UTF8 limits tag length

Hey there.

Playing around with my new Fuze, I noticed a problem already mentioned here: here (ABI forum).

If I write my tags in ID3V2.4,UTF8, tag length is very limited. Although tags are truncated here with UTF16 and Latin encodings, too, the number of characters displayed is much more reasonable.

Artist string:

UTF8: 16 characters (annoying)

UTF16: 31 characters

ISO: more than 50 (in library view); 31 characters (now playing)

Album/Track string:

UTF8: 32 characters (not enough some times)

UTF16, ISO: more than 50 (library view), 63 characters (now playing)

A bug eats up two characters from the beginning of the album string using ISO encoding. But I wont switch back to ISO anyways, so I don’t really care.

I find this rather weird, because UTF8 needs less space than UTF16, even if its converted it should use the same space per character, not more.

If I say “more than 50” this is because the Fuze switches back to now playing after about 20 seconds. Probably the string has full length internally.

My tags were gernerally 64 characters long, I tried different programs to write the tags (foobar2000, tagscanner, mp3tag). No ID3V1 were present in my files.

The problem seems to be still present with .28

Any suggestions, solutions?

I’d be happy if I could use UTF8 (because I use fb2k for just about everything with my music) and see the same limits as with UTF16

It’s unfortunate that you aren’t willing to switch to ISO encoding, because that’s the version most compatible with Sansas (along with ID3v2.3. v2.4 support is not as well implemented).

It’s unfortunate that this thing doesn’t support the tags properly, I’d say.

What problems do exist with 2.3 and UTF16 other than this 31 character limitation I saw?

No other suggestions? Seems I have to contribute a lot to rockbox to get the player I expected out of the box.

Using long tags will further limit the number of songs the player will recognize. This might be an issue for those who want over 5,000 or 6,000 songs to be recognized by the player.

From Foobar FAQ:

MP3 tags (ID3v2) added or modified by foobar2000 are not read or are read improperly in application X or portable player Y. What can I do?

foobar2000 writes ID3v2.4 tags encoded as UTF-8 by default. To deal with broken software/hardware with partial support of the ID3v2 standard, an “ID3v2 writer compatibility mode” has been added (‘Preferences → Advanced → Tagging → MP3 → ID3v2 writer compatibility mode’); it results in non-standard-compliant tags being written (ID3v2.3 instead of ID3v2.4, UTF-16, no unsynchronization, no padding), but attempts to dodge known bugs in other ID3v2 implementations.

You could see if ID3v2.3 UTF-16 works better. You could also run your albums through mp3tag 


with its default under Tags/Mpeg set to ID3v2.3 ISO-8859-1.  It only takes a few seconds.