Playing mp3 files on a USB stick in a Honda CRV

Please visit: and pass it on.

Since 2013, I have over 2,000 views on this page.  I have gotten 1 comment asking for more help.  Not 1 thanks.

Our car is a 2012 Honda CRV, AWD LX 5 Speed Automatic

The short story is that I made a FAT32 stick with a couple of hundred songs that played fine. After that, I could not get a FAT32 disk to work. Honda was no help with specs. The following sounds like tremendous perception for the obvious; however, I want to pass this on to anyone else who may have problems.

If you want your usb stick to play in your Honda CRV,  use:

FAT disks
If you use the very popular LAME MP3 Open Source encoder
use -strict ISO Compliance
do not use -bit reservoir

MP3 Tags

Use only ID3V2 tags
ID3V2 tags in Ascii only

CBR or VBR at near 256 bit (high quality)

Rip to your hard drive first, then copy folders over to the stick.

If you do this, you may run into the following error from Windows 7 when pasting onto the stick.

x80070057: the parameter is incorrect

A google search shows that this happens with a number of different products and procedures, most notably, Windows Backup and Restore. When I say skip the copy for this file, the stick has been working fine.

MediaMonkey Link…&f=12&p=349934


My Contact Info

UPDATE: Honda has a Help Line for phones and other electronic devices:

Handsfree Link


This is the History of why I published the above snippet.  I tried a lot of options, I asked a lot of questions  and I did not get many good answers

We really liked the option to play mp3 files using a usb stick and the in dash controls. We think its a very safe option. You use a highly visible, bultin feature very similar to what we have been using for radio, cassette and CD players. Its hands free.

I have tried created a number of different usb sticks, in different formats, most of which say unsupported, one of which briefly gave me a folder list then reverted to unsupported and one which plays fine (high quality VBR FAT32). What is unsupported?

The sticks that I have problems with are formatted FAT32 and:
2 sticks were created using Media Monkey and Windows Media Player in VBR
1 stick in CBR (most compatible)
1 stick in CBR with ISO compliance and no Bit reservoir used.
1 stick in wma format
These sticks work fine on at least 2 Windows 7 computers and a 2010 version of Linux Ubuntu laptop using multiple media players. According to Honda’s specs, ( MP3/WMA) these should play fine.

Sticks formatted as FAT with CBR Mp3 files made with strict ISO compliance have worked fine with a limited subset of songs.

Goal: I would know how to create a USB stick that will play in my Honda.

In order to do that I would like to get the detail specs of what formats my Honda CRV supports.
There could be any number of issues and problems playing back USB sticks. I want to avoid this “Before I say, well, it works for me, its in a format you say you support, it does not work in my Honda CRV, please replace the unit, and the unit behaves the same way as the last one.”

I have looked on and done web searches; however, I have not found much.
One of the things that that should be explicit is what USB format (NTFS, FAT32, FAT) options are supported; however, even that kind of information in not listed.

I have tried getting this information from Honda, with no luck.

Example of the information that would be useful:

Do they support NTFS, FAT32, FAT?
Bit rates supported; CBR ABR VBR?
ID3 meta data format in both ID3v1 and ID3v2?
Do they support Ascii and Ascii + UTF-16 or UTF-8 (for special characters, think foreign languages)?
Do they support embedding the album cover in the the meta data tag ?
Do they require any particular encoder/ program?
Do they require Strict ISO compliance (a 7680 bit limitation on total frame size)?
Do they support….Bit_reservoir?

So far; this is what I have found for specs in the Honda Manual

USB Audio Interface
MP3/Auxiliary Input Jack
MP3/Windows Media® Audio (WMA) Playback Capability
All of the USB disks I have created meet these specifications.

Additional reading

If you use the LAME MP3 Open Source encoder
anything not using advanced options (These options are for the LAME) mp3 encoder
check -strict ISO Compliance
do not check -bit reservoir

for strict ISO compliance, see: … ce-ISO.htm
bit resevoir, see: … _reservoir
And for Tags

Use only ID3V2 tags
ID3V2 tags in Ascii only

FAT (not FAT32 or NTFS) formatted disks seem to work best…_FAT_and_FAT32
I suspect that the player supports some sort of subset of:
Media Transfer Protocol supports the transfer of music files on digital audio players and media files on portable media players.

or possibly they reference something like “Mass Storage Media Player Support”

I have over 3,000 songs ripped over the last 8 or so years from over a 100 CDs. I have files that were converted from vinyl to digital. I have a master music library and multiple music jukebox systems. I have not had any problems converting songs for playback on Creative mp3 players, Sandisk Mp3 players or any PC based software players on Windows XP thru Windows 7 or the Ubuntu version of Linux with the appropriate codecs installed.

A number of the things I have in my library are from CDs that were Classical Music, and CDs where the artist is from another country.

When you rip these CDs, and you download song information from the internet, the tags that contain the song information can be encoded in different code pages (sort of like different languages). Examples Ascii, Windows 1252 or UTF-8. Depending on which online database you used at what time (they added new things to the MP3 format over the years) you can have different versions of MP3 tags and different languages (code pages) used for the tags.

Amazon support says they use UTF-8. Ascii and Latin 1 ( are subsets of utf-8

MediaMonkey Support says “Most mp3 players will only read tags that are ID3v2 ASCII only, but strict ISO compliance and bit reservoir are never necessary”

I need more details to be able to reliably produce a workable stick.

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