Playlists (mostly), formatting, full reset, etc.

Clip Sport: Some notes on setting up the player. The way to create usable playlists. Memory cards. A few notes on setting up the player: STARTING OUT: FORMAT AND PARTITION THE DRIVE -------------------------------------------- When I got my clip sport there were problems. In the Music directory there was a directory " $" whose content was the directory " $" itself. That is not good. All the "free" music was fine except for the filename, "[garbled}.mt3!" on the last file ("Hold On") and so the player could not recognize it and so could not play it. While I could create play lists, attempting to use them showed the file/song list as a list of files: [garbled} [garbled] [garbled] ... which the player could not recognize and could not play. (The songs could be added to a GoList and played from there but the GoLists do not use m3u format and so do not use the m3u library,) So ... I had a corrupted file system along with (apparently) a corrupted M3U library. I noticed a note in the forums suggesting doing a full reset by holding down the play button for at least ten seconds. I tried that and locked up the player. Tech support indicated that to do a full reset hold down the play button for at least \*twenty\* seconds (holding it down only for ten seconds reset the player half-way and left it unusable) and so I held the play button down for twenty-five seconds and then could start it again. They then instructed me to copy over to my computer (back up) any media files I wanted to save and use Windows to reformat the player. \*THIS IS NOT RIGHT!\* My player (I assume all) came formatted as a "super floppy". [see the end] A "super floppy" format is a disk with a boot section and sectors, like an old floppy disk. Hard disks are formatted differently. They have separate sections (partitions) each of which is formatted like a floppy (with boot sectors, directories, etc.), a partition table (listing where these separate sections are located) and its own boot sectors (the Master Boot Record (MBR)). When booted, the hard disk's boot (the MBR) looks at the partition table to see which of the sectors is flagged in the partition table as the one to start in and then says "OK ... go to (partition whatever) and try again" and the system goes to the starting (boot) partition and runs the code it \*its" boot sectors. Each of the partitions is formatted like a disk and you run the code from that sub-disk, partition. Why mention any of that? The clip sport I got was formatted as a single drive, NO PARTITIONS! Formatting that would format the whole shebang. The proper thing to do, I believe, is back up everything. Update to the latest version of the firmware if necessary and then use the clip sport to format the internal drive: GO TO: Settings System Settings Format Internal Memory and use that. That does \*NOT\* (just) reformat the drive. It partitions it. Now the OS/firmware is in its own (hidden?) partition and creates a partition for user data and, from the firmware, gets a new copy of the M3U library (and others) and copies it to the user partition and also creates the directory structure the system expects (the /Music, /Playlists, etc. directories). In my case that fixed the problem with the playlists (I could now create playlists that could be read and which worked). So ... a suggestion when you get a clip sport. Update the firmware if necessary. Copy any of the free files (and your own) from the player to your computer. Use the player's own FORMAT command to format the internal memory (and partition the drive and create a new user partition with fresh copies of various library files). (Perhaps you may want to do a full reset before formatting.) To do a FULL RESET, hold the power button down for at least (over) twenty seconds (of course that is not mentioned in the manual and ... if you have the player in your pocked, you may wind up accidentally pressing the power button down for, say, twelve seconds - that will "apparently" brick the device. Try holding the power button down for over twenty seconds and then starting it. Naturally that information does not appear to be located in the manual.). PLAYLISTS: ---------- The manual says that playlists and the songs on the playlists must be in the same (top) subdirectory of the Music directory. \*THAT IS ALL WRONG.\* You cannot create a playlist for songs from different albums if you put them in different directories? No. The software and player is good but ... apparently SanDisk felt it would confuse their users to tell people how to use M3U playlists (tech support fell down rather poorly on this saying that the only way to create a working M3U playlist was to use their instructions for creating one using Windows Media Player and that using a text editor does not work on the clip sport). The player recognizes playlists by the extension - .m3u. Apparently they can be anywhere on the disk. Whoever created the player actually provides a \Playlists directory (which is where I put mine - it seemed a reasonable place!). An M3U playlist is basically - a directory list. Nothing more. However, it seems that the SanDisk wants an Extended M3U playlist which has a first line: #EXTM3U Extended M3U format has lots of capabilities which may or may not be supported, such as having the play list provide a title for the song which can be displayed when using the playlist instead of the song title in the MP3 file itself. I don't know which features the Clip Sport supports but others have reported that it assumes the first line is a comment line (starting with #) flagging the m3u playlist as an Extended M3U playlist and skips over it and have reported that if you omit that line, it will skip over the first song. OK ... so you put your music files in a directory, open it in Windows Media Player, tell it to create a play list and store it in that same directory. So your m3u playlist (I have not tried any of the extended features so I do not know which, if any, extended features the Clip Sport supports but it does have an M3U library and ... well ... whatever that supports - which probably has very little to do with SanDisk or what their tech support might tell you) is just a plain text file: myplaylist.m3u containing: -------------------------- #EXTM3U [song1.mp3] [song2.mp3] ... The player knows nothing about songs. Windows Media Player is a computer programme. It knows about files. If you follow the instructions about using Windows Media Player, putting all the songs for the playlist in a directory/folder, opening that in Windows Media Player, telling it to create a playlist in m3u format and save it in that folder it will simply put a file like the above in that directory/folder. That is designed for Windows Media Player to play the files on your computer. How does it? It reads the playlist and realizes you want to play [song1.mp3] first. That is a file. Where is it? The file does not have a location (directory) specified! Well ... let's take a guess that it is in the same directory as the playlist. BINGO! It is ... and Windows Media Player finds and plays the file. It seems overkill to open so heavy a programme as Windows Media Player to do one thing - get a directory list, put the line "#EXTM3U" on top and save as a file with the extension ".m3u" but ... apparently SanDisk feels that is all that a "normal" computer user is capable of. Suppose Joe has his files scattered about with one song in C:\Users\Joe\Media\Audio\song1.mp3 and another in a different partition (to window, a different drive) D;\SharedAlbums\SoundTracks\Rocky Horror Picture Show\FloorShow.mp3 and use Windows Media Player to create and save a play list as Joe's C:\Users\Joe\MySongs\MainPlaylist.m3u That playlist, MainPlaylist.m3u, will have to look like: #EXTM3U C:\Users\Joe\Media\Audio\song1.mp3 D;\SharedAlbums\SoundTracks\Rocky Horror Picture Show\FloorShow.mp3 and when Windows Media Player reads that and sees that Joe wants to play some music (well, all it understands are files) \*THIS TIME\* the files are precisely located on the computer and it doesn't have to guess that they are located just where the playlist is. That is a good playlist for Windows Media Player (or any other player which supports m3u playlists) which is running on that computer to find the files to play. If Joe just wanted a play list for the FIRST song the playlist might look like: #EXTM3U \Users\Joe\Media\Audio\song1.mp3 since the playlist is located at C:\Users\Joe\MySongs\MainPlaylist.m3u and when Windows Media Player reads it has to guess where the file is (which drive?) but ... well, the playlist isn't changing it so it is probably the same drive that the playlist is on and so it can find the file. #EXTM3U \Users\Joe\Media\Audio\song1.mp3 IS A VALID PLAYLIST THAT WOULD WORK ON THE SanDisk PLAYER IF IT COULD FIND THE FILE - THAT IS, IF ONE CREATED THE DIRECTORY \Users\Joe\Audio ON THE PLAYER AND PUT song1.mp3 THERE AND PUT THAT PLAYLIST JUST ABOUT ANYWHERE(?) ON THE PLAYER. Now. suppose you put the songs on the player in: \Music\SoundTracks\Rocky Horror Picture Show\FloorShow.mp3 \Music\Joe\song1.mp3 The playlist: SanDiskJoe.m3u containing: -------------------------- #EXTM3U \Music\Joe\song1.mp3 \Music\SoundTracks\Rocky Horror Picture Show\FloorShow.mp3 on the player will play the songs. Now, you will not be able to create that using Windows Media Player on your computer (unless you create the folders and files: \Music\Joe\song1.mp3 \Music\SoundTracks\Rocky Horror Picture Show\FloorShow.mp3 on your computer and have Windows Media Player create a play list from the files in those locations, an exact image of the structure on the SanDisk player). However ... IT IS JUST A PLAIN TEXT FILE! Well, a Windows text file. Text files have strings of letters and characters then a marker for the end of the line then more characters then another marker for the end of the line (EOL) then more characters ... in one string (a file is just a long string of bytes, characters with markers indicating where it should be split into separate lines for display). Macs (the old Mac's using the OS developed by Apple) use CHR$(13) (CTRL-M) to mark the ends of lines. Mac OSX, developed from the Next computer whose basic OS is BSD (a Unix variant) like other Unix variants (e.g. Linux, Solaris, ...) uses CHR$(10) (CTRL-J) to mark ends of lines. Windows on the other hand use the pair of characters CTRL-M CTRL-J (CHR$(13) followed by CHR$(10)) to mark the ends of lines. So ... it is a Windows text file as windows would create it with their own EOLs (if you use a text editor in Linux for example to create a playlist you will either have to use one configured to act like a Windows Text Editor and use Windows EOLs or manually add the extra CHR$(13) to the end of each line or use a utility like unix2dos which converts a Unix, Mac text file to one with Windows EOLs - If you use an IBM mainframe which uses EBCDIC instead of ascii you're on you own). The specification for m3u indicates (I believe) that is uses the windows-1252 character set which limits the characters one can use. Full unicode suupport is available in m3u8 (with unicode characters encoded in UTF-8) but SanDisk uses m3u, not m3u8. I suspect that the SanDisk player uses windows-1252 characters so if you want non English/Ascii characters be sure to use that font in the listing AND IN THE FILENAMES USED ON THE FILES THEMSELVES (in Linux "recode" can convert characters). I just use plain ASCII and haven't played around with special characters (actually, you don't have to use windows-1252, if you use the same characters in the playlist and filenames but then they won't be displayed correctly, though they should still work). Yes, you can use what SanDisk says is the ONLY way to create m3u playlists (tech support said that the "notepad" method does not work on the clip sport) - Windows Media Player to create a playlist and store it in the same directory as the songs and copy that directory to the \Music director of the player (the player will find playlists just about anywhere as long they are files with the extension .m3u) so that the player can find the songs without any folder or directory given for the song files - it will guess that it is in the same directory as the playlist and find them. Do that and you will not be able to create playlists for songs from different albums/directories. The playlists must be in the same directors as the songs? Those must be top level subdirectories of \Music? Both wrong. On a memory card I have the following playlist: ======= #EXTM3U \Music\Operetta\FallingInLoveWithSomeone.mp3 \Music\Operetta\MakeBelieve.mp3 \Music\Operetta\RomanyLife.mp3 \Music\Operetta\TheDonkeySerenade.mp3 \Music\Operetta\TheMarchOfTheToys.mp3 ... \Music\Movies\RobinHood.mp3 \Music\SentimentalJourney\Vol1\03\_YoullNeverKnow.mp3 \Music\SentimentalJourney\Vol1\16\_StormyWeather.mp3 \Music\SentimentalJourney\Vol1\17\_NightandDay.mp3 \Music\SentimentalJourney\Vol2\07\_MyFoolishHeart.mp3 \Music\SentimentalJourney\Vol2\08\_ThatsMyDesire.mp3 \Music\SentimentalJourney\Vol2\10\_Again.mp3 ... \Music\SentimentalJourney\Vol4\17\_ThatOldBlackMagic.mp3 \Music\RockyHorrorPictureShow\Selected\TheTimeWarp.mp3 ======= Stored as: ========== MyList.m3u ========== in the \Playlists directory on the memory card with the songs in \Music on the memory card. How hard are the playlists to create? They are nothing but directory lists. If you want to create them from files in C:\Users\Joe... D:\otherSongs\... just dump a directory list of the files you want to a text file and then use search and replace on the beginnings of the lines, replacing the directories they are in on your Windows (or, hopefully, other) system with the directories in which you are going to place the cards on the SanDisk player. Add the #EXTM3U line to the top of the list. Save as a file with file extension ".m3u" and save to the same "drive" (internal memory or the card) somewhere (the \Playlists directory is designed for that, though the manual doesn't mention it) and put the songs in the proper directory on the same drive in the player (internal memory or card). On the other hand, you could copy the files over to the memory card or player first and then dump a directory list of the files ON THE CARD OR PLAYER which will already have the correct paths! MEMORY CARDS: ------------- For the memory card ... I suggest devoting the card just to the player (and not use it for other stuff too) and the first thing to do with it is put it in the player and use its Settings System Settings Format External Card command to format the card. Like formatting the internal memory this will set up a partition and provide the structure the player expects (some files, the \Playlists directory, the \Music directory, etc.). TWO DRIVES: INTERNAL MEMORY AND MEMORY CARD ------------------------------------------- Above, for a Windows Media Play list with songs on different disks/drives (the C: drive, the D: drive, etc.) I showed a playlist which could be used on one drive to list and play a song from another drive (D:\Music\... - specifying the drive letter along with the path). The memory card and the internal memory appear as different drives/disks to the audio player. I do not know if there is some drive letter or label (such as "CARD:\Music\...) which could be used, for example, in a playlist stored in internal memory to be able to locate and hence play songs on the memory card (or vice versa). A few general notes: -------------------- Using the Folder option to locate a folder allows you to play the songs in the folder. What order are they in? I don't know. I like to create my own "albums" and have the album listed so I can play the songs therein (those seem to be sorted alphabetically so I play songs, 01\_zsong 02\_asong in that order - unless I use shuffle). I thought that the directories would specify the albums (each directory I use would appear as an album as well as a foler). No dice. If you are ripping songs from CDs or want to create your own Albums, the SanDisk will list Albums basee on the "Album" data in the audio file itself. MP3 files have metadata, the MP3 ID tags which specify the artist, genre, track number, album, etc. for the file inside the file. To put files in an "album" I use a tag editor to change the "album" data in the desired files to "My Album Number Whatever". I use id3tag on Linux. When you modify data on your system and restart it, it will be able to show you a list of your "albums". To do that it has to scan each and every audio file to read its "album" tag. With a lot of files, that can take some time. While some systems may show a filename and "not found" when displaying a playlist, the SanDisk player scans for the files and if one is not found, it simply omits it from the playlist. For example, if you use Linux to create a playlist AND FORGET TO CHANGE THE END OF LINE MARKERS TO DOS FORMAT the M3U library will not find any filenames or files and will just show you an empty playlist. While versions of Windows through XP NEED Windows EOLs (at least in batch files - but not in files loaded into Edit.exe), Windows Vista can handle more standard (Unix, Mac - CHR$(10)) End Of Line markers as well. Not the SanDisk player. The SanDisk needs Windows EOLs. The GoLists are not in m3u format. You may not find them on the internal memory "drive" but on an external card you will find the three GoLists as USERPL1.PL, USERPL2.PL and USERPL3.PL. These appear to be binary database files of some type (lots of padding null bytes to create fixed length records?). I think that is why when I originally tried out my Clip Sport player, while the M3U library might have been corrupted, the GoLists worked (they don't use M3U format). SUPER FLOPPY: ------------- On windows when you insert the player you will just see a directory, the same on Linux if you use some automount library. I hate to have things automatically happen without knowing what is going on so I use the "mount" command to mount devices. In Linux USB devices appear as devices in /dev/sda, /dev/sdb, /dev/sdc, etc. for the different connected USB devices. For drives, these can be mounted as ... mount /dev/[drive] /somedirectory/for/the/drive What is the drive? If the device has NO PARTITIONS, is a super-floppy, then IT IS THE DRIVE and one mounts it as, for example: mount /dev/sda /somedirectory/for/the/drive (sda1 will not work - it is not partitioned) If it is partitioned (like hard drives) then the drives are the sub-drives, the partitions, and one mounts the first available one as: mount /dev/sda1 /somedirectory/for/the/drive (sda will not work - it had no file system to mount. It has a partition table for the "drives" located in the various partitions). When I first got the Clip Sport I noticed that the only way to mount it was using /dev/sda (it was configured as a "super-floppy") and after running the player's own format command it was /dev/sda1, the user partition/drive on the player - THAT is something one can probably safely format (if absolutely necessary) using Windows as it is a separate drive on the player not containing the OS/firmware.

Thanks for the detailed tutorial on playlists. I was going crazy trying to figure out how to get a playlist composed of songs from different albums. It is insane to say that the playlist can only be played from the folder it is in. That would mean that if I wanted playlists that had some songs in common, then I would have to duplicate the songs in each folder. And why would I want to make a playlist of the songs in a folder anyway? I could just play the songs in the folder. Don’t need a playlist to do that. I took your information and successfully made a playlist that was recognized and actually worked!

Thanks! I was able to place the playlist in the Playlist directory and it works, but the relative path to the file has to be included for each song in the list. ex. Music\Beatles\01 - A Hard Day’s Night.MP3   --has the relative path to play the MP3 file, 01 - A Hard Day’s Night.MP3.

Term to use is “relative path”. It just contains the complete path to the file with no drive letter. 

The thing that confused me is that I expected to be able to select the playlist directly by accessing the folder and selecting the playlst file. It doesn’t work that way. I get the messge, “file not recognized”.  I found that playlist only work if select a playlist from the Music menu, and then use the Playlist menu to select a playlist. It works really well that way and I found that it can place my playlists in any directory folder, and the player will find it and list it in the Playlist menu. 

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This looks really thorough. It’s so long I got a little confused trying to figure out what I want to do. Please note my Clip Sport doesn’t have a memory card, just what the basic unit comes with.


Can I copy music files from my computer to the Sport using Windows Explorer rather than Windows Media Player, or do I have to sync with WMP?


On my computer, music is arranged in folders according to the format:








       (where — is typically either wma or mp3)

I want to keep that format on the Sport, so I can select music on the Sport by Artist or Album…right?

Q#3 (several questions actually)

The Sport already has folders for Music, Podcasts, and Playlists (and others). So, I put my music into the Music folder and some podcasts into the Podcast folder.

What’s the easiest way to create a playlist for a selection of the podcasts? …and for a selection of the music?

Do I put all playlists (for example, one for some podcasts and one for some music) in the playlist folder?

Do I use the relative path as it appears within the Music or the Podcast folder?

Maybe think about these suggestions?

  1. You can use Win Explorer to copy music files from your PC to the Clip Sport.

  2. You can use Win Explorer to make the sub folders you named inside the Music folder in the Clip Sport. 

    You can select music to play within 1 folder at a time using Folder mode.

     If you edit your ID3 tags, you can select Artists or Albums using Music mode. 

  1. It is best to use the SanDisk primary folders to create the appropriate sub-folders. 

   If you are going to create a playlist of files in one sub folder, you could put that list in there. 

   If you are going to create a playlist of files within more than one sub folder, you can put that list in the Playlist folder.

        (The playlist should include the relative paths such as:   \Music\Artist1\Album2\song1      Etc

    You cannot use Folder mode to play playlists.  Only Music mode can play playlists.

      Books mode mode does not show a playlists command.  Books mode reads ID3 tags. 

       If you spend a few minutes working on your ID3 tags, you may discover you do not need so many playlists. 

       And maybe try out using the built-in GoLists (1,2,3) for on-the-fly playlists. 


Thanks for the tips/info, DFELD. I will play around with it a bit and see what I can come up with.

Is it possible to create playlists without ID3 tags? I’ve never used them, and really don’t think I can go through all my music and add them.

I really, really have to have playlists. Multiple, and permanent (well, at least not on-the-fly) playlists.

Did you ever try setting up a test folder of music files inside the Music folder on your Clip Sport using Win Explorer?

Then you could try using MP3Tag software to make a m3u playlist of these files. You could ignore the tag editing for this little test.

OK. I just completed this easy test on my Clip Sport and it worked OK for me.

Connect Clip Sport to your PC

Using Win Explorer:

  1. Inside the Music folder create a new sub-folder (Test-1)

  2. Copy and paste 5 random music files from your PC to the Test-1 folder on your Clip Sport.

Download and install mp3tag from this url:

Run mp3tag:

  1. Click the little icon for “add directory” and add the directory Test-1 on your Clip Sport

  2. Click the little icon for “make playlist from all files”

  3. In the pop-up window “create playlist with this name”, change “mp3tag.m3u” to “Test-1.m3u”

Using Win Explorer:

Eject the Clip Sport.

Wait for the “refreshing your media” message to complete

Clip Sport:

Disconnect your Clip Sport

Navigate to the Music screen

Then navigate to the “Playlists” screen

Below the 3 GoLists you should see “Test-1”

Select Test-1. Then select any song to play.

While a song is playing, press the button below the center select button.

     Now you will see a handy sub-menu with about 6 more commands you may enjoy using

Please write back to let us know if these directions were helpful ???

Save the Test-1 sub-directory for more mini-tests if you want to try a bit of mp3tag editing.

With mp3tags, you can select “artists”, “songs”, “albums” and shuffles from all sub-folders inside Music all at once. You will not be constricted by the need to create a bunch of fussy playlists. (just my opinion)

Best Wishes !!!

Oops forgot to input message.
This is all very interesting but I have no idea what you’re all talking about. I have a locked Sport Clip that was apparently sold to people in prison. I like its size and want to use it in my work (beekeeper). Mine has no internal memory to read, meaning I cannot access it…everything plays off the external sd card. If I erase the card, put it in the player, then pull it out and look at the card again, it magically has all the same folders and files on it EXCEPT the “Owner” file that actually had a prisoner’s name and I guess prison number or done kind of reference number.

I tried making an m3u playlist and putting it on the card along with the actual music files in mp3 form. It worked twice but never worked again.

So I bought another Sport Clip on eBay and cleared the card, put all my mp3 files on the card (no m3u this time), then put it in the new Clip Sport. They were read so I moved them to Go File 1 (which is user 1) then put the card back in the locked prison version (it has a clear case). Now I can play my songs in go list 1.

My question is, how can I do this without using the device I bought off eBay? I’m no coder but I’ve played around with text editors and file viewer apps and it looks relatively straight forward. Is there a way I can add my mp3 songs to the file I find I’m the card which is labeled USERPL1.PL?

Thanks for the patience.