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  • probedb
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Cheap portable mp3 player that's not total rubbish?
Reply #25
devils advocate, some people to have audible noise on the clip+, but it's still a great player and only bothers me in quiet situations. Rockbox is great on it


A Clip+ user here and no noise what-so-ever and I'm using sensitive IEMs  I agree, Rockbox is great on this too!

  • 2Bdecided
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Developer
Cheap portable mp3 player that's not total rubbish?
Reply #26
And Zip supports AAC without rockboxing.
That nearly swayed me - but it seems compatibility isn't 100%, which made it useless for me.

Cheers,
David.

  • stephan_g
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Cheap portable mp3 player that's not total rubbish?
Reply #27
Re: displays, note that while the monochrome (well, duochrome) screen on the Clip+ may not seem like much, it stands a better chance of competing with bright ambient light and has good contrast. The color screen on the Zip - a regular backlit LCD affair, passive matrix I think - also is an oddball square thing at 96x96 pixels.

The biggest weak point in these units seems to be the headphone jack, so angled plugs would be preferred.

I'm a pretty happy camper as far as Rockbox is concerned on my Clip+. Currently it uses one of the custom builds from ABI's dfkt, from a few months ago. Meier crossfeed has since become a standard feature in RB, which I think is pretty cool. Stability has not been an issue during playback, only in USB mode have I had a hang or two on my Vista machine.
My little "blogalike":
http://stephan.win31.de/music.htm

  • zima
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Cheap portable mp3 player that's not total rubbish?
Reply #28
And Zip supports AAC without rockboxing.
That nearly swayed me - but it seems compatibility isn't 100%, which made it useless for me.

Is it ever 100%?  (but, seriously, what seems to be issue?)


Re: displays, note that while the monochrome (well, duochrome) screen on the Clip+ may not seem like much, it stands a better chance of competing with bright ambient light and has good contrast. The color screen on the Zip - a regular backlit LCD affair, passive matrix I think - also is an oddball square thing at 96x96 pixels.

Zip also, like older Clips, appears to have OLED ( http://www.rockbox.org/wiki/SansaClip#Sansa_Clip_Zip ). But yes, it looks like it might (TOS#8! ;p ...anybody can compare?) fare worse in unfavourable lighting conditions - though that could also largely depend on theme. OTOH, ~1k more pixels... plus most likely much better experience with Rockbox games! ;p
Anyway, like I wrote, I do kinda like the style of Clip+ display.


The mention of noise just above, audio quality generally, reminded me of one thing - wasn't there some slight issue with playback speed on Clips, IIRC files consistently played at slightly different speed than the nominal? (so slightly changed pitch) I think I read that somewhere... 
Either way, nothing about how it works bothers me - but I guess the above could matter to some, if it's indeed the case.


Overall, doesn't it seem like Sansa Clips are almost the Rockbox players?
The others supported are mostly unwieldy, out of production, or large-screened - and let's be honest here, Rockbox UI isn't particularly polished ...but it does work out on very small screens, with so little space, where it's "function no form" combination wins. ;p
  • Last Edit: 22 June, 2012, 03:40:55 AM by zima

  • probedb
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Cheap portable mp3 player that's not total rubbish?
Reply #29
Overall, doesn't it seem like Sansa Clips are almost the Rockbox players?
The others supported are mostly unwieldy, out of production, or large-screened - and let's be honest here, Rockbox UI isn't particularly polished ...but it does work out on very small screens, with so little space, where it's "function no form" combination wins. ;p


I actually preferred my 1st gen iPod Nano but as they're not made anymore, I can't use it  The screen was colour and higher res than the clip, but the Clip is so nice, especially when you remove the clip part, it's stupidly small.

  • JJZolx
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Cheap portable mp3 player that's not total rubbish?
Reply #30
Overall, doesn't it seem like Sansa Clips are almost the Rockbox players?


I have no idea what that means. Please explain.

Quote
The others supported are mostly unwieldy, out of production, or large-screened


"Large screened"? Well, yes, you have a good point there. That does make a user interface particularly difficult to implement. (??? huh?)

Quote
- and let's be honest here, Rockbox UI isn't particularly polished ...


What exactly would you consider "polished"? Something with more animated transitions and more icons? In other words, more eye candy?

Quote
but it does work out on very small screens, with so little space, where it's "function no form" combination wins.


Works well on small screens, even better on larger one. In my experience.

  • stephan_g
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Cheap portable mp3 player that's not total rubbish?
Reply #31
Zip also, like older Clips, appears to have OLED ( http://www.rockbox.org/wiki/SansaClip#Sansa_Clip_Zip ).

I always thought it was a DSTN or such. You live and learn. That one should be OK then.
The mention of noise just above, audio quality generally, reminded me of one thing - wasn't there some slight issue with playback speed on Clips, IIRC files consistently played at slightly different speed than the nominal? (so slightly changed pitch) I think I read that somewhere...

The old "pitch bug" thankfully is a thing of the past, as of Rockbox 3.7 (late 2010). I think it had already been fixed in OF at this point. Pitch accuracy now is well under 0.1% and as such easily accurate enough for humans (detection threshold is about 0.3%, AFAIK). Originally it was common for them to run 1.1% slow.
Overall, doesn't it seem like Sansa Clips are almost the Rockbox players?
The others supported are mostly unwieldy, out of production, or large-screened - and let's be honest here, Rockbox UI isn't particularly polished ...but it does work out on very small screens, with so little space, where it's "function no form" combination wins. ;p

Nowadays, with plenty of USB ports on my computer, I would probably prefer a FuzeV2 - replaceable battery, bigger screen, buttons more compatible with Western hand sizes. It's a shame they went out of production. Still, the small size of a Clip+/Zip has its advantages at times, as does having something that's actually in production and widely used.

I'd say it's the Clip and its successors that truly enabled Rockbox to go mainstream (at least as far as the geekier side of the population is concerned). It's inexpensive, shows good performance and is a really decent player to begin with, so it's rather widespread. Plus core hardware has been pretty stable.
My little "blogalike":
http://stephan.win31.de/music.htm

  • zima
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Cheap portable mp3 player that's not total rubbish?
Reply #32
Overall, doesn't it seem like Sansa Clips are almost the Rockbox players?

I have no idea what that means. Please explain.

The apparent high popularity of them among Rockbox users, or as recommended players here, would be enough by itself... stephan_g in his post just above seems to more or less agree.


And liberally slicing what somebody says might be conductive to missing larger picture, JJZolx. It's not that large screens make smooth UI (when it comes to interaction, not eye-candy ...what "bigger" Rockbox variants largely add, BTW) more difficult to implement - on the contrary, the point is that smaller screens do so, hence it's easier to forgive some of inherent UI awkwardness on such (and Rockbox largely originated on quite low res screens, now still lives largely on such, so its UI model has no choice but take them into account)

Not like it really bothers me in usage. But Rockbox does seem, to me, somewhat more awkward than, say, iPod UI (early Nanos, not much eye-candy on those; naturally, they benefit from hw/sw synergy). Plus I don't think "ABX-rigorous" usability testing was ever much of a focus for the project - of course, OTOH, the question is whether the amount of functionality (more of a focus) in Rockbox can ever be shoehorned into anything significantly more cozy.
  • Last Edit: 22 June, 2012, 06:59:06 AM by zima

  • Martel
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Cheap portable mp3 player that's not total rubbish?
Reply #33
I'm on a second Clip+ and I've thrown all the bundled earbuds away because they're garbage. The phones that came with my $99 Samsung C3300 are way better (but no bass either).
When I'm not wearing a (t-)shirt with a pocket, I just clip it to the collar (and throw the wire under the t-shirt).
IE4 Rockbox Clip+ AAC@192; HD 668B/HD 518 Xonar DX FB2k FLAC;

  • saratoga
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Cheap portable mp3 player that's not total rubbish?
Reply #34
And Zip supports AAC without rockboxing.
That nearly swayed me - but it seems compatibility isn't 100%, which made it useless for me.

Is it ever 100%?  (but, seriously, what seems to be issue?)


The OF AAC support is apparently really bad.  I think any file longer then 7 or 8 minutes can't be decoded, or at least I've seen users claim that.  Rockbox has a similar issue due to MP4 parsing needing quite a lot of RAM, but our parser will work until about 2-3 hours (depending on the AAC profile) before it depletes the available memory on the device.



Zip also, like older Clips, appears to have OLED ( http://www.rockbox.org/wiki/SansaClip#Sansa_Clip_Zip ).

I always thought it was a DSTN or such. You live and learn. That one should be OK then.
The mention of noise just above, audio quality generally, reminded me of one thing - wasn't there some slight issue with playback speed on Clips, IIRC files consistently played at slightly different speed than the nominal? (so slightly changed pitch) I think I read that somewhere...

The old "pitch bug" thankfully is a thing of the past, as of Rockbox 3.7 (late 2010). I think it had already been fixed in OF at this point. Pitch accuracy now is well under 0.1% and as such easily accurate enough for humans (detection threshold is about 0.3%, AFAIK). Originally it was common for them to run 1.1% slow.


I don't think it was ever fixed by Sandisk.  Their position is that its not noticeable, which is probably fair given that people seem to think that they fixed it

-----

BTW, if you want a bigger screen, get a Fuze V2.  Same hardware as a Clip+/Clip Zip but it has an iPod style scroll wheel instead of clickable buttons.  It is a lot more efficient in terms of navigating large libraries, but it is also larger.  Personally I like the Clip form factor since I usually just start music and don't touch it for a long time, but if you prefer to micromanage playback, the Fuze V2 may be better for you.

  • stephan_g
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Cheap portable mp3 player that's not total rubbish?
Reply #35
The OF AAC support is apparently really bad.  I think any file longer then 7 or 8 minutes can't be decoded, or at least I've seen users claim that.  Rockbox has a similar issue due to MP4 parsing needing quite a lot of RAM, but our parser will work until about 2-3 hours (depending on the AAC profile) before it depletes the available memory on the device.

And that already involved some smart programming which markedly improved maximum length at some point, IIRC. A straightforward implementation yields a result similar to OF.
I don't think it was ever fixed by Sandisk.  Their position is that its not noticeable, which is probably fair given that people seem to think that they fixed it

Oh, they definitely did, or at least improved things considerably.
NwAvGuy found his Clip+ to be 0.25% fast in OF, and 0.04% fast in RB. Neither should be audible on its own, though obviously RB is closer to ideal speed.

BTW, are you guys aware of fsrc? Since a super-efficient resampler would come in handy, the concept seems worth studying at least.
My little "blogalike":
http://stephan.win31.de/music.htm

Cheap portable mp3 player that's not total rubbish?
Reply #36
I'm on a second Clip+ and I've thrown all the bundled earbuds away because they're garbage. The phones that came with my $99 Samsung C3300 are way better (but no bass either).
When I'm not wearing a (t-)shirt with a pocket, I just clip it to the collar (and throw the wire under the t-shirt).


I'm not sure I've even listened to the earbuds that came with my Clip+ and Fuze.  I've always had something better on hand.

  • saratoga
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Cheap portable mp3 player that's not total rubbish?
Reply #37
BTW, are you guys aware of fsrc? Since a super-efficient resampler would come in handy, the concept seems worth studying at least.


Well that uses floating point math, which we can't use.  But even ignore that, I suspect your idea of "super-efficient" and mine are different by orders of magnitude.  I'm working on a new resampler for rockbox that uses 5-10 (integer) multiplies per output sample.  If you have something like that available, I would be interested.
  • Last Edit: 22 June, 2012, 04:58:45 PM by saratoga

  • saratoga
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Cheap portable mp3 player that's not total rubbish?
Reply #38
Sorry, just noticed this:

And that already involved some smart programming which markedly improved maximum length at some point, IIRC. A straightforward implementation yields a result similar to OF.
I don't think it was ever fixed by Sandisk.  Their position is that its not noticeable, which is probably fair given that people seem to think that they fixed it

Oh, they definitely did, or at least improved things considerably.
NwAvGuy found his Clip+ to be 0.25% fast in OF, and 0.04% fast in RB.


No, thats what it always was in the Sandisk firmware.  If you mean rockbox, yes that was corrected a few years back by switching the DAC to use the second PLL.

  • stephan_g
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Cheap portable mp3 player that's not total rubbish?
Reply #39

Oh, they definitely did, or at least improved things considerably.
NwAvGuy found his Clip+ to be 0.25% fast in OF, and 0.04% fast in RB.


No, thats what it always was in the Sandisk firmware.  If you mean rockbox, yes that was corrected a few years back by switching the DAC to use the second PLL.

No, originally the Sandisk firmware had the same "pitch bug". How would that many people notice it otherwise? I think it still was an issue at the time I bought my ClipV2, early 2009, as I remember mentioning it in an Amazon review of the unit. A bit later a firmware update yielded the abovementioned improvement from -1.1% to +0.25% (maybe for the Clip+ only, I don't remember that part), and eventually RB caught up and outdid that by using PLLB.

Old ABI thread discussing the issue
My little "blogalike":
http://stephan.win31.de/music.htm

  • uart
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Cheap portable mp3 player that's not total rubbish?
Reply #40
Thanks for all the opinions everyone, this has really helped me choose. I ended up ordering the clip+ because I could get a good deal on a "factory refurb". It will probably be about 2 weeks before I get it. I'll use it as is for a while (to make sure everything is 100%) and then probably look into rockboxing it.

From what people have said about the supplied earphones it seems that I may be asking for more help in a few weeks with a "what phones to buy" question. Oh well, we'll see, maybe I'll be happy enough with the supplied ones.

Interesting about the pitch issue, I'd definitely not notice 0.25% though. Absolute pitch errors are very hard to notice, even 1.1% could only be noticed (by most people) by switching back and forth between correct and altered versions.
  • Last Edit: 26 June, 2012, 11:54:49 AM by uart

  • saratoga
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Cheap portable mp3 player that's not total rubbish?
Reply #41
Old ABI thread discussing the issue


From your link:

"The Clip+ has a %0.25 frequency variance"

"The improvement for this issue was never actually coded into the firmware. There was a potential improvement identified however this actually never made it in to the code. "

"They not only did not fix the error, they stated that they were not going to, even on the new player. "

I feel confident in my original recollection that Sandisk never fixed the pitch bug.

  • probedb
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Cheap portable mp3 player that's not total rubbish?
Reply #42
Thanks for all the opinions everyone, this has really helped me choose. I ended up ordering the clip+ because I could get a good deal on a "factory refurb". It will probably be about 2 weeks before I get it. I'll use it as is for a while (to make sure everything is 100%) and then probably look into rockboxing it.

From what people have said about the supplied earphones it seems that I may be asking for more help in a few weeks with a "what phones to buy" question. Oh well, we'll see, maybe I'll be happy enough with the supplied ones.

Interesting about the pitch issue, I'd definitely not notice 0.25% though. Absolute pitch errors are very hard to notice, even 1.1% could only be noticed (by most people) by switching back and forth between correct and altered versions.


I rockboxed almost straight away  Amusingly it with the language set to Arabic or something similar, some searching later and I got English  I use Westone UM3x and I think it's a great sounding player.