RDX: Acura RDX 2019 Linux Music How To - Attempt..

Old 10-23-2018, 07:29 AM
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Smile Acura RDX 2019 Linux Music How To - Attempt..


I just bought an Acura RDX (2019) and have recently gone through the struggle of trying to put some Compact Disk music onto the car audio system. I thought I try and document that experience a bit having read over quite a few posts about music on USB sticks and the issues with them. Our other car has a CD player and a compact disk player, but I guess those have joined 8-tracks in the "Old Tech" bucket in the new tech age.

In general the process is complicated and takes some time. My ideal solution is to find a teenager, son, daughter, niece, nephew and pay them to do it all. I assure you it will be well worth it! I am using Linux, not sure how many Linux folks are out there, so this post may not be that useful ... All the tools are available as packages via apt-get (Ubuntu) or yum (CentOS/Red Hat) and via Python pip or pip3.

Step 1.

I use an application cdparanoia to "rip" or copy a music CD onto my computer's hard disk. The commpand

cdparanoia -B

will copy all the tracks and you should end up with one file for each track e.g. track01.cdda.wav, track02.cdda.wav ..... track14.cdda.wav

Step 2

Convert each of those tracks to flac files using flac,

flac -l 0 -b 1152 -r 3 track01.cdda.wav

and you should end up with a file track01.cdda.flac. For an Acura RDX you need the -l 0 for no compression on the file for the car's system to be able to play the music. A bash shell script is useful here to loop around all the files. We use flac because flac is lossless and gives us the best quality. In the Acura you can tell the difference right away between a CD flac source and a youtube download MP3 source. Note this is because of lower quality of youtube source, not nessarily because of the MP3 format.

Step 3

You need to tag the track01.cdda.flac files with Meta data. So far the flac file only has the music, but to get the picture, track name and artist to show up correctly on the Acura RDX system you have add this data to each file. There are taggers out there that ask you to type all this infomation in and add Album Art. Typing in data is a real pain and is basically a non starter. My solution here is to use picard and This is a tagger that tries to guess, sometimes with help from you, as to what the CD is and then tags the complete set of files with the Meta data and inserts a picture of an album for you.

Step 4

I then move the track01.cdda.flac files into a file stucture that looks like:



This is again a bit tedious to do by hand and typing error prone. Here a Python library called Mutagen comes in handy. I wrote a python script that reads the Meta data on each file and then moves that file to the correct spot in the file structure. It is useful to remember to strip out bad filename characters such as "/" and ":" and "?" etc. in the Python script.

Step 5

Add play lists. In general I place the playlists into the file structure like this


We can create the playlist like this

cd library/playlist
find .. -name "*.flac" -print | egrep "Taylor_Swift" > taylorswift.m3u

the taylorswift.m3u file has entries like this


one line per track. "/" like this seem to work OK for the Acura.

Step 6

The USBSTICK I bought was a SanDisk Cruzer Fit USB Flash Drive 64 GB. USB 2.0 interface. About $US 15 from NewEgg This is about the size of a penny. It will fit in the ACURA RDX with the protective cover shut over it when inserted in the USB port. Most USB sticks are already in FAT32 format when purchased, a.k.a. Windows format. If not you will need to format the USBSTICK. Make sure that the USBSTICK is empty of all other files other than your music ones. If there are other files this tends to confuse the Acura.

Now we want to copy all the files to your USB stick

rsync -avh [PATH]/library/* /media/papa/USBSTICK --delete

We use rsync here instead of a straight copy. This can be quite a bit faster if we are just adding a few files. We add the --delete option so that files deleted in [PATH]/library will also be deleted on the USBSTICK. The rsync "magic" is that it only copys files if there is a difference between the files. If does this by reading both Source and Destination files and calculating a checksum. Only if this checksum is different does the copy proceed. Since reading from a USBSTICK is much faster than writing, this really can save alot of time on updates.

Step 7

Sort the files on the USBSTICK. This is the cure for the complaint that the files on the Acura are in the wrong order. We use fatsort for this Note that this can break alot of things so make sure you use this only on your USBDISK and *NOT* on your computer disks. You may need to do this as root / super-user. So if your usb stick is on /dev/sdh1

fatsort -n /dev/sdh1

The reason that files often show in an Acura in the wrong order is because of the FAT32 file system. FAT=File Allocation Table. This harks back many years to 5 1/4 inch floppy disks (yikes remember those!). It has remained in use because it is simple and therefore good for applications where there is not alot of CPU power, e.g. your Acura Audio System, cameras, etc.

Files when added are stored on the USBSTICK where your computer can find free space. Often a file can be split up and stored in multiple spots or "Clusters". The File Allocation Table (the "FAT") keeps track of all those clusters so that when you read that file it all looks complete. When you erase a File actual data is not erased, but the Entry in the FAT is. An addition of a new file is stored at the first free slot in the FAT. This free slot in the FAT may be at the end of the table. Data in the USBSTICK Cluster are overritten when there are no references to it in the FAT, i.e. they are free space.

This explains what alot of Acura owners complain about. My Music is always in the wrong order. It was in the right order at the start. This is because a completely empty FAT will add files to the end. I.E. chronological order. However as soon as you delete a file and add a file later then basically all bets are off. Remember references to a file are stored in the next free slot in the FAT.

Your Acura Audio system is dumb, and the Order it knows about is the order in the FAT. So to fix the order you need to sort the FAT, hence programs like fatsort or driversort (Windows).


When the tracks are presented in the Acura, the Meta tagged data stored in the XXX.flac file is presented if present. So your file name of 3_13_Love_Story does not show but you should get "Love Story" instead.

This whole process is complex and Auto companies recognize this. Your USBSTICK music solution is however not going to improve. Auto companies have basically thrown in the towel. Their solution is Apple Car Play or Andriod Auto. I.E. Outsource. So I am not sure how long the USB stick will remain around .... now that I finally understand how to do it all ... *sigh* .... give me that 8-track.

Good luck. best, Mike.
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