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Old 12-05-2006, 08:28 PM
nyeoman nyeoman is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2
Default "unknown" tags - a possible solution


I have a solution to the "unknown" tag issue, which is working for me.

I recently got an M240, having had a Creative Zen Nano. There are 2 annoying things about the Nano. Firstly, the displayed tag is Title only. Secondly, with my big fat fingers, though it is easy to jog the "jog wheel" towards my hand, I find it practically impossible to jog away from my hand without depressing the button.

So I ended up with the M240, and encountered the problems with track order and "unknown" tags like everyone else. BTW, on these MP3 players I use exclusively WMA files. Like everyone else, the tags seemed fine, and when adding extra files, the files that had "unknown" tags changed, i.e. there seemed nothing fundamentally wrong with the tags.

Now I do a bit of programming in Delphi for myself, not polished and distributable you understand, and already had written a sync utility for the Zen Nano that on copying the files retagged the "Title" field to "Title-Artist" or "Artist-Title" depending on which was appropriate.

Similarly, it was possible to do a similar thing for the M240, where the "Title" was changed to "Track No.-Title". This was fine for playing albums in order, but on the ocassions where I did actually want to find a track, it made finding the track impossible.

Anyway, I originally fiddled around with Windows Media Player for syncing in MTP mode, and found that when sorting tracks in album view, the display became a bit confused, with 2 entries per file. To cut a long story short, this behaviour I found resulted from the ASF tag "WM/AlbumArtist". For a solo artist album, it's OK for this tag to be the same as "Author", but in compilation albums, it seems to cause some confusion. So I adapted an existing program to bulk blank out the "WM/AlbumArtist" tag.

Now, whenever I copy directly in MSC mode or via WMP and MTP mode, (cross fingers) I don't get any "unknowns" appearing on the player. You can check in WMP library the AlbumArtist field by right-clicking a file, and Advanced Tag Editor..Artist Info. By clicking multiple files, you can actually remove the AlbumArtist tags in bulk. Check to make sure that the files do actually have an Artist field.

As a bonus, copying tracks in AutoDetect-MTP mode in Windows Media Player also preserves track order, without having to prefix the titles by the track number.

If this fix doesn't work for you, let me know, and I'll reinvestigate whether my AlbumArtist tag stripper is doing something else to the tags which is stopping the M240 from producing "unknowns"

I haven't fallen in love with my M240 as I did with the Zen Nano, but it does have a larger capacity, better buttons, and is therefore more useful. Given the way the market is going, solid state insertable battery devices (my 2 prerequisites) are heading towards the bottom end of the market, so sadly a truely decent model may never come out I fear. My wish list for an ultimate player would be:

1. Solid State. (Nano & M240)
2. Insertable battery. (Nano & M240)
3. Easy to use navigation buttons. (M240 only)
4. Small. (Nano only)
5. Display title and artist tags. (M240 only)
6. Play in alphanumeric file or track number order. (Zen only without using WMP)
7. When finishing one selected album/folder, automatically goes to the next. (Nano only)
8. Reasonable display. (neither is perfect)
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