Music merged with MergeMP3 breaks the Fuze?

I got a Fuze 8gb for my wife to listen to classical music at work.  To make it easy to listen to multi-movement works, I used the freeware program MergeMP3 to put all the movements into one bigger MP3 file.  Some pieces, though, were not multi-movement anyway so I didn’t need to do anything to them.

She hadn’t listened extensively but noticed a couple things would either freeze or restart the Fuze when she tried to play them.  It has taken me amazingly long to figure this out, if indeed I have, but it appears that any MP3 created using MergeMP3 will cause the problems I described, while any MP3 that I just put on the Fuze without doing anything to it plays back fine.  

I did a search for MergeMP3 on this forum and saw that a few people mentioned using it with the Fuze, but for audio books.  Has anyone used it for music and has it worked?  Could it be something I’m doing when I do the merge?  I was using MP3Tag to do the tags, since a merged file loses all the tag info of the original movements and for awhile I thought maybe the problem was there, but MP3tag is set to use the ISO version that seems to be the approved one so I don’t think that is the problem.

An update:

I brought three MP3 files from a multi-movement work into Adobe Audition and pasted them together there, then saved them from within Audition.  I then copied this file to my Fuze and it plays fine.  

I also tried a different  MP3 file merger program (one called MP3merge, instead of MergeMP3) and when I told it to merge the files it warned me that the bitrates were different in the the different MP3s.  I told it to go ahead anyway and it produced a file which, although it had the correct file size, really only contained the first of the MP3s.  However, it did play fine in the Fuze.

Putting this info together makes me suspect the different bitrates of the MP3s may be the problem.  The original MP3s were created in Exact Audio Copy, using Lame in VBR mode, which of course results in different average bitrates for different WAV files.  Since Adobe Audition treats the file essentially as a wave and then reencodes it when I saved the patched-together version, the differing bitrates shouldn’t be a problem for it.  Maybe that’s why the resulting file plays in the Fuze.  I sure don’t look forward to using Audition to merge all those files though – that would be extremely tedious!

 Does this make sense?  Anyone see a way around this problem so that I could use an MP3 merger program? 

OH, I forgot to mention that the files merged with MergeMP3 play just fine in my computer, even if I am playing them from the copy on my Fuze.

Well, this is kind of boring talking to myself, but in case anyone else is interested I think I figured it out.  I found yet another MP3 merger program, called “Direct MP3 Splitter Joiner”, which claimed that it could properly handle VBR MP3s.  Unfortunately it is not free, but I downloaded it and tried it in trial mode and it joined the files together and THEY PLAY in my Fuze.  So it would appear that the other programs simply do not handle VBR in a way the Fuze likes, though like I said above, the first program created merged files which play fine on my computer, so I don’t know why the Fuze is so picky.

Right now it looks like I can do the merging that I wanted, for $29.95.

I’d still appreciate others’ comments. 

What you’ve written sounds logical.

Your computer has a lot more processing power than the Fuze, which is why it’s more flexible.

Perhaps you could do future rips at CBR if you really want to stay with MergeMP3. 

Yes, I’m sure CBR would work.  Of course, that would mean re-ripping or re-encoding over 5 gig of music and less space on the Fuze for music since CBR is less efficient.

Also, when I explained to my wife that the new Fuze firmware allows navigating by folder, she said she’d prefer that, so grouping movements together isn’t as important as it was before folder navigation was possible.

Is this what you used? If not, try it and make sure you use the “write VBR frame” feature. I think that should work.

Well, well, what do you know.  I had noticed the “advanced” option for MergeMP3 and had tried doing a merge with that checked but it made no difference.  What I did NOT notice was that “Include VBR frame” had a “Yes” option (default is “Auto”) and when I selected that and merged, the result was playable in the Fuze.  Thanks very much for the pointer and this problem is now solved.