Playing music files in a predetermined order

I had a 1 GB Sandisk player for a number of years that I could drag and drop numbered folders containing numbered files into, and it would play the folders and the files therein in the order in which they were numbered. Unfortunately, it finally packed up on me so I replaced it with a 4 GB Sansa Clip, and I have tried every possible way to get this player to do the same thing. I have scanned this forum and attempted to follow the incomplete instructions of some of the experts here to no avail. It does not seem to me to be too much to ask this player to do that simple task that a player manufactured 5 years or more ago could do, without hassling with a Windows Media Player or some other program. I would be grateful if someone here could provide detailed instructions, or point me to a post or thread in this board, that would enable me to do that. Failing that, does anyone know of any player at any price that has that capability?

Since the Clip generally organizes and plays by tags, have you filled in the file tags?  If not, you likely can use a batch tag program that would fill in the file album and title tag fields using your file name and folder information.  You may wish to check out MP3Tag, as a possibility.

@miikerman wrote:
Since the Clip generally organizes and plays by tags, have you filled in the file tags?  If not, you likely can use a batch tag program that would fill in the file album and title tag fields using your file name and folder information.  You may wish to check out MP3Tag, as a possibility.

I had filled in the file tags in the Library of WMP, if that is what you meant, without success. However, while fiddling with the player some more, instead of using the “Play all” button that appears first, I scrolled on to “Albums,” then to “Play all,” and they seem to be in order there. Don’t quite understand it, because I had intentionally taken the files out of the folders before loading them, but that’s nothing new (me not understanding, that is). I guess, in order to avoid manually numbering hundreds of files every time I load this player, I’ll install the program you recommended, which I’ve already downloaded.  I guess I’ll keep using this player, if indeed I can sort this situation out, until I can find one that better fits my needs. It would have been helpful if Sandisk had included this information in their instruction manual, but if it’s there I couldn’t find it. Another reason to search for another player, one that provides adequate instructions.

Thanks for your suggestion.

Keep in mind, the Clip doesn’t generally care where you place your files, and apart from files placed in the Podcasts and Audiobooks folders, generally uses the file ID3 tags, not the file filenames and folder names, to organize the files.  This takes getting used to, if you’re used to a folder system of organization.  But once you automate this (make sure the tags are filled in before putting the file onto your player), it becomes a piece of cake.  Note that most players nowadays use ID3 tags and require this.

(By the way, tags are discussed at p. 20 of the manual, although briefly.  You likely will find a tag program such as MP3Tag as an easier way to tag your files, with more options, such as filling in tag information from file and folder information, rather than manually.)

Agreed as to the manual–it had some issues to begin with, and is now not up-to-date with the most recent Sansa updates.  But the player is simple enough, especially with some simple experimentation as you did, and asking any further questions here.

Enjoy–really!

@miikerman wrote:

(By the way, tags are discussed at p. 20 of the manual, although briefly.

HaHa, very briefly, like an afterthought. And page 20 of the manual is page 22 of the PDF. Just another little quirk. It is beyond me that the manufacturers of these devices seem to be unaware that there are people who want to play their files in a particular order. I guess they don’t think people who like classical music and opera will be using their players. I would think they would at least include a file-numbering program such as MP3Tag and full instructions for using it instead of letting their customers have to seek out third party software and depend on forums like this for information. Well, anyway somebody in tech support will be seeing an e-mail from me with some good advice on this subject, but like most good advice I’m sure it will be ignored. If I ever find a player that performs the way I want it to I’ll certainly snap it up, even if it costs 2 or 3 times as much as this one.

Agreed as to much of what you say–I think the complexity of the digital world often gets overlooked or intentionally ignored, leaving consumers to fend for themselves.  (One of the reasons for user support forums left and right, which I think manufacturers have come to rely on, in part.) 

Playing music in CD/album order is easy, but once you know how to tag/name your music (itself easy, once you know what to do). 

Well, I just got back from my daily fitness walk with the player, and the tracks seem to have played in the order in which I manually tagged them. I’ve experimented with the MP3Tag program a little bit without much success so far, as the instructions on that one are also a bit beyond my comprehension. For instance, I see nothing that says “batch file naming” or anything similar. I think I’ll wait until I find out if I’m able to decipher those instructions and actually batch name my files before sending the author a donation. 

Good to hear. I use The Godfather, also freeware, which is powerful with many options, but not necessarily self-explanatory at times.  It will allow the renaming of files using tag info., and the renaming of tags using file and folder info., among other things.  (For the latter, go to the Tags screen and use the dropdown menus/arrows by the tag fields you want to rename/add; apply; update.)

It’s a good idea to get your tags straightened out in any case, but playlists might be another option depending on your needs.  With a playlist you can playback files in any arbitrary order you want, regardless of tags or filenames.

Skinjob wrote: 
… depending on your needs. 

Thanks for your reply.

My needs are simple. I wish to load folders on this player and have them playback in the proper order. I foolishly thought this would be fairly simple, and I am continually told that it is, but I have yet to discern any method of doing this other than laboriously tagging each file individually. For example a folder named:

2007-08-18_Program 47-Podunk Symphony Orchestra
The files inside these folders are named such as:
01_Schnickeldorf-Symphony No. 10 in E minor, etc.

I wish to tag these files so that they will play in sequence, i. e.; the files in the Folder “2007-08-18_Program 47”, then the files in the folder “2007-08-19_Program 48”, and so on. I thought that the MP3Tag program would enable me to do that, but I have yet to decipher the instructions. A clear explanation of how to do that from anyone would be appreciated.

 

Although I am not the World’s Foremost computer expert, I get along pretty well, running a couple of web sites, using Photoshop to edit the digital photos I shoot with my Canon 5D, recording and converting music files with Nero, etc., but this little task has me stumped so far.

creating a playlist would probably be the easiest way for you to do what you want to do.

@drlucky wrote:
creating a playlist would probably be the easiest way for you to do what you want to do.

If I knew how to do that I wouldn’t be wasting my time here trying to find out. If someone could describe the process I would be grateful. Just saying, “creating a playlist” does not help at all.

@billyr wrote:


@drlucky wrote:
creating a playlist would probably be the easiest way for you to do what you want to do.


 

If I knew how to do that I wouldn’t be wasting my time here trying to find out. If someone could describe the process I would be grateful. Just saying, “creating a playlist” does not help at all.

Wow, a simple Google search about how to create playlists would have been much faster, instead of coming here and yelling at people who have already answered the same question 2,456,786 time.

Here, let me help you by doing the research for you.  And there is a lot of other “how do i do it” at the link, too.  So click the following link:

http://www.sandisk.com/Retail/Default.aspx?CatID=1468

@billyr wrote:


I wish to tag these files so that they will play in sequence, i. e.; the files in the Folder “2007-08-18_Program 47”, then the files in the folder “2007-08-19_Program 48”, and so on. I thought that the MP3Tag program would enable me to do that, but I have yet to decipher the instructions. A clear explanation of how to do that from anyone would be appreciated.

There are a multitude of tools that can create playlists, but it’s pretty easy to do with Notepad.  A m3u format playlist is just a text file containing a list of files to play back.  The files will play in the order they are listed in the playlist.

In your example, you could use Notepad to create a file called “2007-08-18_Program 47.m3u” in the 2007-08-18_Program 47 folder with the following contents:

#EXTM3U

01_Schnickeldorf-Symphony No. 10 in E minor.mp3

02_Some other symphony.mp3

03_Yet another one.mp3

04_Not another synphony.mp3

If you wanted to use Tags to do this you would need to make sure the following tags are correct:

Artist

Album

Title

Track

The Artist and Album tags are obviously used to group the files in the Artist and Album lists on the Clip.  Within an album, the songs will be sorted by Track and then Title.

In your example, with MP3Tag (I don’t have MP3Tag in front of me right now, so I’m going from memory):

  1. Open the 2007-08-18_Program 47 folder

  2. Select all the files on the right side of the main window

  3. Set values on the left side of the main window that apply globally to all the tracks and Save:

Artist=Podunk Symphony Orchestra

Album=Program 47 (you could include the date also if you like)

Genere=Classical

Year=2007

  1. Then select each file one at a time and set the information specific to each track:

Track=1

Title=Schnickeldorf-Symphony No. 10 in E minor

(Save and select the next file)

Track=2

Title=Some other symphony

(Repeat for all files in folder)

MP3Tag can also try to pull the track information from freedb based on the Artist and Album info.  So if you’re lucky it can do Genere, Year and all the Track/Title info for you automatically.  I’m guessing based on your example that you’ll probably have to do it manually.

@sansamaster wrote:

 

Wow, a simple Google search about how to create playlists would have been much faster, instead of coming here and yelling at people who have already answered the same question 2,456,786 time.

 

Here, let me help you by doing the research for you.  And there is a lot of other “how do i do it” at the link, too.  So click the following link:

 

http://www.sandisk.com/Retail/Default.aspx?CatID=1468

I wasn’t aware that I was yelling, and I was under the impression that this group was here to help users who are having difficulty persuading this equipment to do what it was designed to do. That is, if it is capable of performing this simple task. I have gone to the link, and watched 3 videos that describe how to load files onto the player, which I already knew. What I need to do is what I described in the OP, and which I can’t seem to find clear and written instructions that I can follow along to do this. I would have hoped that these instructions would be available in the PDF User Guide, but not so. That is why I am here. If such instructions exist I would be grateful to know where they are.

try watching the “adding a playlist” video. there is one for WMP 10 and another for WMP 11. i would suggest using WMP 11. I am sure this question has been ask and answered several times so you could also try searching this forum for “playlist”.

edit: surprisingly instructions for creating and adding a playlist are in the UM where one would think they should be. try looking on page 10 under “creating playlist”

Message Edited by drlucky on 05-27-2008 01:52 PM

If you want drag and drop playlists, and you are using Windows XP or Vista and Windows Media Player 11, it isn’t too hard to do, in MTP mode.

Open the Music folder on the Clip, then open whichever folder contains the music you want to access.  You can make this folder by drag and drop from Explorer.

Select one or more songs you want to be in your playlist.  Right click on a song, then select “Create Playlist”.  Rename the newly made playlist to something useful.  You may add songs or rearrange the order in the playlist if you wish. This creates a .pla playlist file, whose content only exists on the clip (you can’t copy it to your PC).

Do this for however many folders/sets you wish to work with.

Bonus over the play as folder method is that you can make however many playlists you want, which can play any songs from one or more folders.  You can copy your playlist file from the folder you make it in to the playlists folder (or anywhere else), and edit it to your heart’s content.

Play them by selecting playlists.

If you would tag your music, it would play in correct album/CD order.  And if you have a unique (i.e. non-CD) order to be followed, create a playlist.

@drlucky wrote:

edit: surprisingly instructions for creating and adding a playlist are in the UM where one would think they should be. try looking on page 10 under “creating playlist”

I am aware of those instructions (which, by the way, to get to page 10 on the PDF you have to click on page 12 in the Page panel, another annoying quirk), and they don’t work for me. First, when the files are imported into the WMP library sometimes some of them are missing. Other times files are in different folders [“albums”] than I had originally put them. And when they are imported into the library they are in random order, although they are numbered consecutively, and manually sorting out a couple of hundred files in the Playlist pane is a long process. And the file numbers that I had originally assigned don’t show. There are a lot more deficiencies, but you get the idea. Also, before starting this search you have to put your files in a certain folder, such as C/Users/owner/Music. So far as I can tell, you can’t designate a folder of your choice for WMP to copy the files from. Finally, why the hell should one have to use a program like WMP to load these files in the first place? That’s why I sent my iPod back when I got one a couple of years ago, when I found out it needed a total of 3 programs to work.

But never mind, I think I finally figured out a way to do this, and although it requires a lot more manual numbering than I think necessary it will have to do until something better comes along. So far as I’m concerned, this new generation of players is far inferior to the ones I had previously, into which numbered folders could be dragged and dropped and they would play in the correct order. I’m certain that there is a player somewhere that will perform as I wish, and one of these days I’ll unearth it. Until then, I’ll make do.

Thanks to you all who have tried to help.

Message Edited by BillyR on 05-28-2008 06:13 AM

Lots of good suggestions here, all around.

Is it just me, or did this thread suddenly bloom horizontally?  Every now and again, a thread will spread horizontally, requiring a constant scroll right and left to follow the text.

I haven’t located a user preference for this width limit.  The only time it needs to expand is if a user has submitted an image format that’s BIG, or if the post was formatted in the widescreen format.

What was the difference between m3u and pla for playlists?

Bob  :smileyvery-happy: