Major FLAC playback issues on v1 Fuze, firmware v1.02.28A

Ugh. Problem solved, but not a pretty solution.

"Black-Rectangle: Try ripping a track or two with Media Coder instead.  If that works…well…you know what lies ahead."

 

Well, this was the issue. I now have to re-rip all of my files using Media Coder. The files were originally ripped using FreeRIP 3. All of the files ripped from this program played absolutely perfect on my computer.

 

Apparently Fuze is very, very finicky about what program encodes the FLAC. Very annoying.

 

For the record, I re-ripped my tracks at compression level 8, and they all played fine. So compression level was not the issue.

Hi All -

I’m having major issues playing FLAC’s on my brand new Fuze (v1). Please see below.

I read one of the FAQ’s, and here’s the answers to the questions someone said people might need:

      1. What OS/version/SP do you use? Windows XP SP 3
  1. What version of firmware does your Fuze have? 01.02.28A

  2. What version of Windows Media Player do you have? 11.0

  3. What are the steps you are doing?

In order: Sync’d my music to the Fuze using SyncEXP. Attempted to play FLAC’s with firmware v1.02.26. Massive failure. Downloaded automatic firmware installer and upgraded firmware to latest version. Changed USB setting from auto-detect to MSC. Used automatic firmware installer again. Had to reset USB setting to MSC. Manually downloaded firmware and copied to root directory. Formatted system. Manually placed music under MUSIC folder. Manually upgraded firmware again. Power cycled system after every firmware upgrade.

  1. What do you expect to happen?

Play FLAC files ripped from CD’s at 16 bits, 2 Channels, 44.1 kHz, ~500 - 1000 kbps (most ~800-900 kbps). All of the files have been checked to be fully functional on my computer. All play perfectly on my computer (using foobar). All files were ripped at FLAC quality level 8 (the highest).

  1. What is actually happening?

Fuze recognizes the files, the album, and the Vorbis tags. However, when I play the files, it reads how long the first file is, but immediately skips it. It then skips (reads file/song name without playing) through all the files in that folder. It cycles incessantly without giving me a chance to pause. I would equate the behavior of the fuze to a seizure or endless feedback loop. Occasionally it will just get stuck on the screen it’s on and “lock up”.

The weird part about this is that I downloaded a couple of FLAC’s from the web, and those play fine.

HELP! PLEASE DON’T TELL ME THAT I HAVE TO RE-RIP ALL OF MY FLAC’S!!!

Message Edited by turbosaab16 on 12-29-2009 01:05 AM

Message Edited by turbosaab16 on 12-29-2009 08:30 AM

Message Edited by turbosaab16 on 12-29-2009 11:43 AM

You could try rewriting the FLAC tags in foobar. It has an option to completely remove the tag and then rewrite it fresh.  It sometimes helps hardware devices that are confused by a tag.

Alternatively, you could try rockbox.  FLAC support is quite stable in rockbox, having been widely used for many years now. 

Like Saratoga, I’d also guess it’s the tags. Since Foobar put them on, why not rewrite them with a full-on tagging program. 

Foobar may be writing a tag format the Fuze doesn’t like. 

Before I put anything on the Fuze, I run it through mp3tag.

When you install it, add it to Context menus (a check mark during Install) and then open it and set the default under Tools/Options/Tags/Mpeg to Read everything, Write ID3v2.3 ISO-8859-1 and Remove everything. I don’t know if this affects FLAC tagging, but it makes mp3s all yummy for the Fuze, and I assume it will apply Fuze-friendly settings to FLACs.

Then right-click on the folder of FLACs, choose mp3tag from the menu to open it, highlight all the FLAC files, make sure they are in top-to-bottom order and (under Tools) run the Auto-Numbering Wizard with Leading Zeros. (Changes track numbers of 01, 02, etc. instead of 1/12, 2/12–and also saves all the tags.) Blank out Comments (you can do it all at once) and also look for unusual characters–boxes, foreign characters–in the individual tags and remove them just in case. 

I know it sounds like a pain, but unless you have to edit out weird characters from individual titles, it took longer to read that than it will to do it. Try it on one album and see if it helps. Mp3tag is good to have around for mp3s anyway–especially if you’re not the one who ripped them in the first place. 

Thanks BR. I tried doing exactly what you said, then re-wrote the files to the Fuze, but no luck…

If this helps at all, mp3tag says the tag types are FLAC.

 "Saratoga:

You could try rewriting the FLAC tags in foobar. It has an option to completely remove the tag and then rewrite it fresh.  It sometimes helps hardware devices that are confused by a tag.

 

Alternatively, you could try rockbox.  FLAC support is quite stable in rockbox, having been widely used for many years now. "

I’ve considered this, but my understanding is that Rockbox does not have power management tools that Sandisk’s firmware has. I’d really like to have good battery life.

Hmmm. If it’s not the tags, or if mp3tag can’t fix them,  it might be the encoder, which might indeed mean the PITA of re-ripping. 

I love open-source software for its idealism, but sometimes it has quirks. The Fuze only recently added FLAC to its firmware, and it’s known to be picky about other things (like tags), so maybe the Foobar encoder isn’t fully compatible–especially since you said you can play FLACs from other sources. 

Try ripping a track or two with Media Coder instead.  If that works…well…you know what lies ahead.

turbosaab16 wrote:

 "Saratoga:

You could try rewriting the FLAC tags in foobar. It has an option to completely remove the tag and then rewrite it fresh.  It sometimes helps hardware devices that are confused by a tag.

 

Alternatively, you could try rockbox.  FLAC support is quite stable in rockbox, having been widely used for many years now. "

 

I’ve considered this, but my understanding is that Rockbox does not have power management tools that Sandisk’s firmware has. I’d really like to have good battery life.

You will not have good battery life with FLAC, no matter what. It really sucks the battery life out of them.I know with my old Clip it dropped play time from 14-15 hours down to 8.5 hours. The Fuze will do better than that, of course, but it will drop ssignificantly from mp3 battery life.

Wasn’t there an issue regarding flac and compression?  I don’t have a problem as I use level 0 (no compression), but it might be worth trying a different level of compression - preferably none and work up from there.  You say you use level 8 (highest quality) but, at least using mediamonkey, level 8 is highest compression. Maybe your software is different.

Message Edited by summerlove on 12-29-2009 06:42 PM

“summerlove: Wasn’t there an issue regarding flac and compression?  I don’t have a problem as I use level 0 (no compression), but it might be worth trying a different level of compression - preferably none and work up from there.  You say you use level 8 (highest quality) but, at least using mediamonkey, level 8 is highest compression. Maybe your software is different.”

Well I tried level 8, level 4, level 2, and level 0. All of these had the exact same issue. The Fuze reads the tag, but won’t play the file.  It just skips right through them.

And you were right, the “quality level” refers to the compression level of the file. There’s a 5%-10% file size difference between level 0 and level 8.

Thanks anyways.

Message Edited by turbosaab16 on 12-29-2009 11:19 AM

“Black-Rectangle: Try ripping a track or two with Media Coder instead.  If that works…well…you know what lies ahead.”

Well, this was the issue. I now have to re-rip all of my files using Media Coder. The files were originally ripped using FreeRIP 3. All of the files ripped from this program played absolutely perfect on my computer.

Apparently Fuze is very, very finicky about what program encodes the FLAC. Very annoying.

For the record, I re-ripped my tracks at compression level 8, and they all played fine. So compression level was not the issue.

Since I’ve seen this come up on other threads, I ended up setting the USB mode to MTP. Not sure if this mattered or not.

Glad it’s working for you.  The compression issue was when they first added flac capability to the firmware (and there were only a few posts then if I remember right), so I’m glad that’s no longer a problem.

@turbosaab16 wrote:

“Black-Rectangle: Try ripping a track or two with Media Coder instead.  If that works…well…you know what lies ahead.”

 

Well, this was the issue. I now have to re-rip all of my files using Media Coder. The files were originally ripped using FreeRIP 3. All of the files ripped from this program played absolutely perfect on my computer.

 

Apparently Fuze is very, very finicky about what program encodes the FLAC. Very annoying.

 

For the record, I re-ripped my tracks at compression level 8, and they all played fine. So compression level was not the issue.

Sorry I’m late to the party.  I can confirm that something in which the way freerip generates FLACs that the fuze doesn’t like.  I had the same issue when I briefly tested freerip.  I’ve used Winamp, Foobar, Mediamonkey, EAC and dbPoweramp with good results with FLACs and the Fuze.

Some free programs are great, but with freerip’s rather limited options (in the free mode) and the problems that the Fuze has with its generated FLACs, I can’t really recommend it.

I don’t like how finicky the Sansa is either. And it’s not like they advertise some of the necessary specs (like ID3v2.2 or ID3v2.3 tags only) or workarounds.

But if fuze_owner GB’s list is reliable, and he invariably is, you just got stuck with a weird FLAC variation from FreeRip–luck of the draw.

As for finicky…your computer is a lot bigger, with more RAM and processor speed and operating-system software, than the Fuze is.  So I expect compromises have to be made about what the unit can do with its tiny brain. All in all, it’s pretty impressive. 

@turbosaab16 wrote:

 "Saratoga:

You could try rewriting the FLAC tags in foobar. It has an option to completely remove the tag and then rewrite it fresh.  It sometimes helps hardware devices that are confused by a tag.

 

Alternatively, you could try rockbox.  FLAC support is quite stable in rockbox, having been widely used for many years now. "

 

I’ve considered this, but my understanding is that Rockbox does not have power management tools that Sandisk’s firmware has. I’d really like to have good battery life.

FLAC performance in the sandisk firmware is so awful I’m pretty sure Rockbox will give you better battery life.   

Message Edited by TomJensen on 05-03-2010 06:56 PM

Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, dbpoweramp was free:

http://www.aplusfreeware.com/categories/Audio-Video/dBpowerAmp.html

Black-Rectangle wrote:

Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, dbpoweramp was free:

 

http://www.aplusfreeware.com/categories/Audio-Video/dBpowerAmp.html

That version is _ old _… Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP compatibility. :stuck_out_tongue:

@marvin_martian wrote:


@black_rectangle wrote:

Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, dbpoweramp was free:

 

http://www.aplusfreeware.com/categories/Audio-Video/dBpowerAmp.html


That version is _ old _… Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP compatibility. :stuck_out_tongue:

Ha Ha… I forgot it used to look like that.

I have absolutely no complaints in having to pay a small fee for a program as good as dbPowerAmp.  There isn’t a day that I don’t use it.

fuze_owner-GB wrote:


@marvin_martian wrote:


@black_rectangle wrote:

Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, dbpoweramp was free:

 

http://www.aplusfreeware.com/categories/Audio-Video/dBpowerAmp.html


That version is _ old _… Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP compatibility. :stuck_out_tongue:


 

Ha Ha… I forgot it used to look like that.

 

I have absolutely no complaints in having to pay a small fee for a program as good as dbPowerAmp.  There isn’t a day that I don’t use it.

I did look at the page for the current version, and it really does look pretty impressive.