Before buying: songs playing at a slower speed?

Hi, I’m very interested in the Sansa Fuze, it looks like the best player for me (especially being able to play .ogg files) and I need a new one. However, I’ve read in some customer reviews that the Fuze seems to play music at a slightly slower speed than normal, altering the tone a bit. The problem is also mentioned in this thread:

http://forums.sandisk.com/sansa/board/message?board.id=sansafuse&message.id=11438

Can anyone confirm this?

Thanks for your help.

A couple of people have reported this. There’s also been a couple saying the same thing on the Clip board. I would say it is NOT indicative of the entire line as only a few people have said anything about it. If this were a major design flaw we certainly would hear much more about it than we do here.

I would consider this an isolated or occasional defect and if you get one that does this, return it and get another one. There’s only been less than a hand-ful of posters claiming this out of literally hundreds (or more) of satisfied customers. Many even have more than one. :wink:

Malcom

I have never heard of this being a continual problem with ALL files for anyone here.

Personally I have had problems with certain files that I have ripped myself.

I saw one other user on here report the same thing.

The files played fine on a Sansa e200 series but for some reason the Fuze has some sensitivities.

The files just played extremely slowly.  About 1/4 speed.  REAL slow.  And the time notation fir the file would go from, say, 7:00 for a song to 35 or 40 minutes!

Sansafix (on this forum) did some analysis of one of my bad tracks.

He said there was some “garbage” in the file at the beginning.

What I did was to open in a sound-editing software (NCH WavePad free version) and resave tp mp3 file with the (CRC?) Error Correcting turned on.  That did the trick.

The new .24 firmware release is supposed to have solved this issue.

this is a very minor issue.  don’t let it stop you from considering the Fuze.  They are great!

Thanks to both of you, you’ve been extremely helpful in clarifying this. I wouldn’t mind some minor glitches, but playing music slower than it’s supposed to be sounded like a terrible flaw. I’ve been looking for an ogg-compatible player for a while and the Fuze looks like the best option. :slight_smile:

Songs on my Fuze actually do play _ just _ noticably slower than on my PC.  I have a very accurate internal clock, as a musician.  I can count to 60 while watching a digital clock and it will repeatedly change just as I hit the minute mark - minute after minute.

When I first started listening to tunes on my new Fuze, I thought tracks were slightly slow.  I played them simultaneously against PC tracks and noticed that the Fuze would lose time.  It’s about 1 second behind the true track length after about 3 minutes.

I considered taking it back, but I love the thing.  So, I’ll live with it.

It is certainly a design flaw.  Digital accuracy should be much more reliable than this device.

Thank you, Arranger - that’s exactly what I wanted to know. It’s quite a big flaw, in my opinion. I don’t care so much about video, photos and other features; if I’m buying a music player I want music playback to be as close to perfect as possible. Too bad, because for everything else the Fuze looks like it was designed for me.

Interesting, I had never heard this before.

Seriously, for a light-duty portable music player, being off by one second in 3 minutes is a serious issue for you?

We’re not talking about a 10 grand Band & Olufsen system here.

How do you know that Windows Media Player on your computer represents and accurate standard anyway.

I bet if you started a CD on a $1000 Denon player and your computer at the same time, there would be more than a one second difference between the two after 3 minutes.

blackdog-sansa: it’s true it can’t be completely accurate. However, out of curiosity I’ve just tested the same thing on an old Samsung YP-U2 (a cheap player from 2 years ago) and it didn’t lose even one second in over 4 minutes, while the same tracks were playing on the computer (in this case, using Rhythmbox on Ubuntu). Whatever it did lose (or gain), it wasn’t noticeable - and that’s exactly how it should be, not noticeable.

Now, even assuming that both my computer and this little player aren’t perfectly accurate (and they surely aren’t) I also tested it with a CD on a stand-alone stereo system, and still no noticeable difference. None of them is accurate, and repeating the tests on longer playing times, I bet there’d be some difference. But 1 second in 3 minutes just seems too much.

Like I said earlier, too bad - because the Fuze deserves all the success it’s having, and I was looking forward to buying one. The alternatives don’t look very good to me.

Like I said before, you can’t assume that ALL Fuzes play slower because fewer that 6 people on this forum have claimed that theirs do. There are thousands, probably more like millions who are satisfied. Personally, I have 5 different Sansa models and have not noticed this at all on any of them. And yes, one of them is a Fuze.

So judging an entire product line on a few samples is a bit short-sighted. As previously suggested, you have nothing to lose by trying it. In fact, you yourself haven’t tried it yet. You are basing your entire opinion on the writings of a very few people, none of which you know anything about, or the situations surrounding their results (file type, bit-rate, source, etc.).

Try it for yourself! If it does not live up to your expectations, then by all means, as Ron Popeil said on ALL of his infommercials, “Return it and DO get your money back!”

The fact that only a handful of people here have reported this problem is irrelevant - this defect, if it really is there, is subtler than other bugs/difficulties users may experience: most of those who’ve noticed it seem to be musicians. And I’m not. :slight_smile:

That said, you’re absolutely right: I haven’t tried the Fuze. But I’m looking around, I want to buy a new portable music player, I do not mean to judge this or that model. I read reviews, and try to form an opinion, just like most other customers do. When I read about this, I thought it’d be better to ask here: I still think it was the right thing to do.

You’re right, I can buy it and then take it back if I’m not satisfied, but normally people try to make the right choice immediately, not taking this kind of trial and error approach. :wink:

I try to listen to what everyone says. And I might still buy the Fuze, as nothing else really seems to be as good in the same price range, especially thinking about its interface (why’s everyone else going for touch-sensitive interfaces, for example?).

“My Fuze plays everything slower” is a reply that will interest me. “Your Fuze must be defective, because mine plays everything perfectly” is another reply that’ll interest me. Replies such as “no player is that accurate anyway so it really isn’t a big defect” don’t help, though I know that who wrote it was trying to be useful - but it only made me check if what I own has the same inaccuracy, and report back.

Now, I’ve gone through way too many reviews, so maybe I’ll follow your advice, buy a Fuze and see if it’s true or not. See you soon, hopefully with a perfect sounding Fuze. :slight_smile:

I as a musician have only noticed the slowness on my own recordings (Songs I could play in my sleep) So When I had the opportunity to run this by some of my friends who are also musicians I did. Most of these people are not classically  trained to they said yeah it sounds fne, But When I gave it to Marc Cohen, and he listened to Some of his tracks he counted it off and confirmed that it was perfect and that I was just hearing things. I think that some of the fuzes especially when they are reading from an SD card there could have a bit of a drop but nothing that the untrained or the in some cases the most trained ears can hear

@malcolm81 wrote:

But I’m looking around, I want to buy a new portable music player, I do not mean to judge this or that model. I read reviews, and try to form an opinion, just like most other customers do. When I read about this, I thought it’d be better to ask here: I still think it was the right thing to do.

 

Absolutely! Many people do not do their homework on something like this beforehand. We hear from them all the time here. “What do you mean, it doesn’t offer gapless playback?” or “Why in the world wouldn’t this support folder navigation?” The forum is full of these 2 issues alone. Obviously, these things matter to some people, but apparently not enough for them to research what product fits their needs the best before plunking down thier hard-earned $$.

 

You’re right, I can buy it and then take it back if I’m not satisfied, but normally people try to make the right choice immediately, not taking this kind of trial and error approach. :wink:

 

Right again. Smart people do. But that option is always available to anyone who gets something they didn’t expect, or is not happy.

 

Now, I’ve gone through way too many reviews, so maybe I’ll follow your advice, buy a Fuze and see if it’s true or not. See you soon, hopefully with a perfect sounding Fuze. :slight_smile:

 

You can only research so much. The final ‘proof is in the pudding’. Sooner or later, you’ve got to make a decision. Hopefully, it’ the right one the 1st time, but it’s not the end of the world if it’s not. Good luck in your quest. :smiley:

I thought I’d posted this, but can’t find it, so apologies if it is here twice.

If the problem is an occasional player getting through with an uncalibrated crystal oscillator, that should also show as the clock keeping bad time.

I don’t have a Fuze yet, so I tried my e200 against foobar on the PC.  The big problem is getting both to start at the same time, but I managed once. Through a 6 minute song they played so close you’d think the phones and speakers were running off the same source.  That was on the Sansa firmware.

Then I tried a longer play on Rockbox (because it preloads the next track so shouldn’t lose time between songs).  The PC and Rockbox started a little apart, so didn’t sound synchronized, but stayed about the same, maybe a quarter second apart, for close to half an hour. 

@donp wrote:
 

… with an uncalibrated crystal oscillator, that should also show as the clock keeping bad time.

 

I think we all here assume that the Fuze is designed with a crystal oscillator, and therefore should have a playback speed that is accurate to about 0.001%. This is the typical accuracy of a crystal clock, and is about a thousand times more accurate that any human can distinguish as a pitch.

      …but… There are other ways to design electronics, and the cost and physical size of adding a crystal oscillator may not have been deemed necessary.

In my experience generating accurate time bases with electronic circuits based on resistors and capacitors is very hard to do - and can be considerably worse than equipment of 20 years ago that based playback speed on electrical motors and rubber belts.

'In my experience generating accurate time bases with electronic circuits based on resistors and capacitors is very hard to do -"

Perhaps not that hard if temperature is held constant. One could probably design a clock that is very accurate if the temperature is held at some constant, like for example 25C, standard room temperature, however if the temperature is allowed to vary then it might run faster at higher temperature and slower at lower temperature. As a test, you could take a digital watch and keep it in a refrigerator(in a sealed plastic bag to protect it) for a few days and see if it ran slow. I guess even a mechanical watch might run slower at a colder temperature.

I am wondering about the Fuze’s processor. It may not have that much spare processing power, so if someone presents  interrupts for the processor(ie presses buttons or turns the scroll wheel to adjust volume), this might delay the processor slightly in it decoding. This might especially be the the case with WMA or FLAC which take much more processing power to decode than mp3. Just the interrupt to turn off the backlight or other interrupts might present somewhat of a delay.

Well, now the problem has become worse.  After updating to 02.01.17, now my tracks are not only slightly slower - but the pitch is slightly lower, too.  This is unacceptable because I can’t play my instruments against my Fuze tracks anymore without detuning them.  Ughh…

I’m going to return it and if I get another that keeps pitch I’ll never do an update again.  All I want to do is drag mp3s onto it and I don’t need to go online with it at all.

Just for details:

WinXPpro SP3 on my PC.

mp3s only of various bitrates.  Some fixed, some variable.

CDex for ripping.  Never a hitch before.

Some mp3s bought on Amazon.

Some mp3s converted from .wav files on PC platform-based audio recorder.

Playing only off the internal memory - no added memory cards.

All tracks on the Fuze exhibit the same defect.  They are slightly slow and now slightly off pitch after my first firmware update.

Hmmm, I wonder:

Will this thing take .wav files?

I need something more professional.  The Fuze is great for clowning around but for serious musicianship I’m afraid it won’t cut it.

Message Edited by Arranger on 12-31-2008 11:22 PM

@mp3geek wrote:


@donp wrote:
 

… with an uncalibrated crystal oscillator, that should also show as the clock keeping bad time.

 


I think we all here assume that the Fuze is designed with a crystal oscillator, and therefore should have a playback speed that is accurate to about 0.001%. This is the typical accuracy of a crystal clock, and is about a thousand times more accurate that any human can distinguish as a pitch.

 

      …but… There are other ways to design electronics, and the cost and physical size of adding a crystal oscillator may not have been deemed necessary.

 

The Fuze has a real time clock, so crystal would be nice.  Even if no crystal, how well it keeps time will tell you if it is off.

 

@arranger wrote:

Well, now the problem has become worse.  After updating to 02.01.17, now my tracks are not only slightly slower - but the pitch is slightly lower, too.  This is unacceptable because I can’t play my instruments against my Fuze tracks anymore without detuning them.  Ughh…

 

I was going to suggest that you re-install the previous f/w version, but since you have one of the new Rev. 2 machines, there is no previous version here. This player hit the market vurtually at the same time as the firmware update did, so the original f/w is not posted here.

 

Hmmm, I wonder:

Will this thing take .wav files?

 

Yes, as long as the bit-rate isn’t too high. WAV is a supported file type, but some people have problems playing the very high bit-rates. The Fuze also now supports FLAC & OGG if those alternatives are viable options for you.

I created my own test mp3 file by using the voice recorder. Watching the clock I whacked a stapler to the desk at as close to a 10 minute interval as possible. Likely well within a second.  I then transferred the file to the PC and viewed it with Audacity.

Results:
The voice recorder has the two “whack” sounds at about 10 minutes and 0.4 seconds apart. This could be caused by imprecision of my testing, but a longer test over 28 minutes gives about 2.4 extra seconds. This would indicate that the clock for the voice recorder is running an itsy bitsy amount too fast - but this error this too small to be audible.

Using Audacity I cut out the extra time to make the two clicks “exactly” 10 minutes apart, and then I added a pure 440 hz tone for the bulk of the 10 minute recording. This is independent of any crystal or other oscillator - simply a mathematical equation. This file was exported as MP3, ogg and wav files and put on the Fuze.

When I play the MP3 file back on the PC I can use my Korg CA-30 Chromatic tuner to measure the frequency of the tone that was artificially generated with Audacity.   My tuner identifies the tone as A440 with 0 cents deviation - a little fluctuation of 1-2 cents is caused by ambient noise.

When I play the file back on the Fuze pushing the earphones up to the mic on the Korg tuner I get a pitch of A440 with about -20 cents of deviation. This is very close to the timing error of about 1.1%.  I also copied wav and ogg versions of the same file to the Fuze, and when I play them back they are also 20 cents low in pitch. The time it takes to play the MP3 file from one click to the other is 10 minutes 7 seconds, consistent with a little more than a 1% speed error.

Here are two links that discuss the human perception of pitch and the “cents” scale of frequency…
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/Hbase/Music/cents.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cent_(music)

Both of these sources claim that the limit of human hearing is about 5 cents. But the second goes on to say that many music students cannot hear a 10 cent difference. I must admit - I cannot hear the difference in their sample files - though the tuner picks it right up. Wikipedia claims that most normal adults can hear 25 cents difference, which is pretty much what we are looking at for my player.

The funny thing is the voice recorder is not effected, and the real time clock appears to work right. This give me hope that there is a firmware fix that can repair the issue. On the other hand, mine might be broken. Does anyone want to try my test files. It is easiest if you are also a musician and have access to a crystal based tuner, but a stopwatch will work as well.