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Author Topic: Is it really unreasonable to ask for folder-level navigation in an MP3 player???  (Read 1190 times)
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Qbe
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« on: June 01, 2007, 02:05:25 AM »

So I've been looking for a new MP3 player; my old 128MB Lyra doesn't quite have the storage capability I'd like.

I'd like an iPod, but they're a little pricey for a guy with 2 kids and an impending move.  Over the weekend I picked up the 4GB Sansa e260.  Nice player.  Nice screen.  Nice price.  I connected it up and copied over my nicely-organized folders of J-pop MP3s...and discovered that I couldn't actually navigate to those folders to play them.  Nope: the player goes through the files and indexes them for you.  As a result, quite a few of them just plain don't show up, and others are a jumble.  Feh.  I'm taking the stupid thing back to Circuit City tomorrow.

It doesn't seem unreasonable to expect to navigate through folders to find MP3s.  Are there any players in the 2-4GB range that let you do this?  Do iPods give you this ability?  Any recommendations and insights are welcome and appreciated.
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Austin
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2007, 02:09:32 AM »

My Creative Zen Nano uses folders and has an FM radio.  Works well for me.
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wonton
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2007, 02:39:57 AM »

I was planning on getting a sansa e200 series player.  How much did the 4gb run?  And could you describe how it shows the files a little more?  Are they jumbled because you don't tag them properly?
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Qbe
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2007, 02:52:40 AM »

Quote from: wonton on June 01, 2007, 02:39:57 AM

I was planning on getting a sansa e200 series player.  How much did the 4gb run?  And could you describe how it shows the files a little more?  Are they jumbled because you don't tag them properly?

The 4GB runs $119.99 at Circuit City this week, cheaper than the $129.99 at Best Buy.  Apparently BB sells the 'R' version, which is restricted to BB's music store, or something like that.

When you load your files onto the player, it indexes them based on the ID tags, and you can play them by artist, album and/or song.  That's great if your files are tagged consistently.  However, I ripped my own CDs a long time ago and didn't pay much attention to tags.  Most of the J-pop MP3s...well, let's just say that I wasn't responsible for the consistency of the tags, or lack thereof.

I suppose tag-based indexing could be a great thing...but I just want to navigate through my folders myself.
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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2007, 02:56:01 AM »

Check out http://www.rockbox.org/ - third-party firmware that allows for folder navigation.  But yeah, tagging is crucial smile  There are plenty of great apps for mass tagging, such as mp3tag, tag & rename, and musicbrainz
« Last Edit: June 01, 2007, 02:57:59 AM by Laner » Logged
Qbe
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2007, 03:02:52 AM »

Quote from: Laner on June 01, 2007, 02:56:01 AM

Check out http://www.rockbox.org/ - third-party firmware that allows for folder navigation.  But yeah, tagging is crucial smile  There are plenty of great apps for mass tagging, such as mp3tag, tag & rename, and musicbrainz

Rockbox is still in development for the Sansa e200 series.  It didn't really work well on mine.

I suppose I should look at tagging software.  Thanks a lot for the suggestions.  For that matter, I have a book with some examples/exercises which involve reading and writing tags.  Hmmm.  A project.  That sounds like it could be fun.
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warning
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2007, 04:24:15 AM »

I've got a 4GB card in my PSP so I end up using that as an mp3 player a lot.  It works fine with folder structures.

As far as tagging goes, I've had some luck with Tag and Rename: http://www.softdepia.com/tag_and_rename_download_1291.html
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2007, 04:31:49 AM »

Quote from: warning on June 01, 2007, 04:24:15 AM

As far as tagging goes, I've had some luck with Tag and Rename: http://www.softdepia.com/tag_and_rename_download_1291.html

i'll put in my recommendation for Tag & Rename as well...simple little program that works great for bulk tag management and file renaming based on tag info.  the only down side is that it isn't free...cost a few bucks, but it's worth it if you're trying to organize a lot of music.  i've used it to organize thousands of files in my library.

Update: i just went to warning's link and was surprised to find that the 'Tag and Rename' program that he linked to is not the same one that i use...very similar names, but made by different companies.  the program that i've found so useful is actually called 'Tag&Rename'...made by SoftPointer and uses an ampersand in the name instead of spelling it all out.  for some reason, i can't get Softpointer's website to load right now, but you can download a trial version of the software from download.com.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2007, 05:24:12 AM by disarm » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2007, 04:37:38 AM »

For the Sansa series you need to download (for free) an external program that'll generate playlists that you can play from inside the player. You can make them folder based, or just anything you want. If you need it, let me know and I'll go dig up a link or two.

Yeah, it's a BIG issue for me with my Sansa e240, but I love the player otherwise.

That said - I had a little (512MB) Creative player that would automagically play folders and nothing more. You do make a good point though.
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2007, 04:42:19 AM »

I have the Zen V Plus which I just got and it has similar issues. It lets you browse by artist, album, genre but not by folder.

However, setting up playlists quickly fixed the issue.

The Creative MUVO comes in 2 GB flavors (cheap now) and it navigates by folder. I had one for a long time. Drawbacks were the aaa battery requirement and a slight humm when the display was lit up.

Overall it was a great flash MP3 player for the price.

And the FM version has a mic, record feature and FM radio.
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Qbe
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2007, 05:23:41 AM »

Quote from: Destructor on June 01, 2007, 04:37:38 AM

For the Sansa series you need to download (for free) an external program that'll generate playlists that you can play from inside the player. You can make them folder based, or just anything you want. If you need it, let me know and I'll go dig up a link or two.

Thanks--I've already tried Playlist Creator (http://www.infosys.tuwien.ac.at/Staff/cp/playlist_creator.zip) but it choked on quite a few of the folders of Japanese MP3s.  Not sure why.  Maybe I should mess around with it a little more.

Thanks for the replies, everyone.  After years of dealing with folder navigation on my small player, it's kind of a shock not to have it on my newer nicer one, and it seems kind of klunky to have to make playlists just to play a folder.  But maybe that's just how it has to be.
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2007, 01:41:16 PM »

musicbrainz is what I've used to retag my mp3s.

I have an old 1GB sandisk (not sure of model but looks like this one) and it works with folders fine. Each band has a folder and then each album is inside there just like on my pc. No issues navigating to each folder. I don't really remember if it needs tags though as I do that when I rip my cds. To my knowledge it actually goes from folder to folder and isnt just organizing the files based on tags.

Maybe they changed how the folder nav works in the newer fancy models. Not sure if other models they have use the old nav like mine or if they all now work based on tags like yours seems too.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2007, 01:44:17 PM by Creepy_Smell » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2007, 02:58:37 PM »

Quote from: Creepy_Smell on June 01, 2007, 01:41:16 PM

Maybe they changed how the folder nav works in the newer fancy models. Not sure if other models they have use the old nav like mine or if they all now work based on tags like yours seems too.

The Sandisc line (at least on the bigger and 'better' models) went to what the iPod and the like use - tag navigation. Just toss all of your music onto your device, and then (in theory) you just select genre, artist, music type, etc, and you listen to what you want.

In theory, it works like crap. When you rip CDs, the CD information that Winamp and the like grab is entirely based on the data entered. And I've seen that these devices just don't like it when the artist information is just slightly different (uses caps or not, an extra space or accented e character, etc).

Just give me folder navigation and I'm happy. Let me sort out my music entirely based on where I toss it.
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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2007, 09:15:33 PM »

I have a Sansa, and my biggest problem with it is how if you stop in the middle of a large MP3 (book, radio show, etc), it has no way of 'bookmarking' your place.  And it also fast-forwards very slowly, so watching the timestamp you left off on doesn't help as much as one might hope either.
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2007, 09:11:35 PM »

Quote from: disarm on June 01, 2007, 04:31:49 AM

Quote from: warning on June 01, 2007, 04:24:15 AM

As far as tagging goes, I've had some luck with Tag and Rename: http://www.softdepia.com/tag_and_rename_download_1291.html

i'll put in my recommendation for Tag & Rename as well...simple little program that works great for bulk tag management and file renaming based on tag info.  the only down side is that it isn't free...cost a few bucks, but it's worth it if you're trying to organize a lot of music.  i've used it to organize thousands of files in my library.

Update: i just went to warning's link and was surprised to find that the 'Tag and Rename' program that he linked to is not the same one that i use...very similar names, but made by different companies.  the program that i've found so useful is actually called 'Tag&Rename'...made by SoftPointer and uses an ampersand in the name instead of spelling it all out.  for some reason, i can't get Softpointer's website to load right now, but you can download a trial version of the software from download.com.

I give a big +1 to this.  It's one of the few out there that work well, and can look up ID info for you online.  There's just no way I'm ever going to input that info by hand.  For CD Ripping and any converting dbPowerAmp is about as good as it can get.

I have an old 20gb archos, which rockbox was originally made for.  Its a nice player, but bulky.  Hopefully they'll get rockbox for the sansa figured out by the time I save up for one.
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« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2007, 01:40:19 PM »

I got a Sansa at CC too and I love it. My biggest gripe is also the lack of folder navigation too. I'll have to give some of these indexing programs a shot. I bought it for my car and its a bitch having to go through a tone of sub menus to find 1 song to play.
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