Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sansa clip+ mp3 player

My venerable battery powered mp3 player ceased working a few days ago. Several months ago, playing one song caused the player to crash; a few months later, a second song started doing this. When a third song crashed the player, I realised that it was time to upgrade. The only problem is that there seem to be no mp3 players available - the smartphone seems to have satisfied the need for such gadgets. After searching in several shops in the nearby town (not known to be technically advanced), I eventually found a Sansa clip+ 4GB player (in fact, I should have two: I ordered one from an online supplier and then found one in a shop in a different town).

I had no trouble in charging the player nor moving songs to it, but very quickly discovered  that I couldn't hear the songs (or to be more accurate, they were played at very low volume)! The player has ReplayGain support but it's not very clear how I would actually use this.

In a fit of desperation, I googled "sansa volume" and discovered that due to EU regulations, the volume output of a portable audio device MUST be limited to 85dB. The actual volume perceived is dependent on the headphones and obviously I must be using headphones which require high output, as I could barely hear anything. The solution is as follows:
  1. Reset the Sansa player to factory settings: Settings, Reset All
  2. Set the region as Rest of World
  3. Change volume setting to High: Settings, Volume, High
I must admit that I had downloaded the full instruction manual and had noticed that whilst there was a 'volume' setting, it wasn't appearing on the device. Changing the region caused the setting to appear - and a quick listen took my head off! The device is definitely loud now.

There is another hack which I will try later: defining a playlist. Being an old-fashioned sort of person, I like to listen to complete albums where the songs are in the sequence ordained by the producer; this means that allowing me to set the order is very important. At the moment, I have been reduced to numbering all the songs which I have transferred so far. This numbering must exist not necessarily in the file's name but rather in the file's ID3V2 tag and editing this takes a long time. It doesn't help that mp3 files that I create from my own wav files (via Lame) don't have a tag at all (although this is probably because I haven't set up Lame correctly).

The solution seems to be
  • In Windows Explorer, browse to Computer > Sansa Clip+ 4GB > Music
  • Using Ctrl + left_click, select folders and/or files to comprise the playlist.
  • Right_click on one of the selections, and choose Create Playlist from the drop-down menu.
  • A file named New Playlist.pla is created. Give it an appropriate name, and move it to the Playlists folder

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