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  #1  
Old 11-10-2009, 05:32 PM
christDude christDude is offline
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Default insufficient parsing of ID3v2 and FLAC tags

This posting is a copy & paste from this web page. I thought this information would be of interest to the readers of this forum. Anyone else having problems with the Zen X-Fi 2 not parsing file tags correctly or is it really only me?

Introductory remarks

Recently, I received a gift that really delighted me: After all these years with cheap MP3 players, I became proud owner of a Creative Zen X-Fi 2, a fancy touchscreen thingy that supports not only MP3, but also FLAC, hence relieving me of all that recoding I used to do for my MP3 players, and having a nice menu structure to quickly browse through the audio files.

What was new to me now was the reliance on reasonably tagged audio files, since everything not tagged reasonably is subsumed in the categories "unknown genre" / "unknown artist" / "unknown album" which is very unhandy. For me, it is OK to re-tag files which are not yet reasonably tagged, but unfortunately, I had to learn that there are cases where they are reasonably tagged, but where the Zen X-Fi 2 is still causing trouble.

Searching the Internet, it seems that nobody else is complaining about this, which is very strange in my opinion, since I believe I cannot be the only one experiencing these difficulties. This is why I am reporting these troubles here (together with my opinion on their severity). I sent these issues to the Creative support on November 7th and am very curious when and what they are going to respond.

The firmware version of my Zen X-Fi 2 is 1.01.01. I sincerely hope that Creative will fix at least the major issues in future firmware releases.

Issue #1: Multi-disc albums (major)

The sorting criterion for tracks within an album seems to be the track numbers in the file tags. Fallback for missing track numbers is alphabetical ordering of the track titles.
Now albums can consist of several parts (CDs), and in this case, it is common to separately number the tracks of each disc. If an album consists e.g. of two discs with two tracks on each of them, the four tracks would be tagged as
  • disc 1, track 1
  • disc 1, track 2
  • disc 2, track 1
  • disc 2, track 2
This order (first by disc number, second by track number) is the natural sorting order. However, the Zen X-Fi 2 does not sort this way, because it does not interpret disc numbers (TPOS in ID3v2, DISCNUMBER in FLAC). Therefore, the tracks order looks something like this (depending on alphabetical order of track titles):
  • disc 2, track 1
  • disc 1, track 1
  • disc 1, track 2
  • disc 2, track 2
Issue #2: ID3v2 charset support (major)

The ID3v2 standard defines 4 different character sets that can be used to encode text strings inside tags:
  1. ISO-8859-1
  2. UTF-16
  3. UTF-16BE
  4. UTF-8
Unfortunately, the Zen X-Fi 2 is not able to parse tags encoded in ISO-8859-1 and UTF-8 correctly. The reason I consider these bugs to be so severe is that ISO-8859-1 is certainly the most commonly used character set and UTF-8 is probably also more common than the UTF-16 variants.

Issue #2a: ID3v2 ISO-8859-1 support

Text encoded using ISO-8859-1 is not displayed correctly. E.g., instead of Motörhead, the Zen X-Fi 2 displays MotXhead, where X is some Asian symbol, presumably Chinese simplified.

Issue #2b: ID3v2 UTF-8 support

With UTF-8, the situation is even worse: The Zen X-Fi 2 chooses not to parse the tag at all and to place the files into the "unknown genre" / "unknown artist" / "unknown album" categories.

Issue #3: ID3v2 unsychronisation (minor)

MPEG audio streams start off with a "frame sync" that consists of 11 bits set to 1, starting at a byte boundary, i.e. 11111111 111xxxxx. ID3v2 defines "unsynchronisation" to prevent such frame sync to be erroneously contained in an ID3v2 tag. However, unsynchronised tags are not parsed by the Zen X-Fi 2, and instead, the files are placed into the "unknown genre" / "unknown artist" / "unknown album" categories.

Issue #4: ID3v2.4 support (minor)

The Zen X-Fi 2 does not understand TDRC (ID3v2.4), only TYER (ID3v2.3). As a result, it does not display the recording time of files tagged with ID3v2.4.
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  #2  
Old 11-24-2009, 02:50 PM
Flashman Flashman is offline
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Location: Bath, UK
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Default

Hallo. I've just registered to say that I too am experiencing this problem, and I had no idea why half my music was unreadable until now.

It's amazing that Creative could mess up something so vital. Deliberately, so far as I can tell.

On top of this, even with the most updated firmware I can't play any videos in their native format, save for rare DivX avis that stutter so much they aren't worth dealing with. Creative Centrale barely functions at all, so conversion is out (as is importing mp3s the 'official' way - could this have anything to do with the tag problem?).

I've even tried loading pictures onto this afflicted beast - one jpg will work and the very next picture in the album will say 'unsupported format'.

My dearly beloved Zen Vision M played its last the other week, so I ordered the X-fi 2 and received it 4 days ago. I needed the 32 gig space and no other players that size seem to have an in-built microphone (very handy for my instruments, though I see now the Philips 32gb GoGear Opus has one? Has ANYONE heard of this player?).

I can scarcely believe it, but almost nothing that worked on the VisionM works on this plastic bastard - not videos, not images, and not even half my mp3s. I don't know how Amazon UK are with refunds but I'm crossing my fingers and looking for their policy right now. IF these myriad problems were fixed in a firmware update, this would be an excellent player. As it stands,

Don't make my mistake! Get out of this subforum and find another player.

Here's a plus though, the touchscreen works fine.
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  #3  
Old 11-24-2009, 11:36 PM
SokeSleezy SokeSleezy is offline
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as far as pictures go,i got with bmp images...i had the same problem with a jpeg,tried a bmp and havent had a problem since...

as for videos,like i said in another thread use the creative media converter to convert ur video files..ive done so and i havent had a problem...

as far as the multi disc album problems...i would suggest that you change the # of ur files so that they show up accordingly on the player for example

if ur double disc files look like this this:

disc 1
01-blah blah-my song
02-blah blah-my other song

disc 2
01-blah blah-xxxxxxx
02-blah blah-xxxxxxx2

change the file numbers so that they look like this:

disc 1
101-blah blah-my song
102-blah blah-my other song

disc 2
201-blah blah-xxxxxx
202-blah blah-xxxxxx2

as all the music i acquire are official grouprips,any double disc comes labeled like this so that mp3 players dont jumble up the order of songs...
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  #4  
Old 11-27-2009, 03:22 PM
christDude christDude is offline
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Default the multi-disc problem

Hey SokeSleezy,

have you actually ever seen multi-disc albums on the Zen X-Fi 2? I don't think so, because you write something about file naming conventions, even though file names are not interpreted by this device. It only looks at the tags, specifically TRCK for mp3 files and TRACKNUMBER for flac files.

With mp3 files, it is normal practise to use TRCK for track numbers within one disc and TPOS for the disc number also in those files, no matter if you look at "official grouprips" (although there is no strict scene convention on this) or any other rip made by someone intelligent enough to choose good software for doing so. In foobar2000, these files are displayed with "Track No" e.g. as "2.03" if TPOS equals 2 and TRCK equals 3, you may have seen this already. The Zen X-Fi2 however sorts these tracks in the wrong order, also if they are "official grouprips".

Cheers,
Christ
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  #5  
Old 12-06-2009, 11:40 AM
skybluedream skybluedream is offline
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lol @ Flashman

I just ordered mine will get it by next week.

You've just given me some jitters mate hehe

Phillips? I don't think I could go with Phillips...

I also do own a Vision M.
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  #6  
Old 01-05-2010, 03:08 PM
badazzmofo badazzmofo is offline
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beyond the obvious problems with flac album art, i've got problems with flac id3 tags

mainly, the artist's name will show up with some of the tag as part of the name

artist whatever will show up in the player as:
TIST=whatever

or

RTIST=whatever


and it will only do this sometimes.
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  #7  
Old 01-05-2010, 09:35 PM
skybluedream skybluedream is offline
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Yeah same here it used to show me EIST = Artist Name.

I did this -

I dragged & dropped the files from the player via explorer into Winamp's Now Playing list & deleted the tags & then entered them again manually.

It works then.

But I got another weird problem on some FLAC files...while playing them the player skips them. Like the right speaker or left goes out for a second then goes back on.

I suppose it's got to do with the FLAC bitrate or something.

I can't confirm if it's the manually edited tags only which make this skip...I'll confirm it by tomorrow.
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  #8  
Old 01-06-2010, 02:30 PM
badazzmofo badazzmofo is offline
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according to creative, flacs skip if you go above a certain bitrate.

i think it might help to re-encode flacs at 44khz level 8 compression although i know creative could just fix the damned problem too.

i was also able to see flacs in the player that were invisible before by re-encoding them.

http://www.mediacoderhq.com/ is a pretty sweet and relatively fast encoder/decoder for every codec you have installed on your system.
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  #9  
Old 05-14-2010, 03:18 PM
christDude christDude is offline
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Default update for firmware 1.12.08

FIrmware version 1.12.08 solves some of the issues mentioned above, namely #2b (ID3v2 UTF-8 support) and #3 (ID3v2 unsynchronisation). Issues #1 (Multi-disc albums), #2a (ID3v2 ISO-8859-1 support), and #4 (ID3v2.4 support) are not solved though.

In the meantime, I also identified another issue not solved by the latest firmware version:

Issue #5: ID3v2.2 support (minor)

The Zen X-Fi 2 does not understand TRK (ID3v2.2), only TRCK (ID3v2.3 & ID3v2.4). As a result, the file track ordering is not correct for albums tagged with ID3v2.2.
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