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  #1  
Old 09-13-2009, 05:15 PM
Mikerman Mikerman is offline
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Unhappy SanDisk pitch issues

9-23-2009 update: As reported in the thread below, SanDisk issued a release today stating that it will not be providing a pitch fix for its players.


Per SanDisk today at the SanDisk Sansa Clip+ forum, in a pitch bug thread:
All,

The SanDisk Firmware developers are aware of this issue and a fix is in the works for the Sansa Fuze and the Sansa Clip+. At this time due to development targeted on the Clip+, firmware for the original Clip is not currently under development. This may change in the future as time permits. . . .

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Great for Clip+ and Fuze owners; bummer for existing original Clip owners.

Last edited by Mikerman; 10-19-2009 at 10:24 AM. Reason: 9-23-2009 update
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  #2  
Old 09-13-2009, 10:00 PM
melman1 melman1 is offline
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What is "the pitch issue"?

I hope it's the fact that the slow and fast playback speeds for podcasts and audiobooks, also change the playback pitch? When playing podcasts on my PC, I can increase the speed of WMP and the pitch does not change. I'm sure there's additional processing required to do this, but I don't know how much. Is this "the pitch issue" ?
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Old 09-13-2009, 11:20 PM
Mikerman Mikerman is offline
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No. As posted elsewhere here, the pitch in the playback of the Clip/Clip+/Fuze is slightly off. (If you play a 3 minute song on both your computer and the Sansas, the Sansas will be a few seconds off.)

Although many cannot really tell a difference, this especially is bothersome to the musician users.
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikerman View Post
No. As posted elsewhere here, the pitch in the playback of the Clip/Clip+/Fuze is slightly off. (If you play a 3 minute song on both your computer and the Sansas, the Sansas will be a few seconds off.)

Although many cannot really tell a difference, this especially is bothersome to the musician users.
Well, I feel better about the pending sale of my Clip and FiiO E5 then, even though I never could hear the difference in pitch. Maybe it will all be sorted out by next spring when I consider getting a Clip+ for outdoor activities.

I have no regrets though, looking back on my year of Sansa ownership. The Fuze and Clip were a great introduction into DAP-world for me.
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  #5  
Old 09-20-2009, 11:12 AM
Malix Malix is offline
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Default Sansa Clip Pitch Issue

Sansa Clip Pitch Issue
======================

Summary
-------

Personal observation, as well as reports of other users, indicate that music files played on the Sansa Clip exhibit lower pitch, and thus longer duration, than expected. However, SanDisk technical support have stated as late as 2009/09/17 that this problem was fixed by firmware release 02.01.32. I tested SanDisk's assertion by playing the same files on two Sansa Clips with the latest firmware version, as well as on two other MP3 players (an Apple iPod and a Philips GoGear).

The tests show that Sansa Clip with the latest firmware update continues to exhibit the pitch/duration error. The duration of an MP3 file sampled at 44.1kHz and played on a Sansa Clip was found to be >1% greater than the original, corresponding to a pitch lower by 19–20 cents than expected. By contrast, the other players exhibited pitch variations of < 4 cents (Philips) and < 1 cent (Apple), that is, below the threshold of human perception (5 cents).

The assertion of SanDisk technical support was thus found to be false.

However, the Clip's pitch error is close to, but below, what might be regarded as the average pitch recognition value (25 cents). Hence, casual listeners, or those without musical training and/or without good pitch discrimination, are unlikely to be seriously affected by this issue. By contrast, serious listeners or those with musical training and/or good pitch discrimination will probably find the Sansa Clip (as well as other SanDisk products which exhibit this problem) highly unsatisfactory.


Introduction
------------

Personal observation, as well as reports of other Sansa Clip users, indicate that music files played on this MP3 player are off-pitch [1]. For instance, DAVEK reported an error of -19.5 cents at 1000Hz on a file sampled at 44.1kHz on his Sansa Clip 8GB [2].

On the other hand, SanDisk technical support have stated that this problem was fixed by the latest firmware release (version 02.01.32 of February 2009) [3]. To test this assertion, I played the same audio file on two different Sansa Clips, on two other MP3 players, and on iTunes/PowerMac G4, and compared the results.


Players
-------

I used the following MP3 players:

Philips GoGear SA2115/37, f/w v4.16

Apple iPod Classic 80G, v1.1.2 PC

Sansa Clip 2GB, f/w V02.01.32A

Sansa Clip 1GB, f/w V02.01.32A

Additionally, I also tested iTunes running on a PowerMac G4 under Mac OS X v10.3.9.


Source
------

I created a source file by ripping a track from an audio CD to AIFF, 16bits, 44.1kHz, stereo [4]. I edited the source with Sound Studio to insert two 1-second long 440Hz sine tones, exactly 360 seconds apart. Then I encoded the source to MP3 in 2 versions; version 1 with iTunes, 128k; version 2 with LAME v3.90.3, VBR (alt-preset-extreme).


Method
------

I copied the 2 MP3 files (128k and VBR) to the MP3 players from a PC in the usual manner [5].

I connected in turn each player's headphone port to a Toshiba Satellite's analogue audio-in port and recorded the player's output with Audacity. I saved the result in Audacity's format (AUP), and also exported it to WAV.

For each player, I measured in the WAV file the interval between the two 440Hz tones (which was exactly 360s in the source file).


Results
-------

The results are listed below as xxx/yyy (zzz), where xxx is the interval for the 128k file in seconds, yyy for the VBR file, and zzz the percentage relative to 360, rounded to 2 decimals.

Note that only the GoGear generated different values for the two files.

Philips GoGear ..... 360.528/359.361 (100.15/99.82)

iPod Classic ....... 359.854/359.854 (99.96)

iTunes ............. 360.002/360.002 (100)

Sansa Clip 2GB ..... 364.084/364.084 (101.13)

Sansa Clip 1GB ..... 364.085/364.085 (101.13)

In terms of pitch, these different intervals translate empirically [6] as follows (in absolute values):

Philips GoGear ..... < 3 cents / < 4 cents

iPod Classic ....... < 1 cent

iTunes ............. << 1 cent

Sansa Clip 2GB ..... 19 cents -- 20 cents

Sansa Clip 1GB ..... 19 cents -- 20 cents


Conclusions
-----------

(1) The duration of 44.1kHz MP3 files played on the Sansa Clip is greater by >1% relative to the source, which is considerably higher than the variation exhibited by either the Philips GoGear or the iPod.

(2) This deviation corresponds to a pitch error of between 19 and 20 cents, which is an excellent match to the value reported by DAVEK [2].

(3) According to data quoted in Wikipedia, 5 cents can be taken as the threshold of human pitch perception, and most normal adults can "very reliably" recognise pitch differences of 25 cents or more [7]. The Sansa Clip's pitch error is close to, but below the latter value. This would suggest that many users -- in particular, casual listeners, those without musical training, or those with average and below average pitch discrimination -- would be little affected by this issue. On the other hand, dedicated listeners or users with musical training and/or above average pitch discrimination would indeed perceive this issue as a problem.

(4) The fact that this kind of bug was allowed to occur in the final product would suggest that the Clip development team did not include anyone musically trained or with good pitch recognition. This would further suggest that the Clip (as well as other SanDisk products which exhibit this error) is not intended for customers with discriminating ears.

(5) According to SanDisk technical support,

"There is an available firmware update for your Sansa Clip. This should fix the issue with the pitch." [3]

This assertion is clearly in flagrant contradiction with the facts; moreover, it is also in contradiction with statements of other representatives of SanDisk, eg,

"The SanDisk Firmware developers are aware of this issue and a fix is in the works for the Sansa Fuze and the Sansa Clip+. At this time due to development targeted on the Clip+, firmware for the original Clip is not currently under development. This may change in the future as time permits." [8]

These contradictions raise doubts regarding either the expertise or the veracity of SanDisk technical support -- or perhaps both.


File Availability
-----------------

I can make available the files used to anyone who desires, provided a suitable arrangement can be made. The whole project is 2.19GB, of which the test files are 0.086GB, the recordings in WAV format 0.72GB, and the same in AUP format 1.41GB.


Notes
-----

[1] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sansa_Clip#Music_Pitch_Bug<http: en.wikipedia.org="" wiki="" sansa_clip#music_pitch_bug="">, retrieved 2009/09/19.

[2] See <http: forums.sandisk.com="" sansa="" board="" message?board.id="sansafuse&message.id=18012#M1801 2"></http:></http:>http://forums.sandisk.com/sansa/boar...d=18012#M18012<http: en.wikipedia.org="" wiki="" sansa_clip#music_pitch_bug=""><http: forums.sandisk.com="" sansa="" board="" message?board.id="sansafuse&message.id=18012#M1801 2">, retrieved 2009/09/19.

[3] SanDisk Technical Support, personal communication, 2009/09/17.

[4] Specifically, Angela Hewitt's "Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier", Hyperion CDA67741/4 (2009), CD 2, Track 24, BWV 869: Fugue.

[5] Sansa Clip 1GB was connected in MSC mode, the other in MTP mode.

[6] That is, using Peak to change the pitch of the measured interval until its duration was close enough to 360s.

[7] See </http:></http:>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cent_(music)<http: en.wikipedia.org="" wiki="" sansa_clip#music_pitch_bug=""><http: forums.sandisk.com="" sansa="" board="" message?board.id="sansafuse&message.id=18012#M1801 2"><http: en.wikipedia.org="" wiki="" cent_(music)="">, retrieved 2009/09/19.

[8] See </http:></http:></http:>http://forums.sandisk.com/sansa/boar...d=32947#M32947<http: en.wikipedia.org="" wiki="" sansa_clip#music_pitch_bug=""><http: forums.sandisk.com="" sansa="" board="" message?board.id="sansafuse&message.id=18012#M1801 2"><http: en.wikipedia.org="" wiki="" cent_(music)=""><http: forums.sandisk.com="" sansa="" board="" message?board.id="sansafuse&view=by_date_ascending &message.id=32947#M32947">, retrieved 2009/09/19.


--
[Last modified: 2009/09/20]


(This item was also posted on the SanDisk Clip forum at http://forums.sandisk.com/sansa/boar...d=21308#M21308)
</http:></http:></http:></http:>

Last edited by Malix; 09-20-2009 at 11:14 AM. Reason: URLs were stripped
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  #6  
Old 09-20-2009, 11:36 AM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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And you joined here to start another cut and paste campaign against Sandisk?
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  #7  
Old 09-20-2009, 05:12 PM
melman1 melman1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malix View Post
By contrast, serious listeners or those with musical training and/or good pitch discrimination<http: en.wikipedia.org="" wiki="" sansa_clip#music_pitch_bug=""><http: forums.sandisk.com="" sansa="" board="" message?board.id="sansafuse&message.id=18012#M1801 2"><http: en.wikipedia.org="" wiki="" cent_(music)=""><http: forums.sandisk.com="" sansa="" board="" message?board.id="sansafuse&view=by_date_ascending &message.id=32947#M32947"></http:></http:></http:></http:>
Who are probably not going to waste their immense seriousness on a $40 mp3 player.
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  #8  
Old 09-20-2009, 05:22 PM
Mikerman Mikerman is offline
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Actual, not at all the case, from what I've read in postings by musicians here and at the SanDisk Clip threads. I think they like the smallness of the Clip and its recording ability, and don't need a larger video player with screen. I epecially can see the attractiveness of the Clip+, with removable storage.
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  #9  
Old 09-20-2009, 05:26 PM
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Nice to know, thanks Mikerman! Although in all honesty, I can't remember the last time I used the sansa fw on the clip since I rockboxed it
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  #10  
Old 09-21-2009, 10:19 AM
Malix Malix is offline
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skip252: My, an ad hominem first thing out of the box! Must've touched a raw nerve. Thanks anyway.

melman1: What I didn't include in my little write-up is that I also compared the Clip to four "no-name" players (aRoc, Camnex, Coby, Nextar), which retailed for one fifth to one quarter of the price of a Clip. All have pitch variations of less than 1 cent! So, in your opinion, what would be a reasonable price for an MP3 player capable of playing on-pitch?

WalkGood: If I understand correctly, Rockbox for Clip is still under development. It does not yet support USB and there are corruption issues. What about the pitch issue -- does it fix that?
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:31 AM
saratoga saratoga is offline
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Theres no corruption issues, but the pitch bug is still there since we use the Sandisk clock settings (for now at least). However since rockbox has full pitch adjustment, you can set the pitch to whatever you like.
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malix View Post
... ... WalkGood: If I understand correctly, Rockbox for Clip is still under development. It does not yet support USB and there are corruption issues. What about the pitch issue -- does it fix that?
No, not other than what saratoga stated above, I play with the tweaks and not sure if I have them 100% correct, but it's good enough for my ears. BTW, you are correct in that it's not complete, but if you listen to albums and don't jump around on the music via << >>, it works very good this way, you can even play games during music playback without interruptions.
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  #13  
Old 09-22-2009, 03:29 PM
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Geraldo35 Geraldo35 is offline
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Sandisk's handling of this issue has been beyond pitful. Very general "we're working on it" statements is about all they will say; without a estimated time-frame for a fix.

In the meantime, they let their forum run amok with repetitive posts complaining of the issue and other garbage.

I would say at this point, unless something drastic changes, I wouldn't purchase another Sandisk product. There are too many quality players out there to put up with all of this.......
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Old 09-22-2009, 03:47 PM
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Marvin the Martian Marvin the Martian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geraldo35 View Post
Sandisk's handling of this issue has been beyond pitful. Very general "we're working on it" statements is about all they will say; without a estimated time-frame for a fix.

In the meantime, they let their forum run amok with repetitive posts complaining of the issue and other garbage.

I would say at this point, unless something drastic changes, I wouldn't purchase another Sandisk product. There are too many quality players out there to put up with all of this.......
True that....the whole situation and how they've handled it =
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  #15  
Old 09-22-2009, 06:02 PM
Mikerman Mikerman is offline
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Personally, I think that all SanDisk needs to do is to commit and get on with it. I again don't see why this is so difficult to do, and why it would be so difficult to make the pitch fix and to issue at least one more "catch-up" firmware upgrade for the original Clip. Think of all the good will that would be generated, at presumably limited cost. But, then, I don't run the company.
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Old 09-22-2009, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikerman View Post
Personally, I think that all SanDisk needs to do is to commit and get on with it. I again don't see why this is so difficult to do, and why it would be so difficult to make the pitch fix and to issue at least one more "catch-up" firmware upgrade for the original Clip. Think of all the good will that would be generated, at presumably limited cost. But, then, I don't run the company.
Personally, I've lost all faith in them..... Not only for the fixes that they promise...."are coming" but never materialize; but the way they handle their forum. At this point, I've never seen a manufacturers forum in such a mess.

They would have to do a ton to get me back as a customer.
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Old 09-22-2009, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geraldo35 View Post
Personally, I've lost all faith in them..... Not only for the fixes that they promise...."are coming" but never materialize; but the way they handle their forum. At this point, I've never seen a manufacturers forum in such a mess.

They would have to do a ton to get me back as a customer.
That forum is a mess, you are correct. I was considering a Clip+ early next year, but I'm starting to reconsider.
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Old 09-22-2009, 07:51 PM
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That forum is a mess, you are correct. I was considering a Clip+ early next year, but I'm starting to reconsider.
You have to make up your own mind, but I wouldn't. It's OK, but not exceptional, considering it's the worst in the bunch as being correct pitch for all the major players. It's size is attractive for using it with outdoor activities, but I would sacrifice a bit in form factor for a player that plays correctly without the use of rockbox.

I just got my Clip+ and I'm going to sell it.

Sandisk and all of their antics have left a poor taste in my mouth. Even if the Clip+ was perfect, I doubt if I would get another, knowing how they would react if another problem popped up.

Just put your Sony in your pocket.....
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:45 PM
Kohlrabi Kohlrabi is offline
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So, Sandisk will not fix the bug, see http://forums.sandisk.com/sansa/boar...d=21346#M21346

I think abi should consider to give a statement about their #1 player of 2008. Or they could remove the player from the list. The software/firmware is utter garbage, and also the technical flaws are very avoidable.

Alas, rockbox could be the saviour in this mess.

EDIT: seems like this only regards the Clip product line, which was already assumed to be not fixed.

Last edited by Kohlrabi; 09-23-2009 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:55 PM
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So, Sandisk will not fix the bug, see http://forums.sandisk.com/sansa/boar...d=21346#M21346

I think abi should consider to give a statement about their #1 player of 2008. Or they could remove the player from the list. The software/firmware is utter garbage, and also the technical flaws are very avoidable.

Alas, rockbox could be the saviour in this mess.

EDIT: seems like this only regards the Clip product line, which was already assumed to be not fixed.
That same message was also posted on the Clip+ board too, so I would assume it holds true for it as well. We'll see....at least the owners of Sansas will see.
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