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Newbie
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎11-21-2008

Sansa Fuze docking station quality

Hi

i just bought a 8 gb fuze and it works great, but i have a question about the docking stations that are out there.  ive

read many discussions about how the line out amplification is either real or a pseudo voltage.   As i understand it, there are 2 pins on the chip that (i think i saw someone say 27 & 28) on the 30 pin connector that essentially need to be connected or pulled up as it were to create a lineout voltage.   I am not familiar with the chip nor am i an expert in this particular area this is just what i read.   My main concern is this, is this docking station actually creating a "clean" line out to the stereo where audio quality is decent or is he dock station actually just a conduit for a headphone line amp output that is just amplified before it gets to the stereo rca jacks?   Thus, that would be a more "dirty" signal than what would be desired.    Please help clear this up as many of the posts seem to be confusing about this.   we were hoping that we bought something that would be both mobile and good music source for our stereo hookup.   if this isnt a good source, what would be?

 

thanks 

SanDisk Guru
Posts: 5,822
Registered: ‎12-26-2007

Re: Sansa Fuze docking station quality

The Fuze has several parallel outputs.  The headphone amplifier is separate from the outputs available at the 30 pin connector.

 

Once the Fuze is docked, the headphone output is disabled, and audio feeds through the output at the 30 pin connector.

 

I'll share a wee bit of enlightening information here.  SanDisk has employed two output schemes ("scheme" in the engineer's terms, not a "cloak and dagger" situation of course) for the output when docked.

 

The fur was flying a while ago, regarding "true" line out versus the implementation on the Sansa.  Some prefer to have a line output that is at maximum, without any modification.  Perish the thought of a gain stage in the way!

 

SanDisk released the e200v2 device early this year, with the same chipset as the subsequently released Sansa Fuze.  The v2 was a handy testbed for the new machine.  On the e200v2 device, when docked, the headphone amplifier is squelched, and the 30 pin connector gets audio at 100 per cent.  Once lifted from the cradle, the headphone is once again active.  The headphone output is different from the audio at the 30 pin connector, in that it's a 60mw output optimized for the wee 16 ohm earbud.

 

When undocked, volume level is resumed via the handy scroll wheel, starting at the last setting used.

 

On the Sansa Fuze, this 30 pin output is not fixed, but variable via the scroll wheel.  Some complain that this is sacrilege, thinking in purely analog terms, that the audio is making a circuitous path through a rheostat, the scroll wheel.  Well, the wheel is actually no more than a key command, as far as the processor is concerned.  The audio signal is just as pure as it would be if the gain were defaulted to maximum.

 

If I plop the Fuze in the dock, having the output variable is preferable, as one can adjust the volume while observing video on the screen, or making a quick trim to the volume level.  One might be thinking in terms of using up power when the volume is rolled up towards maximum, but this is a higher impedance situation than a headphone speaker.

 

Running a set of decent harmon/kardon badged coomputer speakers with both devices, and swapping the 3.5mm headphone plug into the dock output, or the headphone output, I can assure you that we are indeed listening to a different gain stage than the headphone output.   There's a tasty signal available at the 30 pin port.

 

Both schemes have their advantages, using the e200v2 or Fuze, when docked.  The volume setting is preserved for undocked operation with your headphones in either device.

 

As for the sound quality, both are superb.

 

Bob  Smiley Very Happy

Newbie
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎11-21-2008

Re: Sansa Fuze docking station quality

ok thank you, so it is a line out level to the dock station but variable. since it is variable is max volume on the fuze equivalent to the typical line out level the rca jack wants to see? either way it sounds like it will work. about the dock - I saw one on amazon (griffin tech) for 15 and one on sandisks site for 39.99 (also griffin). they look the same but I am betting one comes with a charger and the cheap one without it except theres virtually no info on what's in the box in either case. any idea what the deal is? or should I buy the 15 dollar one and find a charger someplace else? thanks
SanDisk Guru
Posts: 5,822
Registered: ‎12-26-2007

Re: Sansa Fuze docking station quality

The Griffin Dock is excellent for the e200 or Fuze.  Note that with the Fuze you will need to thicken the rubber spacer that pops in to the dock behind the device, since the dock was originally engineered for the e200, which is THICKER than the new Fuze.

 

There are three rubber spacers provided with the dock.  Use the two spacers NOT marked e200, and lightly glue them together with a wee dab of contact cement.  The resulting spacer supports the Fuze when docked.  I use the third (e200) spacer interchangeably when listening to the e280.

 

The dock comes with a USB cable, with a standard plug on one end, and a Mini-B connector on the other end.  If you wish to listen to your device without the PC, you will need a generic USB charger for power.  Without power, the dock will not work "solo" with the v2 or Fuze.

 

The Griffin cable doubles as a handy Sansa Clip extension cable if desired.

 

Bob  Smiley Very Happy

Newbie
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎11-21-2008

Re: Sansa Fuze docking station quality

Whar do you recommend as good usb charger thats reasonably priced?   Or maybe a dock + charger deal together for a good price?  Any URLs you can recommend for this?

 

thanks again for all your help. 

SanDisk User
Posts: 87
Registered: ‎11-21-2008

Re: Sansa Fuze docking station quality

Well, if you want a device you can plug into the wall and have a powered usb port to charge with, you can find those anywhere for about 20 bucks.  I got this thing at Wal-Mart called the Music Power Duet, its white and in the mp3 player section, costs about 10 bucks and has two powered USB ports you can plug your cable into.

 

15 bucks will buy you the griffin dock that will let you charge the unit from the station, while playing music through the line-out, though you'll still have to use a computer or a universal USB wall charger, like the one above, in order to power the whole thing.

SanDisk User
Posts: 74
Registered: ‎10-16-2008

Re: Sansa Fuze docking station quality

[ Edited ]

neutron_bob wrote: 

On the Sansa Fuze, this 30 pin output is not fixed, but variable via the scroll wheel.  Some complain that this is sacrilege, thinking in purely analog terms, that the audio is making a circuitous path through a rheostat, the scroll wheel.  Well, the wheel is actually no more than a key command, as far as the processor is concerned.  The audio signal is just as pure as it would be if the gain were defaulted to maximum.


Bob, thanks for that insight; very interesting and useful. If I can be pedantic and take very minor issue with the part above, I suspect that the Fuze is controlling volume in the digital domain. If so, the signal degradation will be very much less than is volume was adjusted by analogue control and may be virtually impereceptable, but there's likely to be some degradation due to the loss information due to rounding errors or discarded information at the least significant bit level. Whether this is above or below the noise floor of the DAC is debatable however, so it's probably a moot point. And for compressed music files, it's the least thing we need be concerned with.

Message Edited by Fifer on 11-23-2008 11:53 AM
SanDisk Professor
Posts: 434
Registered: ‎04-24-2008

Re: Sansa Fuze docking station quality

The variable-volume line out probably isn't an issue of quality as much as convenience. Line-out normally falls within some specific values, so if you switch between a CD player, game console, TV set-top box, etc, the volume will be fairly consistent. With variable line-out on the dock, the volume will be lower than everything else unless you crank it all the way up. When you listen to it with headphones, you'd better remember to turn it down again, too!
Newbie
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎12-30-2008

Re: Sansa Fuze docking station quality

Hi Guya

 

Just bought the fuze and well impressed, I ama bit of a hi fi fan and I am looking to dock this striaght into my amp via phono/rca then into my speaker can the e200 do this?

 

Thanks in advance

 

Baima

SanDisk Professor
Posts: 579
Registered: ‎12-02-2008

Re: Sansa Fuze docking station quality


@jjdonohue wrote:

Whar do you recommend as good usb charger thats reasonably priced?   Or maybe a dock + charger deal together for a good price?  Any URLs you can recommend for this?

 

thanks again for all your help. 


Amazon has a kit with Sansa cable, AC-USB charger and Car-USB charger for $5.48 plus shipping (one of their 3rd party deals, so check the shipping rate)