Sunday, 15 June 2014

Firmwear upgrade

You might recall sometime in 2010 I write about a portable music player, the Sansa Clip+, I bought cheaply from Amazon because of an interest in downloads I was starting to buy from stores such as 7Digital and wanting the means of listening to them away from the computer which back then was a behemoth of a Desktop.
Well, that player is still alive dispute what some doommongers said cos it wasn't a fashionable brand like Sony or heavens above an Apple although like them it contained a non-user replaceable battery.
It has had a couple of upgrades by Sansa one adding support for the rather geeky Ogg Vorbis audio format but in that time they hadn't done anything about adding support for other file formats such as Aac such as that used on the iTunes Store which was a much bigger thing for most people, but did add it to the later Clip Zip as standard but they've stopped doing upgrades for the Clip+.
I also experienced an issue with a few Flac (Free Lossless Audio Codec) files such as when playing Sgt Pepper where they would hang or crash the player so I was reading about what you might do about this when I read about an alterative software you can put on it called Rockbox you can get from
I decided given its' age it was worth trying this this so having the found the graphical user interface downloader followed the instructions - the only bit I found hard was finding from the Sansa official site a copy of the original software for  a .bin file to link Rockbox's software onto the official players directory.
It went in without any fuss.
The display now looks like this and it will also show the upcoming track as well track time.
It cured the Flac playable issues completely, added proper gapless replay so albums where one track segues into another don't pause even just a second.
Best of all it now can play Aac, Alac (Apple's own Lossless format) and other audio file formats native so I can play anything on one single player.
I set the database to automatically update every time using the manual drag and drop to the memory on your computer I alter the  contents just like the original software did.
I have noticed as well the sound quality seams to have noticeable improvements when it comes to stereo image and fine detail.
The radio gained more presets and the ability to label the stations where on the Clip Zip it used RDS to get this and display program and song playing which is nice but still the upgrade does make things better.
Was this worth doing? Yes because it improved on the capacities of a fine player at no expense and it does show how sadly products can be limited by the software released.

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