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PCM 2.1 - Strange characters when playing MP3s

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I have a PCM 2.1 (SW4.0) system which can play MP3s. However when playing a track I get the folder name, and then weird characters (see picture) instead of the artist/track name.

Even stranger is that the system can clearly read the MP3s ID3 tag because it shows the track name if I go to track list (see picture).

These MP3s were bought through iTunes or ripped from CD using iTunes. I can also confirm that they all have ID3v1 and ID3v2 tags in them.

Has anyone else had this issue (preferably with a solution)? I'm going to try burning a disk with MP3s that have just ID3v1 tags. But I don't think this is the issue as the track screen works correctly.

Does anyone know what should be shown here? Is it just the track name or should it be track name/artist?

Correct folder screen:


Correct track list screen:


Weird Audio screen:


Edited by ateece
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iTunes can't be truely different to MP3s otherwise they wouldnt work on MP3 players, media player, etc.

However the ID3v2 standard allows for "bespoke" metadata fields to be written. It also supports unicode and removes most if not all of the limits of ID3v1. iTunes works primerily with ID3v2, however I used MP3 tagging software to make sure all my music is (as far as I can tell) perfectly tagged. Everything has the right artist, album artist, album art, track number, compilation flag, etc, etc.

I am burning a disk now where I have removed the ID3v2 tag entirely and they just have ID3v1 tags which are likly to be more compatible. I think that either no-one else has experianced this or no-one else has the IT knoweldge to debug the issue.

Once I have some conclusions I'll post back in an attempt to help anyone else who faces this issue.

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Right. More reading.

My MP3 Tag program (mp3tag - open source) allows me to set the ID3v2 Tag format. There are 2 unicode options and 1 non-unicode. Looking in the help explicitly mentions car radios!


ID3v2.4 UTF-8

newest revision of the ID3v2 standard. Tags are written in Unicode as UTF-8 encoded string. If you have problems with displaying the tags in other programs, please aks their authors to support ID3v2.4 (or switch to another option).

ID3v2.3 UTF-16

if enabled, Mp3tag writes ID3v2.3 tags in Unicode encoded as UTF-16 LE.

ID3v2.3 ISO-8859-1

if enabled, Mp3tag doesn't use Unicode when writing ID3v2 tags. This is useful if you are using software or devices (like some car radios) which can't read tags stored in Unicode format."

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Hopefully the final reply on this topic. I'm only posted now so that the solution is clear incase someone else faces this issue.

The problem was Unicode characters in the ID3v2 tag (which is a ID3v2.4 feature). You can actually fix this in iTunes by selecting the track, right clicking and selecting "Convert ID3 Tags". There is a tick box for "Reverse Unicode" which will make sure unicode is only used if requried (because the track title, etc has non ASCII characters such as chinese symbols). You can also specify the ID3 tag version. I believe 2.3 doesn't support Unicode so will be the most compatible with PCM systems.

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