Rio Receiver software can’t read Unicode ID3 tags

I have four Rio Receivers, which use Rio’s Audio Receiver Manager software on a host PC to serve music. Over the years, certain tracks wouldn’t be listed in the database. I had looked at the encoder used, what ID3 tags were present, coexistence of v1 and v2.x tags, filenames. But I couldn’t figure it out.

I have since tried several of the alternate ARM programs out there: MediaNet, JReceiver, rioplay, and there may have been one or two others. But I could never get any of them to work. I got close recently with JReceiver, but instructions that date back to 2003 do not account for today’s versions of the various components.

I decided to take another look at why some tracks don’t show up in the database. Forum postings indicate it should have no problem with ID3v2.x. All of my tracks have v2.3 and no v1.x tags. And most tracks are indexed fine. So I started reading about the history of ID3, the details of the different versions, and notable incompatibilities such as Windows Media Player 12 still won’t read v2.4 tags.

The text encoding available in ID3v2 made me think because I know of some programs can’t read a Unicode text file; it must stored in ANSI. So referred to my tag editing program, Tag & Rename, and there is a setting for enabling the writing of v2 tags in Unicode. But if a tag is in Unicode format, T&R doesn’t indicate this; only when a tag is rewritten will it use the appropriate format based on the setting.

I used a different tagging application, Kid3, to show which tags are in what format (down to individual tags in a track). I tested with a track and encoded all relevant fields (artist, title, album) in Unicode. When I indexed it in ARM, it didn’t show up. I used Kid3 to change the tags to ISO-8859-1, indexed again, and voila! I did further testing and determine that if you format, say, title in Unicode but the artist in ISO-8859-1, the artist will show up in the database, but not the song underneath the artist. So ARM still reads all the tags in a track; it is just those that are encoded in Unicode are not added to the database (the individual tags).

Since I am not trying to use international characters sets there is nothing really to be gained by storing in Unicode. I have asked the developer of T&R to add the ability to see what format a given tag is in (similar to Kid3), but in the meantime I have been rewriting my tags without the Unicode setting enabled as I check for album art in my tags.

One thought on “Rio Receiver software can’t read Unicode ID3 tags

  1. Hello there

    Found this while doing research on the rio receiver.

    I purchased one at a yard sale and have started to try and use it. I am not tech savvy.

    So far I have plugged it in and hooked up to my wireless router. Success.

    It did not come with the cd for the software. I downloaded rioplay but cannot get it open. A zipped file. I have downloaded win zip to try and open said file.

    That is where I am. This stuff makes me feel like a link head sometimes, especially after I read stuff like what you have written. And that was two years ago.

    This thing is pretty ancient.

    Oh well


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