How to: Fix Kenwood Stereo MP3 file errors

I recently got a new (well, apparently from 2012,) Kenwood Stereo. The exact model number is the KDC-X498, but from my research most of the Kenwood stereos are pretty similar. It’s a pretty cool stereo as it has a USB port on it. I can plug in any phone with a USB cable and it’ll play music from it. It will also play MP3 files from a USB Drive.

Unfortunately there are a number of caveats to make this possible;
– The USB Drive is limited to 32GB in size
– The USB Drive must be formatted in Fat 32. Most are this way from the factory, so usually not a huge deal.
– Audio files must be in .mp3 format or .wav format. Some models will accept the .acc format also.
– Some stereos can only see a certain number of MP3s per a directory on the drive. Its roughly a thousand files, but on a 32GB drive that is easy to reach. If this happens, separate the files out into subdirectories. Or as I do, by Artist then Album.
– MP3s must be in 192k format. Not 320k VBR or some other format.

Despite all of this, my stereo (and several other models,) will suddenly display “NA File” while reading a USB drive full of MP3 files. After a lot of searching on the internet, most said to make sure that it’s in the right format. Well, I run a Mac, and spent several hours downgrading all my files to 192k yet still had the problem. After several more hours of searching and no answers at all, I finally figured out the problem.

The Kenwood Stereo’s firmware does not “skip” over the Macintosh’s .DS_Store files like every other operating system has been doing for years. Modern OSes see any file starting with a . (or period,) as a system file and ignores it, or processes it as appropriately. Not the Kenwood!

So to fix this, these can be disabled in the command line using these directions I wrote years ago.

Or, it’s easy to open up Terminal in OS X, and type ‘rm -rf ._*’ (without quotes.) This will delete all the .DS Store files and everything will magically work! Make sure you cd to the correct directory first , usually /Volumes/Crucial or something similar.

12 thoughts on “How to: Fix Kenwood Stereo MP3 file errors

  1. Andrey Reply

    A huge thank you good people! Month searched for a solution to this problem, a little tape recorder did not give back to the store))) You are the best !!! )

  2. bobburroughsford Reply

    Hi Rick… Used your command line in terminal and what do you know it actually played . Just did one song as a trial and am now attempting to load a lot more on to my USB drive. ( 16 G ) and then see how that goes . Seemed to take awhile to read the file so hope that doesn’t translate to longer waiting time for the whole drive ( about 12 G ) worth of songs. Kinda dumb that Kenwood would do this . We’re it not for folks like you us dummies would be lost . Regardless of outcome here , THANKS….

  3. Bobby Reply

    Hi Rick I used the command in terminal and it said illegal operation. I have no idea if it worked. Little difficult for me because i have zero idea if i use terminal while the USB screen is open showing all the files or not. Sorry big dummy over here when it comes to code. you can email me if its easier. Thanks

    • Rick Post authorReply

      Sorry Bobby, I can’t help you because I don’t know what error message you got.

  4. Shareef Reply

    Hi Rick, how can I resolve this issue on a Windows based computer? I have a kenwood car stereo. Thanks.

    • Rick Post authorReply

      Hello Shareef, these files are not created on Windows. So you should not have this problem.

  5. Todd Reply

    This was hugely helpful; after reformatting my USB drive to FAT32 and then using the Blue Harvest app (mentioned in the linked article on disabling .DS_Store files), I am finally able to play music files from the USB drive on my new Kenwood car stereo — though I have to say, I’d have bought a different brand if I had known this would involve so much extra work!

    I did want to mention that at least in my case, the mp3 files do not have to be 192 kbps to play, once the other issues have been resolved.

    Rick, thanks very much for sharing your expertise.

    • Rick Post authorReply

      I am glad to hear that Todd! It sounds like Kenwood might have figured out that it should a higher bit-rate. I too would not have purchased this stereo if I knew this issue. Nothing on their website or documentation says anything about it at all.

  6. Chuck Reply

    I’m confused by your last paragraph. “Or, it’s easy to open up Terminal in OS X, and type ‘rm -rf ._*’ (without quotes.) This will delete all the .DS Store files and everything will magically work! Make sure you cd to the correct directory first , usually /Volumes/Crucial or something similar.”

    What do you mean by “cd to the correct directory first”? Thanks.

    • Rick Post authorReply

      cd is the UNIX command ‘change directory’. You want to make sure you’re in right directory where the .DS Store files are to delete. It won’t hurt anything to delete them from other areas, they’ll get recreated. But if you don’t delete them from the USB stick, then the problem will not go away.

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