pros and cons of using mtp vs. msc mode?

I’ve tried to find this question answered somewhere else, but so far no luck.  I recently got a Sansa Fuse and this is the first time I’ve had to worry about MTP vs. MSC modes.

With all the discussion of what MTP and MSC are, and how to change which mode it’s in, what operating systems support which mode, etc. etc. etc…

I haven’t found anything specific to the Sansa Fuse that tells me which mode is “better” to use when I’ve got a choice.  I know “better” is relative, but mainly what are the pros and cons of each mode?  So far the only annoying thing I’ve found about MTP is that you can’t use the “safely remove hardware” option on most Windows OS’s, and that makes me a little nervous.  But it looks like one big annoying thing about MSC seems to be (?) that you can’t always see what’s on your player when you’re in Windows Explorer.  

Any other pro’s and con’s on which mode to choose (assuming you’re using an OS where you have a choice).


This FAQ might explain the differences between the modes for you. You then have to decide what mode to use, based on how you intend to use your player.

Btw, the only files on your player that you won’t be able to see in Windows Explorer while in MSC mode are the ones that are put on in MTP mode (and vise-versa). Just a quirk of the system. :wink:

The only main use for MTP is with Things like Subscription services. Those are the big reasons for that.

We had this discussion some time ago:link

Message Edited by bdb on 05-08-2009 07:11 PM

Use MSC unless you have a subscription service (Rhapsody, Napster, Overdrive) that needs to transfer DRM (digital rights misery) information, which only works with MTP.

OK, I just switched over to MSC mode since I don’t have any subcription services and probably won’t purchase any, and Holy Crap it’s so much better!  I can actually see all the files, and now I have the option to “safely remove hardware” which I’m pretty obsessive about after hearing some horror stories.   

I’ve only got one problem now.  Like everyone else has mentioned, I can’t see any of the files that were on my Fuze before switching to MSC mode, and I know there’s nothing I can do about it.  It’s a relatively new player so I can just delete and re-copy the files, although it is quite a hassle.

Here’s a bigger question now… why do you really need the two separate modes?  I know there’s the protected-media issue, but you think they’d come up with some user interface that would at least let you see the files while you’re in MSC mode and visa versa so you can at least see everything that’s on your player at the same time.  I’m sure there’s some computer-geek mumbo-jumbo answer to that question :wink: (no offense intended; I’m a geek - just a lab geek & not a computer geek :slight_smile: ), but if you have a watered-down “big picture” kind of answer I’m just curious…  I mean, if you think of all the time we’re spending here trying to figure out some of these quirks, we could have used this time and brainpower trying to solve something like world hunger or global warming… maybe.  

Anyway, Thanks for the answers to my original question :slight_smile: !

The big Why?

I think it’s a combination of underestimating the user and overestimating all things Windows.

Here’s my entirely surmised scenario.

SanDisk looked at iPod and iTunes and saw how happy those users are with a program that automates functions like tagging, synching, organizing a music library and transferring DRM information.

Micro$oft told SanDisk, sure, our wonderful Windows Media Player can do all that too. It’s just like iTunes! Just make your units MTP-mode compatible. Your users will be oh so happy that WMP is keeping all their music synched. They’re too dopI to think about creating their own folders or seeing where their music goes, or choosing their file format and quality.  They don’t have the muscles to drag and drop all that music. They just want to plug in and have WMP pop up and use its ever so convenient interface. And we can strongarm all those subscription services into requiring WMP.

Which is how the Sansas are made. If Auto Detect sees WMP on the computer, it goes to MTP mode. Because of course everybody would like to use a big clunky resource-hogging piece of software rather than deal with the music themselves. Remember, there are a lot of people out there who have never changed their default desktop wallpaper. 

Then, maybe, someone at SanDisk actually started trying to use WMP, with its tyrannical defaults of ripping to copy-protected .wma mode and its Auto-Synch that tries to dump everything on your computer into the poor unsuspecting Sansa. And someone wisely said, Wait a minute! This is way too much automation! This new WMP is a big kludgy mess! We’d better throw in MSC mode!  And so they did.  

At least they did that. There are lots of mp3 players out there that are MTP only. Scary.

The question of why Windows Explorer can’t see the MTP files…well, it might better be addressed to Micro$oft, which has forced Windows Media Player onto us all. 

You guys just tear me up.

It wasn’t some kind of evil conspiracy to support Microsoft.  Janus DRM (WMDRM-10) support is a necessity for any player to work with protected media, and the essentials are integrated in any Windows-based PC.  This support is necessary for Rhapsody, Napster, Overdrive, NetLibrary, Audible, and many more services.

Yes, SanDisk could have negotiated some novel license agreement with Apple, to allow iTunes AAC (M4p) and such, but even the layman should see the problems inherent in jumping on that bandwagon.  We’d be arguing over the klidginess of iTunes, wouldn’t we?

On the contrary, SanDisk has opted for both MTP and MSC support, which allows operation with platforms other than Windows, like Linux and even OS-X.

The real culprit here is Windows Media Player itself.  Windows Media Player has some bizarre default settings, like the initial device synchronization procedure.  I’ll elabotrate a wee bit on this issue.  WiMP queries the new device, and actually knows the available capacity of the connected Sansa.  But, gentle Sansa users, what does our little WiMP do?  It sends everything but the kitchen sink on to your device if you’ll let it, and if there’s a track titled “Kitchen Sink”, well, it will send that over too!

The folks at Microsoft left a lot to be desired in Windows Media Player documentation.  Trying to figure out just what to do, and where those important settings are hidden, can be a royal battle. 

On the other hand, WiMP is a powerful application, and is quite handy, once you get the hang of it.  I routinely task it with several Sansas on the USB hub concurrently, and I can switch between devices at will, both internal and external memory. One can have manual tasks plus automatic synchronizations in the same session if desired.  Song ratings, ID3 tag editing, album art, all port easily.  Ah, and playlists with WiMP11 are a breeze.  Oh, and I run both Rhapsody and Audible through WiMP, all licenses and databases intact, making management of multiple Sansas convenient.

This is not without incident, I must note.  Every now and again, WiMP suffers a brain freeze, and corrupts its music database, requiring a slow but automatic rebuilding of the system, and setting up the Sansas’ individual preferences over again.

You do have the option of using a media manager like Media Monkey or Winamp.  I run both on occasion, with MM being quite handy for on the fly OGG rips.  Media Monkey is powerful in its own right, and with its functionality one must learn a new interface as well.

Simply put, integrating MTP mode was the obvious choice for these devices, as it gives most users the functionalities iPod users actually take for granted.  But, they are limited in their options, as iTunes does everything in that venue.

Bob  :smileyvery-happy: 

I’m not saying in any way shape or form that iTunes is good.

I think it’s as obnoxious as Windows Media Player–more so, since if you try to update Quicktime it makes you update iTunes, which installs Bonjour networking, which messed up my home wireless network until I realized what was going on and uninstalled it. Default ripper in iTunes is to AAC files, and the mp3 encoder is second-rate. The “Genius” module in recent iTunes versions is also an annoyance. And can you change the ID3 tag version in iTunes? Not in mine (though I’ve kept a pre-Genius version), so they’re all ID3v2.2

In other words, I would have been disgusted if SanDisk had cast its lot with iTunes. Not that Apple would ever have permitted anything but overpriced, over-designed, under-performing Apple products to sync with iTunes. 

But I guess a lot of dopI users are really in love with iTunes because they’re always praising it. And clearly SanDisk wanted to offer something that was just as how-you-say convenient.  

Glad Windows Media Player is working for you. Sounds like you are challenging it quite a bit. 

Even if you never use WMP, you’d still need MTP if you want to use subscription services like Rhapsody. Its no conspiracy.

@bdb wrote:
Even if you never use WMP, you’d still need MTP if you want to use subscription services like Rhapsody. Its no conspiracy.

There is a reason its not called “Microsoft Transfer Protocol” … you gotta believe that if it wasn’t universal Microsoft would have found a way to get their name in it.  

@conversionbox wrote:

There is a reason its not called “Microsoft Transfer Protocol” …

You mean it’s NOT? :stuck_out_tongue:

And here I thought MSC stood for “Microsoft Sucks, Clearly”. :smileyvery-happy:

@tapeworm wrote:

@conversionbox wrote:

There is a reason its not called “Microsoft Transfer Protocol” …

You mean it’s NOT? :stuck_out_tongue:


And here I thought MSC stood for “Microsoft Sucks, Clearly”. :smileyvery-happy:




Tape, have you ever tried Standup comedy? Out there where you are… Jokes like that would kill. 

MSI’ve never used services like Rhapsody etc. or listened to DRM-protected files, but I prefer MTP mode as my Clip and Fuze refresh library contents after disconnecting few times faster in this mode, than in MSC mode. Moreover, Clip used to sort files incorrectly or display strange Chinese characters instead of some of my ID3 tags in MSC mode.

Message Edited by htrz on 05-25-2009 04:45 AM

@htrz wrote:
I’ve never used services like Rhapsody etc. or listened to DRM-protected files, but I prefer MTP mode as my Clip and Fuze refresh library contents after disconnecting few times faster in this mode, than in MSC mode. Moreover, Clip used to sort files incorrectly or display strange Chinese characters instead of some of my ID3 tags.

The Speed Difference is negligible,but some times I can see about a 1 second difference. The problem with your characters is more likely related to your tag format, my guess is that using MTP allows the info to transfer differently, if you update the tags and make sure they are correct with no funny characters it would probably work better. 

Wow,  I guess I should have started a discussion thread called “Microsoft is the Devil: Discuss.”  Not that I don’t hate Microsoft in many ways - who does Bill Gates think he is trying to tell me how to spell my last name?  And you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think Mac-ism is a religious cult.   I guess the debate over formats is as old as beta vs. vhs (or 8-track vs. casette, paper vs. plastic, etc.).  What about a government-mandated format for all audio files? … Discuss.

@louise31500 wrote:
<–Snip–>  What about a government-mandated format for all audio files? … Discuss.

 It will never happen. There are many different formats all of which serve different uses. The program we use at the radio station needs a proprietary file type (Its a security thing), and we Use FLAC files to load it (the program does the convert). Ogg, Lame, and Flac Decoders are free for the most part, while other mp3(the big one) and other codecs are not. There is simply nothing to gain for anybody from regulating digital file types. I think a standardization would be nice, that is to say if you intend to sell digital files in a certain format they need to be a minimum of Xkbps. If it were up to me I would start with mp3 (its most popular) and say if you want to sell them the files have to be 320 kbps, then find the nearest in terms of OGG quality and say this is your minimum, so on and so fourth. The set the standard that if you want to sell FLAC files it can cost no more than $1 + what you would pay for an mp3 (If it was amazon who sells mp3 files for $0.99, FLAC files could cost no more than $1.99). Thats the only place I could see government or trade organizations stepping in. That said the FCC, RIAA, and (i think) The Health Dept. have some regulations, on audio output but those dont affect the public.