Fuze Can't Play Some Files When Windows Media Player is told to convert during sync

Windows Media Player seems to have some bugs in its conversion-during-sync ability (or at least, it’s doing something that is incompatible with the Fuze). The problem occurs when I set it to convert synced files down to a lower bitrate, via Properties -> Quality tab -> under Music, choose “Select maximum quality level” rather than the default “select quality level automatically.” (Then choose a bitrate - I want 128 Kbps but also tried 160.) Some, but not all, of the audio files that are synced are unplayable - they show up in the Fuze’s library, but the Fuze will skip over them until it finally arrives at one it can play.

This seems to affect either all of the files in an album or none of them. But that’s all the pattern I can find. For instance, among the files I’ve tried syncing are some ripped CD albums. All were ripped recently in Windows Media Player (same one I’m syncing with). All were ripped as .mp3s with a 256 Kbps bitrate (and thus, all go through conversion when synced with the “maximum quality level” turned on). Yet some have this problem and some do not.

I finally figured out the maximum quality setting was the problem after I returned that setting to “Select quality level automatically” (which, in WMP’s estimation, seems to mean “leave everything at its current bitrate” - I watched the Syncing status window, and saw only synchronization; with the maximum quality setting on, just about everything is first converted and then synced.)

Has anyone else run in to this? Anyone know how of a fix? I suppose I should start looking at SDHC cards, but it would be unnecessary if I didn’t have to put everything on the Fuze in 256 Kbps form.

I’m using WMP 12 on Windows 7; the Fuze is updated to Firmware 01.02.31A.

@kloreep wrote:

The problem occurs when I set it to convert synced files down to a lower bitrate . . .

 

For instance, among the files I’ve tried syncing are some ripped CD albums. All were ripped recently in Windows Media Player (same one I’m syncing with). All were ripped as .mp3s with a 256 Kbps bitrate . . .

 

  1. You shouldn’t be trying to re-convert to a lower bit-rate on an already compressed and lossy file. If you want 128 kbps instead of 256 then re-rip the CD using the lower setting. Don’t try and down-grade the 256 to 128. Even if it does play, it will sound like crap.

  2. WMP uses the very old, out-dated and inferior Fraunhofer .mp3 encoder. For best results, use a ripping program that uses the LAME encoder like Media Monkey, Winamp (Gold version), dbPoweramp (paid version) or EAC (Exact Audio Copy). Your ears will thank you . . . and you won’t have any problems playing the files either.

It is, you might say, lame for programs to charge for LAME, which is free. Only EAC is honest about this, but it is strictly a ripper, not a music-library manager.

Media Monkey does all the music-library things that Windows Media Player can do.  And unless you want some of the extra features of its gold version, you don’t need to buy it for LAME encoding.

The free Media Monkey version of the LAME encoder times out after 30 days. To make it permanent, get the latest LAME update at  http://lame.buanzo.com.ar/ . Unzip the file and substitute the new lame_enc.dll for the one in C:\Program Files\Media Monkey. You now have a music-library program with the best ripper.