Improving the SanDisk Sansa Clip

sansa clip headsix main Improving the SanDisk Sansa Clip

The Clip is one of my favorite player since its ultra small and has a very rich and flat (as in frequency response) sound to it. From what I have been seeing in the community, the Clip is gaining some respect in the Hi-Fi community and getting paired up with expensive IEMs. That said, demographic is a slightly different crowd and demand a bit more control of their music collection and a finer tuned feature set.

For the features I see important to this user base who are using the Sansa Clip as a high end portable source, here are the important features for this particular niche.

sansa clip headsix 1 thumb 200x150 Improving the SanDisk Sansa Clipsansa clip headsix 2 thumb 200x150 Improving the SanDisk Sansa Clip

OGG/FLAC

They cost nothing to implement since licenses are free. Few people will use this but many audiophiles are looking for this. The biggest gain here for SanDisk is the nod from the audiophile community.

File Folder Browsing

Many users do not have their tags filled out properly which makes it a nightmare to browse their music collection, but additionally this is one way many people like to keep their music organized.

Better Volume Scale

With higher end IEMs one click on the volume can be a big jump in loudness. A more granular control would be a great improvement.

FF/REV Speeds

I see a lot of complaints about how the Clip forwards and reverses though a file. It comes from users with hour-long plus audio files. Full DJ mixes but more importantly audio books. The FF/REV should advance progressively faster (I think this is currently implemented, but not done well.) and it should be smoother and more precise. Some users are trying to advance though 5 hour long files.

Gapless Playback

This is such an elusive feature- very few firmware design teams have been able to implement this or get it right. In all fairness to these teams, from my understanding this is a difficult feature to implement. There is nothing more annoying than a second or two pause in seamlessly mixed albums and many people seek out this feature with very limited choices.

Pan/Balance

Although they are a small minority, some users do not hear the same in one ear verses the other. This feature I would put on low priority, but it is still very important in terms of really getting the audio right on the Clip.

Pictured Above: The above photos are of Martin’s portable rig: 2GB Sansa Clip > Custom Cable > Headsix Amp > Sennheiser HD650




16 Comments

dfkt on January 12, 2008 2:12 PM

Thank you Enzo! Finally we might get heard. :)

Alex M on January 12, 2008 2:31 PM

Yea the lack of flac and/or ogg bothered me. Same goes with the ff/rw. That’s partly why I bought a pilot on ebay.

slaughter on January 12, 2008 2:48 PM

If they add Flac I will own one of these! 8 or 16GB would be even better.

Dom on January 12, 2008 3:52 PM

I ran across this post while researching an upgrade to my Sansa. I agree with most points, though I have a couple additions/alternate suggestions.Considering that gapless MP3 playback is such a difficult (and rather hackish) feature in the first place, I’m not sure we could really trust Sandisk to be able to get it quite right, even if they tried. So maybe instead it would be better to push for a *full and proper* implementation of OGG/Vorbis and Flac, since those formats both have native support of gapless playback. It’d be a compromise, no doubt, but I think we’d have a better chance getting that to happen than we would gapless MP3, and it would be better than nothing. Any thoughts on this?While we’re at it, how about they give us the option of setting UMS as default. I’m pretty tired of having to do the secret handshake everytime I connect the thing to my computer. This would also go along quite nicely with the file/folder browsing that was already suggested.My last addition is this: the whole Sansa lineup would do well with these features, not just the Clip. I’d love to have a View with that list implemented.

EnzoTen (Grahm) on January 12, 2008 3:54 PM

@DomUpdate your firmware. UMS/MSC can be set by default in the latest version.

Eric on January 12, 2008 4:55 PM

wouldn’t FLAC be really big, at least on the 2gb player?

Narg on January 12, 2008 5:08 PM

Gapless playback should not be a hard feature to do. The original Rio MP3 players (the guys that invented the MP3 player!) had this feature. Why it still is not a REQUIRED feature of all MP3 players is beside me.

josh on January 12, 2008 7:28 PM

FLAC support would be nice but for a player that only has 2-4GB that would not be kind of pointless to have such a large file format. Better volume scale and better ff/rw speeds i would like a lot. I love this little player. Great sound quality, easy to use, very durable and doesn’t scratch easily. For the price it is an excellent player.

Jason on January 12, 2008 9:43 PM

Once the 4GB is available, I’m definitely gonna pick up one of these, I want to hear this great sound quality everyone is talking about. These would all be nice additions, Ogg Vorbis would be the best for me, since I already use it on my D2.

Shane on January 13, 2008 7:49 AM

I would like to see the ability to add files to the golist when they aren’t playing.Folder navigation would be my number one requested feature from the ones you mention, such as showing filenames, and sorting by filenames (so you can listen to albums in correct order when they don’t have file number tags). I would also like to see a shortcut that allows skipping to the next folder (the zen stone has a purpose built button for this) – such as holding down the next or previous button.

dfkt on January 13, 2008 5:29 PM

Here’s our forum thread about Sansa Clip feature requests: http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22567

Tyrone on January 17, 2008 1:57 AM

Hey guys awesome player quick hint just create playlists for each folder then browse by playlists easy easy

Tyrone on January 17, 2008 1:59 AM

Hey guys awesome player quick hint just create playlists for each folder then browse by playlists easy easy

Corey on January 17, 2008 7:43 AM

This is a great list… you’ve only forgotten an optical output, for those of us with a product like the Headroom Portable Micro Amp (with built-in DAC) and looking at replacing our aging iRiver H140′s :)

Josh on January 17, 2008 11:11 AM

How about resume feature? it is usefull for licensing to audio book file.

Lasse on August 7, 2009 12:37 PM

Just in case anyone didn’t know yet: the Sansa Clip can now play both Flac and Ogg after updating the firmware :)

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