PlaLa – the hörbert PlaylistLanguage

Do you have questions about PlaLa? Please write directly below the post in the comment function. Our general customer service cannot provide developer support for PlaLa.

With hörbert PlaLa („PlaylistLanguage“), hörbert (model from October 2021 with pcb hörbert_V2 and higher) can be configured very extensively. PlaLa was born out of the idea to provide our customers with customised solutions for very individual problems without having to write individual firmware every time, which would be rather ineffective and also expensive for the customers.

PlaLa and this documentation are aimed at hobbyists, tinkerers, makers  and all technology enthusiasts who want to get the most out of their hörbert, or who want to use it for special applications – e.g. as a museum player, with special functions for people with disabilities, or simply as the smartest audio solution without having to develop their own firmware.

PlaLa is useful, but please care for the users!

Many functions that should remain hidden from users because of their complexity can be combined into a clever application using PlaLa. In standard operation without PlaLa commands, we make sure that hörbert always behaves in a comprehensibly simple and uniform way, so that users do not lose confidence in their hörbert and in his abilities. For example, a „random play“ function is not a blessing for all users.

PlaLa and firmware updates

Beta versions of hörbert’s firmware are particularly interesting for PlaLa users. Customer requests for which we introduce new PlaLa commands are usually answered with a new beta version of the firmware, which then understands new PlaLa commands. Nevertheless, these are beta versions that still have to be tested extensively. Use beta versions of the firmware is at your own risk.

The hot end: PlaLa is in a permanent alpha stage! We reserve the right to make changes to existing PlaLa commands and settings at any time. If you tinker with this, you do so at your own risk. We are not completely immune to late enlightenment. If there is really no other way, an existing command may have to be changed. This is always the last resort – as a substitute, there may be very similar commands that have almost the same effect, so that the ‚old’ command does not have to be changed for existing customers. But no one should say afterwards that they were not warned.

In the current version of hörbert, PlaLa commands have to be written into files with a text editor, which are then copied to the memory card. A subset of PlaLa commands are already used by the hörbert software to make settings. This does not require the use of an editor.

Where is PlaLa used?

We gave the PlaylistLanguage this name because it contains control data for hörbert in playlist files. Playlist files for hörbert have the extension .m3u.


The file index.m3u on a memory card is read first when hörbert is started. This file can contain configuration commands that should affect hörbert globally, e.g. settings for the sleep timer or for external buttons.


Each hörbert playlist can contain additional .m3u files that have the same name as a media file. If a 1.mp3 file exists in a playlist, you can also create a 1.m3u file. 1.m3u is then read and executed before 1.mp3.

PlaLa commands can control system functions such as volume, or they are used to execute certain jumps to other titles, to set pauses and much more.

What does the PlaLa syntax look like?

PlaLa commands are inserted into .m3u files as M3u comments. This does not interfere with other playlist reading software, and hörbert responds to anything starting with
A commented out PlaLa command therefore looks like this:
Here is an example of a valid PlaLa file index.m3u that starts with 3 SET mode commands and includes other commands, as well as explanatory comments:

## Disable microphone. Press SET 2x to read this setting
#hoerbert:set_mode_microphone 0

## Disable Bluetooth. Press SET 2x to read in this setting.
#hoerbert:set_mode_bluetooth 0

## Disable WiFi. Press SET 2x to read in this setting.
#hoerbert:set_mode_wifi 0

## How should recordings be started?
#0 Recording starts by holding down the black button and pressing the grey button.
#1 Recording starts by pressing a playlist button for a long time
#2 Recording only starts while a playlist button is held down for a long time
#3 Recording starts when a playlist button is pressed and held while turning the knob to the right.
#hoerbert:recording_button_mode 1

# Start playback after inserting new batteries (cold start) at the first song of the red playlist


For jumping to other titles or as a means of unique identification of a title, an addressing scheme is used which we call address modifier. The address modifiers are explained here:

PlaLa Commands

Documentation of the global commands and the commands that can be used in playlists

SET Mode Commands

A special group of configuration commands are called SET commands. They are only processed by hörbert if they…
…a) are in the index.m3u, and
…b) hörbert is switched to SET mode by pressing the SET button inside hörbert, and
…c) these settings are saved by pressing the SET key again.
This prevents especially basic settings from being unintentionally overwritten by switching between memory cards.

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