Thank you for another reply, fuze_owner!
If you want an encoder that sounds good at low bit rates, you should give ogg vorbis an audition or two. It is known for having better sound quality at lower bit rates than most of the other encoders out there. So, if you want a good balance between file size and sound quality, I would suggest ogg vorbis.
I shall give "ogg vorbis’ a try. At the same time, I should mention that a low bit rate is not my goal or objective. Prior to posting, I read ** (somewhere) that it was difficult to tell the differences between ENCODERS at high bite rates. Therefore, I theorized that comparing encoders at low bit rates would expose the lesser encoder’s weakness(es). As a result, I speculated that the lesser encoder may have flaws at high bit rates that I simply can not hear or distinguish. After reading your reply, fuze_owner, it looks like my encoder education is **just beginning because it appears that my “speculation” may be similarly flawed.
MY FIRST SANSA
Before I bought the e260, I was a happy Sansa M240 owner. :) It was my first MP3 player - a Christmas gift. Back then, my storage goal was simple, given its 973 MB limit, I wanted to load it with 250 to 300 decent sounding tracks. My first experience ripping CDs was with Windows Media Player 9. I remember being overwhelmed by settings that appeared to have nothing to do with ripping CDs. Then, one day, during a Windows Update, there were 2 or 3 Microsoft Security Updates for WMP and that is when I decided that I had enough of WMP - too many peripheral settings, and I had no interest in dealing with multiple (and likely future) security vulnerabilities.
Next, I tried Audiograbber and LAME. Given my storage goal, just like my current experience (described above), I as not impressed by ****LAME’s audio quality at low bit rates.
Then, a friend suggested JetAudio. He said it used the WMA9 encoder and the GUI was cool looking and easy to navigate. ** Immediately fond of its VBR option, I squeezed 300+ tracks on my M240 at an average of 64Kbps. But, like many audio enthusiasts, I started yearning for higher quality and therefore higher bit rates, even when my ears thought 64Kbps wma tracks sounded as good, if not better than, as 128Kpbs LAME mp3 tracks. I lasted over a year, and one day, about a month ago, I erased all my 64Kbps (average) VBR tracks, an re-ripped several of my favorite CDs at 320Kbps and was AMAZED by my M240’s reproduction quality. So much so, I started looking for a new player that could easily hold 300+ tracks at 320Kbps. **
After comparing various player features at Sandisk’s Sansa website, given its microSD expandability and its rechargeable battery, I chose ** the e200 series. I almost bought a refurbished e240 from TigerDirect at $37 with shipping, but then saw Newegg was selling new e260 for $42 with free shipping. The choice was obvious and my new e260 arrived less than a week ago, today. With its 3807MB internal memory, the e260 may hold 200 to 300 tracks at 320Kbps CBR. I know, what happened to my fondness for VBR? For now, I am putting it on the shelf ****and in the CBR groove. :) Given its microSD expandability, I can add hundreds of 320Kbps tracks! **
I never knew about this WONDERFUL website or the Sandisk Community ** Forums until about two weeks ago. I think it was a link at the Sansa Store **that got me here, but it may have been a Google search as well - I do not remember.
Wanting to verify e260 characteristics and resolve an issue or two, prior to this posting, I posted queries regarding e260 output impedance, ** firmware revisions, and Sandisk’s media converter - though not in that order. Thus far, I have had nothing but EXCELLENT experiences in ****the Sansa forums. **
Due to the courtesy of some extraordinarily kind, knowledgeable and generous forum members, I am now armed with a variety of solutions, ** new knowledge and a quest to maximize my e260 listening experience - while my hearing is still good. Unfortunately, I also finding myself back to dealing with encoders. **
After spending a few hours perusing the Internet and looking at the variety of encoders and GUIs available today, many that were also ** around back when I got my M240, many of which have not been updated since (or before then), I grew overwhelmed by the variety and then something occurred to me. Why not search the Sansa forums and see if others Sansa owners had to say about this issue. After a few looks, I decided to post my own query and I think you know the rest of the story. **
Thanks again for your support and follow-up suggestion, fuze_owner. Even though I am presently biased by 320Kbps, I am looking forward ** to giving “ogg orbis” a spin or two. **
Message Edited by CurlySue on 03-01-2009 11:52 PM