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I have a 2015 Outback 3.6R. It has a problem playing music files (mp3 files) on the USB port. When it played a song in the middle of the list, I powered off the engine; next time when I turned the engine on, the audio unit would continue to the end of the song, then it went to the first song on the list instead of the next song. This does not happen every time. The USB stick has 67 folders and each folder has about 15-20 files.

Subaru dealers said this was normal, because they tried it on a 2017 Outback, same thing happened. I do not think this is normal though.

I am wondering whether anyone has the same problem and a way to fix it.
 

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I've experienced this on USB sticks with Music loaded on them as well. MP3 Players like an iPod or Zune don't seem to have this issue. Other than switching to a MP3 player device, I haven't been able to find a programming fix for the 2015-2017 Outbacks with the Fujitsu Ten head unit (which would be the type in your 3.6R). I can look into it a little more.
 

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2016 Outback 3.6R Limited with Tech Package. Venetian Red Pearl/Ivory Leather.
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The way late models of Outback MP3 music playing works is:

1. When the car starts and you hit Play, it will finish playing the last song, or play the first song of the first folder, alphabetically according to file name in the USB file system (FAT-32).

2. Under Audio>USB, menu you have 3 methods to find and select songs: Folder, Album, Artist.

If you pick Folder, you will get a list of file folders in the USB file system, listed alphabetically by folder names, then file names. This is just like your computer hard drives.
If you pick Album, the player will read the 'Album Name' in the MP3 tags of all songs and will organize and display them in a searchable menu. If no Album Name tags are embedded, the file names are used.
If you pick Artist, the player will read the 'Artist Name' tags and display as above.

3. Let say you touch Album, find the desired Album and play the songs. These songs are played according to the 'Track Number' tag embedded into each song. And typically the Track Number are the same as those in a CD Album. So the songs are played in a sequence just like you are playing a CD of the Album. Ditto for playing by Artist.

4. Now you turn off the car. When you start the car up again, the last song is played BUT the player then reverts to 1., where it proceed to play the next song according to file name, NOT according to Track Number. You suddenly lost continuity of tracks. And if you wish to have this continuity you have to go to the Album/Artist menu search and find the album/song again. A real pain if you USB have many folders, and a distraction.

The issue arises because the Outback player remembers the current song by folder/file name, not by embedded Track tags. This is a design oversight, something even the most basic MP3 player software can do.
 

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Thanks for the reply. I even have problem playing with ipod. Just happens less often. For the case with USB, I am able to reproduce the problem, if I try a few times. It would happen about 30 sec left of a song. For ipod, I have not figured out the pattern yet.
 

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Thanks for the reply. I organized and played songs by folders. So the list consists of file1/folder1, file2/folder1...file1/folder67, file2/folder67,...filen/folder67, in my current case. It seems to to me the unit sometimes forgets where it leaves off, and goes back to file1/folder1. The other times it goes to the next song on the list. I called Subaru, they were able to reproduce the problem in the lab and admitted that the "system" did not have enough time constructing the index, whatever that was. It is clearly something they can fix, but they just do not want to fix it for some reason. I just hope that if enough people have the same problem so that we can put some pressure on Subaru to fix it.
 

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2016 Outback 3.6R Limited with Tech Package. Venetian Red Pearl/Ivory Leather.
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... I just hope that if enough people have the same problem so that we can put some pressure on Subaru to fix it.
The Outback music player in the premium head unit is quite primitive and deficient in design especially in search, index, recall, and reading MP3 tags. I also find bass volume boosted way to high, so much so that the 3-band equalization control cannot compensate. A lousy design not fit for modern cars. The H-K amplifier and loudspeakers are nevertheless pretty good.

This head unit audio deficiency dates back to 2015 models and now I see it continue to the current models. Clearly Subaru has not listened to customers and have done nothing. I understand, however, that the head unit audio player system is supplied by Fujitsu Ten who also supply Toyota. Fujitsu Ten software expertise is below average and drags down the quality and satisfaction of both Subaru and Toyota cars.
 

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USB quirk

My new 2019 Outback has an even stranger quirk. While playing from a stick it will mis-identify a song. It has happened 3 times in my first week with the car. A different song each time. But every time it says the song is track 9 from a Prince album. Songs identified just fine in my old car. and I have never had a Prince song. Dealer had no explanation. Just said he gets paid by the car not by the hour and he wasted enough time on me.
 
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