
 

J. PUPSTER

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Maybe I don’t understand the question; but wouldn’t it depend on what audio codec/resolution your car’s player can handle, the portability of the drive and how many files you want on it? Also, the power requirements the player has for a USB drive?
 

LuvMyQuad

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As far as sound quality in a vehicle, at least my experience with it, a better sounding USB drive is way low on the totem pole. There are two vehicles in my garage. Neither will play anything from a USB drive other than MP3s, and neither will play gapless. No FLAC, no WAV. YMMV, but I'd want to fix those glaring problems before looking into the effect of different USB drives.

My 2017 Chevy can still play CDs (but not gapless... I know... WTF?). I'm not sure if its successor will have that capability when the lease is up this Spring. My lady's 2018 Chrysler is not equipped with a CD player. One isn't even available. They just expect you are going to play MP3s from a USB drive or your phone via (gasp...) Bluetooth.
 

LuvMyQuad

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Maybe I don’t understand the question; but wouldn’t it depend on what audio codec/resolution your car’s player can handle, the portability of the drive and how many files you want on it?
That's the heart of the matter Pup. I have a music player that I bought for $30. It accepts an SD card and includes a basic DAC and analog out. I bought it for playing music on the sailboat (which ironically does have a disk player). It will play FLAC and WAV. I can plug it into an analog input in the car and it sounds better than anything I can play from a USB drive.

Hey Detroit.... IT COST $30 !!!!!
 

J. PUPSTER

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In my personal experience I have found that USB 3.0 sticks dont work for audio (at least not in either Subaru we own). USB 2.0 works just fine. The system doesnt recognize the newer 3.0 sticks.
It may be due to drive format like: FAT32, NTFS, ExFAT? You may be able to change that by starting over.
 

LuvMyQuad

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In my personal experience I have found that USB 3.0 sticks dont work for audio (at least not in either Subaru we own). USB 2.0 works just fine. The system doesnt recognize the newer 3.0 sticks.
I thought they were all backward compatible. Pup might have the answer there with the format.

Nothing like the car makers making you jump through even more hoops to get low quality audio to play in your vehicle..
 

salsdali

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It may be due to drive format like: FAT32, NTFS, ExFAT? You may be able to change that by starting over.
all about the format. There is even software that allows formatting within formatting (if you will) that I use for my Kenwood because alphabetically and folder formatted by a PC is different than alphabetically formatted by the software.

Some usb drives have embedded software with confuses things.

Size and speed aren't really a consideration, it's the interface (software)
 

J. PUPSTER

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I'm also wondering if the car players have some sort of upper data size limitations; like 512 MB or something? I suspect 🧐 partitions are probably not a good idea for these.
 

marpow

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Good info people, I already figured that my little stick is probably just good enough and anything else would be spending to spend.
I have a 2017 Ford Escape, my SanDisk USB 3.0 128GB, plays my FLAC files just fine. So far I have only tried CD FlAC files 16/44.1 I have not yet tried an SACD FLAC file but should be OK, I would assume.
 

LuvMyQuad

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Good info people, I already figured that my little stick is probably just good enough and anything else would be spending to spend.
I have a 2017 Ford Escape, my SanDisk USB 3.0 128GB, plays my FLAC files just fine. So far I have only tried CD FlAC files 16/44.1 I have not yet tried an SACD FLAC file but should be OK, I would assume.
Good to know the Fords will play FLAC. Will your Ford play gapless too?

When you get an answer on playing higher res FLAC files, let us know.
 

ar surround

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Great topic, Mark. I reckon the main improvement would be in the device's robustness. I've been using USB drive in my car for years and eventually, they all start glitching during playback. Admittedly, I've been using Sandisk Cruzer USB drives which are on the cheap side of things so maybe I need to start buying USB drives that have a proven track record for everyday use in this regard. I look forward to seeing what follows as I expect I'll 'upgrade' as well :)
Oh just great! I have those also. It was a PITA because I had to go into iTunes and convert every song from an ALAC to AAC because the bloody JBL "Premium" Audio System in my car won't recognize anything other than MP3 and AAC. So you are telling us that the SanDisks are going to fail? At least I have them all backed up on a second thumb drive.
 
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