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Old 11-05-2010, 06:58 PM
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Default The Fuze+ Arrived: Grez's initial Verdict

I took delivery of the Fuze+ just a couple of days ago and so I've had chance to have a little play with it and get a few things going! The machine is a Black 16GB model and arrived with a carry pouch, set of earbuds and a mini-USB lead.

I'm a Linux user and so I'm using the machine in MSC (drag-and-drop) mode, but it also seems to synchronise with Banshee music player in MTP mode - although I don't think I'll be using it like this. Similarly, I'm not a "playlist" builder: I like listening to albums so that's what I'll be doing in the main.

Initial problems dragging and dropping were caused by by my mp3 files having the wrong id3 tag protocols, so all information appeared to have been "lost" and the poor Fuze+ had no information to sort the tracks with - so I had a machine which was working similar to the cheapie mp3 player that I already owned! Admittedly, the sound quality is an improvement.

Having done a bit of research, I found that I needed to have my files id3 tagged as: ID3v2.3 ISO-8859-1. This was fairly easy to and painless to change using the EasyTag program and as soon as the tag type had changed, the player arranged the music very well in order, and searching through the albums, artists, etc. was the proverbial piece of cake. The only problem I encountered was with Jeff Wayne's "War of the Worlds" double CD, where the tracks were interleaved as CD2 Track1 followed by CD1 Track1 then CD2 Track2 followed by CD1 Track 2 and so on. To get this ordered correctly I had to alter the track numbers manually but it now plays like a dream. I have the album art id3 tagged in the files, so I don't know how the machine handles album art stored in any other way, but it works fine in this way.

Sound quality is good - the buds supplied aren't particularly brilliant, but I've got a nice pair of Philips over-ear hi-fi cans and it sounds really nice through them - crisp, punchy bass and clear but not harsh on the treble end. There is a volume limiter on the machine which caused the higer impedance hi-fi cans to sound rather quiet, but having turned the limiter off, I got a decent volume out of them. I reckon the sound's better than the (admittedly much cheaper) Sony Walkman NWZB143 owned by one of my daughters, and at least on a par with the iPod Touch owned by the other.

The controls, as mentioned elsewhere, are probably a matter of taste and training. The more I use them and get used to the sensitivity of the touch-sensitive capacitive controller, the more I like it. It's fairly simple to use and works well - sensitive and light to the touch. Skip forward and backward are easy to do with a tap, whereas touch-and-hold supplies fast-forward or rewind. I haven't run with it in my pocket yet, however!

A final word about music-playing: I have some albums where the tracks run together ("War of the Worlds" for instance) and the way this machine plays them is seamless! There is only sometimes a very slight indication that there's a break in the tracks. I was very impressed with that.

I haven't as yet tried much else with it other than music. The screen's quite nice and good for photos. I don't know that my almost 44-year-old eyes would find it comfortable to watch video on for a long time, but I didn't buy the machine for that in any case.

I'll try to post more as I use it more and get more features under my belt. However, my initial impressions are good and it's really good value. Obviously, I'm not a huge expert with digital musical players, but this is doing a good job for me at the moment, and I'd happily recommend it for a listen!
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  #2  
Old 11-05-2010, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
A final word about music-playing: I have some albums where the tracks run together ("War of the Worlds" for instance) and the way this machine plays them is seamless! There is only sometimes a very slight indication that there's a break in the tracks. I was very impressed with that.
One of my main questions was how the gapless was on the fuze+, that's good to hear!

Great post, lots of useful info, and I'm looking forward to the updates.
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Old 11-05-2010, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adub View Post
One of my main questions was how the gapless was on the fuze+, that's good to hear!

Great post, lots of useful info, and I'm looking forward to the updates.
Sounds to me like it is just like the Clip+ OF in that regard....which isn't bad at all, but not perfect.
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Old 11-05-2010, 07:35 PM
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Nice write up, thanks for the read
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Old 11-06-2010, 04:33 AM
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POSTSCRIPT

I have a copy of the Bible encoded in mp3 audio that spans 4 CDs. On the CDs were included 4 .wpl playlists. So, I checked and altered the tags (!) and then loaded all 1200+ files (1 for each chapter) onto the Fuze+ (in the podcasts folder for want of a better place). I put the playlists into the "playlists" folder, and then disconnected the machine.

It took a couple of minutes to sort out all this new information when I turned the thing on, but truth to tell, it worked very well. In the podcasts section all the chapters appear in alphabetical order and the playlists come up and work like a dream, so you can listen to the book in the right order if you like! Impressive, especially since this was only a little bit of playing around, and I hadn't actually done any poking around to find out how this should be done!

POST POSTSCRIPT

Out and about today, I've been walking round with the Fuze+ in my pocket and the controls lock works well and is easy to use. Tap and hold the play/pause control for 3 seconds and it locks the pad. To unlock, simply swipe the controller upwards. Easy, straightforward and hasn't been any hassle.

Last edited by Grez; 11-06-2010 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:05 AM
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You seem to be the first to give a very positive personal review of this, good for you I must say
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:30 AM
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Hey Grez, indeed, congrats. Glad you seem to be enjoying the Fuze+ and that the controls are not especially annoying to you. They were for me, though to be fair, I only played around with them in store for maybe 20 minutes tops.

Have you thrown a microSDHC card in there yet?

cheers and thanks a ton for the great impressions...Enjoy and please do continue to post your continuing impressions.
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:54 AM
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the controls take some time to get used to, but rent as bad as everyone says. I am holding on to my fuze+ and still say that for the money its a versatile player. If you dont want the bigger screen though, I see no reason to jump to it with the rockboxable orig fuze still out there.
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Old 11-08-2010, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xinz View Post
You seem to be the first to give a very positive personal review of this, good for you I must say
I gave the Fuze+ a good review from day one when I received it September 1st, and I still think it is good. I have criticisms, but for me, the problems with it are always minor, so Grez isn't the only who gives it a thumbs up on here. Admittedly though, only a tiny minority seem to care about the Fuze+ because there are other much more compelling options, the Fuze+ is not an advanced PMP, and so it will never be attractive to most on here.
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:58 PM
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Thanks for the comments, guys.

My overriding desire was to get a player that was good value and gave good sound quality, it had to work reliably with Linux because I don't operate a windows machine, and I was interested in the idea of having the micro SDHC card to expand the thing if need be.

The Fuze+ ticks all the boxes so far. It's the least hassle player I've used at home and it sounds great. I'm a member of the Art of Sound forum (here) which is a hi-fi enthusiasts' forum and there are a few very satisfied Sansa (mainly Clip) users on there which was one reason that I started to look at the Fuze then the Fuze+.

The controls are good after you get the hang of them, but obviously not having used a wheel-control PMP, I haven't had a lot of adjusting to do.

Anyway, further bulletins as events warrant. I think it's great value at the moment.!
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Old 11-10-2010, 06:40 PM
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I'm still on the fence about this. The Best Buy near me just got the 16GB in for $129 Canadian. That's still quite a bit of money to put down, considering the mixed reaction it's been getting. I'm also considering the new Sony E355. Decisions, decisions!
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Old 11-10-2010, 06:43 PM
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What are they asking for the Sony? That would be my choice, if the price was close.
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Old 11-10-2010, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Marvin the Martian View Post
What are they asking for the Sony? That would be my choice, if the price was close.
Wow. The website lists it on sale for $99. $30 off. Sale ends tomorrow. I guess that settles it.
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:23 PM
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I would go for the fuze v2 over any sony, hell over the fuze+ as well lol.

Here is hoping for a rockbox port sometime in the next year!
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:34 PM
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I don't think I'd want the Fuze+ even with Rockbox, with those touch controls.....my Samsung Q2 had touch controls, and as good as it sounded, it was a PITA unless you were sitting down somewhere....eventually,annoying enough that I sold it. Too bad....I never got sound that good out of another player until I rockboxed my Sansas.
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:02 AM
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THE LATEST

Having had a further week playing with the Fuze+, I've ripped a few CDs to Ogg (the old player I had was mp3 only, so I'd previously done all my ripping to mp3). However, I'd heard that Ogg doesn't support embedded art in the tags, and I'd also heard that some people had been having problems getting cover art to show up by dragging and dropping.

However, all I've done is placed the album art in the computer folder containing the album and named the file "folder.jpg" (all lower case). I then dragged and dropped the whole folder containing the album into the Fuse+ music folder and it's worked a treat. no problems at all. I did try originally using "cover.jpg" which didn't work, and simply renaming the file to folder.jpg inside the Fuze+ didn't work. However, dragged across in the same folder as the music, all seems to work fine. I think I'll be sticking with Ogg now or maybe even moving to FLAC if the music warrants it.



TAGS
I've read on another thread here that the Fuze+ doesn't support id3 v2.4 tags. I've tagged tracks using v2.4 and they've worked fine for me using ISO-8859-1 text encoding.

I'm still enjoying the player - it's the sound that does it for me.

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Old 11-13-2010, 01:35 PM
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Hey Grez,

I can't say how glad I am reading there is a way for coverart not embedded but in folder! Can you tell me what's your biggest file size for folder.jpg? Thanks ;-)

Now they only have to get rid of the sluggishness of menues and the slow boot time with fuze+ ... And hopefully they will make folder view / navigation possible asap.

It's different than the older versions but I like the new sansa somehow!
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Old 11-13-2010, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowonaut View Post
Hey Grez,

I can't say how glad I am reading there is a way for coverart not embedded but in folder! Can you tell me what's your biggest file size for folder.jpg? Thanks ;-)

Now they only have to get rid of the sluggishness of menues and the slow boot time with fuze+ ... And hopefully they will make folder view / navigation possible asap.

It's different than the older versions but I like the new sansa somehow!
Currently, I've got 71.2KB as the biggest one (it's 680x510 pixels, from an obscure cassette cover scan but works fine!) - most seem to be around 35-40KB.
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:59 PM
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Thanks for the info! I just loaded a 4gb with 4gb sdcard for my girlfriend as a birthday gift. She instantly liked the fuze+

And she coped better with the menu since I, coming from cowon d2, always tried to touch the screen instead of the pad haha

I also have covers, but named "cover.jpg", just used the folder structure from my d2 flacs (artist\album\ ...), only I converted them to mp3 320 before. Annoying thing with this is: it reads the smaller jpgs and shows them in the photo section though I they are not in the photos folder on the fuze and card ... So all of your folder.jpg also appear in photo section, I suppose? Would be nice to have the fuze+ showing photos in that section only when copied to the not so dedicated photo folder I see in windows when in msc mode, right?

Ha I'm really curiours about the fuze+ review here, guess they'd better wait until there is a flawless fw for it ;-)

Greets!
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:03 PM
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Not sure I understand you correctly, but did you try embedding the album art into the ID3 tags instead of using cover.jpg files?
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