Shuffle your MP3 files

Bluetooth speakers are pretty popular these days. Unfortunately, I don’t carry a smartphone around with me.

That means my “wireless speaker” is actually an Anker SoundCube Mini – complete with microSD card for storing and playing all my MP3 files. No smartphone or Bluetooth required!

There’s just one problem: portable speakers like the SoundCube Mini don’t have a shuffle mode. They just read the music files off the SD card, and play them in order.

That means I have to shuffle the files myself, which is easier said than done… Until now!

Anker SoundCore Mini

First, lemme just say that I love this thing:

It’s pretty handy.

It only has a single speaker, but it’s loud, clear, has a 15-hour battery life, microSD card reader, FM radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and auxiliary 3.5mm input jack for analog audio sources.

In order to listen to my music on the go, I just grabbed a 16GB SanDisk Ultra microSD card, and a Transcend USB3 SD card reader.

Then, I use Windows Media Player to sync a huge playlist of MP3s onto the SD card. Stick that in the SoundCube, fire it up, and I’m off and running… Sort of.

Organization isn’t always good

It’s not easy to make this guy shuffle MP3 files. By default, Windows Media Player (WMP) syncs my MP3s onto the SD card in named folders.

That’s no good, because it means the SoundCube will play all songs, in order, by each artist. BO-RING!

So, the first thing you’ll need to do is change your Sync settings in WMP.

You can do that by connecting your SD card reader so that WMP sees it. Then, click Organize -> Options…

WMP: Organize -/> Options

Next, click the Devices tab, click your music player/SD card reader (in my case I called it MUSIC), and then click Properties:

WMP: Devices -/> MUSIC -> Properties

Okay, now UNcheck the box Create folder hierarchy on device.

WMP: Create folder hierarchy on device

That takes care of that. Now, WMP will write all your MP3 files in the root of the SD card – no more folders!

But wait, there’s more…

Okay, so no more folders… But your files will still be played essentially in order. No shuffling yet!

So, the next thing you’ll want to do is use the shuffle feature of WMP.

First, you drag-n-drop your music files into the Sync tab with your SD card connected. Before actually syncing, right-click the button as shown below, and click Shuffle list:

WMP: Shuffle playlist

Done yet? Nope!

Try again to play the music from your microSD card in the SoundCube, and you’ll discover that it pretty much ignores the shuffledness.

Not to worry, because the Shuffle step is still important. We just have a few more steps to carry out to get a TRUE shuffle…

The next step is to open Explorer and look at your microSD card. You should see a bunch of MP3 files, and they should look relatively shuffled.

Select all the music files on the SD card (Ctrl-A), and then press the F2 key to rename all of them at once. I gave mine the name “music”. Press enter, and you’ll see that all the files have been renamed like so:

  • music (1).mp3
  • music (2).mp3
  • music (3).mp3
  • etc.

You’re almost done. Finally, download the program File Order Randomizer, which you can also grab here in case it disappears.

Run the program, point it to your microSD card, change the Digits for random number so it’s high enough for the total number of MP3s you have, and then click the Put random number at beginning of every file name button.

File Order Randomizer

(Ignore the file names above. I had to do this like 20 times to get it right, and I couldn’t be arsed to do it again or edit the above image…)

Don’t worry if it looks like the program is “not responding”. Just sit tight for a few minutes. When it’s done, the files on your SD card will look like this:

  • 0011_music (1).mp3
  • 0022_music (320).mp3
  • 0035_music (101).mp3
  • etc.

The File Order Randomizer adds a random number at the beginning of every file.

So now, we’ve:

  • shuffled the MP3s in WMP
  • renamed them in Explorer (adds a bit more randomness and normalizes the file names)
  • randomized them even more by adding a unique number at the beginning of each file

Stick your microSD card back in your non-shuffling player, and BOOYAH: Shuffled MP3s on your device that doesn’t have a Shuffle Mode!

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