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GPH
Newbie
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎09-01-2011

Confirmed - Micro SD Load Problems due to aac file load failures

I have been struggling with getting my purple 4GB Clip Zip to load my audio files from my SanDisk 32GB micro SD card since getting the player over two weeks ago. I put about 29 GB of files on the card and the failure mode has been upon insertion of the card into the player, and then startup, the player starts a refresh cycle and a progress bar starts up on the screen.  When the progress bar reach 30-35% complete the screen goes dark and the load of content from the card comes to an abrupt halt.  I tried two different 32GB memory cards and got the same failures. I tried just loading a third or half of my library and it failed.  I tried under 4GB of files on the card and it still failed when the progress bar reached about 40-45%.  Once it fails, and it became totally predictable that it would, the only recourse at that point is to remove the card and do a hard reset of the player to get it to work again without the card inserted.  The card became essentially worthless.

 

My files are a mixture of aac (m4a) and mp3.  I loaded the card from a Mac from iTunes using drag and drop. After seeing on another forum post that aac files might be a problem I tried my own experiment. After making a complete backup, I converted all of the aac files to mp3 in iTunes and repeated the load procedure with the entire library again.  This time all files were mp3 instead of a mix of aac (m4a) and mp3.  I got a progress bar on startup of the player as before, but this time the load went to completion.  It took about a 60 minutes to complete, but the GREAT NEWS is it did finish using all mp3 files. I found that my nice, long Kindle power cord fits the Clip Zip, so I plugged it in while this long load process was going on to keep the battery from getting run down.

 

I can only conclude that SanDisk's claim of aac file support bears an explanation and an asterisk.  I now have proof that aac files won't load from the Micro SD card.  My card is not the problem.  The player is.  I have to rate their support of aac files an EPIC FAIL with the current firmware (01.01.15). This issue should have been caught in testing.  Shame on SanDisk and shame on their online support which tried to claim my card must be the problem. They have been a complete waste of my time.

 

Until they fix the aac file load issue with new firmware, you will have to use mp3 files with your card if you want the files to actually load and be playable.  For now, SanDisk should put an asterisk by their claim of aac file support.

 

 

SanDisk Guru
Posts: 4,898
Registered: ‎11-17-2008

Re: Confirmed - Micro SD Load Problems due to aac file load failures

[ Edited ]

Will those files work if you put them in the internal memory?

iPod Touch 5G 32GB, Touch 4G 32GB, Clip Sport 8GB.
Rockbox-> Clip Zip 4GB, iPod Nano 2G 4GB, iPod 5.5G 80GB
2012 Nexus 7 32GB, Asus MeMoPad 8 16+64GB, LG Optimus G Pro, Nokia Lumia 900, Nokia Lumia 520

GPH
Newbie
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎09-01-2011

Re: Confirmed - Micro SD Load Problems due to aac file load failures

I took 13 of the aac files from my library at random and tried to load them into the player. The refresh cycle started and was noticeably very slow. How slow? Try 55 minutes to load the 13 files.  They did finally load to the player memory, but come on, 55 minutes for 13 files!  I would say SanDisk has some work to do to get aac files really supported on this player.  

 

I can add that if the aac files exceed a data rate of 320 kbps, which some of mine do, they will not be listenable on the clip Zip after the player screen goes dark.  That was another issue I found early on and reported to SanDisk.  I have no word whether this issue will be addressed.  I had created these high data rate files from flac files on my Mac using Max since iTunes does not support flacs. These high data rate aac files played fine in iTunes, but do not on the Clip Zip with the latest firmware. They only sound good until the screen goes dark.

SanDisk Guru
Posts: 8,152
Registered: ‎12-11-2007

Re: Confirmed - Micro SD Load Problems due to aac file load failures

Well, obviously, something is up. I'm not a Mac or iTunes dude, but in the past, it's been noted that a Mac, when transferring files to a device, creates "ghost system files" that often will clog (better: choke) a device (any DOS-oriented device, not just the Clip). The solution: use freeware software such as KopyMac to transfer the files--it deletes the ghost files (and is easy to use). Note: apparently, KopyMac is fast disappearing, as the developer no longer is working on it; if you can't find it (or just as an alternative), freeware Hidden Cleaner also has gotten high marks. Perhaps try one of the above (and let us know the results)? P.S. There are a few other ways to eliminate the ghost files, that I don't have under my belt (such as using terminal emulator or something like that, on a Mac?)--you could try a search here (box at the upper right).
GPH
Newbie
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎09-01-2011

Re: Confirmed - Micro SD Load Problems due to aac file load failures

I don't think these "ghost system files" you speak of are the issue.  If I make the loads using mp3 files they go smoothly and much more quickly than comparable loads of aac files and are completely "choke free". With MP3 only files in the load, the player refresh step plows through the files steadily and can even digest thousands of files on my card without abending. In short it works as it should if you limit the input to mp3 files only.

 

Add aac files to the player and refreshes crawl along at a snails pace.   The more aac files you include the slower it loads.  Add the aac files to the card and attempt to load the card contents and you are toast as the load will fail within minutes every time.

 

I have my proof through extensive testing trying to get this player and SanDisk 32GB card to actually work as advertised.  Extensive testing is something SanDisk apparently chose to skimp on when they built this player and advertised that it would handle both MP3 and non-DRM aac files. 

 

 

SanDisk Guru
Posts: 4,525
Registered: ‎07-18-2007

Re: Confirmed - Micro SD Load Problems due to aac file load failures

can you check the AAC files creates in MAX to see what codec is used? MPEG4 codec mp42 version 2 used by some apps for aac container is not supported by the CZ

GPH
Newbie
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎09-01-2011

Re: Confirmed - Micro SD Load Problems due to aac file load failures

drlucky,

 

I checked all 13 files that took an eternity to load, but did finally load to the player and they were all using an mp42 MP4 v2 [ISO 14496-14] container and a  mp4a: MPEG-4 AAC LC codec.  Since these files play fine in the CZ, but load very slow, just what do you mean by not supported by the CZ? 

 

As far as MAX being the source of this container, MAX has three AAC data format settings:

 

AAC

MPEG-4 HE AAC

MPEG-4 HE AAC V2

 

I tried each one of these settings with the same FLAC source file to see the impact on CODEC and Container.

 

The results:

 

AAC setting uses the MPEG-4 LC Profile Codec and the Elementary AAC Audio, ADTS hdrs container

MPEG-4 HE AAC setting uses the same Codec and Container as the AAC setting

MPEG-4 HE AAC V2 setting uses the same Codec and Container as the AAC setting

 

My conclusion is:  MAX does not use the mp42 MP4 v2 [ISO 14496-14] container.  This makes sense when I think about it.  MAX uses open source and core audio api's from Apple and is a Mac only product.  MP42 is of Microsoft origin, from what I can tell, and is usually affiliated with Windows Media Video.  So the question is where did my 13 files get the mp42 MP4 v2 [ISO 14496-14] container?

 

I only use MAX for FLAC conversions to get files iTunes will play since they don't support FLAC playback.  The other main sources of aac files on my Mac is iTunes itself or I possibly got the files already in aac format.  You can set iTunes to convert files to aac or mp3 on import or you can just right click a file and convert to aac format.  Up until the recent findings of problems with aac files with the CZ, I used an import as aac setting in iTunes. This import setting has a few options of it's own and I had to try them all to see what happens. The results are interesting to say the least. The two main settings choices for AAC Encoding in iTunes are High Quality (128 kbps) and iTunes Plus.  I found both of these settings produce aac files with the mp42 MP4 v2 [ISO 14496-14] container.  This is the same container signature my 13 files in my previous test have.  This implies those technology exchanges between Apple and Microsoft some years ago must have included this mp42 technology. This also means iTunes is the source of the container that you say the CZ does not support. That has major implications! 

 

I did all these tests using a Mac with the Mac version of iTunes (10.4.1 - 64 bit version). If what you say is true, that CZ does not support aac files with the mp42 MP4 v2 [ISO 14496-14] container, then by extension, I can now conclude that means the CZ does not support aac files created in iTunes for the Mac.  I'll leave it to someone with iTunes for WIndows to test what the aac files situation is with that version of iTunes.  

 

The only strange thing is the 13 aac files I tested did load and they did playback fine from the player memory. They just took forever to load, so I guess I need that explanation what you mean by "does not support".

 

GPH

SanDisk Guru
Posts: 1,265
Registered: ‎04-24-2009

Re: Confirmed - Micro SD Load Problems due to aac file load failures


 

My conclusion is:  MAX does not use the mp42 MP4 v2 [ISO 14496-14] container.  




 

ISO 14496-14 is the MP4 file format used by AAC.  Everything that understands AAC files supports it.

 

 

MAX uses open source and core audio api's from Apple and is a Mac only product.  MP42 is of Microsoft origin, from what I can tell, and is usually affiliated with Windows Media Video.  So the question is where did my 13 files get the mp42 MP4 v2 [ISO 14496-14] container?

 

 

MP42 is the Apple quicktime/mp4 type code for MPEG4 layer 2, not MS-MPEG4v2.  

 

 

 I found both of these settings produce aac files with the mp42 MP4 v2 [ISO 14496-14] container.  This is the same container signature my 13 files in my previous test have.  

 

 

Unsurprising, since all modern AAC files use that container.

 

 

 

The only strange thing is the 13 aac files I tested did load and they did playback fine from the player memory. They just took forever to load, so I guess I need that explanation what you mean by "does not support".

 

 

AAC is stupidly complex.  Most likely the Sandisk decoder is just buggy when used on files that don't use the specific container layout that iTunes uses.  I didn't see any mention of testing actual iTunes AAC files, but I'd be surprised if they didn't work.  Until Sandisk gets this figured out, either stick to iTunes or better yet just use MP3 and avoid all this mess entirely.

GPH
Newbie
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎09-01-2011

Re: Confirmed - Micro SD Load Problems due to aac file load failures

Saratoga,

 

Thanks for the quick reply.  To your comments I offer my replies.

 

Unsurprising, since all modern AAC files use that container.

 

The 13 aac files I tested were created in iTunes as it turns out and not by MAX, as MAX produces files with a different container signature as my previous post outlined.  MAX does not use that  mp42 MP4 v2 container. 

 

 

AAC is stupidly complex.  Most likely the SanDisk decoder is just buggy when used on files that don't use the specific container layout that iTunes uses.  I didn't see any mention of testing actual iTunes AAC files, but I'd be surprised if they didn't work.  Until SanDisk gets this figured out, either stick to iTunes or better yet just use MP3 and avoid all this mess entirely.

 

I agree with you that the SanDisk decoder is probably buggy.  If you follow the complete thread, you'll see that the 13 aac files I used for my tests were created as aac files in iTunes and not by MAX, the container signatures and addtional tests bore this out as I outlined. These are the 13 files that took almost an hour to load to the memory of the Clip Zip but do play fine. They work but with great initial load hesitation.  Tests trying to load these same aac files from the memory card led to recurrent card refresh failures and failed loads.  Sticking with iTunes aac files, as you suggest, does not help:  aac files from iTunes are part of the problem with the Clip Zip.  MP3 conversion is the only workaround I have found for now.

 

Drlucky referred to MPEG4 codec mp42 version 2 not being supported by the Clip Zip. I welcome his/her explanation of just what this exactly means and the specifics on how to tell if your aac files are compatible with the Clip Zip or not and what workarounds, other than conversion to mp3 format, are recommended. 

SanDisk Guru
Posts: 1,265
Registered: ‎04-24-2009

Re: Confirmed - Micro SD Load Problems due to aac file load failures


@GPH wrote:

Saratoga,

 

Thanks for the quick reply.  To your comments I offer my replies.

 

Unsurprising, since all modern AAC files use that container.

 

The 13 aac files I tested were created in iTunes as it turns out and not by MAX, as MAX produces files with a different container signature as my previous post outlined.  MAX does not use that  mp42 MP4 v2 container. 

 


 

Regardless of whatever that tool you're using reports, all of these files are in ISO 14496-14 as that is the MP4 container required for AAC.  If it was otherwise they wouldn't work in iTunes either Smiley Happy  

 

Most likely that tool is just reading ftyp atom out of the file, which basically is just the encoders way of saying what it was trying to make and can take almost any value.  I would not read too much into it.

 

 

 

If you follow the complete thread, you'll see that the 13 aac files I used for my tests were created as aac files in iTunes and not by MAX,

 

 

Are you certain they're plain iTunes files?  Above you did not mention using iTunes to create those files, and also said that your library is a mixture of iTunes, MAX and downloaded files.  Not saying you made a mistake, but if files don't work I'd suspect theres something special about them.