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How to create a MP3-CD for the Yamakawa

The Yamakawa is capable of playing so called MP3-CD's, which you can make yourself.
There are several ways to create such a CD. The Yamakawa is a player that does not care to much where you put the MP3 files and what kind of file name you use.

It doesn't read MP3-ID-Tags either, as seen in Windows WinAmp.

A Yamakawa MP3 CD can be played on regular computers!

Note: Some tricks might not work with newer firmware versions.

Tip: You might consider taking a look at the "What is MP3?" and "How to make MP3's from a music CD" pages.

Note: For the actual burning of an MP3 CDROM, read the page "How to burn my own computer (data) CDROM using Nero".

Tip: consider visiting the Yamakawa DVD group at Yahoo groups!

Yamakawa

Overview

The Yamakawa doesn't seem to like the Xing MP3 encoder. Other encoders, like Frauenhof (thus supporting the Radium codec aswell) and Blade are accepted without any problems. Older firmware versions however, do not seem to like so called variable bitrates.

Step 1; What software should I use to encode MP3's ?

Take a look at the MP3 Introduction page for information about compression and tools.
On the How do I create an MP3 page, you will find an example on how to create your won MP3's.
Other (commercial and non-commercial) tools are out there ...

Step 2; How do I store the MP3's on CD ?

There are several setups supported by the Yamakawa player, each of them are explained on a seperate page;

  1. Basic file "dump" method
  2. Organized file "dump" method
  3. Using advanced features - textfiles
  4. Using advanced features - bitmaps
  5. Conclusion
  6. Support tools

1. Basic file dump method

The easiest and most sloppy method, but also the most compatible method.

Copy all MP3-files to the root of the CD. This will then be accessable by most MP3 players.

Downside is the enormous list of files. Ofcourse you can name all MP3's with a sensible name but there we migth bump into a limitation of the filesystem supported by the Yamakawa players (and maybe others too).

Example: D:\ Abba Teens - Super trooper.mp3
ACDC - Thunderstruck.mp3
Aha - The Sun Always Shines On TV.mp3
Amii Stewart - Knock On Wood.mp3
Andreas Johnson - Glorious.mp3
Anne Clark - Our Darkness Remix.mp3
Annie Lennox - No More I Love You's.mp3

The basic filesystem for data CD's is ISO9660, unfortunally this is limited to an 8.3 filename structure (ABCDEFGH.123).

This mode is refered to as LEVEL 0 ISO9660. Let's assume we have this list of songs, which in the 8.3 format these files will look like so:

Long filename ISO9660
LEVEL 0
Abba Teens - Super trooper.mp3
ACDC - Thunderstruck.mp3
Aha - The Sun Always Shines On TV.mp3
Amii Stewart - Knock On Wood.mp3
Andreas Johnson - Glorious.mp3
Anne Clark - Our Darkness Remix.mp3
Annie Lennox - No More I Love You's.mp3
ABBATE~8 MP3
ACDC-T~6 MP3
AHA-T~10 MP3
AMIIS~12 MP3
ANDRE~14 MP3
ANNEC~16 MP3
ANNIE~18 MP3

This is what the Yamakawa will make out of this ...

Yamakawa screendump

In the songlist you should use "SKIP-LEFT" and "SKIP-RIGHT" to walk through the song list. Confirm by pressing the "OK" button.

There is also a so called "Romeo" mode, a.k.a. ISO 9660 level 1. This mode supports more characters in a filename, ie. 31 characters instead of the limited 8 and 3 characters as seen in mode 0. Unfortunally the Yamakawa player are capable of only showing the first 18 characters of the filename.

When doing playback on the Yamakawa, you will notice that "more" tekst is visible now. Compare the Yamakawa screenump with the level 0 screendump above to notice the differences.

Long filename ISO9660
LEVEL 1
ACDC - Thunderstruck.mp3
Abba Teens - Super trooper.mp3
Aha - The Sun Always Shines On TV.mp3
Ami Stewart - Knock On Wood.mp3
Andreas Johnson - Glorious.mp3
Anne Clark - Our Darkness Remix.mp3
Annie Lennox - No More I Love You's.mp3

ABBA_TEENS___SUPER_TROOPER.MP3
ACDC___THUNDERSTRUCK.MP3
AHA___THE_SUN_ALWAYS_SHINES.MP3
AMII_STEWART___KNOCK_ON_WOO.MP3
ANDREAS_JOHNSON___GLORIOUS.MP3
ANNE_CLARK___OUR_DARKNESS_R.MP3
ANNIE_LENNOX___NO_MORE_I_LO.MP3

It's still not pretty, but better ...

Yamakawa screendump

Not perfect yet, is it ?
First of all, the files are not "organized", second of all, the filenames are still not the way we would like them to be.

Lesson 1:
USE CD-FILESYSTEM: ISO9660, LEVEL1 (=Romeo)

2. Organized file dump

So let's fix problem numer 1, the lack of organization on the disc.

This is a rather simple approach: we sort the files and store them in seperate directories.
For example, by ...

  • Alfabetical order - All the songs starting with an "A" must be placed in the "A" directory
  • Artist name - All songs by "Annie Lenox" should place in the "Annie Lenox" directory

  • Original CD title - All songs from the CD "Mundo Tropical" should be placed in the "Mundo Tropical" directory

Yamakawa supports multiple directories so this should work just fine.

So let's expermiment here, we copy these files to 2 seperate directories and call them "DIRECTORY_1" and "DIRECTORY_2" (just a random name).

I copied Abba Teens, ACDC and Aha to "DIRECTORY_1", the other 4 songs are copied to "DIRECTORY_2". Once more, I used ISO9660, level 1 as CD filesystem.

The CD automatically starts with the first file of the first directory, in our example the Abba Teens.

You can use the "TITLE/DIGEST" button to select directory, use "SKIP-LEFT" and "SKIP-RIGHT" to select the directory. Press "OK" to confirm your selection;

Choose a directory Choose a file
Select directory using "SKIP-LEFT" and "SKIP-RIGHT"
Content of Directory 2


Long filename ISO9660
LEVEL 1

DIRECTORY_1;
ACDC - Thunderstruck.mp3
Abba Teens - Super trooper.mp3
Aha - The Sun Always Shines On TV.mp3

ABBA_TEENS___SUPER_TROOPER.MP3
ACDC___THUNDERSTRUCK.MP3
AHA___THE_SUN_ALWAYS_SHINES.MP3

DIRECTORY_2;
Ami Stewart - Knock On Wood.mp3
Andreas Johnson - Glorious.mp3
Anne Clark - Our Darkness Remix.mp3
Annie Lennox - No More I Love You's.mp3
AMII_STEWART___KNOCK_ON_WOO.MP3
ANDREAS_JOHNSON___GLORIOUS.MP3
ANNE_CLARK___OUR_DARKNESS_R.MP3
ANNIE_LENNOX___NO_MORE_I_LO.MP3

So now finding a song will be easier, specially when you are using directory names that make sense, for example "ANNIE_LENOX" indicating all songs of Annie Lenox.

We are still not happy, we need more information visible here ... so now it's time to seek for the special features of the Yamakawa.

Lesson 2:
USE DIRECTORIES!

3. Using the advanced Yamakawa features - TEXTFILES

The Yamakawa is one of the best machines I have seen so far. Specially now, since we are looking for additional features to make MP3 CD's more attractive and easier to use.

Note: that this trick might not work with firmwares using the new Smart Navi.

One of these great features is the support of so called "TEXTFILES". Textfiles are usually made using NOTEPAD of Windows or any other simple text editor.

So how does it work ?

Well, say we have 3 files (to keep things simple);

Abba Teens - Super trooper.mp3
ACDC - Thunderstruck.mp3
Aha - The Sun Always Shines On TV.mp3

Now rename each file to a filename with no more than 4 characters, for example "ABCD.MP3" or "1234.MP3".

You DO NOT NEED to RENAME the files, it's just easier on me for the purpose of an example.

Create for EACH file a textfile with the same name except for the extension which should be "TXT".

In the sample above these files would be "ABCD.TXT" and "1234.TXT".

In the text file you write a title for the song. So let's go to a real life example to clarify it a bit more:

Long filename New MP3 name New TXT name TXT content
Abba Teens - Super trooper.mp3
1.MP3
1.TXT
Abba Teens
"Super trooper"
ACDC - Thunderstruck.mp3
2.MP3
2.TXT

ACDC
"Thunderstruck"

Aha - The Sun Always Shines On TV.mp3
3.MP3
3.TXT
Aha
"The Sun Always Shines On TV"

Just a sample of the content of one of those textfiles, "1.TXT":

This is what notepad could look like ...

As you can see, multiple lines are allowed. Even multiple pages. Basically this feature is intended for the Karaoke part of some Yamakawa models. The page your are viewing is called "MP3 Lyrics" refering to that feature.

The "MP3 Lyrics" page can be reached by stopping playback (press "STOP") and switch display mode by pressing "DISPLAY" until the "MP3 Lyrics" page appears.

You will also see a page called "MP3 BMP", this feature will be explained in the bitmap section.

Song text from the TXT file You can put some more text in the TXT file ...
Lyrics: 1.TXT
2.TXT, shows you a bit more ...

As sample 2 shows, there can be a lot of text in a file,... even multiple pages are supported.

Notice the "1/1" in the upper part of the screen, indicating page 1 of 1 pages. Scrolling through multiple pages is done using the "SUB-TITLE" button.

Stil not exactly what I was looking for though. The text only appears for each individual song,....

Lesson 3:
TEXTFILES ARE SUPPORTED FOR LYRICS AND ADDITIONAL INFO!

4. Using the advanced Yamakawa features - BITMAPS

We are getting even deeper into the additional features of the Yamakawa. Not only are textfiles supported, but also bitmaps! This should not be a suprise for those that visited the TEXTFILE page since you have seen the display mode "MP3 BMP"...

Note: this trick might not work with firmwares that use Smart Navi.

Bitmaps can be basically anything from handdraw pictures to photogrpahs or cover scans (!).
The images can be drawn in basically any drawing or doodling program that supports BMP files.
There is a limitation to size though: the image MUST be 704x480 in size. Color depth cannot exceed 256 colors.

NOTE: with BMP's do NOT use RLE COMPRESSION.

Two additional programs are needed for conversion to a proper fileformat:

  • MKLOGO.EXE
  • CBIN.EXE

Both file are zipped into one zip-file which you can download here. Download the file and unzip it using something like WinZip.

So how does it work ?

The approach matches the textfile technique.

Well, say we have 3 files (to keep things simple again);

Abba Teens - Super trooper.mp3
ACDC - Thunderstruck.mp3
Aha - The Sun Always Shines On TV.mp3

Now rename each file to a filename with no more than 4 characters, for example ABCD.MP3 or 1234.MP3.

Once more: you DO NOT NEED TO RENAME the files, I only use short filenames for the purpose of an example.

Create for EACH file a bitmap file with the same name except for the extension which should be "BMP". In the sample above these files would be "ABCD.BMP" and "1234.BMP".

Long filename New MP3 name New BMP name
Abba Teens - Super trooper.mp3
1.MP3
1.BMP
ACDC - Thunderstruck.mp3
2.MP3
2.BMP
Aha - The Sun Always Shines On TV.mp3
3.MP3
3.BMP

Just a sample of the content of one of those bitmapfiles, "1.BMP" (strongly reduced in size though):

An example BMP (stringly reduced in size)

As you can see, it's a matter of creativity what you do with images. Basically they work the same as the text files. I added a little trick by using the same image for all song. For each song bitmap I did highlite the song name. The page your are going to view is called "MP3 BMP".

The "MP3 BMP" page can be reached by stopping playback (press "STOP") and switch display mode by pressing "DISPLAY" until the "MP3 BMP" page appears.
You will also see a page called "MP3 Lyrics", this feature will be explained on the textfile page.

Before we can use a bitmap file we must use the tools mentioned before.

For this purpose need to go to a MS-DOS-box (refered to in Windows as "MS-Dos prompt").

Now go to the directory where the bitmaps are located. Copy the "MKLOGO.EXE" and "CBIN.EXE" to that same directory.

At the DOS prompt type (for converting "1.BMP"): MKLOGO 1.BMP

I will show you an example how this could look like in the DOS box:

F:\experimenten>mklogo 1.bmp 
************************************************* * *
* MENU /LOGO conversion tool *
* *
* ESS Technology Inc. 7/30/1998 *
* *
* *
*************************************************

Please wait when compressing

done!
F:\experimenten>

This commandline action generated a file called "e2logo.c" which must be converted to a BIN file.

We will use the "C2BIN.EXE" file for that.

Note: for you programmers out there, the "e2logo.c" file is actually a C-source-code file for storing a binary.

Once more in DOS, type: C2BIN E2LOGO.C 1.BIN

F:\experimenten>c2bin e2logo.c 1.bin

F:\experimenten>

The final result "1.BIN" is actually an MPEG2 picture. It is about 60 Kbytes in size.

Repeat these steps for converting the other bitmap files to a BIN-formatted file.

Now you can put all the files on a CD, either in the root or in subdirectories (be creative!). It can even be combined with the textfile solution. The way I created my images, each songtitle gets highlited when playing the song.

Example1 - Yamakawa Bitmap Example12- Yamakawa Bitmap
Bitmap 1 for MP3 song no.1
Bitmap 3for MP3 song no.3

This is more like it,... you can for example, use a seperate image for each directory with a cover of the CD on it, or a pciture of the artist. Finally you use all the long names etc. you want to use.

Lesson 4:
BITMAP FILES ENHANCE NAVIGATION!

5. Conclusion

The issues addressed in the last few pages can (and should be) combined to get a really cool MP3 CD.
The lesson we learned here ...

Les 1:
USE CD-FILESYSTEM: ISO9660, LEVEL1 (=Romeo)
 
Les 2:
USE DIRECTORIES!
 
Les 3:
TEXTFILES ARE SUPPORTED FOR LYRICS AND ADDITIONAL INFO!
 
Les 4:
BITMAP FILES ENHANCE NAVIGATION!

Additional tools help us to create these easily, check out the Additional tools section.

Here we also find tools that simulate the Yamakawa for playback on your PC.

6. Additional Tools

The features mentioned on the previous pages are very work intensive when you're making CD's with up to 180 MP3's... here I present you some tools that make life a little bit easier.


 

 


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