Chinese characters show in player but not mp3tag

I have many files that I ripped from Classical music compilations that were apparently manufactured in Asia. When played in a music app, the album art does not load properly and the song title is wrong. The display shows asian language characters.

However if I go to Mp3tag, there are no asian language characters showing up in the tag anywhere.

Anyone have any idea how to get Mp3tag to show these mystery characters, so I can change them to english?

That often happens when a non-unicode application tries to display unicode information.
It is possible that Mp3tag is displaying tags that are unicode but you are using a non-unicode music app.
Which players have you tried?

If these are MP3 files, make sure you are reading ID3 tags, not APE.
Options > Tags > Mpeg

I use an android music app called Neutron.

I downloaded another mp3 tag editor out of curiousity, tagscan, and it did not show any asian language characters either. I found some advice on how to set the options in mp3tag to show the extended tags but even with that, no asian characters. But when I play it thru Neutron, there they are. I can eliminate the tags in windows explorer but naturally that doesnt really do anything....

I have no experience with Neutron.
I suggest trying another player. (eg. Winamp or Foobar2000 or VLC)

I cannot find another android player that will display custom album art that fills the entire screen on a tablet. If I could, I'd switch. Ill have to put up with the ocassional tag weirdness I guess.
Thanks for trying to help.

You could try to load one of the files into MP3tag,
set Tools>Options>Tags>Mpeg>Write: ISO8859
close the options dialogue
Press Ctrl-S to save tags
Load the file into your player and see if you can read the characters now.

What was the result to remove APE tags?
What do you mean by

Does that mean that you do not see any text at all or just ordinary letters (no chinese)?

tried that - no effect.

What happens is that when I open the mp3file in mp3tag, there are no chinese characters anywhere to be seen in the file. Its all english, in any kind of view, no matter what tags are removed or displayed.

I can open the same file in Windows Explorer and click details, and some chinese text will show up - but then if I change that to English, it doesnt matter... Neutron still displays the chinese characters.

So far mp3tag is utterly confused as to where these chinese characters are, or perhaps translating them... but not changing them.

what you see is that a utf-16 character consists of 16 bits whereas others use only 8 bits to encode a character.
So if the player does not understand to read utf-16 characters, it show these strange characters.

What you can do is to check the files with mp3diags as this utility detects strange character encodings and tries to translate those to a common format.
see here for a link:

i downloaded mp3diags and ran it on a couple of cloned files. Nothing in the"tag info" suggested any issues with non-english character display. Specifically, what sort of error would those be called in mp3diag, or, what sort of thing would I be looking for?

I think the error is "df".
In general anything that looks like "usupported" or "invalid" should be of concern.

nope, nothing like that showing up. nothing says unsupported or invalid or df.

Curiously the only notes say

di - padding in the ID3V2 tag is too large, wasting space


ea - ID3V2 tag doesnt have anAPIC frame which is used to store images

which is weird because it does have an image and it is showing up.

You can filter for files to check for embedded pictures with
%_covers% PRESENT
%_covers% MISSING

This means to me that the player cannot cope with UTF-16 characters.
Have you tried to save a tag with ISO encoding?

yes it is certainly possible that it is my player; however, as mentioned above, I do not want to use any other - unless anyone knows of an android music player that will display custom album art full screen while the song is playing

as far as an ISO tag, I dont know how to do that... can any tag editor do that or is Mp3diag required?

See Tools>Options>Tags>Mpeg
You probably save the tags now as ID3v2 UTF-16
There select the option with ISO-8859-1

see also the FAQs:

nope, no change. I actually had been using ISO the whole time for everything and it was never a problem. Switched it to UTF-16 out of curiosity and no change.

its strange.

the title is showing wrong: for example, a file with the title of Tchaikovsky violin concerto in D op 35 canzonetta andante

shows up in the player as

  1. Canzonetta Andante

even tho its track 5!

theres no reason fro it to display that way

and then the album name is all chinese characters

So now you have to find out how to update the apparently existing player database or cache so that it show the actual tag information and not something old.

On a side note: there have been reports about some players that take information from the internet instead from the files ... so perhaps your player does that also and for some reason like a chinese database better than anything else.

after changing the settings here, nowmp3tag wont read the tags on ANY of my old files and there are thousands of them.

I'm praying I can un-install and re-install and it will reset everything.

Thanks but I'm done. I'm either over my head or nothing is ever going to fix this and I'll just have to live with these odd files that dont display the text correctly.

Neutron Player v2.08.0 supports unicode tags, according to this web page:

Apparently, Neutron Player v2.12.5 is available.