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Old 29th January 2013, 06:42 AM   #41
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Newegg.com - SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 1.0" Red 4GB MP3 Player
With the coupon (ending this month), the player is $28 shipped, which seems to be a good value for this technology.
Will it do?
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Old 5th February 2013, 12:52 PM   #42
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Default Lovely features and exploring, but ultimately a failure.

In the first three hours of trying to get this device to work, but it only said "Music" on the screen with a flashing blue color, I finally discovered a powerfully adhesive and sturdy black sticker with the word "Music" in translucent, was atop the real screen. After prying off that nearly secret sticker, the Sansa Clip+ became somewhat easier to use.

Like anything with engineering, they decided to randomize ordinary language, and MSC mode vaguely refers to whether or not the device will act like a usb disk drive, and mountpoint vaguely refers to drive letter. Although the menu is gigantic and much like pre-1993 web surfing, it isn't difficult to guess your way through it.

The ">>" next button actually works but the means of using it is never mentioned. To make it work, one goes to the "Music" folder and then makes subfolders, such as Rock, Pop, Classical, WW2, Oldies, Country, Jazz, Relax, etc. . . or perhaps one could sort by activity, like Workout, Dishes, Road Trip, etc. . . But, my point is that when more than one file is in a given folder, the ">>" next button will work. Otherwise not.

Generally, this device is reminiscent of a half-power, half-size Iriver. The Sansa Clip+, like most modern sources, including computers, has omitted the output buffer, which could have assured a level response, tame mids and plentiful bass. . . but not if it is missing, as is typical for a modern source. Thus you do need the RockBox and a severe workout with the EQ (advanced EQ is most useful).

Both the addition and the omission cost about 3 hours of time apiece.
The Rockbox software also took about 2 hours to figure out, but does have extensive online documentation.

Without either the voltage amp strength or an output buffer, the jammin out is in short supply. Attempting this results in audio quality similar to setting the computer to max, aka, the louder the worse. That's just a typical modern caveat.

Bass vs midrange management: They included a crossfeed+stereo width system which is quite good, and of course that feature is the easy way for tamer mids without the distortion of aggressively set EQ. I set stereo width to 140, crossfeed to custom, and you'll have to work out the direct (center) versus cross (stereo) on your own. This is a great thing because you can mix instead of muffle.
The included compressor is the typical digital type that causes clipping on most settings; however, one can set it as a transparent limiter this way: Shut off the make-up gain feature, set the threshold to just 3db, the knee to hard and set the ratio to 6:1 and set the release time to 700ms. Now, it will "wait until the last minute" and actually reduce clipping.
The EQ "Precut" can be set 3db less than the EQ bass boost, thus effectively using the compressor if the volume happens to be all the way to the top, but not otherwise using the compressor at all.
The EQ advanced settings can be with the low shelf filter to 90hz and the Q factor at 0.6. The gain on this spot maxes about 14.5, meaning that the precut setting is then 11.5 if you used the compressor or 14.5 if you didn't. The AF section doesn't have the typical 2nd order harmonic distortion--it is non-boomy, and therefore I ended up increasing the 200hz EQ slider to get some bass slam--that's how other MP3 players get successful bass power, and this player is not different in that regard.

Treble management: Set the advanced EQ high shelf filter to 16k instead of the factory 12k setting, turn on the dithering, disable the make-up gain, and set the precut enough to dodge the clipping.

Although, apparently the analog engineers did not sleep though class, the big workout with the EQ could have been averted with either parallel op-amp output or output buffer. Even though I'm complaining about the omission, it is fairly obvious that the Sansa Clip+ has Less screwups than a typical modern source device.

The radio is pretty good, however, displaying the db strength meter causes a "tick-tick-tick" sound that will go away, if one, inconveniently, turns on the menu so that the meter is disengaged and the radio continues to play without that noise. Despite this small inconvenience, the radio is impressive. The EQ works with the radio! YAY!

For MP3 playback, it is quite coarse, so one would want to turn on the "dithering" feature to make the distortion less audible, and even then it is not overtly talented at MP3. However, Flac playback is quite good.

The Sansa Clip+ can be set to "Car Adapter Mode" and run from a mini-usb cord and 5v linear regulator. This method: 12v unreg > 9v reg > 5v reg or a similar approach, simulates clean everlasting battery power.

Like the PC onboard sound chip, one could add a buffer or a buffered preamp or a buffered preamp with an output buffer, as any of those options do happen to inspire some bass slam so that EQ abuse is unnecessary.

SO, it can be used as a home or non-portable source device. It can also be used with projects such as Boominator, Halfinator, Qubinator and the like, if one alters the power amp gain, severely, so that the Sansa Clip+ does not have to run at max. This prospect is barely within the gain capacity of the TA2020 (4-speaker units) and TA2021 (2-speaker units) for gain versus audio quality. Yes, it does work out.

Caveat: What it doesn't do is jam out with headphones more successfully than any other MP3 player--Due to severe lack of power, the nicely adjustable tone is defeated by clipping, rendering the many features useless, and setting the precut/gain low enough to avoid clipping results in a "non-rocking" amount of output power. This is really a "bait and switch" like experience. To put it bluntly, for loud replay with headphones, this device is a fail, unless one adds an additional box that could drive headphones. And for MP3 playback, the decoding is of mediocre quality that is considerably worsened by any attempt to play it loud when direct driving headphones. But, for many other tasks, including relaxing with headphones, the Sansa Clip+ can do well. . . so, it succeeds at almost anything other than what the device is made for. And, therefore, this purchase incurs a redo.

Although it certainly doesn't fill the primary job of an mp3 player, I may keep it for its many other charms.

Does anyone have a suggestion for something with more substantial power and either RockBox compatibility or a multi-band adjustable onboard eq? As seen with the Sansa Clip+, adjustability is pointless without the power (and decoding quality) to support it. So, I would like to purchase something both adjustable and significant.
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Last edited by danielwritesbac; 5th February 2013 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 5th February 2013, 01:28 PM   #43
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Dude, I thought you would like Rockbox!

Isn't the digital cross-feed awesome! I almost pooped my pants going through the Rockbox manual: just cool feature after cool feature!

Imagine what it could do on a player with drive capabilities! Do you have any of the other 'stable port' players?

Apple: iPod 1g through 5.5g, iPod Mini, iPod Nano 1g
Archos: Jukebox 5000, 6000, Studio, Recorder, FM Recorder, Recorder V2 and Ondio
Cowon: iAudio X5, X5V, X5L, M5, M5L, M3 and M3L
iriver: iHP100 series, H100 series, H300 series and H10 series
MPIO: HD300
Packard Bell: Vibe 500
SanDisk: Sansa c200, e200 and e200R series, Fuze, Clip, Clip+ and Clip Zip
Toshiba: Gigabeat X and F series

If not, ... project! A player with RB and phones with the best fit/comfort (and then eq them into submission! )

Good review of the Clip+, you should condense it down a bit and post it as a ... review!

Too bad it didn't work out for you. It works well for what I ask it to do. Crap, what was it again you wanted ... oh ya, a player to bike with, right?

Dude, you are quite the investigator and really dive into a project! Your learning 'curve' goes almost straight up! Myself and, I'm sure, a lot of others get a kick out of your posts!

Cheers,
Jeff

Last edited by AudioLapDance; 5th February 2013 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 5th February 2013, 01:45 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioLapDance View Post
Dude, I thought you would like Rockbox!
Sounds like he's more dissapointed with the Sansa Clip. I don't blame him; if I saw his post about buying it I would have suggested looking for something else. I've had a couple Sansa products and they aren't exactly high quality devices (IMO).

If he's really serious and wants a good player, you can still find iRiver iHP-120 and iHP-140 devices on ebay. A little pricey still for how old they are, but they're worth it if you don't mind their bulk. The H320 and H340 are good too if you don't need the optical output.
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Old 5th February 2013, 02:21 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioLapDance View Post
Dude, I thought you would like Rockbox!
I do like it.
I actually like most open source software because that is a "made for using" sort of category that almost always gives a different and perhaps better quality experience than a "made for selling" type.

Brute force approaches can't ever match the power of tuning the signal to match the receiver: Is there some possibility of adding an ultrabass or psychoacoustic bass enhancement that could deliver more hearable bass without eating up any headroom?

Is there some possibility of upgrading the MP3 decoders, or do you know of some specific MP3 codecs and settings that this player can decode most successfully?
Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioLapDance View Post
Isn't the digital cross-feed awesome!
This, when in combination with the digital radio's auto-damper allows a clean immersive experience with a non-shout tone, while listening to the radio.
So, although I dislike the Mp3 section, due to decoding quality and power output, the rather good radio makes it worth keeping.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioLapDance View Post
Dude, you are quite the investigator and really dive into a project! Your learning 'curve' goes almost straight up! Myself and, I'm sure, a lot of others get a kick out of your posts!
Your post informed me that the task was doable, so with that inspiring some confidence, I just kept at it until the device worked as described. My learning curve, like with most people, is totally reliant on the amount of stubbornness. However, thank you for the wonderful compliment.
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Old 5th February 2013, 02:22 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theAnonymous1 View Post
Sounds like he's more dissapointed with the Sansa Clip. ..
Rockbox =/ Sansa Clip+

Sansa Clip+ is a small, cheap audio player (he no like)
Rockbox is firmware that can run on many players (he like)

Last edited by AudioLapDance; 5th February 2013 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 5th February 2013, 02:28 PM   #47
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Daniel, I have an iRiver iHP-140 around here somewhere. I need to get a new battery for it, but maybe you would interested in borrowing it to see if it meets your needs?
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Old 5th February 2013, 05:39 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielwritesbac View Post
...Your post informed me that the task was doable, so with that inspiring some confidence, I just kept at it until the device worked as described. My learning curve, like with most people, is totally reliant on the amount of stubbornness. However, thank you for the wonderful compliment.
Well, and humble as well!

Dude, you are p r o l i f i c ! I've been following the gainclone threads and you and another poster have given enormous amounts of time to posting your testing and info.

You do us all a great service and I guess you didn't understand that!

And look what you get for your appreciated contributions ... a small token of our goodwill (perfect Anonymous1! Does the iRiver iHP-140 have a buffer)!

I wish you luck and look forward to you finding a player/phone that's a good fit!

Last edited by AudioLapDance; 5th February 2013 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 8th February 2013, 07:41 PM   #49
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Your extensive FLAC use gave me an idea. . .

I've completed an extensive codec comparison on the Sansa Clip+ RockBox by trying every lossy codec on the list.
It took a long time!
There is 1 lossy codec that it understands without making the treble quality of jangled coins, fuzz, whines, static or smear.
There is only one.
The Sansa's flaw of trashing HE content is solved by the one codec that puts such content into a separate file that we omit so that the actual fix is to set the LC basic content to a high bitrate. Like the FLAC approach, my dodge avoids incompatible input that the Sansa distorts horribly. If we don't put that in, it doesn't come out.

WavePack 24 bit, auto dithered and at least 224kbits with "effort" level about 3 and no "correction" file, is the compatible codec. This is a very slow encode/transcode and takes up some space. But, the replay quality is noticeable, and the space consumed by WavePack hybrid in lossy mode is far less than Flac. True transparency for WavePack hybrid comes somewhere between 350kbits to 400kbits; but, that high is only needed for very complex programme such as multilayer instruments in orchestras.

I've stopped over at the Wal-Mart today for a 32gb TF card. Meanwhile the computer has been busy making a copy of my collection in WavePack Hybrid, 24 bit, auto-dithered (lossy sources only), using Foobar2000. I'm accostomed to MP3 playback with Foobar2000, and the prospect is to make the Sansa play my files exactly like that.

I've never used WavePack before and I don't have a favorite, but the Sansa likes it. Subtract a miniscule quality hit for the transcode, but much to the benefit of the Sansa being able to decode it sensibly.

It is working!

This has reduced the reliance on stereo expander and EQ tricks. I haven't decided if the WavePack approach has done the job yet or not, but there's a remarkable difference in all the settings. Most of the treble hash and the severe headroom issues seem to have disappeared. Another change is that the battery lasted several hours longer.

Perhaps this WavePack approach is similar to converting everything to FLAC, although the storage consumption is much different.

P.S.
That's about as far as firmware and software can get us as for avoiding irritating the AF output section. Normal caveats of miniature devices are still present. I understand the current handling troubles and minimum bias in this tiny player, since they didn't want to make it larger to fit a bigger battery for supporting adequate electronics. At end result, software doesn't fully substitute for parts.
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Old 8th February 2013, 07:51 PM   #50
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Ya, not prolific at all (that was only like 3 days)!

Last edited by AudioLapDance; 8th February 2013 at 08:17 PM.
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