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This seems like it should be easy, but I'm having a devil of a time figuring out how to do it. How do you get the player to reshuffle the playlist?

My intention is to play albums in "album shuffle" mode - that is, play albums in random order but play each album in order, and I understand the "Lists" shuffle mode is the one I want for this. I loaded up several albums, but apparently before I changed the setting it had already generated a shuffled playlist using the "All" shuffle mode. I've changed it to "Lists", but it's still playing tracks using the previously generated playlist and I can't figure out how to throw away that playlist and regenerate a new one using the updated options.

Somewhat related question, if a folder doesn't have a list file (such as an .m3u) can it still be treated as having a list by default, preferably in lexical sorted order by default?

Edit: It turns out the playlist it wanted to present to me wasn't a shuffled playlist at all, but the entire library sorted by track title, and the reason I couldn't figure out how to reshuffle it was because it's not a "real" playlist, merely the one it sort of defaults to when it doesn't have a playlist. So I tried creating a playlist with all albums and shuffling it, but it only shuffles it in "All" mode. I still haven't figured out how to get it to create a shuffled playlist using the "Lists" shuffle mode.

Edited by mwalimu
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If you want to listen to albums shuffled in that way, don't use Playlists at all, use 'Albums' mode and set Shuffle mode to "Shuffle Lists, Songs in Order".

Andre

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I got it working the way I wanted to for now, but not sure if I can remember what I did or if I could repeat the steps. It's not like this is the only listening mode I'll ever use and when I change something I need to know how to change it back. While it's nice that Poweramp seems to have all the features I want most, some of them are anything but obvious to figure out how to use and make them work the way I'd like them to.

Ideal operation for my purposes would be if I could have each folder treated as a 'virtual album', preferably with as little as possible tweaking of the tags, filenames, or accompanying playlist file (if present, which it might not be). Thus an 'album' might be a two-disc set that should be treated as a single album rather than each disc as a separate album, and another might be one disc with two symphonies on it, which I would separate each symphony into its own folder.

(I currently have a working setup on a Rockboxed Sansa Fuze with over 3000 folders, most containing a single track but some containing two or more tracks that I prefer to always play through as a single unit. There are no playlist files. They're all on an SD card that ideally I'd like to be able to simply plug into my smartphone and play much the same way.)

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Why would you have a folder with a single file in it? Other than that complication, I would have suggested using Folders mode for what you were asking.

If you use Playlists mode, it will be the PLAYLIST order that gets shuffled, there will be no sorting or shuffling by albums, folders, etc. The term 'List' in those Shuffle options refers to whatever the current playback mode is set to - so the next 'list' would be the next album, artist, folder, genre, etc. It all depends on what mode you are listening to at the moment, don't assume that the term 'list' has any connection to playlists per se (unless that is what you are playing of course).

Andre

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This discussion is helping me get a better feel for how the whole Tracks vs. Albums vs. Folders vs. Playlists things works. I suppose one of my complaints about Poweramp so far is that this isn't explained (that I could find) in any of the available help or documentation and I had to ask questions here on the forums to figure out how to make it work.

Speaking of which, there isn't a Folders option in the Library view, and when I open the Folders view and select shuffle, it does an All shuffle rather than a List, so I'm still not clear on how you to a List shuffle in Folders mode.

On my Rockboxed Fuze, there I was looking to simply to shuffle favorite tracks, except there were some "tracks" that were actually multiple tracks that I wanted it to play through as a single track rather than treating the parts as individual tracks (e.g. Queen's "We Will Rock You"/"We Are the Champions", The Beatles' "Golden Slumbers"/"Carry That Weight"/"The End", Chicago's entire 7-part Ballet for a Girl in Buchanon). The only arrangement I could come up with that worked was to put each of these groups into its own folder, and put all the singular tracks each in a folder by itself. Admittedly it sounds pretty kludgey, and I was near the point of thinking the only way I could pull it off was to splice all the multi-part groups into single tracks using an .mp3 editor (which I really didn't want to do), but then I figured out this arrangement and despite the apparently excessive number of folders it works great.

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To control shuffle ordering while you are playing in Album mode, start a song playing and in the player screen tap the icon in the lower-right of the artwork area. To get albums chosen randomly, but still have the tracks within each album played in order, set the Shuffle mode to "Shuffle Lists, Songs in Order". 

Personally, if there are two tracks that I always want to play back-to-back I tend to save them as one long MP3 containing both of them. That doesn't help so much when all of the tracks in one album need to be played in order though (such as concept albums like War of the Worlds, or audio books). It is a very long standing request to have a feature which can disable certain folders from being played in Shuffle mode, but we're still waiting on that one.

Andre

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Yesterday I'm pretty sure I had it in album shuffle mode but don't know how I got there. Then earlier today I tried putting it into Folders mode and could neither figure out how to do that nor how to get it back to album shuffle mode after the attempt. I still don't know how to get it into Album mode, or Folders mode, or Playlist mode, or All Songs mode, or how to tell which mode I'm currently in. (Is the Folder/Lib icon supposed to change to indicate which mode you're in? If so, it's in All Songs mode and nothing I've done has changed that.)

So I tried putting it in Album mode (tapped the Folders/Lib icon, selected Albums, returned to the main screen), set the shuffle mode to Lists (actually it was already set to that value; if it matters, the repeat mode was Advance Lists). No matter what I do, the playlist seems to be stuck in All Songs mode, alphabetically by title. Whether I'm in play vs. pause when I try these things doesn't seem to have any effect, and while the next/previous double arrows work, the triple arrows (for next/previous album) are grayed out (those were enabled yesterday when I had it in album shuffle mode).

I feel like I'm asking really stupid questions about stuff that should be really obvious and really easy to figure out.

Edit: I think I figured out one way to get it into Album or Folders shuffle mode:

  • Tap Folders/Lib
  • Tap either Folders, or in the Library view, tap Albums
  • Tap the circled downarrow to the right of any album or folder; from the resulting menu, tap Shuffle
  • This takes you back to the main screen with a random song from the album or folder; the Shuffle mode will be set to Songs, and the triple arrows will be active
  • Change the shuffle mode to Lists
  • Tapping a triple arrow forward will take you to the first track of another album/folder, and tapping back will return you to the album originally displayed but now cued on the first track

These steps are anything but obvious, and it seems pretty counterintuitive that this would be how to get into an album or folder shuffle mode. It seems like there should be a more straightforward way to do it, but I'll be darned if I can figure out what it is.

Edit 2: Figured out a couple more answers to some of the questions above. First, in the bottom left corner, above the time and to the left of the track title/artist/album, is an icon that indicates the playing mode. A treble sign is All Tracks mode, a disc is Album mode (same as in the left column under Folders/Lib -> Library), and a couple of folders is Folder mode. And to switch to any particular mode, navigate to the desired mode under Folders/Lib, locate a track and start playing, and tap it to start playing. It will return to the main view and will now be playing in the desired mode.

What confused me was there there was no menu or no way from the music selection displays under Folders/Lib to simply tell it to use this mode, other than to start playing a track (or using the aforementioned shuffle method, which also starts a track playing). Long-pressing the mode from the top-level library mode didn't work either.

Should there be an FAQ that explains all this?

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You're really overthinking things!

To play a song in any given mode, just go to the Folders/Library screen and select the category view that you want (e.g. Albums in this case, but there are many others to choose from). Then find the album and finally the song that you want to play and tap on the song title to start playback. That's it, no need for any other menus or messing around - although you could use a long-press on an album title and select Play from the menu if you want to miss out the extra step of choosing a specific song title and just let the album play from the start.

Once playback has commenced, on the player screen itself you should see an icon to the left of the song title which indicates the current playback mode (Folder, Album, Artist, Playlist, etc). You can then adjust the Shuffle mode at will from the player screen (using the icon in the lower-right of the album art area, as we discussed before).

Playback will continue in that mode even while you use the library browser screen to look though other songs, or look in different category views (folders, artists), etc. The playback mode will only alter when you actually start a new song playing from within a new library category. 

Andre

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I'm not sure what you think I'm overthinking.

When some problem takes a lot longer than it seems like it should to solve and I eventually figure out or am told the solution, sometimes my reaction is, "Duh! Not sure why I didn't see that before," and other times it's more like, "Was that supposed to be obvious? Because it certainly wasn't." The question of how to change modes (and to tell what mode you're in) in this discussion was an example of the latter.

Anyhow, I have it working the way I want it to, and whatever other comments or questions I have at this point probably belong in separate topics. I'd still suggest an FAQ that explains this better than any of the existing documentation; in fact I might be willing to write a draft of it.

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I definitely agree that Poweramp is in need of better documentation. Although in theory it's just 'install and play', there's no much hidden away inside that a lot of people never discover, or initially find tricky to get their heads around. The difference between viewing a given library category and actually playing music in that mode is definitely one of those areas - it caught me out for a while the first time I used Poweramp in fact (it's actually an easy concept once you know it, but until then it can be puzzling!).

I've thought about writing some more detailed docs myself, but it's probably not worth doing until v3 is released so all the differences can be covered.

Andre

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All right, here is my first crack at an FAQ. Suggestions/improvements welcome.

How do I use different playing modes?

Poweramp offers a variety of playing modes. Which you can explore by tapping the Folders/Lib icon (the one with a treble sign with a folder behind it). There are two options here. Folders will take you to Folders mode; Library will take you to a list of other modes. Some might not be visible. To control which ones are visible on your Library menu, from the Library screen tap Menu => List Options and select/deselect modes as desired.

To switch to a desired playing mode, navigate to that mode under Folders/Lib, select a track to listen to, and start it playing. Other actions that start a track playing will change the playing mode. Backing out does not.

On the main display, the icon to the left of the track title/artist shows your current playing mode. The Folders mode icon looks like two folders, and the other modes use the same icons seen in the left column of the Folders/Lib => Library menu.

Some playing modes use multiple lists and others use a single list, and some of the Repeat and Shuffle options are only meaningful if you are in a multiple list mode. See Why next/prev. buttons are disabled? for more details.

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@mwalimu, even though I've used the player for some time, I think it's a great idea to write such a manual. And you look like the one to do it, your writing is good, you are good at explaining things. If you ever write such a manual, contact me and if I can afford the time I'll collaborate with you by translating it to Spanish, if you want me to.

Thanks for the initiative.

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I wrote that one FAQ in the hopes that it might make a good addition to the FAQ section of these forums, simply because it had been a bit of trouble to puzzle out how it works and thought others might benefit from it. I don't have anything approaching an understanding of other aspects of the player, particularly those features I never use anyway. Plus it sounds like there's a lot to cover and it would take more time than I have to spare these days.

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