I got this MP3 player (Creative Muvo N200) about 6 months ago. It works pretty well, but it's only able to hold about 6-7 albums as it only has a 512MB capacity.
It's really simple to operate, just hook up the USB cable, drag-n-drop files/folders onto the device (it shows up like a USB Jump drive. It treats each folder as an album and will play all tracks in alphabetical order. As playing tracks out of order drove me batty, I devised a VBS script that I added a shortcut for in my "Send To" items and all I had to do was right click on the m3u play list, send it to the shortcut, and it would renumber the files to "0001 - track.mp3", "0002 - track.mp3", "0003 - track.mp3". Once the tracks are renumbered, the tracks play in the desired order. As an added feature, resending the the track list to the shortcut again would remove the track numbers.
The device came with a software suite, I haven't bothered using it, as with the MP3 device below, I just plug it into the USB port and it shows up as just another USB removable disk drive. I just use Windows Explorer to pop files onto it. This device doesn't require much effort to use, just organize albums by folder and make sure the file names are numbered and all is well.
I recently got this MP3 player (SanDisk Sansa e140), its fairly sizable for a non-hard drive storage device (1GB) and very expandable (it takes SD cards, too). So who cares if there are 6GB devices out there? I can insert SD cards up to 2GB capacity to it and can have an almost limitless capacity.
A major annoyance after initially loading it up was that regardless of the folders and track names, it was playing all files alphabetically! At first I was really annoyed and considered returning it. The instructions weren't helpful, they said don't worry about organizing the files as they would automatically be organized by album, artist, and genre etc. It took me a minute to realize they assumed all of my MP3s were ID3 tagged, which they were not. It is unfortunate that there was no documentation explaining this! The directions (below in italics) were very high level and did not explain why it would automatically be able to do so (that the device would use the ID3 tags).
NOTE: Because your Sansa Player automatically organizes your music by artist, album, song title, genre, and year, you only need to copy your music to the player. Don’t worry about organizing your music. Your Sansa Player menus make it easy to find your music.
As a side note, I run Win2K server & an unknown version of media player (it stopped working a few months ago; I don't care, I use WinAmp). The box says it requires Win2K or XP and either MediaPlayer 8 or 9, I haven't noticed any issues. I've even hooked it up to my so-called "dev box" at work (runs Win2K Server with Media Player 6.4), works fine. Incidentally, there are no drivers to load, the mini-CD that comes with the device is just a bunch of PDFs!
I do have 2 peeves, but they aren't show stoppers: 1) device doesn't resume from where left off. If I'm in the middle of a track and turn it off, it comes back on to the beginning of that track and 2) If I add or remove tracks I have to delete the "MUSIC.LIB" (it's a hidden system file on the drive that coresponds to the internal 1GB storage part of the device when hooked up as a USB drive) to completely refresh the available tracks. This device does support fast forward so I can just fast forward through the track, but there should be better auto-detection going on for removal and addition of tracks on the device.
I initially had the version 1.x.xxxa firmware. There's a bit of a trick to update to version 2.0.001a. If you're comfortable taking a little risk, I do recommend it. I had a number of non audio files on the device and it was often slow starting up until either (a) I removed the files from the SD card or (b) put the files back but was now running the latest firmware.
There's some details on this page and this page outlining how to do it. I flashed it once, had some glitches (the device stopped reading the SD card when running as a MP3 player, but the SD+Sansa worked fine as USB drives on the computer. I then reapplied firmware 1.x.xxxa - it seemed OK, but wouldn't power on afterwards. I just about panicked, but found that if I took the battery out, put the key lock on, and held the center button down then plugged in the USB cable it was eventually picked up in recovery mode.
- Steps I followed
- Downloaded the sansa 2.0.001a and 1.0.010a firmware
- Downloaded the referenced Creative Driver
- Installed the "Creative Mass Storage Driver"
- Archived my device's data
- Held down the power button on the device, when screen glowed blue, inserted the USB cable (still depressing the power button), the computer then detected a device in recovery mode.
- Ran the Sansa 2.0 update. It wipes out any MP3s stored in the onboard 1GB. It does not wipe the SD card (but eject to be safe!)
- When complete, I then cycled the device and tested with an SD card that had just one album, started up & it played.
- Later restore of the 1.0 firmware didn't go as planned
- Put the lock key set to yellow & pull battery.
- Hold the center button down
- Insert the USB cable, keep the button depressed for another 5-10 sec. It helps to have device manager open so you can see when it is picked up since I don't always get an alert that a device has been installed.
- Re-run the 2.0 firmware
- Device much happier and faster on start up than previous flash left it.
The information only helped me with some of my newer tracks which I used EAC to rip. EAC is a nice little product. It's able to go out to FreeCDDB and get album, track, artist, etc. data and tag the MP3s as they are created. Unfortunately, many of my files were ripped about 8-9 years ago and don't have any of the tagging. I didn't want to go though the tedium of opening each file in WinAMP and entering the data. I also wanted to use my existing script that renumbered the tracks. I did find this app (massid3lib), however, it did not support dragging and dropping the files into the app. I wanted to simply right click on the m3u file play list and have it automatically update the files. I've been tinkering with a C# app to do just that (it works with ID3v1 but not quite with ID3v2). When I finish it, I'll post it here.
I found this site which seemed hopeful for extending the existing script. Unfortunately, VBS refused to play ball, I got the errors below when trying to create the ID3Tag objects:
ActiveX component can't create object: 'CDDBControl.CddbID3Tag' (CDDBControl.dll)
ActiveX component can't create object: 'CDDBCONTROLLibRoxio.CddbID3Tag' (CDDBControlRoxio.dll)
I ultimately was forced to migrate the code to a VB6 project and perform a project reference to the DLLs in question. I ultimately went with the Roxio version since that was something I'd actually installed rather than download a stand alone DLL.
Once I had gone through all my play lists and had the MP3s updated, I was quite pleased with the performance of the device. It was able to correctly identify the tracks and was able to divvy up all the MP3s. It also started playing them in the correct order (the whole trick there is to put the track number first as part of the track name and to put leading 0s so you don't end up with tracks playing in the order 1, 10, 11, 12, 2, 3, 4 etc.
"Dim id3 As New CDDBCONTROLLibRoxio.CddbID3Tag" was the declaration used in the VB6 project.
There was very little additional code added to the original script:
albumname = FileSystemObj.GetFileName(arg0)
albumname = Replace(albumname, ".m3u", "", 1, -1)
If FileSystemObj.FileExists(sFileUnOrdered) Then
FileSystemObj.MoveFile sFileUnOrdered, sFileOrdered
id3.LoadFromFile sFileOrdered, False
id3.TrackPosition = iFileOrder
id3.Album = albumname
id3.Title = sFileOrder + " - " + Replace(tmpFileName, ".mp3", "")
If FileSystemObj.FileExists(sFileOrdered) Then
FileSystemObj.MoveFile sFileOrdered, sFileUnOrdered