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Fuze+ woes, hard to make it do anyhting one wants
AndyH-ha
post Jul 13 2013, 05:44
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I got a Fuze+ yesterday. So far I've spent several very frustrating hours reading the operations manual, trying to match its behavior to the instructions, and just playing with the controls to see if I can make any better sense that way. I'm thinking it must be seriously malfunctioning but I'm not so sure it even contains the concept of reasonable function. I would like to know a few things about what is possible with it and then ask a few questions about the actual behavior of my device.

My main interest is audiobooks. It has an audiobook folder in its default structure (as viewed with Windows Explorer) and a Books section on its Main Menu screen level. I read that the Genre in the tags must be "audiobook" or the files will be stuck into "Music," regardless of where they are loaded in its file/folder structure, so I added that to all the tags.

Each book is loaded (i.e. copied to via Windows Explorer), in its own folder, into the device's Audiobook folder. Each file in every book is sequenced by its File Name (i.e. roll over 01, roll over 02, roll over 03 ...), by its Title tag (generally identical to the file name) and by its Track Number tag. All the files for a book have the same Album tag and Artists tag values.

I, and other family members, have used this scheme for several years, with several different players, without a hitch. I bought a Fuze (ne+) for the 5 year old girl and she has been using it with great pleasure for three years now (books only). For my trial run on the Fuze+, I loaded a number of books with from 29 to 495 tracks per book.

I'm not really sure if the device actually recognizes all that I've loaded.
First, there does not seem to be any way to select which story one wishes to hear.
Is this true?
Second, it does not play the tracks in order, at least any order I recognize.
Is seems to me any designer who thought shuffle mode should apply to audiobooks must be a drooling idiot but, according to the Settings, both Shuffle and Repeat are turned off.

Furthermore, I can not get it to go above the first 10 tracks of its first book (I can never see any sign of the other books at all). It goes through these 10 tracks in an apparently random order. Possibly it does the same order each time, but playing with such nonsense soon becomes too tiresome to enlist my attention. This seems a definite, all out malfunction, not a possible glitch of my clumsy manipulation. Has anyone had any better luck?

It came with various lame (not LAME) sample media, some music tracks, some photos, some podcasts, etc. After playing with them a little (and having the same bad luck I've experienced since with the device controls) I deleted them all, being careful to select only media files. Then I loaded an mp3 music album, just to test the audio quality. Trying to play the album as I wanted, in track sequence, was quite frustrating. I finally gave up and let it do what it intended to do, which turned out to be play the tracks in order -- from last to first.

After that I tried to test the audiobooks but the thing kept jumping around from Main Menu category to category when I tried to find track 01 of the book it had selected (it wanted to start elsewhere), so I went to Settings and turned off every category, except Books, that I could. This left three items on it main menu, Books, Card, and Settings.

However, it is still very difficult to navigate that main menu. It still takes many tries to get to any particular section, especially the Books section. Sometimes I have to try several many times before the screen changes, even if I wait three to five seconds between "button" pushes for something, for anything, to happen. Other times the lightest, even accidental, touch will bring instant response. It will often jump back and forth between two of the three Main Menu categories (it did the same thing when all categories were active), regardless of what I do or which direction I try to move it. It also sometimes jumps into Music, NOT at the Main Menu level (which is turned off) but to the last song (its first) in the one album I loaded.

I would like to know if anyone can load audiobooks, then select the book they want, and play the tracks in the proper sequence. I have not yet contacted Sansa because, with such a clumsy system, I don't know how much I factor into the failures. Is it common, or easy, to have it do something other than what one would expect from reading how the controls are supposed to work (or even to act differently from the previous time one did the same thing with the controls)? If so, maybe I am not the problem and it is time to report to Sansa.
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marc2003
post Jul 13 2013, 07:57
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have you tried updating the firmware? the changelog for the latest might be of interest (assuming you're not running it already tongue.gif)

http://forums.sandisk.com/t5/Sansa-Fuze/Sa...-06/td-p/238732

QUOTE
Enhancements

Music content browsing by folder
Menu looping feature added
Audiobook sort order improvement
Low battery state early warning message added
Content library handling improvement

Bugs Fixed

Device didn't resume correctly for slotRadio card and audiobook playback
Some microSD cards were not recognized
Certain FLAC and OGG files could not play

Known Issues

Playlist doesn’t resume correctly

After firmware downgrade/upgrade, contents from internal memory is showing under card or contents under card are no longer showing up (Work around: remove and reinsert card)


failing that, you could experiment with rockbox. even though it's listed as "unstable" on their site, i'd bet it's still far more usable than the original firmware.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jul 13 2013, 11:43
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QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jul 13 2013, 00:44) *
I got a Fuze+ yesterday. So far I've spent several very frustrating hours reading the operations manual, trying to match its behavior to the instructions, and just playing with the controls to see if I can make any better sense that way. I'm thinking it must be seriously malfunctioning but I'm not so sure it even contains the concept of reasonable function. I would like to know a few things about what is possible with it and then ask a few questions about the actual behavior of my device.

My main interest is audiobooks. It has an audiobook folder in its default structure (as viewed with Windows Explorer) and a Books section on its Main Menu screen level. I read that the Genre in the tags must be "audiobook" or the files will be stuck into "Music," regardless of where they are loaded in its file/folder structure, so I added that to all the tags.

Each book is loaded (i.e. copied to via Windows Explorer), in its own folder, into the device's Audiobook folder. Each file in every book is sequenced by its File Name (i.e. roll over 01, roll over 02, roll over 03 ...), by its Title tag (generally identical to the file name) and by its Track Number tag. All the files for a book have the same Album tag and Artists tag values.

I, and other family members, have used this scheme for several years, with several different players, without a hitch. I bought a Fuze (ne+) for the 5 year old girl and she has been using it with great pleasure for three years now (books only). For my trial run on the Fuze+, I loaded a number of books with from 29 to 495 tracks per book.

I'm not really sure if the device actually recognizes all that I've loaded.


IME Sansa players are really sensitive to how the files are tagged. Don't know if this will help.
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Fandango
post Jul 13 2013, 23:46
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Yes, the Fuze+' firmware ignores the placement of the media files, the categorization is based on file format and tags.

The touchpad of the Fuze+ is horrible. An outright disaster. I've bought this player because it had the best storage + storage card upgrade possibilities at that time and regretted it the moment I had to experience the shortcomings of the controls. But I got lucky and someone gave me an iPod Photo (60GB) which I used instead. Only because the touchpad is so bad I did that. I wouldn't have minded the smaller storage of the Fuze+ compared to the iPod Photo, because the Fuze+ is actually faster - more repsonsive GUI and startup in Rockbox - and smaller and lighter than the iPod.

As for the audiobook problem, I have to admit that I don't listen to audiobooks but to podcasts of which I had several episodes for each podcast on the player when I was still using it. I will retrieve the Fuze+ from my gadget bin and test it out for you:

Under "books" I see three categories: audiobooks, audibles (whatever that is) and podcasts. The podcast episodes I transfered to the device have the genre set to "Podcast" and the track tag field is empty, I actually copied them into the folder "Audiobooks" but they showed up under "podcasts". They are sorted alphanumerically in the player's podcast list and the title tag field is used for that. It's 39 episodes, so beyond the threshold where you seem to experience problems.

When I change the genre to "Audiobook" and add track tag fields (deliberately changing the order there i.e. episode 10 according to the title tag field gets the track number 25), nothing changes. I have to actually delete the files for the changes to be recognized. Metadata caching and updating is very ineffective. After re-reading the files, they get categorized under Audiobooks each episode as a single book (ugh!) and are still sorted by their title tag fields. Beforehand as being read as Podcasts there was actually a subfolder for each of the Podcast under which the episodes were listed.

So I can confirm that the handling of Audiobooks is weird even though I didn't notice any illogical shuffling of the track order. I can recommend the workaround of using "Podcast" as the genre tag field and rely on sorting which utilizes the title tag field. I have used the firmware 02.38.06F which was the latest two or three weeks ago, I think.

I would strongly recommend doing a Firmware update anyway, I think one of them even helped with the touchpad. Recently there has been useable Rockbox releases for the Fuze+, so I actually recommend using those instead as the ultimate solution. The respsonsiveness of the Rockbox GUI is much better, too, since it doesn't rely on gimmicky animations. Although with Rockbox you will be missing out on the MP4-Video playback, but for Videos you can still dual boot into the old firmware.

Btw, don't shy away from retelling your problems on the official Sansa forum for the device, the devs are reading the bug reports there and chances are the issues get resolved. Or maybe people can explain to you in more detail what the keywords for the tags are so that the audiobooks work in a better way. You can even get direct links to the firmware files and instructions on how to use them there, so you can ditch that horrible auto-updater program.

Hope I could help.

This post has been edited by Fandango: Jul 13 2013, 23:58
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AndyH-ha
post Jul 14 2013, 06:28
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Updating the firmware to the now two year old latest version did make some changes. The control surface response might have been improved a little, but it is still markedly inferior to the older Fuze, or to my 1st gen iPod Mini and a number of other players I've used. The user interface changed little and that, to my taste, is pitiful compared to the original Fuze. It added a books content list that one can scroll through (very slowly) and make a selection, but as already stated, each track is considered an independent book, making getting anywhere very slow indeed. It also now plays the tracks in sequence, but its sometimes prefers starting in the middle and going backwards.

Rockbox makes a major usability improvement. I wouldn't take it over the original model Fuze interface, as I doubt I will ever have interest in many of its added features, but it does present a simply accessed list of books, making it easy to choose the particular book of interest, and then to list its tracks -- just like the original Fuze interface. There also seems to be no hassle about starting with track 001 and going forward correctly. One can also get to a track far inside a several hundred track book, if need be, much faster, and with greater certainty, than with its Sansa interface.

If I had toothpick diameter fingers it might be easier to manipulate the control surface with greater certainty; some of the unexpected response might be because it is too easy to touch two different active point at the same time. This does seem to work better under Rockbox but it is too easy to jump forward several items in a list when one wants to go only one step. At least, unlike the Sansa interface, it doesn't, so far anyway, suddenly jump to someplace else entirely.

As far as tags go, in spite of what the user manual says, the genre tag value makes no difference what so ever with audiobooks, either in the original Sansa interface or with rockbox. This is good, I can just load the books into the audiobook folder, without first changing tags on the books already in my collection, and everything seems to work fine. The rest of the tag values are what I've been using for years, on the little girl's original model Fuze, and several other players.
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skamp
post Jul 14 2013, 09:25
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Possibly relevant: I love my Fuze+.


--------------------
caudec.net
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AndyH-ha
post Jul 16 2013, 06:35
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Having had another day with the Rockbox version, I see that while it is a big step forward from the Sansa interface, any given instance of using the touchpad is problematic.

I often see the misdirection wherein one starts going down a list, to reach the desired line, and the focus suddenly jumps to the last line, requiring one to move up to reach the goal. This usually happens on the second or third step down the list and the list is usually long enough to require at least three times as many individual movements as it should to get where one wants to go.

Quite often, when I do get the cursor on the correct item, and I quite deliberately and carefully attempt to select it by touching the pad's center, it opens another item instead, most often two lines away.

It isn't at all unusual for the screen to jump to the top of a different menu altogether, most often the main menu, when I attempt to execute an choice in a list of items from those available under some line in some sub menu.

Still, I can always get to what I want after two or three tries, which is more than I could do with the Sansa interface. I might be clumsy, or just flat doing something wrong, but I really think it is the touchpad itself. Maybe that means hardware, maybe the software activated from it, but regardless, beyond user control.
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marc2003
post Jul 16 2013, 10:36
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it's always worth checking the changes on the rockbox site. just in the last couple of days, there have been some commits relating to the fuze+ sensitivity settings....

http://www.rockbox.org/recent.shtml#code

whether they make any difference or not, you'll have to test yourself as i don't own a fuze+ tongue.gif

This post has been edited by marc2003: Jul 16 2013, 10:38
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