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Author Topic: Sansa Clip+ and Rockbox  (Read 16498 times)
saratoga2
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« Reply #50 on: March 16, 2012, 02:04:59 PM »

The Rockbox manual doesn't go into much detail, sadly, but I want to create a Rockbox equivalent of the "Random Play All" option on my Creative Zen. That seems to mean I should create a playlist containing everything on the player (or rather, everything in the music database) and then assign a shortcut to it. Ideally, I should be able to invoke the shuffle function before playback starts but (equally ideally) I don't want the player to get left in shuffle mode when I decide I want to play another playlist, or an album or something.

Theres different ways to do this.  The one I would probably go for would be to browse to my music folder, long click on it, and then choose "insert into playlist shuffled".  You can then resume if you turn off the player, or save it as an M3U playlist on the hard drive for later use (or just recreate it if you want it). 

Alternatively, if you use the database, you can long-click on an artist, album or genre, and also choose "insert shuffled" to only hear music from one artist, album or genre of music.  This is useful if you have music in random folders on the disk, spread between the sd and internal memory, or want to avoid listening to things like podcasts while shuffling.

Additionally, if you want to have things persist across different listening sessions, you can add playlists to the playlist catalog so that they're directly accessible from the main menu.  You can also just hit resume from the main menu to listen to the last play list you had before you shutdown.
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oblivion
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« Reply #51 on: March 17, 2012, 06:21:32 AM »

The Rockbox manual doesn't go into much detail, sadly, but I want to create a Rockbox equivalent of the "Random Play All" option on my Creative Zen.

Theres different ways to do this.  The one I would probably go for would be to browse to my music folder, long click on it, and then choose "insert into playlist shuffled". 

Even that's a two stage process, if you have music stored internally and on an SDHC card too.

What I think I'm finding difficult to deal with here is that Rockbox specifically claims to be playlist oriented but makes managing playlists so unintuitive.

The database ought to be the focus of MOST activities but the fact that you can't get an "all" playlist, shuffled or otherwise, out of it seems an odd omission.

I made my playlist, eventually, and because I wanted to edit a few things out of it, the process looked like this:

  • Connect sansa to PC as drives
  • Fire up MediaMonkey and point it at first Sansa disk
  • Wait for MM to list all found music then send it to an MM playlist
  • Point MM at second sansa disk and repeat above step
  • Edit created playlist to exclude unwanted stuff by location
  • Export playlist as M3U
  • Open exported playlist in text editor and search/replace locations specific to PC with Rockbox equivalents
  • Save edited playlist to /playlists folder
  • Open playlist in Rockbox, shuffle it and save

One aggravation: saving playlists in Rockbox provides a default playlist name with an .m3u8 extension. You can't edit, you can only backspace over the filename from the end, so you have to first delete the .m3u8 bit and if you don't retype it, it's saved without an extension. Retyping .m3u8 on the Rockbox "keyboard" can't be done without navigating between screens four times.

I got what I wanted. Having done all this work, as long as I'm good about keeping track of new additions, I'll be able to use the "insert into playlist" function (as long as it works as described -- I have yet to try it) to keep my "allsansa" playlist an accurate list.

But I'd reiterate my previous comment: Rockbox is NOT ready for nontechies, possibly not even techies with no experience of unix, and I'm beginning to get the impression that it was never intended to be easy to use.

I'm also a little weirded out that there's a build of Doom in there that just doesn't work. I'm completely unsurprised that it doesn't work -- pretty sure the screen won't even be close to usable even if it rendered the graphics as intended -- but it does rather suggest that the project has suffered a little from feeping creaturitis!
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saratoga2
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« Reply #52 on: March 17, 2012, 04:33:35 PM »

Even that's a two stage process, if you have music stored internally and on an SDHC card too.

Alternatively, if you use the database, you can long-click on an artist, album or genre, and also choose "insert shuffled" to only hear music from one artist, album or genre of music.  This is useful if you have music in random folders on the disk, spread between the sd and internal memory, or want to avoid listening to things like podcasts while shuffling.

smiley

What I think I'm finding difficult to deal with here is that Rockbox specifically claims to be playlist oriented but makes managing playlists so unintuitive.

In what sense?  Anytime you click on a folder or database query, you get a playlist made for you.  You can then edit it, save it, or do whatever.  IMO its intuitive enough that you probably didn't realize you were even making playlists when you used it, which is pretty impressive IMO.

The database ought to be the focus of MOST activities

I don't agree with this.  Most people don't use the database and don't really want to, so I don't think it makes sense to make it "the focus".  Instead, we should allow people to use the software however they want, not force them to use it in one particular way. 

but the fact that you can't get an "all" playlist, shuffled or otherwise, out of it seems an odd omission.

The database queries are actually fully customizable.  I think by default theres only an option to randomize by artist, album or genre but you can change that if you really want.  I don't really think thats all that useful though, since you'll end up with things like untagged files, microphone recordings and podcasts in your random playlist when really what you want is probably just music in it.

One aggravation: saving playlists in Rockbox provides a default playlist name with an .m3u8 extension. You can't edit, you can only backspace over the filename from the end, so you have to first delete the .m3u8 bit and if you don't retype it, it's saved without an extension. Retyping .m3u8 on the Rockbox "keyboard" can't be done without navigating between screens four times.

The volume +/- keys are actually used to move the curser, so you don't have to do that.  However, given how difficult text entry is on a device with just a few buttons, I recommend just using the default name and then renaming it on PC once you've finished making the playlist.

But I'd reiterate my previous comment: Rockbox is NOT ready for nontechies, possibly not even techies with no experience of unix, and I'm beginning to get the impression that it was never intended to be easy to use.

1)  Firmware replacements will never be ready for non-technical users.  Its necessarily a technical process.
2)  Not sure if you realize this, but rockbox isn't based on or even related to unix. 
3)  I think rockbox is quite easy to use if you just use it as an mp3 player.  Playback with advanced audio features like replaygain, gapless and many audio formats is downright trivial.  Click a file and it plays.  Click a folder and everything in it plays.  The things you've found complicated (text entry, doom, edit playlists) aren't things an mp3 player generally does.  They're things rockbox will let you additionally do if you want.

I'm also a little weirded out that there's a build of Doom in there that just doesn't work. I'm completely unsurprised that it doesn't work -- pretty sure the screen won't even be close to usable even if it rendered the graphics as intended -- but it does rather suggest that the project has suffered a little from feeping creaturitis!

It actually does work, but since the screen can't do grayscale, its almost useless.  Removing it has been discussed, but enough people complained that it was left in. 
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oblivion
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« Reply #53 on: March 18, 2012, 07:32:39 AM »

What I think I'm finding difficult to deal with here is that Rockbox specifically claims to be playlist oriented but makes managing playlists so unintuitive.

In what sense?  Anytime you click on a folder or database query, you get a playlist made for you.  You can then edit it, save it, or do whatever.  IMO its intuitive enough that you probably didn't realize you were even making playlists when you used it, which is pretty impressive IMO.

First, I should probably apologise if the tone of my last came over as unduly negative. I have -- as you have been careful NOT to point out -- always the choice to remove it again. If I choose not to do so -- and I HAVE chosen not to do so -- it can't be because I hate it. smiley

Having said that, I stand by much of what I've said on this issue. There are places where I've made errors that I wouldn't have made if I'd read the documentation more thoroughly, but on this specific point, the subject of playlists is NOT covered in anything like enough detail. And while it's undoubtedly impressive that Rockbox manufactures playlists on the fly as you describe, the fact that there's a playlist there at all is effectively an architectural issue: it makes a list of things to do then works through the list, exactly as the user would hope. It's only important to ME that it's playlist-oriented if I can mess about with those playlists as I please: otherwise, you might as well tell me what programming language it was written in as if it was likely to make me prefer it over an alternative.

To that extent, then, the point is perhaps the difficulty in creating custom playlists where there's no logical link beyond "this song fits" in the user's mind. And no MP3 player I've ever used can do better than "add to current", so I guess the issue isn't quite as Rockbox-centric as all that anyway. It's just that the headline phrase caused me to have vague expectations that may not have been reasonable or maybe even that well-thought.

Quote
The database ought to be the focus of MOST activities

I don't agree with this.  Most people don't use the database and don't really want to, so I don't think it makes sense to make it "the focus".  Instead, we should allow people to use the software however they want, not force them to use it in one particular way. 

A question of paradigm, then. In my view, most people don't much care what the file's called, once it's on the player, they just care what it IS. So if the database contains album, artist, track details culled from the tags embedded in the file then it seems to me sensible to make navigating that the central focus of an MP3 player. And from inside the database, it strikes me that it ought to be almost trivially simple to make a "make me a list of every track and shuffle it" command, whereas from a file list you might also be handling (and having to exclude) album art jpgs and thumbs.db files and various other detritus that the PC's music player might have left lying around.

Quote
but the fact that you can't get an "all" playlist, shuffled or otherwise, out of it seems an odd omission.
The database queries are actually fully customizable.  I think by default theres only an option to randomize by artist, album or genre but you can change that if you really want.  I don't really think thats all that useful though, since you'll end up with things like untagged files, microphone recordings and podcasts in your random playlist when really what you want is probably just music in it.

My other MP3 player is an old Creative Zen V+. That's probably responsible for many of my views of these things, because mostly I like the way it works. Menus can be customised, entries added, removed, repositioned, it's completely database-centric, and there's a "Random Play All" function that does exactly what I've been struggling to get the Rockboxed Sansa to do. I use it when I can't be bothered to make a decision about what I want to listen to, and when it throws up a podcast I just hit Next. It's particularly handy in the car because I can get to the top of the front screen menu (where I put the function) and hit the select button without looking at the screen.

I wanted to get close to being able to replicate that in Rockbox. From what you say, I can't.

You say that the database queries are fully customisable. Have I missed something else in the manual?

Quote
The volume +/- keys are actually used to move the curser, so you don't have to do that.

Noted: thanks!

Quote
I'm also a little weirded out that there's a build of Doom in there that just doesn't work. I'm completely unsurprised that it doesn't work -- pretty sure the screen won't even be close to usable even if it rendered the graphics as intended -- but it does rather suggest that the project has suffered a little from feeping creaturitis!

It actually does work, but since the screen can't do grayscale, its almost useless.  Removing it has been discussed, but enough people complained that it was left in. 

 Grin Now there's a response. Just out of interest, is the "almost" in the phrase a diplomatic way to say "completely" or is there some function it can perform that somebody actually has a genuine use for?
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Edvard
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« Reply #54 on: March 21, 2012, 02:56:40 PM »

A word (actually quite a few) about the sound quality on the Clip+ that Superboy mentioned:
http://nwavguy.blogspot.c.../sansa-clip-measured.html
tl;dr -
Compared to the iPod feature-for-feature, the Sansa Clip+ loses (by a bare margin in most cases), but size-for-size it does VERY well.

I also didn't know the Sansa firmware has a pitch bug that Rockbox fixed.
Interesting.
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superboyac
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« Reply #55 on: March 23, 2012, 08:10:24 PM »

A word (actually quite a few) about the sound quality on the Clip+ that Superboy mentioned:
http://nwavguy.blogspot.c.../sansa-clip-measured.html
tl;dr -
Compared to the iPod feature-for-feature, the Sansa Clip+ loses (by a bare margin in most cases), but size-for-size it does VERY well.

I also didn't know the Sansa firmware has a pitch bug that Rockbox fixed.
Interesting.
Awesome article and blog by that guy.  It will make for a very handy reference site for me now.  It's interesting, he says that the headphone amp won't help with the Sansa much, which is good to know.  i was thinking that it may help because the output power is not as high as my Sony.  But I really don't know much about headphone amps.  So I plan to read his article about headphone amps:
http://nwavguy.blogspot.c...d-headphone-ampsdacs.html

Thanks Edvard.
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kfitting
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« Reply #56 on: March 24, 2012, 06:37:04 AM »

Just wanted to make sure you guys are aware that if you hold down the center button (usually "enter") you get a kind of context menu.  I havent read all previous posts, but once I found out about the context menu (it took me a few days!), playlists (and much more) became easier.  For example adding one song to an existing (appending or inserting), an easy way to get to settings from the main menu, etc.

For starters go into the database and start seeing what the context menu gives on different levels.  Then go to the "now playing" screen and try it there.

EDIT: nevermind, I see Saratoga2 already pointed that out!!  

EDIT2: just for completeness (although I'm reasonably certain saratoga2 already is aware...   Cool ), want to put links to rockbox discussion of Clip Zip another site I found to be excellent, anythingbutipod:
http://forums.rockbox.org/index.php/topic,28709.0.html
http://anythingbutipod.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=119
« Last Edit: March 24, 2012, 06:43:35 AM by kfitting » Logged
Cynic
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« Reply #57 on: April 03, 2012, 06:04:46 AM »

my main problem is... in order to transfer music to it, I have to start it with the original firmware, because the Rockbox USB isn't recognised. With a nearly-full 32Gb card (almost my entire collection!) when I boot it into Sansa-mode, it rebuilds the music library... and takes AGES.

Rockbox 3.11 has USB support, so this won't be an issue anymore.
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oblivion
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« Reply #58 on: April 04, 2012, 09:31:37 AM »

Rockbox 3.11 has USB support, so this won't be an issue anymore.
I thought I'd been running 3.11 from the first, so I upgraded it to the latest beta build this morning. (Then I let it rebuild the library. Again. It takes about 30 minutes, I think.

And I don't get "unrecognised device" when I plug it in in Rockbox mode anymore. (There's a lovely picture of a USB plug that I was strangely impressed by too.)

Not only that, but it actually works! Whoopee!  Thmbsup

[Fx: the Grumpy Police drag oblivion off for an unseemly display of cheerfulness.]
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